The late 1960s and early ’70s hit television sitcom “The Brady Bunch” was a wholesome program about a blended family learning to live together, love and respect one another, and make a good life through hard work and family values. It was an idyllic situation, where telling lies to others was rare and considered bad by all involved.
That’s not so for the modern-day Brady Bunch, the so-called Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (never forget the group changed its name from Handgun Control Inc., but didn’t change its goals). Leaders of that group seem as willing to tell lies as, well, Hillary Clinton.
In the latest wholesale mangling of the truth, Brady President Dan Gross spouted last week: “Congress is in for a rude awakening today if they thought seven weeks of vacation would wipe the slate clean. While Congress enjoyed nearly two months of sun and fun, the American people paid the ultimate price for Congress' inaction, with 4,500 shot and killed during August recess alone. Now that they're finally back at work, gun violence must be a priority for Congress.”
In truth, this number is nonsense, as Gross wants uninformed Americans to believe that during each of those seven weeks an average of 642 innocent Americans were brutally shot down by some violent attacker who shouldn’t have had access to a firearm. That’s the way he makes it sound, anyway.
But a closer look at the numbers paints a drastically different picture.I guess that wouldn’t have made nearly as impressive a headline for the Brady Campaign press release as the 4,500 figure, so they just “rounded up”—again.
Gross no doubt came up with his number of Americans gunned down by using the approximately 33,000 “gun deaths” a year statistic that his group and other gun-ban advocates like to throw around. And in truth, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), where Gross draws his numbers, did report 32,351 “gun deaths” in 2011, which he and others conveniently round up to 33,000 instead of down to 32,000, as most of us learned in sixth grade. If we used that actual number, divided it by 52 weeks in the year and multiply that by seven for the weeks Congress was on recess, we’d get 4,355. I guess that wouldn’t have made nearly as impressive a headline for the Brady Campaign press release as the 4,500 figure, so they just “rounded up”—again.
There’s much more to it, however. Out of the 32,351 number from CDC, 21,175 of those deaths were suicides. Anyone taking their own life is a tragedy, of course, and there’s no way we would downplay the importance of the suicide problem plaguing the United States. But most Americans aren’t remotely aware that suicides are included in Gross’s inflated number. His clear insinuation is that violent criminals are killing innocent bystanders wholesale on every street and corner. Subtract the 21,175 suicides, and Gross’s seven-week total of 4,500 is slashed to 1,504.
And there’s no need to stop there. About 2,500 of the deaths were accidents and unintentional injuries—again not what Gross seems to be referring to—leaving about 8,583 deaths as homicides of various sorts, according to the FBI.
In total, three-quarters of Gross’s figure is a gross lie.Let’s use that accurate number, just for the sake of argument. Take the 8,583, divide by 52 weeks, then multiply by seven for the length of the congressional recess, and you get 1,155. It gets even lower if you use 2014 numbers, when the FBI reports 8,124 people were murdered with firearms (not by firearms) Crunch the numbers, and the new total is 1,093.
I suppose the Brady Campaign probably thought its press release would have been much less impactful using this real figure for the number of people murdered during Congress’ recess than the group’s made-up figure of 4,500—more than four times the actual number. In total, three-quarters of Gross’s figure is a gross lie.
Don’t get me wrong: More than 1,000 murders committed in a seven-week period is in no way acceptable. Catching and locking up the very small percentage of Americans who are career violent criminals would go a long way toward lowering that number substantially. But further diminishing the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms—as the Brady Campaign and other gun-ban groups advocate—would not.
Which brings us back to the original “Brady Bunch”—that wholesome family that went out of their way to be truthful with each other. Telling one-quarter of the truth wasn’t acceptable back then, and would have resulted in at least a good shaming by Alice the housekeeper.
Apparently, however, one-quarter of the truth is plenty for Dan Gross and his Brady Bunch—which knows no shame.