Recently there was another mass murder, this time at a Florida high school where a white-supremacist killed seventeen people. Once again, the NRA and the GOP are blaming “mental health” as the reason. I wrote about the origins of this song twice before on these pages, but this time I’ve changed the title from “Blow the NRA Away” to “Vote the NRA Away.” Perhaps the change will encourage more musicians to record the song and change a few minds on the issue of gun control.
I wrote a version of this about ten years ago when I was still living in Petaluma, CA. The statistics are based on the 2000 Census.
Lets apply some elementary math to the claim that there are _AT LEAST_ 2.5 million crimes prevented every year by law-abiding citizens brandishing guns.
According to the Census Bureau, there were 281,421,906 Americans as of April 1, 2000. Dividing 2.5 million by the total population yields a percentage of .00888 (rounded down). If the gun supporters are correct, to get an idea of how often someone in your area is saved by a gun, simply multiply .00888 by your area’s population, then divide by 365.
I’m writing this from Petaluma, California, population 54,478, a town so typical of the rest of America that Ronald Reagan shot (no pun intended) the parade for his famous “Morning In America” re-election campaign commercials here, and blockbuster movies such as “American Graffitti” and “Peggy Sue Got Married” were filmed here just because it is so “typical.” I submit that if any town is likely to be considered a valid statistical model for the average American town, Petaluma is it. It has an ethnically diverse population, and also has its share of crime, including the nationally televised Polly Klaas kidnapping/murder case of several years ago.
So lets run the numbers for this “typical” town. Multiplying 54,548 by .00888 yields a result of 484.38 crimes that were allegedly prevented here last year, or an average of 1.32 every day (rounded down). Given what I know of this area, and attempting to apply common sense in evaluating these results, the numbers claimed by gun supporters seem to me to be about as valid a reflection of the reality which surrounds me as a Mother Goose fairy tale.
I have no hard data, but common sense tells me that if guns do prevent crimes here, it happens maybe once every couple of years, and certainly not 1.32 times every day, 9.24 times every week, 39.6 times every month, or 484.38 times every year. Looked at another way, if the gun supporters are correct, in the twenty years I’ve been in these parts 9,680 Petalumans have been saved from crimes by guns.
This is not to say that there may indeed be cases in Petaluma where brandishing a gun has prevented a crime, but neither I nor anyone I know has ever heard of one.
PS–Always remember–guns don’t kill people, bullets kill people.