The Intellectually Dishonest Gun Crime Epidemic

By Tom McHale

Note from the author: This article was written and submitted before the unspeakable terrorist attack in Orlando, Dallas and Nice. We in no way want to diminish the seriousness of this attack by comparing it to media coverage of street crime or anything other than what it is. When our country suffers a major terrorist attack, I fully expect the news media to cover it in depth, but as exactly what it is – a major terrorist attack. Unfortunately, that's not what we're seeing, but that's another story. Our thoughts and prayers are for those families in Orlando, Dallas and Nice, FR. My hope is that after the emotion settles, we can have rational and productive discussion on how to prevent and stop further terrorist attacks like this one. Unfortunately, you know, as well as I do, that many will look to fear-based, feel-good, knee-jerk solutions that won't accomplish anything, and may even prompt more aggressive attacks in the future. I'll be doing my best to educate those in my circle of influence and I hope you will as well.

Gun Crime Epidemic

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Tom McHale

USA –-( Epidemic [ep-i-dem-ik] noun – a rapid spread or increase in the occurrence of something

What do you call a “rapid spread or decrease in the occurrence of something?” Well, if it was the decrease of a bad thing, like crime for instance, I might call it awesome.

Regardless of what we hear on TV, that’s exactly what’s been happening with crime. Dwindling, shrinkage, downturn, ebb, or maybe even waning.

If you’re reading this, you know, as well as I do, that violent crime and murder has dropped like a stone over the past 20 years, yet you’d never know it based on the nightly news. You might also know that the level of gun-related accidents is currently at the lowest level in the history of ever, or at least since people invented the abacus. And you might also know that the level of child accidents and malicious deaths related to guns are at the lowest level since Senator Harry Reid was born, and as far as I know, that was sometime during the mid 15th century, but records are sketchy.

So why do clueless Candy Crush addicts think we’re in the midst of a “gun violence” epidemic?

MSNBCNNFX Is Sensational!

The main reason that John and Jane Q. Kardashian-watcher thinks there is a “gun crime” epidemic is because every crime involving the use of a gun is a genuine media sensation. I don’t like violent crime any more than you do, and I’d be thrilled if we could figure out how to get to zero crime. I don’t see that happening anytime soon ever, but it sure would be nice.

But let’s get back to the point. If Ponch shoots Jon with a gun, it’s national news and breathless reporters start gushing about the CHiPs “gun violence” epidemic. If Jon hits Ponch with a shovel, it doesn’t make the nightly news, much less The Tolucan Times Crime Beat section. By the way, it would have made a great episode if Jon DID hit Ponch with a shovel. Just sayin, so don’t tase me bro CHiPs fans.

To really put the impact of the excitable media boys and girls into perspective, I’d like to take you on an imaginary journey for just a minute.

When you see a story on your nightly news about Cleetus shooting Arbutus in a drug deal gone bad, think about this. Since the night before, when you saw another sensational story about Arbutus shooting Clem outside a gentleman’s club, 30 people have been murdered by a drunk driver. Not killed. Not accidentally mushed to death. Murdered. If the liquored-up dude or dudette hadn’t voluntarily chosen to get in a vehicle capable of generating a half million foot-pounds of energy, some person or family would still be alive. That’s murder.

Now, just imagine for a minute that the news allocated the same joyful zeal to those stories. Our nightly news would be chock full of headlines and expert commentaries like these:

“We’re thrilled saddened to report yet another senseless slaughter that could have been prevented with some common-sense vodka legislation.”

“With these high-capacity beer cans, people can drink 12 full ounces before reloading. There’s no need for anyone to have that kind of drinking power.”

“You know Katie, our organization has been calling for breathalyzer ejection seats for years, yet our common sense proposals fall on deaf ears.”

“It’s the NBA (National Beer Association) lobby that has a choke-hold on Congress. 137% percent of Americans polled support Universal Beer Checks.”

“High-capacity wine coolers are a senseless threat to us all. Who needs that? They only have one purpose – to get people drunk!”

“There are bars within 19 miles of schools and churches. We need common sense zoning to put a stop to that!”

“It’s just common-sense to develop smart cars that are limited to 12 miles per hour if they sense tequila breath within 50 square feet.”

“It's easier for someone to walk in and buy a mint julep than a My Little Pony!”

But, unfortunately, even though video footage of drunk driving murder scenes is every bit as gory and sensational as a shooting, the media hacks don’t see that as headline “news.” You know why? I think it’s because they like to drink, so they’re not going to waste any of their moral outrage capacity on that issue.

Hey, selective moral outrage ain’t cheap, so you can’t waste it on things that you like to do on weekends. Guns? That’s different.

Can you imagine the news cycle if the same level of airtime was devoted to drunk driving murder? We’d have to open up 94 new 24-hour news networks just to handle the volume.

Gun Crime and PBR DUIs

I have to admit that the whole “gun crime” movement is a brilliant play by The Billionaire Banners Club. In our modern world of “OK, I’ll endure a four-word headline, if I can get back to the latest episode of Crocheting with People Who Were On TV 25 Years Ago”, it plays really well. If you don’t think about it, at all, then it sounds pretty appealing. Gun crime? Yeah, that sounds bad, so I'll jump on board the outrage train.

But just for illustrative purposes, let’s continue with the drunk driving metaphor to show what a stupid and pointless concept it really is. Can you imagine hearing things like this on your nightly news?

“Well, Granite-Stone, tonight’s lead story is fantastic for our ratings tragic. Yet another Miller Lite death in Bender County. Police say that a man was killed by a 12-ounce long-neck driver..”

“Piers, if it weren't for your courage to speak out on the topic, people would never know about the epidemic of Jim Beam driving…”

“In other news, billionaire Richard Branson donated $50 million of his personal fortune towards Ernest and Julio Gallo driving safety.”

Of course, we'd never see any stories about “Ciroc Appletini deaths” because real journalists enjoy those after a solid day of enlightening the knuckle-dragging public.

As ridiculous and intellectually dishonest as it is, the whole idea of creating a category of crime that’s more evil and dangerous based on what tool someone kills you with is effective to an apathetic public.

It neatly places the emphasis on the object, not the action. Why? No one really wants to solve the real, and much harder, problem of getting people to stop being nasty to each other.

I also find it insanely hypocritical, which is why I immediately want to slap folks who start lecturing me about the problem of “gun crime.” Anytime someone says the words “gun crime” I interrupt and ask them if they're OK with knife or spatula crime. Invariably, I get a funny look from someone who is clearly thinking, “Knife crime? That’s silly! Who cares if someone is the victim from a knife or a bat? They're still a victim!” Point made.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not equating drunk driving with what people call “gun crime.” I did choose this comparison because the number of people murdered by someone using a gun is about the same as the number of people murdered because their killer drank too much beer. Strangely though, when someone is killed by a drunk, there's crickets on the news. When someone is killed with a gun, it becomes a national media event. Hypocritical much? I'm also using the comparison to make a point about the power of language and the volume and frequency with which messages are delivered.

The bottom line? He who controls free network television gets to decide what we’re all outraged about. Think about it.

Oh, one more thing. If you didn't know, there's a Pabst Blue Ribbon death epidemic. Be careful out there folks.


Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

  • 13 thoughts on “The Intellectually Dishonest Gun Crime Epidemic

    1. As a lover of fine firearms, hunting, isolated places and a good glass of bourbon. How about we teach moderation in all things. As the Bible speaks of. How about we make it cool again to not be dumbasses. How about we make a promise to go a year in government to not restrict, outlaw, or attack anything period, outside of criminals and national defense.
      Tex, Neil, and good ol wild bill. There is nothing wrong with a good cussing, I’ve seen folks who got one and it changed their life. At least when a man is Cussing at you, most times he’s not lying. He is impassioned enough to speak honestly. Enough with passing laws, I’m sick of it. But, it was a good Article, and I get it.

    2. Meanwhile another whack-job twinkle-toed crackpot from gun-nut nation has taken it upon himself to take his gun, leave his house, approach a car at night, order the car not to move, shoot into the car without ANY provocation and it is learned that the “criminals” were actually Pokémon hunters.

      You clowns not only should have your guns taken away but your hands removed as well.

        1. Cliff, I.T. is just another socialism pushing, hiLIARy paid (per response) troll. We don’t even converse with him anymore.

    3. How about the DEATHS of CHILDREN in Bathtubs and back yard swimming pools?
      How about those that tumble down UNGUARDED stairs?
      How about the CRIMINALS that use FIREARMS while committing their crimes BUT NEVER get prosecuted for the firearm use, DESPITE the penalties that are suppose to be added on to their sentences. (Can you say, “LIBERAL PROSECUTORS LOOKING TO IMPROVE THEIR CONVICTION RATE THROUGH GUILTY PLEAS TO THE ROBBERY FOR DROPPING the FIREARM CHARGE?)
      More people are killed with Knives, Baseball Bats, Hammers, and Axes than with FIREARMS; How about permits and background checks for ALL of those too.

      1. Another limp-wristed “more people are killed by” argument to which I say-more people infinitely many times more per day use knives, baseball bats, hammers and axes than guns are used (not just carried around for decoration or to augment low self-esteem and manhood issues) so once again, without a doubt per capita use; more people are killed by guns. Often in the hands of children.

        I haven’t seen any sign of “criminals” illegally owning guns NOT being jailed-I happen to know a few guys that were. Where are you living-Texas or Florida?

        1. These are 2011 numbers and taken from CDC and FBI data.
          1,637 American people died yesterday of heart disease
          1,574 American people died yesterday of cancer
          378 American people died yesterday of lower respiratory disease
          354 American people died yesterday of stroke
          331 American people died yesterday due to some sort of accident – car, fall, etc.
          228 American people died yesterday of Alzheimer’s disease
          189 American people died yesterday of Diabetes
          138 American people died yesterday of Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome
          137 American people died yesterday of Influenza and Pneumonia
          105 American people died yesterday of suicide
          34 American people died yesterday of some type of homicide
          23 American people where killed yesterday with a handgun, and 2/3 of these were inner-city gang related.
          2 American people yesterday where killed with a rifle or shotgun.

    4. We have got to get rid of or hold the media accountable for their lies! Cheeseburgers kill more people every year than guns! Where is the big push for healthy food reform????
      In Oregon the not-elected governor just made some big statement about gun control to save lives. You know ban magazines over ten rounds and all that other ineffective BS. in rural Oregon WE HAVE NO POLICE! I was almost shot IN THE HEAD by morons a few years back firing across a paved public road. It took A WEEK for a deputy to show up! They did not even issue the perps a ticket. Despite the fact the fact the person had broken SIX laws! How about enforcing laws some laws instead of making new unenforceable ones? Liberals are mentally ill and are a danger to themselves and others.
      Bottom line everything on TV is a LIE!

      1. Everything you state is true. Sadly it won’t get any air time except here simply because you don’t control the free network television industry…………That is why I only watch FOX news. They come closer than the other three combined. Anyone who would give the likes of Al Sharpshooter their own show drinks a lot of Kool-Aid!!

    5. Not sure that is a great analogy, given all the regulation (continual reduction of blood/alcohol definitions of drunk) and MADD and SADD activity that was at least active 20 years ago (not sure how active they are these days). I would assume the same levels of regulation would not be wanted in the firearm community. Rather than purely drunk driving, I would equate it to vehicular manslaughter deaths (which I believe also includes drunk driving deaths). Because its similar to owning or using an object (firearm or vehicle) that has the capacity to do harm if not responsibly cared for and used.
      One could then bring up that vehicles are licensed. I have two arguments for that:
      1) The ownership/use of Vehicles isn’t covered in the Constitution, firearms are.
      2) I know this will be controversial to say, but similar to not having to have a license to possess a vehicle anywhere, or to drive it on private property, we don’t require licenses to possess a firearm or to use it on private property. Here is the controversial part – I would be ok to require a license to use a firearm at a public or commercial range (again though, you wouldn’t need that license to possess at all, or to use on private property), as long as the license didn’t cost, and as long as the only purpose of that license was for verification of basic training/education in the use of the firearm (similar to having to pass a driver’s license written test or a hunter safety permit test). I am ok with something like that if done correctly. The problem I see with bringing a proposal like that up is that it opens up a can of worms for anti-2A advocates to try to put prohibitive measures in place – and I DO think that would be a problem.

      1. The problem with your licensing idea is it creates a defecto registration list. And puts the law abiding gun owner first on the list for confiscation should Big Brother decide to start knocking on doors. Enforcement efforts should be concentrated on those areas with statistically high rates of ILLEGAL gun possession. Remove the guns from drug dealers and gang bangers and suddenly the statistics change. (Just initiating such a program in Chicago would make a huge drop in murders and assaults with a firearm.). It can be done, but not until we stop all the PC BS and get back to common sense police tactics….. ala New York under Rudy Guliani. Stop and frisk was the policy that cleaned up the high crime districts in NYC. But then came Bloomberg who was more concerned about French fries and big gulps than protecting the citizens from violent career criminals. And also a President who sides with BLM over our brave police officers and the Muslim Brotherhood over our military members and the Christian roots of our Country. The incidents of the past few weeks are a direct result of weak, ineffective (non)leadership, plain and simple. It’s time for a major change before the world as we know it is gone…

        1. @David and OC, I see two problems with David’s scheme. First, it is a licensing of a Constitutional level Civil Right, and second, it betrays an ignorance of the concept of civil rights over governmental authority, that is more shocking than my pasture fence.

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