Hi Karin,

Thanks for the quick response.

I based my response on what I read in your article. If I misunderstood, please accept my apologies.

My response was honestly how I would interact with you in a face-to-face conversation.

I can accept that you feel unsafe. However, I have to wonder if your feelings of insecurity are based more on misperceptions than on the actual threat.

You worry about the safety of your children in public schools and I can understand that. How much would you worry if I told you that of all the places a school age child can be, that school is the safest? This is a difficult adjustment for a lot of people but everything we have upon which to base an informed decision indicates that children are actually less likely to die at the hands of a killer like Adam Lanza, Nikolas Cruz, or Dimitrios Pagourtzis that they are to be murdered by their own parents.

I am not saying that you should ignore the tragedy of school shootings. But as a parent, you should evaluate potential risks more rationally. Especially when it comes to terrorizing our children. I don’t know of any other way to put it; it’s what we’re doing.

We’re doing it by scaring ourselves. We’re doing it by not taking a critical look at the school shooting incidents reported by the Center for Homeland Defense and Security. I did look at every single one of the events reported by the CHDS for 2018 and 2019. Some of the events reported as school shootings are frankly ridiculous and I believe these lists are created to inspire fear and hysteria. There were incidents reported as school shootings that involved no threats to students at all. These included bodies being discovered on school grounds; a case where a motorist was shot while driving, lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a school building; a shooting at a fast-food restaurant across the street from a high school that was included because a teacher was in the restaurant at the time and ran back to the school; and an assistant principal who lived next to a school and was shot by a neighbor in a dispute. Then there was a double homicide committed by a worker at a school construction site and a couple of incidents where a school resource officer’s sidearm was accidentally discharged.

Mass shootings is another overworked term. We all see the reports of x number of “mass shootings” reported by the Gun Violence Archive (GVA). The media report the number but never provide any context.

Through August 5, 2019, the GVA reported a total of 256 mass shootings by its definition: incident involving gunfire where four or more people, not including the perpetrator, are injured or killed.

The GVA’s report is used to justify demands for stricter gun laws but, once again, close examination of the data reveals that gun laws are entirely irrelevant when it comes to the frequency of these mass shootings.

California leads the nation in the number of GVA mass shootings. That is somewhat understandable as it is the state with the largest population. But that justification breaks down quickly. Texas, the second-most-populous state, has had just over half the number of mass shooting incidents and Florida has had less than a third of California’s total. Illinois has the sixth-largest population but it is second in the number of GVA mass shootings. In fact, Illinois has had more mass shootings than Texas and Florida combined.

Correcting for population and ignoring the District of Columbia, the five states with the highest rates of mass shootings per 100,000 population are: Louisiana, Illinois, Delaware, Maryland, and Mississippi. New Jersey, which has a very high rate of urban violence, is in the top ten.

The long-running program of disinformation has had a poisonous effect on the discourse. Americans have been the victims of the Big Lie.

NPR and the PBS Newshour commissioned a Marist poll on gun control in the first week of February this year. It was widely reported as support for increased gun control.

The last question on the survey was “From what you have read or heard, do you think, compared to 25 years ago, the per capita gun murder rate in the U.S. is higher, lower, or about the same?”

According to the report of the survey, 59% of those responding said the rate had increased; 23% said it was about the same.

Based on the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Fatal Injury Reports for the 25 years from 1993 to 2017 (the most recent year for which data has been released), the per capita gun murder rate has declined 36.4%.

It’s very difficult to have a productive conversation with a person whose perceptions are based on lies.

Please understand that I am not being critical of the people who have those perceptions. They have been told nothing else for most of the past three decades.

There is a reason that the CDC and the Rand Corporation were unable to find a conclusive link between gun laws and the rates of gun violence. By everything we know, there isn’t a link to be found. Other factors are obviously more important determinants of violence than the availability of guns.

These things are just some of the things I have discovered over the past six years.

In fact, my journey of discovery began in December of 2012, when Adam Lanza committed his atrocities in Newtown, Connecticut.

I honestly didn’t care about background checks; I had no skin in the game when it came to military-style rifles; and the suggested restrictions on magazine capacities didn’t really bother me because I had only a couple of firearms that had them.

But the more I learned about the details of the Sandy Hook murders, the more I realized that, despite the promises, the proposed new laws would not have prevented Adam Lanza from carrying out his evil deeds. At worst, an assault weapons ban might have caused him to change his selection of firearms. When I read reports that Lanza was actually reloading magazines, I realized that restrictions on capacities were worthless.

Nothing that I have found over the past six years has given me any reason to believe otherwise.

One thing that does break my heart, though, is seeing one of the ads promoting gun control that feature a parent who lost a child at Sandy Hook saying if only there had been magazine restrictions, their child might be alive. It breaks my heart because it isn’t true; Lanza had enough ammunition that he could have fired just as many rounds unchallenged if he had 10-round magazines. All of those beautiful children still would have died.

I know it’s popular to criticize gun owners, saying they care more about their guns than the lives of children. Personally, I regard anyone who uses the bodies of dead children to advance an agenda that wouldn’t have saved any of them as nothing short of despicable. You really have to be evil to pull that off and accuse someone else of not caring.

I like guns. I have liked them since I was a small boy. But I don’t have any delusions about being the Lone Ranger or Rambo. My one big fear is that I might have to use one of my guns some day. I will do it if I have to, but it’s nothing that I want.

I am fascinated by firearms, their history, their technology, the craftsmanship involved in making them, and the beauty of some of their designs. A number of the guns I own are no longer produced. Some are a half-century old and one was made in the late 1950s. All of the guns I own were purchased because of a special interest in the gun itself and a number of them will never be fired as long as I own them.

I do enjoy a day that the range or plinking tin cans with a .22. But that’s more involved in improving my skills at hitting a bullseye than anything else.

I might seem unusual but I really am not. There are as many legitimate reasons to own guns as there are gun owners. I don’t know if it’s still the case, but Steven Spielberg used to treat himself to a new custom-made Fabbri shotgun when he completed a film. He’s said to be a competition-level shot, too.

I understand that my choices are not yours. I would hate to see a law requiring guns as much as one banning them.

But before you try to impose your choices on me, you have to persuade me, to my satisfaction, that there is some value, some real benefit to your choices.

And I have six years of studying violence in America and other counties that there isn’t any benefit at all to the current raft of snake-oil.

Perhaps we both need to see the whole debate with new eyes.

Best regards,

Bill

Professional writer. Passionately interested in facts. Founder of onewordtexas.org

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