One wore a t-shirt that read, "Guns don't protect people, people do." It depicted cartoon children and people of all races holding hands. I shook my head and thought, "So, logically, then, if guns are not the agent that determines one's safety or well-being, rather, people are, then they must logically agree with the statement, 'Guns don't kill people, people do.'" But of course they didn't. They had just come from the so-called Million Mom March, a gathering of mostly white, suburban wealthy, and not so young women who had descended on Washington to call for all sorts of legislation limiting access to and ownership of firearms.
It was in striking contrast to an interesting real-life video clip I had seen a few weeks earlier. I was watching Cops, or one of those live-in-the-squad-car type shows, and a call came that an attempted car thief had been thwarted and required police assistance. The officers drove to a rather poor, rural neighborhood in Florida and found a seventy-something year old man holding a hulking young thug at gunpoint. The thug had tried to steal his car, as evidenced by the screwdriver in his possession and the damage to the car's lock.
I couldn't help but wonder what these women would think if they had seen that video clip. They'd probably shrug it off as a rare instance and then rattle off that lots of innocent kids get killed each day by guns left lying around the house. And hey- it's no surprising that they'd think this. They, Susan Sarandon, and the other financially secure folks who are calling for gun control don't live in dangerous neighborhoods. And if something does get stolen from their homes, well they have insurance to cover it.
The fact of the matter is that Americans own more guns today than they ever have. Yet the number of gun deaths per hundred-thousand individuals is decreasing. Yet more than ever the upper middle and upper classes are clamoring for gun control. How to explain this?
The media is clearly doing their part to propagate anti-gun attitudes. Think, now, when was the last time you read or viewed a story that spoke of how wonderful it was that someone thwarted a burglar thanks to the firearm they own? When was the last time you saw a human interest story that spoke glowingly of a father teaching his son responsible firearm ownership? We've all heard the story of the Columbine High School murders. But how many of us know about the Pearl High School incident? One day, Joel Myrick, an assistant principle at this Mississippi school, heard a gunshot. So he ran to his car and grabbed his pistol, loaded it, and then followed the direction of the report. He found a student running from the school. He had just blasted another kid with a rifle. Myrick aimed his pistol, told him to chill, and that was that. No more violence done.
Funny how we don't hear about those sort of stories. In part, it's because butchery and gore make for great ink. But what to make of the fact, as Kenneth Smith's interesting article in Reason Magazine's June issue notes, that media coverage (CNN/ABC/CBS) either ignored the story or in mentioning it, said nothing of the fact that that a firearm had helped subdue the shooter? There's something Orwellian about that. More disturbing, though, is that the Media Research Center has found that in the past two years, the media has run ten times as many stories that are critical of guns as compared with stories that have anything positive to say.
Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University, estimates that law-abiding American use firearms to defend themselves against criminals 2.5 million times per year. Potentially, that's alot of lives saved, rapes prevented, and thefts thwarted.
But I suppose next time someone breaks into my apartment I should just cross my fingers and hope that the Million Moms come to my rescue.