By Michael W. Chapman
Missouri School of Journalism Professor Emeritus George Kennedy, the former managing editor of the Columbia Missourian, the school’s teaching newspaper, suggested in a recent commentary published by the Missourian that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is more dangerous to Americans than the radical jihadist Islamic State (ISIS).
In the April 20 commentary, “The NRA’s Influence is a Danger to Us All,” Professor Kennedy compared the NRA and ISIS, noting when each group was founded and claiming that while the world may fear ISIS, it is politicians who fear the NRA. He also said the NRA is far closer to attaining its goal than ISIS is to attaining its caliphate.
The NRA’s goal, Kennedy claims, is to remove “all restrictions on the possession and use of firearms just about anywhere by just about anyone.” Kennedy neither cites nor quotes any NRA source to back up that assertion.
Four of the five Americans killed by a radical Islamist in
Chattanooga, Tenn., July 16, 2015. (Screenshot: FNC)
Kennedy then notes some gun-death and terrorism statistics, claiming “annual averages” show that — when not counting the 2,996 victims from 9/11 — the number of Americans killed by Islamic terrorists averages 9 per year, but the number of Americans killed each year by another American with a gun, since 9/11, averages 11,737 a year.
The apparent suggestion is that Americans are more dangerous to other Americans than ISIS, and that this is somehow because of the influence of the NRA.
As Kennedy asks, “Which organization is more dangerous to Americans — ISIS or the NRA?”
Conveniently, Kennedy does not present statistics on the number of incidents where Americans use guns defensively to protect themselves or their property, a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A 2013 report by the gun-control group Violence Policy Center, using data from the FBI, concluded that over a five-year period (2007-2011) “the total number of self-protective behaviors involving a firearm by victims of attempted or completed violent crimes or property crimes totaled only 338,700,” which averages to 67,740 defensive gun uses a year.
In other words, Americans use guns to protect themselves and their property about 67,740 times a year — and that’s a conservative estimate from a pro-gun control organization.
On a related note, a CDC study commissioned by the Obama administration in 2013 found that “self-defense” with a firearm “can be an important crime deterrent.” In fact, the injury rate is lower for crime victims who defensively use a gun than it is for victims using other, non-gun, self-protective strategies, said the CDC.
Islamic terrorists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who murdered 14
Americans in San Bernardino, Calif., Dec. 2, 2015.
Kennedy also does not mention the number of Americans killed by automobiles each year.
In 2015 that number was 38,300 people killed on U.S. roads, and the deaths apparently had nothing to do with the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the NRA.
In concluding his commentary, Journalism Prof. Kennedy softens a bit, admitting “there’s plenty of blame to go around” when it comes to the misuse of firearms. “However, there is no denying that the NRA is Missouri’s and the nation’s most vociferous, most generous to its friends and most vindictive to its enemies advocate of a free-fire zone for guns of all types in all places,” says Kennedy. “And that’s a danger to us all.”
I wonder if any of the 49 murder victims of the Islamist attack at the gay nightclub in Orlando wished they had been carrying a gun. Or the 89 murder victims at the Bataclan in Paris. Or the 5 Americans murdered in Chattanooga. Sadly, they can’t tell us now.
Some of the 89 people murdered by radical Islamic terrorists at the
Bataclan theatre in Paris, France, Nov. 13, 2015. (YouTube)
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