First it was the gun prohibition lobby and then anti-gun politicians, and finally the establishment media incorporated the phrase into its lexicon: “gun violence.”
“Gun violence” as defined by Wikipedia is “violence committed with the use of a gun.” It is also misleading because it creates the impression that restricting firearms will reduce violent crime, and it hasn’t worked out that way.
What other instrument used in a crime of violence gets subliminally blamed for the act? When a man was murdered Dec. 9 in his South Los Angeles backyard, the Los Angeles Times didn’t call it “hammer violence.” Instead, the newspaper properly reported police “found a man who had suffered a traumatic head injury.” The story also explained the dead man had been beaten to death “by a man he had let stay there.” It wasn’t the hammer’s fault, the suspect got the blame. The victim was no less deceased than had he been shot.
But the term “gun violence” has been used to include everything from murder to suicides to hunting accidents. And the media is perpetuating this canard by adopting the vocabulary of the gun prohibition movement—when you advocate banning certain classes of firearms, that’s not “control,” that’s prohibition—suggesting those who champion the First Amendment are far too willing to trample the Second.
The Philadelphia Inquirer published an Op-Ed piece Wednesday headlined “Gun violence is a public health crisis just as important as the pandemic.”
WTTW News ran a story Tuesday headlined, “Firsthand Gun Violence: Victim Advocate Reflects on Chicago’s Violent Year.” Nearly 800 people have been murdered in Chicago this year, typically by people who should not have had a gun in the first place, or by people using some other weapon.
A Wednesday article in TIME states in the third paragraph, “Gun violence and gun crime has, in particular, risen drastically, with over 19,000 people killed in shootings and firearm-related incidents in 2020. That’s the highest death toll in over 20 years, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), an online site that collects gun violence data…”
In the classic western “Shane,” Alan Ladd—playing the title character—tells co-star Jean Arthur, “A gun is a tool, no better or worse than any other tool, an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it.”
This line of dialogue in a film might be the key to solving Atlanta, GA Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ dilemma, as reported by the Daily Mail. Like other large cities, Atlanta is experiencing a “surge of violent crime,” according to the story. The mayor is “open to suggestions.”
Here’s one: Stop blaming guns. Blame the people misusing guns and prosecute them. Lock them up. There are more than 100 million gun owners by some estimates, who may own as many as 400 million firearms of all kinds. If guns were responsible for violent crime, rather than the individual criminals, we’d know about it.
If someone is arrested with a stolen gun, the punishment should hurt. When someone misuses a gun to commit a crime, punishment must be mandatory. Prosecutors should not negotiate away a gun charge in exchange for a plea to an associated crime. We have laws on the books already to deal with this circumstance, so we don’t need another law.
Nor do we need to penalize every honest gun owner for crimes they didn’t commit. That spreads the blame over an entire social group, rather than the responsible individual.
Another suggestion: Stop relying on restrictive regulations to prevent criminals and evil people from committing mayhem. The majority of mass shooters passed background checks, including the suspect in the Florida high school shooting and the guy who opened fire on the concert crowd in Las Vegas.
Criminals don’t buy their guns at retail, anyway, so they don’t go through background checks, and they routinely ignore so-called “universal background check” requirements by stealing guns or getting guns from someone else who stole them.
Adam Lanza, the killer of children at Sandy Hook Elementary, is the rare case. He murdered his mother and took her legally-purchased firearms to commit the crime. She had followed all the rules in Connecticut designed to prevent crime, and her son broke them all.
Pushing for a ban on so-called “assault rifles” is yet another form of public deception pandered by people who simply hate guns, and are especially afraid of some firearms because of their appearance. Just look at any of the annual FBI Uniform Crime Reports. Rifles of any kind are used in a fraction of all homicides. More people are fatally stabbed or beaten to death than are killed with rifles in any given year, and gun control proponents know it.
Joe Biden wants to require citizens to obtain a permit or license before they are allowed to purchase a firearm. Evidently he confuses the exercise of a constitutionally enumerated fundamental right with the exercise of a privilege. Citizens should never be required to get permission from the government before exercising a right.
Biden’s faulty thinking is a symptom of the larger problem; that of shifting blame to the tool.
And the media buys into the deception by allowing anti-gunners to get away with it.
By the same token, phrases such as “gun safety” or “gun reform” mask the actual intent of anti-gun groups or individuals, which is “gun control” or “gun prohibition.” Such misleading labels amount to camo-speak, a term that refers to words or phrases designed to conceal the true intent of the user.
Violent crime should not be defined by the tool, else it would be hypocritical to not blame hammers, knives, crowbars, screwdrivers, baseball bats, crowbars or other blunt objects that can be dangerous when misused. And remember, nobody needs a background check to purchase any of these tools.
Violence is an act committed by an individual, not whatever he or she might be holding. To argue otherwise is disingenuous at best, if not downright deplorable.