Right-wingers, guns and the same old story

And today in domestic terrorism…oh, forget it. Nobody is actually surprised that a white racist just blasted nine defenseless black parishioners in a church. This is America after all, and if there are two things we’ve got plenty of it’s paranoid right-wingers and guns.

A new study attempts to debunk the claim that gun owners rely on their firearms for self-defense.

The left-leaning Violence Policy Center released a study Wednesday that finds people are much more likely to use a gun to kill someone without cause than to protect themselves.

That’s something that we already knew. Gun nuts are far more likely to assault or kill somebody – or commit suicide – than they are to prevent a random assault. So the numbers may be shocking, but they’re not surprising. Incidentally the one institution most able to do studies like this, the federal government, has been legally prevented from doing so thanks to Republicans and the NRA. So stepping in for the hamstrung Feds, we welcome the VPC:

According to the study, gun owners committed 259 justifiable homicides compared to 8,342 criminal homicides in 2012, the most recent year data was available.

That means gun owners are 32 times more likely to kill someone without cause than to act in self-defense, the study reasoned.

“We hope legislators in every state will stop believing the self-defense myth and look at the facts,” says Julia Wyman, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence. “Guns do not make our families or communities safer.”

No shit? The fact that the U.S. is the most highly-armed country in the world (fuck off Yemen) and has a homicide rate comparable to a war-torn hellhole isn’t just bad luck. The two facts are somehow connected, what a surprise. I’d say we already know how they’re connected as well: By the species in question, the dangerously over-wrought and over-armed American Yahoo. By the ubiquitous gun nut, who is now so convinced of his substantive serial heroism, as when confronted by radio-toting Negroes or antenna-waving bees, that he’s long since forgotten how the hell to count:

Of course, the above real-life stories are just that: anecdotes…most people will never face such evil and have the ability to thwart it. Yet they’re not nearly as rare as a Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech: your chance of dying in a school shooting approximates that of being struck by lightning. In contrast, Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck estimates that 2.5 million Americans each year use guns for self-defense and that 400,000 of them say they would have been killed if they hadn’t been armed. That’s 400,000 a year.

That many, really? Let’s say we take that figure at whatever face value Florida State-quality research might imbue it, and we use it to crunch the numbers. You feed the statistic of ‘400,000’ into one side of the abacus machine, and what comes out the other?

Total bullshit. If Americans didn’t have all those guns, the number of homicides in this country would jump from 16,000 to 416,000? Yeah right – a 2,600% increase. Concomitantly there’d be a 16% surge in the number of deaths per year, and national life expectancy would take a serious statistical hit. Come to think of it…not-having a gun would immediately become the third leading cause of death in America, after heart disease and cancer. Is it any wonder we can’t have a sensible discussion about gun control?

How did America get here? Every year 400,000 gun owners pull out a weapon, wave it in public and believe they just saved their own lives. These people aren’t solving our problems, they’re causing them.

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