Free Markets, Free People

White House politicizes a tragedy … again

Can’t take a break from ideology and politics to simply comment on a tragedy.  The newswoman and cameraman who were shot and killed on a live TV feed this morning were apparently the perfect fodder for the White House’s anti-gun campaign:

The White House on Wednesday redoubled its call for tougher gun laws in the wake of a shooting that killed two television journalists in Virginia.
“This is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities large and small all across the United States,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday.
Earnest said there are “common sense” steps Congress can take to reduce gun violence in America without infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
Well, as Charles C. Cooke points out, this is simply wrong. I.e. the facts (you know, those pesky little things) don’t support the implication.  For instance:
National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.
Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.

The facts simply don’t support the statement that this is becoming “all too common” anywhere.  In fact, they say the opposite.  It’s becoming less common.

Don’t forget, the Charleston SC mass murderer was given a government OK to buy a gun even though we found out the background check was faulty. That’s one of those common sense steps that we entrusted to the government and guess what failed?

Cooke frames their argument in the only way that makes any (common) sense and then takes it apart:

If there is an argument to be made, it’s that America has too many gun-related deaths in absolute numbers, and that this drop does not make up for that. Personally, I don’t know what people who say this really mean. As always, we start from where we are, and we are going in the right direction. That’s good, especially given that the positive changes have come at the same time as the laws have been liberalized and the number of guns increased vastly. Either way, though, it is simply not true that there is an “epidemic” or a “surge” or that shootings are becoming “more common.” It’s not even true that mass shootings are up.

In absolute numbers, the people dying in car crashes every day is too high, but you don’t see anyone pushing for the abolishment of cars. Unlike guns, they hold the drunk or reckless or incompetent driver at fault.

But in the era of postmodernism, “facts” are passe.  Now it’s all about the narrative, and the White House has again pushed the narrative forward over the still warm bodies in Roanoke.

Never let a crisis (or apparently a tragedy) go to waste, huh?

~McQ
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