I fired up the old computer this morning while I was brewing my coffee after a late night of working patrol, and once I had my first cup in hand, I sat down and began to peruse Facebook like I do every other day. Right at the top of my feed I see a WaPo article that was shared by both friends and pages I follow alike. Considering it is the Washington Post, and that the article was on the topic of firearms, I was not surprised to see that all the comments about the article were negative. In fact, it was Emily Miller who prompted me to write this when she said “Who wants to respond to the story in the Washington Post?” Seeing as I actually enjoy dissecting the propaganda they routinely spew, and because I am specifically trained in, and a court recognized expert of, the topic they chose to tackle, I figured “Hey, I’m game!”
First, let me apologize for the length of this, but in order to address all the points in this article, it was necessary. Secondly, let me start by saying that, while I may try, I doubt that I will be able to include nearly as many hyperlinks to different websites, from which I will choose my cherry picked stats, no matter how old the information, in order to prove my point, because I realize that most of my readers are too lazy to read the story that I linked, as the Washington Post author did. Holy hyperlinks Batman!
Now, let the dissection commence, and I will start with the first typewritten sentence that follows the title of the article.
”In a study commissioned by the National Gun Victims Action Council, the group found that people without firearms training performed poorly in simulated scenarios, like a carjacking, an armed robbery and a suspected larceny. (National Gun Victims Action Council)”
Really, you don’t say? People without firearms training performed poorly when given a firearm and put in a stressful situation? I feel shocked, Cotton! Seriously, that might as well have read “In a study commissioned by the American Medical Association, people without medical training performed poorly when conducting heart transplant surgeries.”
Putting people with no subject matter training or experience, in a situation where quick thinking, precise coordination and accurate tool manipulation all have a significant impact on their potential success is a foolproof recipe for failure.
In that regard, I give you the video that Christopher Ingraham (the author) included at the opening of his article:
The author opens his article by not so subtly telling the reader how evil the NRA is.
“In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the National Rifle Association proposed putting more guns in schools. After a racist shot up a Charleston prayer group, an NRA board member argued for more guns in church. And now predictably, politicians and gun rights advocates are calling for guns in movie theaters after a loner killed two people at a theater in Louisiana.”
Correct me if I am wrong, but weren’t all of those places “gun free zones?” The argument that both the NRA and I have is not to randomly arm citizens with no firearms training, like the “researchers” who conducted the “study” did, but to put trained people in place with the tools to confront an armed attacker and to allow persons interested in carrying a gun for self-protection to be able to legally do so, like that whole silly Bill of Rights guarantees.
The NRA is clearly evil you know, because they have offered suggestions on ways to deal with horrible situations, such as school shootings, that the author finds offensive. Oddly enough though, some of those suggestions made by the NRA are being implemented all over the country, such as putting armed people on school campuses. I realize how crazy it is to suggest a person be armed in order to confront an armed attacker when another “Gun Free Zone” sticker in the window can accomplish the same thing.
Life Note for Christopher: Pretending evil does not exist does not make evil go away. In fact, doing so empowers the evil. Just saying…
After throwing out that obligatory smear on the NRA, Ingraham delves into the actual “research” conducted. He indicates on one hand that 77 volunteers with varying levels of firearms training were included, but then quickly notes that those without training did poorly. But what happened to those volunteers who had significant levels of training, or those with moderate levels of training? Oddly, we never hear about them. I will let you decide why they are not discussed… As for me, I am going with “actual performance did not meet desired results.”
In order to prove the researchers blatantly obvious point, they took regular folks with no training, stuffed a gun in their hands and sent them into shoot / no-shoot training scenarios. Far from surprisingly, they fared far worse than experienced street cops. This “study” was conducted precisely as the people paying for it wanted, and not surprisingly, the outcome met their agenda. If they were to allow me to choose the armed citizens, I tend to think the outcome would have been just a tad (understatement of the year) different.
About the only thing up to this point in Ingraham’s article on which I can concur is the following:
“The study found that proper training and education are key to successfully using a firearm in self-defense: ‘carrying a gun in public does not provide self-defense unless the carrier is properly trained and maintains their skill level,’ the authors wrote in a statement.”
Now, let me just say in my agreement with that, “No duh! “
Oddly enough, the NRA, the very group Ingraham slams, is also a huge (one of the largest anywhere) proponent of firearm safety training and firearm self-defense training. Funny how that works out…
The research Ingraham referenced is old, and is actually looking at crime rates from, wait for it… the era of the Clinton Gun Ban. Don’t believe me? Follow his link and look at the dates on all of the studies referenced. Every single one is from the era when the most stringent gun laws ever existed in this nation.
“The ten-year ban was passed by the U.S. Congress on September 13, 1994, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton the same day. The ban only applied to weapons manufactured after the date of the ban’s enactment, and it expired on September 13, 2004, per its sunset provision.” – Wikipedia
Oddly enough (not really, since it would actually disprove his point), Ingraham chooses to ignore the fact that since the Clinton Gun Ban expired in 2004, not only has violent crime across the entire country been on a steady decline, gun ownership has been steadily rising. Furthermore, not only has gun ownership risen, but the number of states enacting less stringent carry (both open and concealed) laws has drastically increased, and those very states have seen a notable decrease in violent crime AFTER the new carry laws were passed.
As for guns being rarely used in self-defense, Ingraham’s reference is, ready for this… another WaPo written by, once again, wait for it… himself. Yep, he quoted himself to prove his point. Okay then…
Well, I too can play that game. First, anti-gunners seemingly dismiss the value of gun owners lives when the conduct their “research.” Second, just like many other factors in crime, there is no national reporting requirement, or even a database in which it could be recorded, for the number of times a gun is used in self-defense which makes ignoring the frequency very easy. There are however a number of websites that do their best to track and record those incidents. Third, the media very often fails to report on incidents where citizens use their own weapons in self-defense. Could that possibly be due to some anti-gun agenda they might possibly have? Nah, crazy talk…
Then, to wrap up his whole argument, Ingraham throws this beauty out there:
“Requiring gun owners to be trained and licensed, similar to what we require of say, automobile drivers, may be in a middle area that more people could agree on”
First, by phrasing this statement (and his whole article) the way he does, he insinuates that gun owners are opposed to training, when in fact that is completely untrue. I do not know a single true, died in the wool “gun nut” (yes, I am one myself) who advocates against training. What most of us are opposed to is government mandated training being a requirement for purchase. Any and every gun expert on the planet is going to recommend good quality training taken on a regular basis. Even experts need training, and the better ones out there do lots of training.
Second, anti-gunners often throw out the whole car/driver’s license argument, but that is a totally false comparison. There is no license requirement to purchase a motor vehicle, only to use one on a public highway. In fact, I’m unaware of any laws anywhere that even put an age requirement on a motor vehicle purchase, unlike there are with firearms. I purchased my first motor vehicle (a beat up, very old motorcycle) when I was 12, and my first car when I was 15. Now, I could not legally use either of those vehicles on public highways without a driver’s license, but I could and did use them on private property.
So, if Mr. Ingraham wants to have a valid comparison, he should be talking about license requirements to carry a gun in public, and if that is the case, that is a discussion I would be happy to have with him. Until that time, this article is nothing more than a sad combination of blatantly obvious facts, old data, twisted facts, and invalid comparisons, but what else would you expect from a historically, blatantly anti-gun organization such as the Washington Post?
(Did I include enough hyperlinks?)