Monday, April 14, 2014

Mendacities and half-truths


The Jan. 14, 2013 edition of the Mountain Democrat carried a letter from a reader critical of the proposal from the NRA to improve school safety for our children. The reader claimed the NRA made the proposal solely to market guns and ammunition. The reader put forth many claims and suppositions based on mendacities and half-truths to support his criticism of the NRA. However, none were supported with any real facts. I took six of the most egregious mendacities and half truths from the letter to provide factual, counterpoint data. Some of the counterpoints are a bit long but please bear with me. The numbered statements were taken from the text of the Jan.14 letter. The counterpoints are below the statement.

1. “The NRA was taken over by gun lobbyists in the mid 70′s and changed its mission from gun safety and shooting contests to marketing guns through fear and paranoia.”

The NRA Board of Directors appointed Harlon Carter as the new Executive Vice President in 1977. As the former head of the lobbying arm of the NRA, the Institute of Legislative Action, he saw, first hand, the need for a new direction for the NRA from promoting gun safety and shooting matches to protecting our right to keep and bear arms. The only items that the NRA markets are memorabilia and the protection of the Second Amendment.

2. “I can assure the reader that the multi-million dollar headquarters of the NRA was not funded by dues but by contributions from the gun industry.”

A personal assurance is not a substitute for a fact. The NRA had $150 million in revenues from all legal sources in the 1990s, more than enough to pay for a $15 million building.

3. “The flag-waving and fear mongering help to sell guns to the gullible, the unwary, the unthinking and all those on the margins.”

Out of approximately 300 million people currently in the USA, 52 million flag-waving Americans legally own about 200 million guns. I believe the “gullible,” “unwary,” and “unthinking” people are those 248 million remaining individuals who choose not to arm themselves and prefer to become a victim.

4. “…lots of people own guns for hunting … However, I never saw anyone hunt game with an AK-47 or an AR-15, nor did I ever hear of a legitimate hunter who needed a magazine that held more than five rounds.”

Lots of people also own guns for self-protection and for recreational shooting. Besides that, the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting, it has everything to do about the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It does not define “the right to keep and bear arms” as to be applied solely for hunting purposes.

5. “We know that 9 out of 10 children who die from gunshots in the industrialized world are American kids, and we also know, as demonstrated in Australia in 1996, that banning semi-automatic weapons cuts down murder and mayhem by huge margins.”

We “know” nothing of the sort. Statistical reports regarding children and their deaths from guns are misleading. These reports invariably include not only children ages preschool to age 12, but also includes teenagers up to age 19. The young people ages 15 to 19 are not usually recognized as children but have the largest number of homicides. Therefore, combining the statistics from children, ages preschool to 12, with the statistics from teenagers distorts the issue of children who die from gunshots. As far as using Australia and their semi-automatic weapons ban as an example of gun control that works, it is like comparing apples to oranges. Australia has 60 million citizens compared to our 300 million plus citizens so naturally their homicide rate will be lower than ours and Australia has an entirely different culture than ours.

6. “The NRA, of course, is only interested in the 350,000 plus guns that school districts will be required to buy. At an average of $550 per unit, gun manufacturers will hit a bonanza of $192,000,000. Factor in ammunition and initial training and we have a $250,000,000 gift to the gun manufacturers in start-up costs, and no security yet.”

The NRA clearly stated that their proposal was meant solely to start a discussion on school security. There were no specifics regarding the number of guns and ammunition required.

The NRA is not the enemy here. As far as I am concerned, the enemy is the disinformation being passed as fact by the Obama administration and the media to entice hapless individuals into believing that only the government can best protect us.


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