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By Ann Coulter
A few weeks ago, while taping a TV pilot hosted by John Stossell, I found myself sitting between a housewife for gun control and the incomparable Prof. John Lott, author of the book, “More Guns, Less Crime.”
During a break, the gun control advocate advised as how her elderly mother had recently purchased a handgun. This development horrified her because she said she “knew” a criminal would wrest control of the gun and use it against her mother someday.
Prof. Lott, who earned a Ph.D. in economics from UCLA, gamely told the woman that she needn’t worry, that his studies showed that guns used defensively in crimes are turned against their owners less than one percent of the time.
Lott’s facts ‘challenged’
As Lott has pointed out on similar occasions, the statistics are these: “98 percent of the time when people use guns defensively, simply brandishing a gun is sufficient to cause a criminal to break off an attack. In less than 2 percent of the time is the gun fired, and most of those — about three-quarters of those — are warning shots.”
The housewife retorted — and I quote: “Well that’s not my opinion.”
Somehow, the economics and law departments of UCLA, University of Chicago, and Yale University had not prepared Prof. Lott for dazzling logic like that: My opinion is different from the facts.
Now we have an entire movement of babbling idiots demanding that their opinions be accorded equal standing with facts on the basis of their stunning achievement of having borne children. Self-described “Moms” are using their exalted stations to march on Washington and browbeat the nation into adopting gun control laws that are not only unconstitutional (as if anyone cares about that), but will inevitably lead to more violence against the innocent.
But don’t question their logic or facts — they’re moms. Liberals use motherhood like an enfeebled child who hits his siblings and then calls on his parents to protect him when they retaliate. “Mom” demands our guns, but when you try to argue the facts with her, she holds up a hand up to hush you: Talk to the womb. Being a “Mom” means never having to say you’re sentient.
The Moms’ web page begins the analysis with this observation: “We, the mothers, know that life is the first inalienable right promised by our Constitution.” In point of fact, the Constitution says nothing about an inalienable right to life or anything else. It’s the Declaration of Independence that proclaims, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” But these are “moms.” Don’t tell them what the Constitution says. Their opinion is “different.”
Mom’s startling discovery
The “Moms” have a flair for expressing their tenuous grasp of the obvious with great fanfare. They say the march is dedicated to “educating our children and our country about the life-threatening danger of guns.” Perhaps you were hoping for some fact supporting the Moms’ theory that the gun restrictions they propose would reduce the “danger of guns.” They have none. There is none, and that’s not even what they mean.
What they mean by “educating” citizens about the “danger of guns” is that they plan to unveil their startling discovery that — hang on to your seats here — guns can kill people! Uh, yeah. We know that. That’s why we like them. Guns wouldn’t be much help in the face of a dangerous predator if all they did were to shoot a spray of flowers.
Teddy bears vs. guns
The organizers of the Million Mom March have been loudly claiming that guns are the leading cause of accidental death for children, after cars. Mom Gail Thorson, whose son was shot and badly wounded by a lone gunman (in a state that unfortunately does not permit citizens to carry concealed handguns) proclaimed: “There are four categories of regulations for teddy bears and none for guns.” Ironic, huh?
Except that, it turns out, in the harsh light of facts, gun accidents do not even come close to being the leading cause of death for children. In fact, teddy bears and other toys actually do kill more children every year than gun accidents do. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, toys typically account for over 140,000 injuries and a minimum of 22 deaths each year. (Teddy bears — with their swallowable button eyes, and strangling bow ties — are a particular menace.)
Meanwhile, gun accidents claimed the lives of 20 children under the age of five in 1997 — the latest year for which data is available. To put that in perspective, more children under the age of five die every year drowning in buckets. I didn’t even know it was possible to drown in a bucket. Clearly, what we really need is a march on Washington to educate “children and our country” about the life-threatening danger of buckets.
To pump up the numbers of children killed in gun accidents, gun control advocates include “children” aged 15-19, which of course, includes gang members, drug mules and common criminals. But even including “children” who are old enough to be gang members, guns still account for only 2 percent of all accidental deaths. Here are some random comparisons of accidental deaths for all “children” under the age of 20:
- Cars — 8,113 deaths
- Drowning — 1,269 deaths
- Smoke and fire — 723 deaths
- Mechanical suffocation — 529 deaths
- Guns — 306 deaths
The Moms further informed the New York Times that guns “remain the only consumer product that is not federally regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.” Go out right now and try to buy a gun and a teddy bear and see which you think is easier. Moreover, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission can’t even test all the toys on the market (of the approximately 150,000 toys that come out on the market each year, they test about 900) much less all products.
Gun-owners test guns, and they have been getting safer all the time. Since 1945, the total supply of guns has more than doubled, while the rate of fatal gun accidents has fallen by an astounding two-thirds. There are roughly 240 million guns in the country and the total number of non-fatal gun injuries is about 2,000 per year. Toy injuries: over 140,000 a year. Guns: 2,000. Evidently, the government is not regulating teddy bears tightly enough.
One of the Mom marchers was quoted in the New York Times as saying: “There is no reason for anyone to own a handgun” — in contradistinction, apparently, to teddy bears and water buckets. Alluding to the voting power of the stupid, she said, “I hope the march will get women to find out which of their legislators supports gun control. And then they need to vote for them. I hope the NRA is terrified.”
I wouldn’t be losing much sleep over the Moms’ electoral threat if I were a legislator. The Moms may also have their own “opinions” about what day the election is, an opinion different from the facts.