Last night Joe made a comment about gun violence that is buzzing all over the internet and once again being taken to prove that maybe our boy Biden just can’t keep from saying ridiculous things. Joe criticized Bern for voting in favor of the 2005 PLCCA law which protects gun makers from torts, asserting that more than 150 million Americans had died from gun injuries since 2007. Biden’s campaign quickly covered up this silly gaff with his PR folks issuing a statement which brought the gun-death number down to 150 thousand, not million.
Actually, the number of gun deaths since 2007 through 2018 is 413,403, which will probably increase by another 70,000 or so if we could count right up to today. Now in fact, while 400,000+ deaths is nothing to sneeze at, it’s not 150,000. On the other hand, the category of gun injuries would rank it as the 11th leading cause of death in the United State, just below suicide, except that half of that suicide total also happens to have been caused by using guns. Which puts gun deaths into the Top 10 of all deaths.
This exchange between Bernie and Joe reminds me of another gun-comment that Joe made at a 2013 White House meeting of video-game executives when he said that not only did he have no problem with people keeping guns in their home for self-defense, but in fact his wife Jill had access to a shotgun in their Delaware home which she kept handy to protect herself and the kids when Joe was on the road.
For the very first time a national politician openly supported the idea of using a gun for self-defense. And Joe made it clear that if Jill heard something which sounded like someone was trying to break into their home, here’s what he expected her to do: “`Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony … take that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house,”‘ Biden said. “You don’t need an AR-15. It’s harder to aim, it’s harder to use and in fact, you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself.”
When I read Joe’s comment, I couldn’t believe that a national political figure could speak about guns in such a rational and reasonable way. Had I been the owner of Mossberg, Remington or one of the other companies that makes shotguns, I would have immediately packed up one of our guns, run to Joe’s office and presented the gun to him on behalf of both the gun industry and all gun-owning Americans.
Nothing of the sort occurred at all. To the contrary, Joe was lambasted by just about every hot-air balloon who speaks for Gun-nut Nation in the gun debate. Mike Huckabee got on Fox News and told his audience that two rounds from a shotgun wouldn’t be enough ammunition to protect yourself from an intruder who had a gun with more ammunition in the mag. I suspect that even Huckabee had trouble maintaining his TV composure while saying something so dumb.
You know going forward that no matter who heads the Democratic ticket, the gun ‘issue’ will be front and center during the 2020 national campaign. Which is all fine and well except I suspect that neither candidate, Trump versus whomever, will say anything as remotely logical and honest as what Joe said back in 2013.
No matter whether he’s talking about immigration, or the economy or anything else, what Trump has managed to accomplish in less than four years is to take all political rhetoric and all political debates to the extreme. Which is where the gun debate has always been, but now every other topic appears to be catching up.
If Trump said that 150 million Americans had died from gun injuries over the last twelve years, nobody on his staff would bother to correct him at all. Maybe it’s time for the Democrats to stop worrying about Joe’s gaffes and realize that the overblown rhetoric used in the gun debate has become the accepted verbal currency for every political exchange.