A great American lie

By Mike Murphy, Retired Mukilteo Chief of Police | Dec 19, 2012

I knew it wouldn’t take long to start, but I was surprised how soon, and by a sister-in-law who doesn’t even own a gun. There on Facebook, as I’m sure all over the country this week, is the cry of “Guns don’t kill.”

It is amazing how many normal, rational people believe and spread this Great American Myth. The truth is just the opposite.

Guns kill. That is their purpose, that is what they are designed for, and that is the sole function of this invention. They are not made to hammer things, to saw, to grind; they are made to fire a projectile into another living thing to kill it.

And ever since the Chinese introduced it, the gun has been under continued development and improvement to make it a better killing machine, making it more accurate, quicker firing, deadlier rounds, higher capacity magazines or clips.

The second part that usually goes with “Guns don’t kill” is “people kill.” The implied message is that without guns people will still kill other people. True, they have been doing this since the beginning of mankind. BUT, a gun makes it so much more efficient, so much easier, and so much faster.

America leads the world in mass killings with guns. Why? They are available. There is a correlation between availability and use.

In the 1950s, gangs used to fight with chains, bats, and brass knuckles; a lot of injuries, a few deaths. By the 1980s, gangs were fully armed groups. When they fight there are a lot of deaths and few injured. Mexico has become a killing field. We buy their drugs and sell them guns. While to do so is illegal, we allow the guns that are sent south to be bought legally.

That brings us to the current state of the gun and the choice of mass killers on both sides of the border, the assault rifle. Impractical for hunting or competition shooting, these guns are made to kills lots of people very fast, as we see over and over in the media.

Can we outlaw such weapons as a start toward sane guns laws? It will be hard given the NRA vow to unseat any politician who attempts such legislation, and they have the money to do so.

Only when Americans have seen enough needless carnage will enough people demand their representatives do the right thing. Then it will still take years to get these weapons out of the system and for the media to realize their hyper coverage of these shootings helps fuel the next round of killings.

But to not start the process to reclaim a safer country is to give up on the countless innocent lives yet-to-be-lost, and make meaningless those already taken from us.

A first good start is for us to call the statement “Guns don’t kill” for what it is: a lie.

Comments (5)
Posted by: John T Baker | Dec 19, 2012 20:54

Amen, Mr. Murphy... we lose more citizens to domestic gun violence every year than we lose in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.  The cost of care and the economic loss by those injured is no less....the only difference is that they don't even have the VA to care for them and their families!   My prediction....this latest slaughter will also pass without action.  We get all stirred up and then, what the heck, American Idol, new season....and we forget about it....until the next time.   The NRA is a huge fraud...I'm sure half of the members already have convinced themselves that President Obama set up this Newtown slaughter just to get their guns!  The fringe of the fringe!  Let's move on this; we can watch American Idol On Demand next year.

Posted by: stephen bernheim | Dec 21, 2012 12:00

i agree completely, too !

Posted by: Matthew Richardson | Dec 27, 2012 21:55

Gun control in America is futile, and ridiculous. You've bought into the liberal narrative; taking aim at "assault riffles". My heart goes out to those affected by the recent tragedy, but there are some things to be said.

The AR-15 isnt the most effective gun for confined spaces. Police teams choose pump action shotguns, which can chamber a dozen rounds, for that task. The AR-15 is a media magnet and its irrational to single out that weapon. Going after "assault" weapons is futile because, as you stated, all guns are assault weapons.

The facts are simple.

#1 Murder per capita today is at its LOWEST point in decades (without gun control laws). Spikes in our murder rates are directly attributable to vice law. Historically when the government bans alchohol or starts up drug wars, we get spikes in murder rates. Banning guns would just give vice lords another market in ellicit gun trade. Pew Research polls proved that Americans today have an irrational fear of violence despite the facts; we are safer today than we've ever been.

#2 No country on earth has a high Gun Per Capita rate AND a high Murder Per Capita rate. Switzerland, Serbia and the US lead the pack on Guns Per Capita and all have rates under 7/100k. The most dangerous counties in the world all have strict limits on citizen gun ownership (graphs under my twitter @canaanav). ALL countries which have high homicide rates also have FEW guns.

#3 Australia banned guns and their murder rate went up for two years. In the same years, murder rate in the US precipitated faster without gun control than it did in AUS with gun bans. In AUS, murderers simply strangled or stabbed their victims instead of shooting them. I'd rather be shot.

Solution: We must address our mental health problems. 1 in 5 Americans are on psychiatric drugs and we've jailed millions of people for non-violent crimes. We have to reevaluate how we treat the mentally ill.  We post guards at sport events, concerts and banks. We even realized that commercial pilots should be armed. For schools, at least one teacher or janitor or principle should be trained and armed. Our kids are worth it.

Posted by: Susan Bauer | Jan 03, 2013 19:05

This is not quite true.

Factcheck.org cites many studies which have found there IS indeed a strong correlation (in US cities, states, regions) between murder rates and gun ownership.  ... "where there are higher levels of gun prevalence, homicide rates are substantially higher."

Research yourself, or go to www.factcheck.org and search for gun ownership, etc.

Posted by: Matthew Richardson | Jan 04, 2013 13:41

Susan Bauer,  Of course there's a correlation between "Gun Murder" and Gun Ownership rates.  Factcheck.org uses the term "Gun Murder", which is a superfluous metric considering a murder is a murder.  Why not count "non-Gun murders"?  Timothy McVeigh used a non-Gun after all.  Those who piloted aircraft into our buildings used non-Guns.  As rediculous as this sounds, more people are murdered with hammers than are murdered with rifles.


Ultimately, there's an infinite number of ways to make numbers say what you want if you manipulate or fabricate definitions.  "Murder", no matter the means is most prevalent in countries that have strict gun prohibition.  There are no countries that have a high "Gun per Capita Rate" and a high "Murder Rate".  ALL countries which have high "Murder Rates" have few, if any, guns.  Src: House of Commons and CIA.


Be wary of numbers that are spoon fed to you for your digestion.

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