Roger Ebert proves you don’t want to lose an opportunity distort truth during a national tragedy.

Posted by Jonathan at 21 July 2012

Category: Opinion

I wasn’t going to discuss this topic on this site.  I usually stay away from such issues that don’t deal with Connecticut and our civil rights.   A friend posted a blog post by Roger Ebert ( ) that just drove me nuts.  I suggest you read that blog post on the Chicago Sun Times before you continue here as I illustrate some severe distortions of that opinion.

I said I would not comment until I get the facts of the horrible tragedy in Aurora Colorado.  I still will not.  Some will indeed exploit this incident to pursue their own agenda.  I will, however, correct this one particular editorial for one reason:  This is exactly why I will not get into particulars about tragic events like this theater shooting.  People flat out LIE or misrepresent poor, flawed data to support an emotional argument with no basis in fact.

Let’s address some of Ebert’s claims.

Ebert says the following of the rifle used in the shooting:

“They fire 10 shots at a time, and are intended for combat use.”

No, they do not.  They fire one shot with each trigger pull.  For someone who shot ROTC, he should at least know the difference between semi-auto sporting rifles and full automatic rifles.  These rifles can hold anywhere from one to hundreds of rounds with large magazines, however each trigger pull will fire one bullet.  That is no different than any other target rifle.  Unlike Roger Ebert, I speak from experience.  I am a firearms instructor and also own two of these rifles and have built DOZENS of them.  They are NOT made for combat use.  Combat firearms are fully automatic (or “select fire”).  However, they are made in the same evil black color.

“The theory is that gun ownership makes us safer. That doesn’t seem to be working out for us.”

No?  Every year, people in the United States use guns to defend themselves against criminals an estimated 2,500,000 times – more than 6,500 people a day, or once every 13 seconds.  This is according to Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Fall 1995.

More recent data supports the continuing crime rate fall as well.  Citizens are buying more guns than ever in the U.S., yet, crime rates continue to decline to the lowest level ever.  According to F.B.I. data, (I’ll use 2008 since I have it handy, but it has continued to fall ever since) crime rates continued to decline.  Murder -7.3 percent.  Forcible rape -2.6 percent.  Robbery – 8.0 percent.  Look for yourself:

“In Chicago we have a murder wave going on. Gun ownership doesn’t bring safety when both sides are shooting at each other.”

Interesting statement.  Since civilians haven’t been able to purchase guns, get permits and this had to even follow up to the Supreme Court.  Yes, cities with the strictest gun control (Los Angeles, CA and New York, New York are great examples).  Yet, border southern border cities tend to fare much better.

“Nationally, most guns fired in homes kill people who live there, including children, and do not kill home invaders.”

This is from a severely flawed study.  The Brady campaign (which Ebert seems to love to quote) doesn’t even use this statistic anymore.  It stems from a statistic of “Handguns are 43 times more likely to kill a family member than a criminal”.  That study was looked at in more detail.  It noted serious flaws in data gathering and sampling rates.

Protection or Peril? An Analysis of Firearm-Related Deaths in the Home, Arthur L. Kellerman, D.T. Reay, 314 New Eng. J. Med. 1557-60, June 12, 1986. (Kellerman admits that his study did “not include cases in which burglars or intruders are wounded or frightened away by the use or display of a firearm.” He also admitted his study did not look at situations in which intruders “purposely avoided a home known to be armed.” This is a classic case of a “study” conducted to achieve a desired result. In his critique of this “study”, Gary Kleck notes that the estimation of gun ownership rates was “inaccurate”, and that the total population came from a non-random selection of only two cities.)

Similar “facts” like this also fail to remove suicide from the data.  Self inflicted gunshot wounds do happen, but if you remove the firearm, it doesn’t change the outcome.  Dead is dead, regardless of the tool used.  I have an aunt that committed suicide.  She couldn’t get a gun under today’s federal laws.  That didn’t stop a determined person that needed treatment from ultimately committing suicide.

“In a year, guns murdered 468 people in Australia, England, Germany and in Canada put together, and 9,484 in the United States. “

This statement fails to take VIOLENT crime as a whole.  While gun ownership is more difficult in these nations, violent crime and homicide have gone up.  The London Telegraph has done a great article on this in 2009.  They start with a great quote from the European Commission:

“Analysis of figures from the European Commission showed a 77 per cent increase in murders, robberies, assaults and sexual offences in the UK”

Further, violence in the same report notes:

“The total number of violent offences recorded compared to population is higher than any other country in Europe, as well as America, Canada, Australia and South Africa.”.

Furthering the assertion that the gun is simply a tool, not an end to violent crime.


Comments on James Brady

James Brady was injured and life forever altered at the hands of a mad man.  Since then, laws have been made and statistical data (as shown above) have shown gun violence to actually have dropped with more crime.  Deranged shooters (like in the failed assassination attempt of President Ronald Regan) Will always be out there, whether firearms are legal or not.  Under today’s laws, that shooter wouldn’t have been able to purchase a firearm legally.

“True, there is no way we can defend ourselves against insane shooters.”

Is that true?  I think I’ve already showed above just how false that statement is (like many others, it’s riddled with emotion and no data to support that claim, which I have shown above).  Just last week, a 71 year old man in Florida stopped an armed robbery attempt.

“Nor do they sell assault rifles over the counter in those nations.”

This is referring to the anti-gun crowd and their love for comparing the US to Canada and Europe.  The tragedy in Aurora Colorado did not use an assault rifle.  It was a semi-automatic rifle just like the firearms you can purchase in the European nations mentioned in Ebert’s opinion piece.

Bottom line:

The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.  I do not want to live in a society where I do not have the right to defend myself if needed.  Do I want to see more guns out in society?  Absolutely.  We will have horrible incidents like this whether they are out there or not.  I’d much rather have the chance at defending myselfor a loved one.  Can I call 911?  Absolutely. How long does it take for a criminal to take a life?  Compare that to how long it takes for an officer to respond.  The only difference, if I’m a law abiding citizen with a permit and a firearm, I at least have a fighting chance.

I apologize for any typos or misspelled words.  As I write this, it is almost midnight and unlike Roger Ebert, I don’t have any editors.  However, if guns cause crime, then I blame the errors on my computer keyboard.

1 Comment

  1. Mike Butler says

    Keyboards cause typos. And spoons cause obesity. And guns cause crime, just ask Michael Moore and Josh Sugarman.