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NRA’ Misinformation, Mendacity and Victim-Blaming Take a Dive Into Rabbit Holes

| October 18, 2015

'The Knotted Gun,' a sculpture by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, dates from the early 1980s and was inspired by the shooting death of John Lennon outside the Dakota in Manhattan by Mark David Chapman. The government of Luxembourg gifted the sculpture to the United Nations in new York in 1988. (Håkan Dahlström)

‘The Knotted Gun,’ a sculpture by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, dates from the early 1980s and was inspired by the shooting death of John Lennon outside the Dakota in Manhattan by Mark David Chapman. The government of Luxembourg gifted the sculpture to the United Nations in new York in 1988. (Håkan Dahlström)

By Julie Delegal

Rights, even those guaranteed by the constitution, are never absolute.

Free speech rights don’t protect us from committing libel or slander, for example. They don’t protect us from yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. But so far, no one is challenging the NRA for its abuse of the First Amendment: spreading misinformation about guns in America.


The biggest deception that NRA-brainwashed America has swallowed hook, line and sinker is that having more guns around makes us safer. This past Monday, on WJCT’s “First Coast Connect” radio show, Jacksonville lawyer and NRA spokesman Cord Byrd spread that mendacity yet again.

But science tells us the opposite of what Byrd and the NRA are saying.

More permissive gun laws directly correlate with higher instances of violent crime. Don’t take my word for it. Read Christopher Ingraham’s article  about the Stanford study in the The Washington Post:

“The totality of the evidence based on educated judgments about the best statistical models suggests that right-to-carry laws are associated with substantially higher rates” of aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder, Stanford law professor John Donohue said in an interview with the Stanford Report.

The Stanford study sounds the death knell on the now-discredited Lott and Mustard study from 1997 – the one that NRA shills would like to keep peddling. The new study belies the standard NRA shtick: “If those people had only been armed, they would have been able to take down the shooter at (fill in the blank.)”

In case you’re having trouble filling in the blank, your choices are growing. The NRA is talking about movie-goers in Aurora, Colorado; late-night studiers in the Florida State University library; elementary schoolchildren and their teachers in Newtown, Connecticut; community college students in Oregon; the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina; and the list goes on and on.

“Silly victims,” the NRA all but says out loud. “Why didn’t they take their guns to church? Or to first grade?  Or to the movies?”

Byrd, who bills his legal practice as “Florida Gun Lawyer” on his website online, twists these tragedies into a stump speech for gun advocates. His thesis? People died in these places because they were “gun-free zones.”

The NRA’s solution? Ban gun-free zones.


Ben Carson’s latest insult: blame victims of the Holocaust for not having guns.


Think about that for a minute. Ban gun-free zones. The logical extension of banning gun-free zones is permitting arms everywhere. Who needs civility? Mutual respect? Conflict resolution skills?

Will the Wal-Mart cashier do an actual price check at the cash register when the argumentative customer is packing heat?  Or will she simply take the gun-toter’s word for it?

What if neighbors disagree with one another at a public forum, like a no-longer-gun-free planning commission meeting? Will an individual think twice about testifying against the speaker who has a gun strapped to his hip?

Perhaps the statement that best encapsulates the blame-the-victims-not-gun-owners hysteria is GOP candidate Ben Carson’s latest inanity. Carson insinuated in an interview that Jews were at fault for Hitler’s holocaust. MSNBC recounts his words:

“[N]ot only the Jews, but the entire populace” in Germany could have prevented or lessened the extermination of the Jews if Adolf Hitler hadn’t blocked their access to guns.

“There are many countries where that has occurred where they disarm the populace before they impose their tyrannical rule,” Carson said.

context floridaThe problem, Carson is saying, isn’t tyrants or genocidal maniacs who want to extinguish entire peoples. The problem, he’s saying, is that people are choosing to live civilized lives.

How dare we teach our children to peacefully resolve conflict! How dare we meet, pray, share ideas, shop, study and learn our alphabet in the absence of bulletproof armor!

Byrd’s radio spot was a lead-in to a panel discussion at the University of North Florida about the Legislature’s proposal to allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus.

It’s a move that even staunch, life-long conservatives oppose.

Former Republican Mayor John Delaney, now UNF president, says letting college students carry concealed weapons on campus is a bad idea. His counterpart in Tallahassee agrees: Florida State University President John Thrasher is perhaps the most formidable Republican in state history, having been state party chairman and state senator, and having helped achieve total GOP legislative domination while serving those roles.

In addition to science about frontal-lobe development in college-age young adults, anti-campus-carry advocates like Thrasher and Delaney ought to be calling out the dishonesty of people like Byrd.

More guns do not lead to less crime; more guns lead to more crime. We should expect better from Delaney and Thrasher – the heads of academic institutions – than permitting NRA zealots from lying about the science on guns.

It’s quite enough that NRA campaign dollars have all but killed gun-safety studies. But that’s a whole ’nother rabbit hole.

julie delegalJulie Delegal, a University of Florida alumna, is a contributor for Folio Weekly, Jacksonville’s alternative weekly, and writes for the family business, Delegal Law Offices. She lives in Jacksonville.

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24 Responses for “NRA’ Misinformation, Mendacity and Victim-Blaming Take a Dive Into Rabbit Holes”

  1. pelican says:

    Our once geat country has no solution to the gun problem……..other than an AUTOMATIC life sentence for anyone using a gun while committing a crime or for a convicted felon found to have a gun……………checking the mental health or doing a background check at this point is of near zero value……..criminal minded people to do not purchase weapons at a retaill gun store……there are enough guns floating around the “hoods” of America to supply addicts, gangbangers, thugs and other assorted “bad” people for many generations……BUT…….the automatic sentence wouds be deemed to cruel by the liberals…….so…………screwed we are America….

  2. Knightwatch says:

    The NRA, however noble its original intent – firearms safety and education – has become an evil curse on American life. From the ’70s on, its sole purpose has become to lobby against any responsible regulation of guns, no matter that most Americans, and most gun owners, seem to favor sensible rules and regulations that would make people and guns safer. The NRA has resorted to obfuscation, fear mongering, disinformation and outright lies to promote the unrestricted infusion of guns into all aspects of American life. It is their single-minded gun-addled intransigence that has driven America to its current state – 33,000 gun deaths per year including 11,000 homicides, and virtually a mass murder each week somewhere in our beleaguered cities. This is by far the absolute worst record of any industrialized nation. The rest of the civilized world looks upon us with horror that we would let this sickness continue, that we would let the NRA wreak such havoc on this nation. The NRA has enabled more American deaths than all of our recent wars and all terrorist attacks against Americans. In any other country this dreadful group would be banned as with any other terrorist organization.

    One day Americans will rise up and confront this evil. Until then, more innocent men, women and children will die to feed the NRA’s madness. So bewildering, so sad.

  3. Steve Robinson says:

    It is refreshing to see a couple of Republicans, Thrasher and Delaney, finally standing up to the NRA, but it shouldn’t require being given a university presidency for powerful people in this state and in the rest of the country to speak common sense about guns. The numbers are not in dispute by anyone other than the NRA, whose Second Amendment sanctimony does nothing to disguise its true purpose, which is to shill for gun manufacturers.

  4. Dean Carpenter says:

    “The totality of the evidence based on educated judgments about the best statistical models suggests that right-to-carry laws are associated with substantially higher rates” of aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder, Stanford law professor John Donohue said in an interview with the Stanford Report.

    Educated judgments? Best statistical models? Huh? What? That was copied from one of those Global Warming “studies” wasn’t it?

    An unbiased and detailed source for crime is the FBI Uniform Crime Reports which are issued every six months.
    //www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/preliminary-semiannual-uniform-crime-report-january-june-2014

    Quoting the first paragraph: “Preliminary figures indicate that law enforcement agencies throughout the nation showed an overall decrease of 4.6 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention for the first 6 months of 2014 when compared with figures reported for the same time in 2013. The violent crime category includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. ”

    This continues a 12 year nationwide downward trend although there were slight increases in 2005 and 2011. Suffice it to say: gun ownership is increasing while crime is declining. Important to note: correlation does not equal causation. We can’t say that crime is decreasing because of rising gun ownership. But we can say crime isn’t increasing because of increased gun ownership.

    Regardless of the ebb and flow of the frequency we assault each other the one thing pro and anti gunners agree on is we are a violent species.

  5. downinthelab says:

    Chicago.

    How’s that working out for ya??

  6. Dave says:

    You want to get rid of the deaths and injuries of the people in America stop texting while driving and using a cell phone while driving. . Distractions while driving kills each day more people than guns. ” Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.” Nobody seems to care when a family of 5 is killed when some punk texting on the phone slams into them. But have one punk shoot someone , and it makes the national or state news,

    In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,360 in 2011. An additional, 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2012, a 9% increase from the 387,000 people injured in 2011.1
    In 2011, nearly one in five crashes (17%) in which someone was injured involved distracted driving
    http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/

    Texting while driving now leading cause of US teen deaths. http://safety.trw.com/texting-while-driving-now-leading-cause-of-us-teen-deaths/0710/ Where is Obama and all of those gun haters, attack this cause and prevent our children from dying on the roads.

    This is a hell of a lot worst than gun violence in this country.

  7. Geezer says:

    “Ben Carson’s latest insult: blame victims of the Holocaust for not having guns.”

    Where can I read a transcript of Mr. Carson’s speech saying “it’s their (the Jews) fault” or “I blame the Jews?”

    He wasn’t blaming the Holocaust victims. He was bringing to light the fact that these people were all
    disarmed by the Nazi party. I’ll concede that Mr. Carson shouldn’t have used the Holocaust as a talking
    point, however. Blame? The blame goes to the Germans who supported the racist Nazi movement – many
    who were downwind of the crematoriums. “We didn’t know!”

    The Jews were being blamed for all of Germany’s ills, just like today’s USA where we blame
    a selected demographic for all our problems. Pick a race or religion. Maybe you can organize to kill them
    like the Minutemen or like Ann Coulter’s disciples. Maybe join the Klan?
    We allow hate groups but want to ban guns???? What a mess.

    Those of you who are anti-gun have the right to protest, and submit your arguments.
    But when you resort to fabrications, and spinning people’s words – you’re guilty of pushing manure.
    This is the same offense which you indict the NRA of. (or pro-gunners)

    My opinion: the mass shootings of today are only the symptoms of a national terminal illness, our
    lowered moral standards – our collective love (lust) of violence, a perceived, collective sense of hegemony.
    “Let’s bomb them!”

    —————————————————————-
    “When I was just a baby my mama told me: Son,
    Always be a good boy, don’t ever play with guns.
    But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.”

    –The great John R. Cash, “Folsom Prison Blues”

  8. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    The author is either intentionally adding improper context to Ben Carson’s remarks to fit her narrative, i.e. she’s being dishonest, or She’s ignorant. One wonders which it is? Ben Carson in no way “blamed the Jews for the Holocaust”, he simply pointed out that Holocaust and other major atrocities are much more difficult to pull off by Tyrants when the victims are armed. I surmise she’s probably not ignorant, which means she’s being intentionally dishonest. That makes it hard to take anything in her article seriously.

  9. Sherry says:

    Again . . . our constitution does NOT give the right for “Completely Unregulated” gun ownership!

    REGARDING GUN VS AUTOMOBILE DEATHS:

    This from the NY Times:
    A report out on Tuesday from the Violence Policy Center confirms yet again the lunacy of America’s loose gun policies.

    The report contains the striking finding that gun deaths exceeded all motor vehicle deaths in 14 states and the District of Columbia in 2011, the latest year for which the relevant data are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 12 states in 2010 and 9 states in 2009.
    The 2011 states are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington State, as well as the District of Columbia.
    In Alaska, for example, there were 126 gun deaths and 87 motor vehicle deaths. The numbers in Ohio were 1,227 gun deaths and 1,178 motor vehicle deaths.

    Nationwide, the number of motor vehicle deaths still exceeded gun deaths: 35,543 to 32,351. But consider that in 2009 the spread was much larger – 42,624 motor vehicles deaths nationwide and 28,874 gun deaths.

    Overall, the C.D.C. numbers indicate that gun deaths are trending somewhat upward as motor vehicle deaths continue on a steady decline, thanks in large measure to serious government safety regulation aimed at reducing fatalities and injuries that is notably missing in the sphere of firearms.

  10. Richard S. says:

    ALL legal adults should be required to carry a sidearm in the open. Maybe the criminals will think twice about trying to rob or kill anyone.

    We’re just back to the Old West where everyone was responsible for their own protection.

    There is just not enough cops to be everywhere when you need them.

    It is a sad state of affairs that our country has come to be.

  11. Sherry says:

    There’s no denying the success in reducing gun deaths in Australia after their huge reduction in the number of guns on the streets! This from CNN:

    In two nationwide, federally funded gun buybacks, plus large-scale voluntary surrenders and state gun amnesties both before and after Port Arthur, Australia collected and destroyed more than a million firearms, perhaps a third of the national stock, according to Professor Philip Alpers of the University of Sydney, who is editor of gunpolicy.org. No other nation had attempted anything on this scale. The national government also banned the importation of new automatic and semiautomatic weapons. And the buyback was paid for by a special one-off tax on all Australians.

    What was the political fallout? It wasn’t without cost to John Howard. Political interest groups among his conservative base raised hell, and the move met strong resistance from some in rural areas. His party’s coalition partner in those areas suffered in subsequent elections. But the majority of Australians, shocked by the mass killing, backed action. And it worked. Multiple homicides involving gun are exceptionally rare, none have been remotely as bloody and random as the Port Arthur massacre, and none have involved the sort of weapons whose importation was banned.

    What exactly happened to murder and mass killing?

    In the years after the Port Arthur massacre, the risk of dying by gunshot in Australia fell by more than 50% — and stayed there. A 2012 study by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University also found the buyback led to a drop in firearm suicide rates of almost 80% in the following decade.

    In the 19 years since the announcement of legislation specifically designed to reduce gun massacres, Australia has seen no mass shootings. As Howard wrote in an opinion piece for the New York Times in 2013, “Today, there is a wide consensus that our 1996 reforms not only reduced the gun-related homicide rate, but also the suicide rate.”

  12. Jose Caniusi says:

    If gun sales were abolished today there would still be enough fire power to last well into the next century and beyond. Guns are not going away,deal with it.
    The statistics on both sides of the gun law debate can, and have been manipulated to shore up their arguments and are totally useless. In Mr. Ingraham’s article there is no mention of the number of shootings done by licensed gun owners because that number would show his position has no merit.
    The question is why as a country have we become so inured to violence,and the answer can be found right in our living rooms.
    Violence on television and in computer games has become a daily part of people’s lives and ignores the reality of consequences associated with these acts. Violence sells.
    The creators of the action genre do have first amendment rights and can grind out any mindless mayhem with little fear of legal intervention.
    If as a nation we want to stem violence we must first boycott the producers of violent movies and games and hold them morally responsible.

  13. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    Australia’s entire population is slightly larger than the population of Florida, yet by land it’s almost equal to the size of the entire continental US. What works or doesn’t work there means very little by comparison to the USA with 330mil people crammed into the roughly the same geographical area. Furthermore Australia does not actually ban firearms as is commonly reported, you can legally own just about every type of firearm in Australia that you can in the USA.

    The problem is not gun control, gun ownership, or anything of the sort. The problem is those who support more gun control have failed to even come close to explaining how their proposed “solutions” would make even the slightest dent in the mass shootings we have experienced over the past 10-15 years. That’s why they lack support, not because the Average Joe thinks he has a Constitutional right to amass his own military arsenal because they have no solution that reasonable minds could look at and say, if we do a, b will stop.

  14. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    $20 says that Thrasher’s opposition is due to the fact that he’s not a politician anymore and can’t get any of that sweet, sweet NRA lobbying money or swag.

  15. Sherry says:

    Smoke and Mirrors! What in the world does the size of Australia, and the “common” understanding that one can still own a gun there have to do with the FACT that since they removed over 1 million lethal weapons from the street their gun violence rate has greatly decreased?

    Exactly where in the Constitution does it say that people living in the USA. . . who may not even be citizens. . . have the right to own and carry as many guns of any kind they desire with NO safety regulations?

    We need a rebellion in this country all right. . . we need the NRA and their bribery of our politicians STOPPED!

  16. Anonymous says:

    First of all a bunch of old, white homophobic, guys who are scared to death an illegal alien is going to come and invade their homes does not constitute a “well regulated militia”. Secondly, the founding fathers could not begin to imagine the death and destruction that an assault weapon can inflict.

    What does it say about us as human beings when we still defend the NRA irrational positions in the face of all the deaths of men, women and children in the recent massacres?

  17. Just me says:

    Sherri the Constitution Really does say what you wish it did not say. ~ Text of Amendment:

    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    The Militia at that time was just the regular people NOT part of the Army. Not to be infringed DOES mean NOT to be regulated.

  18. Sherry says:

    Just me. . . read it again. . . and put it in context. . . “A WELL REGULATED militia being necessary. . . .” it doesn’t mean the people bear arms AGAINST the well REGULATED militia! It means that they can bear arms as PART of a well REGULATED militia!

  19. Anonymous says:

    From Harvard ya know that rabbi right wing place?? ~ http://www.beliefnet.com/News/Articles/Harvard-University-Study-Reveals-Astonishing-Link.aspx?p=2

    When Kates and Mauser compared England with the United States, they found “’a negative correlation,’ that is, ‘where firearms are most dense violent crime rates are lowest, and where guns are least dense, violent crime rates are highest.’ There is no consistent significant positive association between gun ownership levels and violence rates.”

  20. Just me says:

    Attn sherry please read it again the WHOLE thing and in context of what IS written and what the terms meant at that time. The anti constitutionalists always leave out and intentionally misstate this part ~ , the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.~ IT does NOT say one must be within the Militia/army or other government run forces. the Militia at that time refers to the whole of the people to be themselves as a military force outside of the regular army.

  21. Sherry says:

    This US Study from April 2013 says there is a distinct correlation between the level of gun ownership and gun homicide rates. . . take a look:

    The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981–2010

    Michael Siegel, MD, MPH, Craig S. Ross, MBA, and Charles King III, JD, PhD
    Michael Siegel is with the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA. Craig S. Ross is with Virtual Media Resources, Natick, MA. Charles King III is with Greylock McKinnon Associates, Cambridge, and Pleiades Consulting Group, Lincoln, MA.

    Correspondence should be sent to Michael Siegel, MD, MPH, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, 801 Massachusetts Ave, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02118 (e-mail: mbsiegel@bu.edu). Reprints can be ordered at http://www.ajph.org by clicking the “Reprints” link.
    Peer Reviewed

    Contributors

    M. Siegel obtained and analyzed the data. All authors conceptualized and designed the study, interpreted the results, wrote the article, and critically reviewed and commented on the article.

    ABSTRACT
    Objectives. We examined the relationship between levels of household firearm ownership, as measured directly and by a proxy—the percentage of suicides committed with a firearm—and age-adjusted firearm homicide rates at the state level.

    Methods. We conducted a negative binomial regression analysis of panel data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting Systems database on gun ownership and firearm homicide rates across all 50 states during 1981 to 2010. We determined fixed effects for year, accounted for clustering within states with generalized estimating equations, and controlled for potential state-level confounders.

    Results. Gun ownership was a significant predictor of firearm homicide rates (incidence rate ratio = 1.009; 95% confidence interval = 1.004, 1.014). This model indicated that for each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9%.

    Conclusions. We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.

  22. Geezer says:

    Sherry:

    Are you a proponent of gun confiscation or tighter regulations, e.g., more restrictive licensing?
    Thanks Sherry.

    –The Geezer

  23. just me says:

    WOW what a shocker those looking to kill themselves will use a gun if it is available.

  24. Geezer says:

    A twisted Python – that scares an old Colt guy like me.

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