One of the reasons I wrote following the Parkland, Florida school shooting to ignore the gun debate long enough to immediately enact defensive laws to protect kids in schools, is because I knew the debate wasn’t going to get anywhere. The fact that I’m right is immaterial. The reasons why I am, however, are useful to understand.
First, guns fill America right now. Some statistics say that there are more guns than there are people in our country. There is no way that a mandatory gun ban, strictly enforced, would be anywhere close to effective in confiscating all weapons. The left knows this. And that – not the powerful dollars of the NRA – is what keeps them from even trying.
Even if Congress was persuaded by New York Times columnist Bret Stephens to offer up the 28th Amendment as a repeal of the 2nd, and even if the necessary 2/3 of its members were persuaded to vote for it, and even if somehow 3/4 of all state legislatures were persuaded to ratify it, the ban is unenforceable from the start. As David Burge puts it as only he can:
“Hear me out on this people – all we need to do is issue 70 or 80 million search warrants, hire 2-3 million fanatically anti-gun SWAT teams with tanks, and I guess some lunch boxes from Jimmy John’s”
It’s a non-starter and everyone knows that.
Second, the gun debate is going nowhere because the left, apparently lacking conviction in the persuasiveness of their own arguments, feels compelled to perpetuate false statistics and information in an effort to drum up support. Here’s a prime example:
The stunning number swept across the Internet within minutes of the news Wednesday that, yet again, another young man with another semiautomatic rifle had rampaged through a school, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in South Florida.
The figure originated with Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit group, co-founded by Michael Bloomberg, that works to prevent gun violence and is most famous for its running tally of school shootings.
“This,” the organization tweeted at 4:22 p.m. Wednesday, “is the 18th school shooting in the U.S. in 2018.”
A tweet by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) including the claim had been liked more than 45,000 times by Thursday evening, and one from political analyst Jeff Greenfield had cracked 126,000. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted it, too, as did performers Cher and Alexander William and actors Misha Collins and Albert Brooks. News organizations — including MSNBC, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, Time, MSN, the BBC, the New York Daily News and HuffPost — also used the number in their coverage. By Wednesday night, the top suggested search after typing “18” into Google was “18 school shootings in 2018.”
It is a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong.
Everytown has long inflated its total by including incidents of gunfire that are not really school shootings. Take, for example, what it counted as the year’s first: On the afternoon of Jan. 3, a 31-year-old man who had parked outside a Michigan elementary school called police to say he was armed and suicidal. Several hours later, he killed himself. The school, however, had been closed for seven months. There were no teachers. There were no students.
Also listed on the organization’s site is an incident from Jan. 20, when at 1 a.m. a man was shot at a sorority event on the campus of Wake Forest University. A week later, as a basketball game was being played at a Michigan high school, someone fired several rounds from a gun in the parking lot. No one was injured, and it was past 8 p.m., well after classes had ended for the day, but Everytown still labeled it a school shooting.
If you believe in the rightness of your ideas, state them. Don’t lie to try to manipulate emotions or generate unnecessary fear – especially regarding something as serious as the loss of human life. That the left is unwilling to do that cripples any credibility many of their suggestions or ideas may hold.
Third, this gun debate will go nowhere because we lack intellectual honesty and good faith where the other side is concerned. The New York Daily News and Think Progress, both left-wing publications, demonstrated this by running these sickeningly misleading headlines:
It is chilling to think of how persuasive these maliciously misleading headlines might have been in an era before new media and social media existed to call them out. By now most Americans paying attention have learned that what the NRA actually donated to was the JROTC program at the school, sponsored by the U.S. Army.
While it is true that the Parkland killer had been a temporary member before being expelled, it is also true that a handful of current JROTC members leaned on their training and used the group’s Kevlar sheets to shield and protect fellow students during the hail of gunfire. One JROTC member died attempting to save classmates and teachers. It thus would have been just as accurate, using Think Progress and the New York Daily News own definitions and standards, for them to write the headlines:
“The NRA donated $10,000 to help train the JROTC heroes who saved Parkland student lives.”
“Saved by the NRA”
So liberals, I have no doubt you are frustrated. I have no doubt you believe you have the answer. I have no doubt that you believe what you’re saying and you have the best of intentions. But I’m telling you, as long as you perpetuate the lie that those who disagree with you on gun policy actually want to see dead children, the debate will go nowhere, our culture will become increasingly polarized, and the world gets more dangerous for all of us.