Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Same "Progressive" Anti-Gun Drivel, Different Day

Via Jeff at Alphecca, via the Huffington Post, comes this, from Paul Helmke, the chairman of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence Ownership:

...this book (David Hemmenway's "Private Guns, Public Health" -- ed.) was recommended highly as one of the best summaries of the issue of gun violence in the United States. After meeting with Dr. Hemenway at his office at the Harvard School of Public Health last October, I was even more interested in reading this book.
Hemenway starts by making it clear that taking a "public health" approach to the issue of gun violence is no more "anti-gun" than efforts to deal with other areas of injury are "anti-stairs, anti-swimming pools, [or] anti-cars."

Actually, Hemmenway's full of shit here. Talking around his own damned issue, just as pretty as you please. Obfuscating it, even. There just isn't any other way to put it. The anti-gunners have been casting gun ownership as a public health issue, again, for years now. Hell, it was one of the main rationales behind the lawsuits against the gun manufacturers, for crying out loud! Does Hemmenway and his ilk think anyone who really knows this issue is going to swallow that line of crap? Really now. If there's any kind of public health issue here, it's the fact that the morals and value systems have gotten so far out of whack that violence perpetrated with guns has gotten to the point that it has, and then there's the contention people put forth that a good chunk of the violence perpetrated with guns is related to the illegal drug trade that flourishes due to the War On Some Drugs. But you'll never see these hacks say anything about that -- it's always "get rid of the eeeevil guns!" -- which leads me to believe even more than I already did that it isn't about guns at all...but about control.
As for Hemmenway and his deceptions, well, take a gander at this...

Hemenway's latest attempt at data-dredging appeared in the February 1997 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. That article, "Characteristics of Automatic or Semiautomatic Firearm Ownership in the United States", attempts to make a connection between problem-drinking and emi-automatic (read: "rapid-fire") gun ownership. It was paid for by you, the American taxpayer, because it was supported, in part, by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Authored by Dr. David Hemenway and Elizabeth Richardson, it's a perfect illustration of the phrase "figures lie, and liars figure."
The title itself underscores the deception Hemenway tries to perpetrate. Hemenway creates a firearm category - "automatic or semiautomatic." The phrase "automatic or semiautomatic" is used 30 times in the course of the three-page paper - 13 times on the first page, alone. Only in his final paragraph does Hemenway admit to the reader that, in the course of his survey, he "did not ask about automatics or semiautomatics separately." That trick allows Hemenway to confuse the firearm-ignorant reader, and extend the rapid-firing capability of fully automatic firearms to semi-automatic firearms.
Hemenway knew that respondents to his survey most probably did not include any owners of fully automatic firearms, for, in the final sentence of his paper, he admits, also, that "fully automatic weapons in private hands are rare." So rare, in fact, that, given the number of lawfully-owned automatic firearms in the hands of private U.S. citizens, the number of households in the U.S., and the number of households polled, it is unlikely that even ONE such owner would have been questioned in the course of his survey!
Hemenway did not tell a single lie in order to obfuscate the truth. By creative use of the English language, he deliberately blurred the distinction between fully-automatic and semi-automatic firearms, and then set out to paint the picture of potentially murderous, machine-gun-owning problem-drinkers, living right down the block from - or right next door to - Mr. and Mrs. Joe Citizen, and family. That mental picture is enough to scare the pants off just about ANY peaceable American, including gun-owners like us!

What do you know, once again we find an anti-gun academic trying to fix the data around his pre-determined conclusion by any means necessary, including deception.
As Jeff also points out, Hemmenway has also dismissed out of hand the data from Dr. Gary Kleck, which has from what I understand been pretty well vetted and accepted as credible.
As far as where the "progressive" epithet comes in, I thought this was quite a telling comment:
Those of you who think you're progressive but oppose work on gun control should just quit whining and join the Republican party.

Now, I know there are quite a few lefties out there who don't agree with that, but still, given the number of remarks made (in comments to Huffington blog posts by both Paul Helmke and Josh Sugarmann) disparaging gun owners and gun ownership, it makes me wonder how many in the Democratic base actually still believe that gun control is not only a viable policy but still something that's going to advance them politically. I keep thinking of what Bill Whittle wrote in his excellent essay titled "Sanctuary" (the essay actually begins here, emphasis mine -- ed.):
The French Revolution produced the New Man, free of religion, and fully decimal. The streets ran red with blood for a decade – then came Napoleon, and then back to the Bourbon kings that they rebelled against in the first place. If I shared that history, I’d be a cynical, defeatist, Frenchman too. The New Soviet man was to be different: communal humanity Mark II with all the latest improvements. 50 million died, shot in the back of the head in basements and forests, or starved in frozen camps and coal mines, followed by collapse, ecological ruin and endless misery. And still these leftists push the same ideas. Poor bastards. No wonder they are so damn cynical and depressed.

And you can very well count gun control in with each of those other instances as a complete and utter failure. Yet it's the self-styled "progressives" who still push it. I loved what Kevin Baker said:
...the UK has uniform gun laws, IT'S A FREAKING ISLAND and guns still flow across its borders.

Yet the "progressives" still want to import the resultant misery to our shores.
I'd like to tell them where they can stick that kind of progress...