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rebuttals to "Gun Control"
A recent map and article generated by Michael Bloomberg's Everytown astroturf organization began circulating around the Internet last week, claiming that 74 school massacres have taken place since Adam Lanza went on his rampage in 2012, murdering innocent children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. "How many more before our leaders pass common-sense laws to prevent gun violence and save lives?" the Bloombergian band of bullying neo-fascists shriek in their zeal to relieve you of your rights?
How many, indeed?
The release... or more accurately spew has all the makings of hyperventilating gun grabber propaganda: the photo of the weeping parent, the fear mongering, the repeated referrals to "gun violence" in an attempt to make it part of the American lexicon, as if other types of violence are somehow preferable to firearms.
The only problem with it? It lies.
Within days of the release of the frightening statistic, journalist and skeptic Charles Johnson decided to take a closer look at the dubious claim that "1.37 school shootings have occurred "every single week in the U.S. since the deadly 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut."
Know what he found?
Charles Johnson found that Everytown padded its numbers to make school violence appear more common. They included every instance they could find of an accidental or intentional discharge near or in a school, such as a 19 year old getting shot over a dice game in an elementary school parking lot.
Another fake school shooting listed by everytown. 19-year-old shot in elementary parking lot over dice game at 9 PM. http://t.co/K9Tsr2F4QE— Charles C. Johnson (@ChuckCJohnson) June 10, 2014
Public suicides near schools or campuses.
Another fake school shooting by everytown. UCF college student committed suicide in public. http://t.co/J7svZ9OxLU— Charles C. Johnson (@ChuckCJohnson) June 10, 2014
Gang related shootings off campus.
Another fake school shooting by Everytown. Off campus, gang-related shooting in NC. http://t.co/hzlO30Sxkk— Charles C. Johnson (@ChuckCJohnson) June 10, 2014
None of us wants to see violence – on or off campus – but to make disingenuous claims - lying to bolster one's disarmament agenda is still lying, no matter what the intent.
How many remember Arthur Kellermann's flawed research into gun ownership that claimed in the New England Journal of Medicine that a firearm in the home is "43 times more likely" to be used to kill a member of the household than to kill a criminal intruder? The study has been debunked numerous times, including here by the Director of the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners David Felbeck and here by Henry Schaffer. Kellermann himself admitted that his study did "not include cases in which burglars or intruders are wounded or frightened away by the use or display of a firearm." He also admitted his study did not look at situations in which intruders "purposely avoided a home known to be armed." Those were not the only flaws in Kellermann's study, and even he has backed away from those claims.
And despite the fact that this study has been criticized and debunked numerous times, the gun grabbers still cite it as fact. I cannot tell you how many times they toss that "a gun in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of your household" statistic even now, more than 20 years after the initial study hit the streets and after his subsequent study on firearms ownership also faced numerous criticism.
Once the lie has been told, it seems to linger like the odor of stale socks in a locker room.
Shannon Watts, the founder of the Bloomberg-funded Moms Demand Action, is a master of telling real whoppers. In November 2013, she claimed in an appearance on MSNBC that there was a "mass shooting every day" in the United States. More recently – just a few days ago – Watts claimed there are no cases of good guys with a gun stopping bad guys with a gun. "This has never happened. Data shows it doesn't happen," she claimed in a CNN interview.
Shannon Watts lies on a regular basis. It's entirely possible she is a pathological liar, given how many obvious, blatant, easily disproven lies she has told over time!
But is Shannon Watts mentally ill? Can she not control her lying? Or does she know that the lies she tells will be retold by numerous, uninformed ignorami, and will eventually take on lives of their own and be peddled as truths for years to come?
Everytown's map of half-truths was debunked swiftly and accurately by Charles Johnson, but the Internet is forever and so are lies published on the web. The claim has been told and retold by the Washington Post, the New York Magazine, and numerous local media outlets. The map went viral within hours, and despite the fact that even CNN, PolitiFact, and numerous conservative outlets quickly published pieces debunking the lies in the Everytown map, the organization itself has not to date issued any kind of retraction, and hoplophobes, instead of acknowledging the truth, simply accused CNN of bowing to pressure from gun advocates.
The lie is there, and the gun grabbers won't take it back. Shannon Watts won't admit to her lies, Everytown won't print a retraction, or at least a statement qualifying its assertions, and the lie will fester, with at least some gun grabbers continuing to cite it as fact.
The good news, however, is that at least some media outlets are beginning to fact check the gun grabbers' claims. After Charles Johnson called into question Everytown's claims, CNN and PolitiFact did some fact checking of their own and actually printed revisions. Those revisions were picked up by local outlets, and numerous conservative sites touted the truth on social media and on the Internet.
So while the lies may still be out there, so is the truth, and we have a duty to protect it and prevent the lies from becoming part of the national debate.
Nicki Kenyon has been an avid gun rights advocate since she returned to the United States from an overseas Army tour in Germany. She began writing about Second Amendment issues in 2001 when KeepAndBearArms.com published her first essay, "The Moment.". She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies from American Military University. Her area of expertise in those fields is European and Eurasian affairs. When not writing about gun rights or hanging out with her husband and son, she practices dry-firing her M1911 at the zombies of "The Walking Dead." Nicki Kenyon's Archive Page.