ANALYSIS: “Gun Violence” is everywhere; the term permeates the American lexicon and is designed to demonize an object while deflecting responsibility for crimes away from perpetrators.
A report at Fox News declares, “Chicago gun violence: 3 killed, 26 wounded over Thanksgiving weekend.”
Down in North Carolina, WTVD reports about a Fayettefille father who is “pushing for end to gun violence following his daughter’s death.”
US News headlines a story, “Study: Youth in Poor Areas More Likely to Die From Gun Violence.” The lead paragraph explains, “New research finds gun violence disproportionately impacts young people living in low-income counties, and that the risk of dying from firearms rises as the concentration of poverty in those communities increases.”
It is essentially the same deflective reporting associated with the recent killings of six people at a parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin by CNN: “At least 5 killed after SUV plows into Wisconsin holiday parade.” “A witness describes the “horrifying” scene when an SUV barreled into a Wisconsin Christmas parade.” And this lead paragraph in a third report: “Five people were killed and more than 40 were injured when a vehicle drove into a Christmas parade Sunday afternoon in Waukesha, Wisconsin, city officials said.”
The vehicle in Waukesha did not drive itself into the crowd any more than Chicago residents die from “gun violence.”
Whether the tool of mayhem is a firearm or an SUV, the responsibilities lies with the person pressing the trigger or turning the steering wheel with his or her foot on the gas pedal.
This is hardly a new phenomenon. The term “gun violence” is part of a reporter’s vocabulary; a victory for the gun prohibition movement that successfully repeated the phrase over and over until it stuck. This is why the Brady Campaign can say at its website, “38,826 people die from gun violence” and get away with it.
No other object involved in violent crime is so maligned and deliberately connected to an act committed by one or more individuals. If someone kills another person with a knife, it’s never headlined “knife violence.” The FBI Uniform Crime Report annually notes more people are murdered with “personal weapons” (hands and/or feet) than with rifles or shotguns of any kind. Ditto people killed with knives and other sharp implements.
Ever hear of “golf club violence?” Nobody else has, either. Likewise, one should not expect headlines to blare “Blunt object violence kills people in the suburbs.” But whenever a firearm is involved, expect another round of “gun violence” headlines.
Even with the reporting that seemed to deflect attention away from Waukesha suspect Darrell Brooks Jr., a repeat offender out of jail on bail, not even CNN or any local newspaper has talked about “SUV violence.” But the people killed in Waukesha are just as dead as if they had been shot.
Perhaps most alarming is that print and broadcast journalists know about this but they’ve done nothing to change it. For the establishment media, referring to “gun violence” as the problem rather than gangs or individual thugs spares the press the discomfort of being the target of complaints for accurately describing what happened and who (not what) is responsible.
So long as reporters, politicians and gun prohibition advocates are allowed to perpetuate the impression that it’s all the gun’s fault, the tougher it will be for Second Amendment advocates to convince the public that what they own is not the problem, and that restricting their rights is not the solution.