20/20 “Young Guns” episode was a farce.

Last night Diane Sawyer tried a new tact in promoting legislation to ban guns.  Kids.  The whole episode seemed to center on the “If it saves one child” line of rhetoric that makes firearms owners seethe.  I’m going to try to correct all of the lies that were portrayed in that show.  This is probably going to be a long post, so bear with me…

The show starts out spouting some statistics.  The first statistic was “Nearly every hour in America a child or teen is sent to the emergency room with a gunshot wound and in many of those cases an accidental shooting in their own home.”  Wonder where they got that statistic from?  How convenient that they didn’t name the source for verification.  I did a little research, and that study came from the Boston Medical Center, a known anti gun organization that has been caught skewing numbers in the past.  Included in those statistics are “children” who are shot by the police, or “children” who were not victims, but rather were the assailants in a violent crime, and were shot in self defense.  So right out of the gate, they start the episode with a lie. 

The next statistic they quote, is that every 3rd house, on average, has guns inside.  This stat is supported by both Pew Research and Gallup.  (Notice the statistics don’t come from the same sources, but from whichever source they can use to promote their agenda?)  Then they quote “1.7 million children live where there are unlocked and loaded guns.”  Where the hell did that stat come from? The Boston Medical Center again.  The statistic goes on to say that nearly 40% of those households that have a gun, and children, do not secure the guns.  Wait, something isn’t adding up with the numbers here.  1.7 Million is 40% of the total number of households with firearms. There are roughly 300 million guns in America.  So the average gun owner owns hundreds of guns?  Don’t I wish.  In our household we only have about 13.  So, the statistics are bullshit, when you crunch the numbers, they don’t add up. 

Then they go to an elementary school, to do some experiment. Wait, why does this sound familiar?  Oh, that’s right, because Diane tried this bullshit back in 1999.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s the link.  I guess she thought we wouldn’t remember.  Anyways, they did a quick cursory lesson on gun safety with 44 of the kids, and then a few days later, tested them.  The education they did with these kids was roughly equivalent to what is called abstinence only education regarding sex.  The kids were not taught actual gun safety.  It was not demonstrated to the kids what a gun is capable of doing.  Some of the parents were shown the video of what their kids did, and when they spoke with their children to “promise me you’ll never touch a gun again,” the kids readily agreed. Sure, just like they won’t smoke, won’t drink, won’t do drugs, won’t have premarital sex, won’t send naked selfies to their boyfriends and girlfriends, and so on. (I smoked as a teen, and had sex. And I know people who, as kids, did all of the above. Polaroid cameras were a wonderful thing back then.) These parents are all wonderfully naive. The Eddie the Eagle program from the NRA is not the end of gun safety education, it is merely the beginning.  It is a launching point for further discussion about gun safety, and it is not something that you bring up just once and forget about.  As often as you talk to your kids about drugs, sex, what have you, you also need to talk to them about gun safety, whether you have a gun or not.  Oh, and WTF are guns doing mixed in with kids toys?  That one completely baffled me.  The child psychologist they had there, who is supposedly an expert on gun safety, should have known about something called association.  If it is amongst items that the kids know as toys, by association, this must also be a toy, at least on a certain level.  Do you store your guns in your kids room? If you do you are an idiot.  The psychologist did have one good point. “You can’t educate curiosity out of a child.”  Remember that, it’s going to come in handy later. One mom, who had been sheltering her kid from seeing violence or guns was appalled at the behavior of her son.  Maybe sheltering him wasn’t the right thing to do Mom.  One was the son of a member of law enforcement.  Same thing.  And another mom. “and we don’t be around people that have guns.”  (Nice grammar.) So this kid is going to grow up fearful of the police? They have guns. Or are cops not people? (A few of my friends may want to argue that last point.)  All of these parents went exactly in the wrong direction with their kids.  If you have a child who is elementary school age, do this little experiment. Tell them not to do something and then start a stopwatch, and see how long it takes them to do exactly what you told them not to do.  Somehow this behavior is going to be different when a gun is involved? I doubt it.  At the end of this little segment, they say that 18 of 30 touched the guns, even when promising not to. The ones who had the reinforcement from the NRA program and local police? 9 out of 24.  So 60% for the ones without the NRA program, and 37% for the ones who did see it, once.  As I said before, it’s not the end of gun safety training, it’s the beginning. 

The next segment was parents hiding their guns thinking they are keeping their kids safe.  A good majority of states have laws that require that if a minor is in the household, any guns are to be stored in a safe.  I know for a fact it is that way in Texas. http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.46.htm (Skip down to section 13 of that link.)  So how many of these “responsible” parents are breaking the law?  I wonder how many people they had to interview to find these assclowns?  Seems more like typical hack journalism.  They interview 100 people, and find 6 that they can crucify to promote their agenda. Guess who gets on the show?  Shit like this is why we have shows like “Jersey Shore.” 

Then they show a cop, who left a loaded gun on top of his dresser, with small kids in the house.  I’m glad he’s a cop. I’m sorry he is an idiot.  If my gun is not within arms reach of me, it is secured.  (I’m actually wearing it now as I type this sitting on my living room couch.)  Being a cop does not exempt you from being responsible. Sorry.

Then they get to the point, and do it in such as manner as to say “Oh My Gawd!”  Parents, teaching their kids about firearms, and gun safety, and teaching them how to shoot.  “And Oh My Gawd, even girls!” Wait, girls aren’t allowed to learn about firearms?  That will be news to my wife.  Let me go tell her and let you know what the results are. I asked. She says “BULLSHIT! MY MOMMA TAUGHT ME!”  Yeah, swing and a miss there. They stated that these parents say that putting guns in the hands of young children (under supervision of course) takes away the mystery, and helps to diminish their curiosity.  They might be on to something.  These children learn the 4 rules of gun safety, and they learn what guns are capable of.  They get to shoot, they get to learn about guns, in a responsible, controlled environment. (Lucky kids also got to shoot a fully automatic rifle, and those are rare and expensive.) 

They go on to show, just what happens when you put a gun into the hands of a child so young, and they introduce Katie Francis.  She’s a top level 3 Gun competitor, who regularly beats men over twice her age in competition. She was introduced to firearms as a Kindergartener. Katie’s dad encourages his daughter, now his daughter is a champion shooter.  I think he got it right. (I wish my parents had been more like them.)  Then they go to a dad who claimed he was as responsible, but apparently not responsible enough, he didn’t lock up the guns, like Katie’s dad does.  Katie’s mom probably said it best. “You have to know your kids.”  Wow, what a concept. Be a fucking parent to your children.  Amazing. 

Now on to Houston, to a group of women who are armed for self defense. Even though the neighborhood they show seems serene, it isn’t. In 2013 there had been a string of "driveway holdups" and the Houston Police Department asked Oak Forest residents to not venture outside during night hours. In response, the Armed Citizen Project, a nonprofit organization based in Houston, gave free shotguns to some of the residents, as long as they completed some mandatory training and are legally allowed to own a firearm. The women were also provided with a lock for the shotgun, since a safe is probably not financially feasible for them. Of course, they didn’t tell you any of that during the show.  Of the women that 20/20 interviewed for hours, only two of the women they interviewed said anything that fit their agenda, including Maureen, the single mom.  She doesn’t lock up her gun, but it is not loaded.    They also talk about the kindergarten teacher, who had a close call with her son. She still feels safer with the shotgun, than without it. Next they introduced Karen (who is a friend of ours), who shows that she keeps her Glock in a makeup bag. What they didn’t show you was that the makeup bag is kept in a larger bag. They ask her about her about her grandchildren and whether she worries whether or not they could get their hands on her gun.  Two of her grandchildren are adults, and one is 14, (Some more missing facts), and all of them are familiar with guns.  Then they introduce Kyle Coplen, founder of the Armed Citizen Project. (For more information about the Armed Citizen Project, which incidentally was never mentioned during the show, click here.) Kyle is not Karen’s trainer, Karen is merely a volunteer for ACP. Karen told us the first person who trained her was Tracy at Shiloh Shooting range. My wife has also taken lessons from Tracy. (She is highly recommended by the way.) 20/20 can’t even get their own facts straight?  I think Kyle laid it out perfectly; “Kill the curiosity before the curiosity kills the kid.” Remember what that shrink said? You can’t educate away curiosity, but you can satisfy it. By the way Karen, good job at the range.  I guess Karen and Kyle didn’t say what 20/20 wanted to hear. Not surprisingly that segment didn’t last.  Karen did offer to allow David Muir, the 20/20 reporter, to shoot. He declined because he was scared.  Typical.

Now back to where we started at that elementary school, and asking about girls and some rifles that are specifically marketed to the exploding market of female shooters.  So they left a few rifles laying on the playground, to see how these elementary girls would react. More responsible parenting there, and this group of girls were not the same as the ones who were at the gun party earlier. Again, doesn’t fit their agenda. I wonder how those girls, who were taught about firearms, responsibly, would have reacted in the same scenario. I’m willing to bet it would have been vastly different.  How do I know that these girls have no idea what they are dealing with? “Oh my gosh, why are there bazookas?”  Yeah, good job, Mom and Dad, because of your ignorance, and apathy, your girls would have been statistics.  and of course, it’s only on the box that it says “Not a toy.”  So are we going to start putting warning labels on firearms now? “Warning this product has been known to cause cancer in laboratory animals in California.”  Yeah, fat lot of good that would do. Warning labels on household chemicals still doesn’t keep kids from drinking them.  Naturally they bring color into the argument too. Racists.  Why can’t a rifle be pink?  Back to statistics. 8 out of 23 touched the rifles. 34% Have you noticed how their sample size is all over the place.  There isn’t a consistent control number.  Sounds like the kind of polling statistics used by the Boston Medical Center. 

Now we’re off to Oklahoma, where a 12 year old girl, home alone, and an intruder in the house, fires a gun for the first time in her life.  She successfully protected herself, but that should not have been the first time that she has fired a gun.  Why didn’t she call the police? She did. They had not made it there yet, and they didn’t catch the guy until he was a few blocks away.  And then they show another instance where a man uses a gun to defend his family.  He didn’t fire a shot.  Then, Diane Sawyer tries to spin a statistic in her favor. “Even as violent crime has dropped dramatically over the past twenty years…”  Did you ever stop to wonder why that was?  Over the past twenty years, more and more states have allowed their citizens the right to carry a firearm for self defense. With the recent passage of the law in Illinois, the only place left in the United States that does not allow a gun owner to carry for self defense, is in Washington D.C.  You might also note, that the places with the highest crime rates, also have the strictest gun laws.  Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles, specifically. Then they show two parents who are all wrong.  One is trying to teach her son what to do, and in that “training” he is violating most of the rules of gun safety.  Instead of her training him, he should be trained by a professional.  Granted the kid shows good trigger discipline, but the rest of the rules are not just suggestions. (That is an accident moments away from happening.)  Then another mom who leaves her guns out on the table, and walks away from them.  (If you are in the bathroom, or bedroom, and the gun is on the kitchen counter, it doesn’t do you any damn good.)  Then they talk to Gary Kleck, who is a professor of criminology at Florida State University.  1.6 Million times a year, a gun is used in self defense, and in those instances 97% of those people are uninjured. (For those that are injured, it is typically not self inflicted, but more likely due to the reason they were using a gun in self defense in the first place.)  Then they claim that other “experts” dispute his number about self defense.  I wonder who those “experts” are since they don’t tell us.  Michael Moore? the Boston Medical Center again?  Kleck argues that locking up a gun, in a safe, could take too long.  If someone breaks into your house, there is a good probability they already know exactly where you are, and are going to try to get to you as fast as possible in order to disarm and disable you.  This is why they make quick access gun safes. If you are spinning a combination lock, or fumbling for keys when your home is invaded, you won’t have the gun out in time.  The American Academy of Pediatrics says, while a safe might cause a delay, weigh that against the life of a child.  With a regular safe, my child’s life, as well as my own, may as well be over.  (They are still only looking at this from their own skewed view, and not taking into account the reason that people have a gun for home protection, is to actually protect their home, and their family.)  Thankfully 20/20 does demonstrate what should be done, by showing what a New Jersey police officer does.  He has a quick access gun safe, and he gets into it, and has a magazine loaded in 7 seconds.  Not bad, as long as you have a good reliable safe, that allows quick access. 

Now Diane Sawyer goes knocking door to door in New Jersey, asking if the residents ever talk to their neighbors about gun safety.  So do you ask your neighbors if they have guns? Why is it any of your business.  Who cares?  Diane gets two neighbors talking, and then she gets really ballsy.  She finds two neighbors, one who owns guns, and one who doesn’t.  She asks the one who does own guns to show her where she keeps them.  Now on our little cul-de-sac where we live, we know that 3 of our 4 neighbors have guns.  None of us knows what kind of guns the others have, and we don’t know where they keep them.  That is none of our business. Keep in mind though, we live in a little town of about 4,000 people, in Texas.  In this area, we would be a little surprised if any of our neighbors didn’t have a gun.  But we aren’t going to ask to find out either.  Then they segue into a father who failed to keep his firearm secure, and a neighbors child ended up dead as a result.  His son found his .22 rifle, and killed the neighbors kid with it.  He is now facing charges, and could spend up to fifty years in jail.  I would be too if I was that dad. 

And there ends the episode.  It really isn’t too much to ask to keep your guns secure. As far as the rest of the show, seeing as how all of their statistics came from all over the place, and they I know for a fact that they cherry picked only those stories based on whether it would fit their agenda (as evidence by the Armed Citizen Project segment, where they didn’t actually mention the Armed Citizen Project), it was a travesty. They demonized people like Katie Francis’ family, and the families that responsibly teach their children about firearms.  Their whole suggestion, is to act like an ostrich and stick your head in the sand when it comes to teaching your children about firearms.  It’s almost like they want more children to be victims.  They might be actually pushing for that, since that would actually validate their thinly veiled agenda to get rid of guns.  “But if only one child is saved…”  Again, they got the numbers wrong. It’s not one child we need to save, it’s as many as possible.  Maybe one day these “news” organizations will pull their head out of their asses and get it right.  I don’t think Diane Sawyer, and David Muir will ever be able to see past their own rhetoric though.

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