You can count on it. By tomorrow at the latest, whether or not all the facts are known, Mad Dig Lott or one of the other NRA sycophantic jack-offs will be saying that Alison Ward and Adam Parker of WDBJ are both dead because neither carried a gun. Said it after Sandy Hook, said it after Charleston, I guarantee you someone from the NRA stable will say it again. The NRA has been pitching this BIG LIE for more than twenty years, and the more that gun violence shocks, scares and angers the country, the more opportunities they get to roll it out.
Why is the notion that armed citizens can protect us against crime a lie? Because it is. And it’s a lie for two reasons because neither reason corresponds to the facts. By facts I don’t mean the private poll conducted by Gary Kleck in 1994 which found that millions of crimes were prevented because of what 221 people claimed may or may not have occurred. Nor am I referring to the alleged poll by John Lott in 1997 for which all polling data then disappeared. I’m talking about facts as found in such ‘biased’ sources as the U.S. Census, the Department of Justice and the FBI. Of course they are biased if any information generated by them supports the notion that guns increase risk. But the same people who believe the government can never be trusted to tell the truth are the same people who get their real news from Infowars and other conspiracy-minded websites.
Lie #1: Even though violent crime has been dropping, we are all at risk for being attacked at any time the way that Ward and Parker were attacked while doing a fluff piece for the evening news. In fact, unless you are an African-American between the ages of 12 and 39, the odds of you being the victim of a gun homicide are about the same as the odds that you’ll be run over while crossing a street. Know anyone who was killed that way? Damn right you don’t, because the odds are about 50,000 to 1.
Lie #2: Millions of crimes are prevented each year because criminals are afraid to attack anyone who might be carrying a gun and the number of armed citizens keeps increasing every year. A study of more than 14,000 violent criminal incidents from 2007 to 2011 found that in less than 1% of these criminal events did the victim attempt to defend him/herself with a gun. And when a gun was used in self-defense during the commission of a crime, the odds the victim would suffer an injury were the same (4%) whether the victim had a gun or not. This study was not based on 221 private telephone survey conversations; it wasn’t based on a survey whose data then disappeared. It was based on the bi-annual crime victim survey conducted by the Department of Justice whose findings, of course, would never be accepted by President Trump.
The real problem with lying about the benefits of concealed-carry is that its proponents want you to believe that walking around with a self-defense weapon ipso facto means that you are trained and prepared to use it safely and effectively when, in fact, there’s no reason to believe such an assumption at all. A report just issued by the Police Executive Research Forum on the use of deadly force found that “the training currently provided to new recruits and experienced officers in most departments is inadequate,” and the “United States faces much more severe problems than most other countries, stemming from the widespread availability of inexpensive, high-quality firearms to almost anyone.”
If deadly force training for police is inadequate, what would you call the training provided to civilians who want to walk around with guns? I’d call it non-existent. And if you buy the NRA lie that armed, untrained civilians represent any kind of response to the violence that cut down Alison Ward and Adam Parker, you’ll probably believe that Donald Trump will really build a fence.