We’re now apparently living in a world where “alternative facts” are just about as good as the real thing. If you believe stuff enough and chant stuff enough it must just be true.
So, did-ja know, that every year in America – every year – some 2,500,000 Americans defend themselves from criminal attacks with their personal firearms? Yes, that’s 208,000 times a month, gun-toting Americans fight back against would-be attackers! 6,849 times a day – Americans flash / wave/ shoot to wound or kill – would be assailants. Remarkable, even unbelievable – but alternatively factual.
This, despite empirical evidence we all experience to the contrary. This, because 30 years ago some southern professor did a phone survey of 5,000 people and the gun lobby ran with it and now it’s gospel doctrine and the 2nd Article of Faith of the true and loyal order of gun-love adherents.
The 1st Article of Faith being of course; “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Put these two together, marry them to a strained reading of the 2nd Amendment, and you have the better part of a full-on worship service at the National Church of Guns.
But you and I know heresies and false faiths and man-made–isms and beliefs. Articles 1 and 2 of the true and loyal order of gun-love adherents are heresies against common sense. Regardless of real facts or science, these articles form the gun lobby’s God-Given-Facts as to why gun ownership must be proliferated to save ourselves from… guns owners themselves. For only by people having more and more guns can we save ourselves from more and more people having guns. Spin that one around in your head.
Turns out the study behind the remarkable and otherwise unbelievable alternative fact of 2.5 million gun-saves is a 30-year-old limited phone survey extrapolated against 350,000,000 Americans 30 years later. No actual statistics. No facts. No body counts of criminals in the hospital, criminals in the morgue, bookings at the station. Nada. Just a phone study from 30 years back on 5,000 people. And thus, a new religion is born…
And about that good guy with a gun stopping bad guys with guns? We sadly note that despite all the immense security apparatus of a giant casino and all the on-duty and off-duty police and all the gun enthusiasts in the crowd – none of these hundreds or even thousands of good guys with guns were able to stop the one, single bad guy with the gun in Las Vegas.
Or most anywhere else, for that matter, because as we plainly understand, the bad guys with guns have two things we will never have: Preplanning and the element of surprise. Surprise is hard to overcome. And if we did routinely overcome surprise with our imaginary 2.5 million gun saves a year we would read about it in headlines daily as gun-toting Americans fended off bad guys as easily as lighting up their next Marlboro.
I have a friend who just got back from the country music festival at Las Vegas. She was pinned down with crowd, dodging bullets with her husband and friends. She fortunately wasn’t hit, but she was deep in the carnage and stuck in the terror. Yes, that lone wolf white guy created terror every bit as terrifying as anything you’ve read about any Militant Islamist.
She’s not happy. She’s understandably deeply impacted. A mother with young kids, she knows she could have been like any of those other mothers killed or maimed. It was randomly close for her.
My friend, and the 20,000 others there, will never forget that terror and it will stalk them and impact and impair their joy for a long, long time.
58 was the final death count and over 500 were the wounded. Toss in another 1,000 impacted direct relatives of the deceased. Kids and spouses and moms and dads. Toss in another 10,000 for direct relatives of the wounded. Our bad guy with the gun changed the life-course of 30,000 victims in 11 minutes.
All the guns in Vegas couldn’t stop a bad guy with a gun. Or in a theatre. Or at a school. Or on a tower. Or down the street when some guy freaks out and kills his whole family. Or, or, or – 13,000 times a year.
Murder counts are often used to minimize the impact of gun violence because 13,000 or 30,000 – it doesn’t sound all THAT bad. Well, forget that, as tragic as it seems. Instead, add in another 100,000+ wounded, many gravely and permanently. Toss in another 1,000,000 impacted family members and friends. Yeah, about a million Americans are impacted in some way by bad guys with guns that didn’t get stopped by good guys with guns because the good guys with guns is nothing more than a marketing ploy and fallacy.
But never mind. Bill O’Reilly says that these losses are “The price of freedom in America.” What freedom, exactly? The freedom to allow such a ridiculous proliferation of guns that some whacked dude in Vegas can legally amass a full-on military grade arsenal and still be within his legal rights – enabling him, empowering him to commit terrible slaughter.
The Third Article of Faith of the true and loyal order of gun-love adherents? “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” Oh yeah? Tell that to the dead and wounded in Vegas surrounded by thousands of rounds of fire and tell them guns didn’t do this.
Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.