There is no good reason for any of us to have high expectations of the so-called “mainstream” media these days. But the editorial board of the York Daily Record in Pennsylvania is evidently striving for a new low.
The newspaper recently published a piece about gun ownership that was so outrageously emotional and deficient of rational thought and facts that it sounds more like something a freedom-hating publicist for Amy Schumer, Kim Kardashian or Matt Damon might have haphazardly thrown together.
So many stupid things were written that it is difficult to target just one for this column, but I’ve never shied away from a challenge. In the 10th paragraph, the editorial board claimed that a man shooting his wife in the middle of the night in a case of mistaken identity is more likely to occur than Americans using their firearms at home for legitimate defensive purposes.
The specific case it cited occurred in York County, and it involved a violation of one of the most important firearm safety rules—identifying your target and what it is beyond it. An elderly man, assuming his wife was an intruder moving in the darkness of their home, shot her in the chest. Fortunately, she survived. But there is simply no excuse for something like this to occur.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that accidental firearm-related deaths have reached all-time lows at a time when there has never been more gun owners or more privately owned firearms.Even if it means being shot or stabbed by a home invader as a true cue that the fight has begun, it is imperative that armed citizens take whatever time necessary to positively identify a threat before initiating lethal force. This is one reason having an effective hand-held light source is as important as having a firearm at the ready in case evil comes knocking.
I read reports of citizens using firearms defensively throughout our country every day as part of my routine work. The stories of good people with legally owned firearms scaring away, detaining, incapacitating and killing the predators who lurk among us are so routine that they don’t faze me. Stories like the one exploited by this editorial board are so rare and shocking that they make me sick to my stomach and are impossible to forget.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that accidental firearm-related deaths have reached all-time lows at a time when there has never been more gun owners or more privately owned firearms. Since statistics were first gathered in 1904, the accidental death rate associated with firearms has declined an astounding 95 percent. Such undeniable, empirical evidence will never have any place for consideration among the emotionally blinded, like those sitting on the York Daily Record editorial board.
The FBI reports that there are somewhere around 300 justifiable homicides with firearms every year in the U.S. Of course, this number is much lower than the actual count, because the FBI’s data only involves police reports and not the results of longer investigations and judicial proceedings where there is an ultimate finding of justification.
Then there's the research indicating that less than 1 percent of all successful defensive gun uses involve an attacker being wounded or killed. Most bad guys understand that it might be better to vacate the area when a gun is pointed at them. In fact, research shows that there's a minimum of 760,000 defensive gun uses in America every year.
This number stands in great contrast to the number of cases like the one the Daily Record editorial board mentions. There could not be more than a few dozen each year, in a country with more than 350 million firearms and 100 million gun owners. The rarity of these kinds of incidents, in light of the prevalence of gun ownership, goes to show how remarkably safe Americans really are with their firearms.
Here are a few stories from the last week or two involving Americans using firearms in their homes to abruptly and permanently end the activities of violent predators:
In Marietta, Ga., a woman shot and killed a man who was forcibly entering her home at 3 a.m.
A home invader was shot and killed shortly after midnight by an apartment resident in Frisco, Texas.
One of three home invaders was shot and killed by the homeowner at 3 a.m. in High Point, N.C.
In Kingman, Ariz., a home invader who attacked and tased the homeowner was shot and killed by the intended victim in a late-evening incident.
A masked gunman breaking into a home in Evansville, Ind., at 4 a.m. was shot and killed by the homeowner.
In Stock Bridge, Ga., a robbery suspect being pursued by police broke into a home and began attacking the homeowner. The homeowner’s father shot and killed his son’s attacker.
A man who kicked in the door of a pastor's home in Cypress, Texas, at 2 a.m. and began violently assaulting the pastor, his wife and other family members was shot and killed by one of the residents.
What would have happened in these cases if a firearm had not been available?
It is appalling to watch the ignorant arrogantly try to convince good citizens to render themselves defenseless against attacks in their own homes.It is appalling to watch the ignorant arrogantly try to convince good citizens to render themselves defenseless against attacks in their own homes. One could reasonably assume these editors are working on behalf of the Home Invader Occupational Safety lobby, if such a thing existed. We can only hope that the good, independent people of southern Pennsylvania will refuse to listen to media folks who likely slithered their way 50 miles north from Baltimore.
OK, I have failed my challenge and can’t help myself. I must mention one other incredibly stupid thing the editorial board cited. It referred to a “study” that found that the exceptionally rare accidental deaths involving firearms that do occur tend to be more likely in homes where firearms are present. As most any reader would recognize, this is as astonishing as learning that fatal farm equipment accidents are more likely to occur on farms than in urban high-rises. We must wonder how these editors get by on a day-to-day basis. It’s more evidence that we live in a very soft and accommodating world.
One thing I know is that 100 percent of all homeowners who take the advice of these victim-promoting editors, and voluntarily deny themselves the most efficient means of self-defense (firearms), make themselves the overwhelmingly preferred target of home invaders. If there is any question about this, try to recall the last home you saw that advertised its defenseless status.
Darren LaSorte lobbied with NRA-ILA for 14 years and now lives and works in Dallas. His passions are shooting, hunting and self-defense training.