We’ve written before in these pages about the Mainstream News Media’s propensity to keep good news about firearms a closely guarded secret. They haven’t changed. The latest example of their collective tight lips is coverage of this report from The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The group’s report on police fatalities for 2013 found that 111 officers died in the line of duty; down 8% from 2012 and the lowest since 1959. Of those 111 deaths, only 33 were caused by firearms. Most news outlets did little more than reprint the AP wire story on the report. The Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt spent a little more time on the story, but studiously avoided mentioning that the number of firearms deaths was the lowest since 1887.
No, that’s not a typo.
As in the 19th Century.
As in back when Grover Cleveland was in the White House and Robert Gascoyne-Cecil was at 10 Downing Street.
As in back during the days of the Wild West.
Now given the Media’s love of breathless reportage of any and all incidents involving an AR-15 (or just someone nearby who can spell AR-15), one would think that police are dropping like flies due to these dreaded “assault weapons”. Witness this unquestioning quotation from the clueless Titusville, PA, Chief of Police:
“What concerned our officers the most,” Titusville police Chief Gary Thomas said, “was a Bushmaster AR15. This is the same type of weapon our department uses.”
And the bullets in the AR15 are called “cop killers” for a reason, Thomas said.
“When fired from an assault-type weapon at a high velocity, they can penetrate a protective vest,” he said.
Mind you, this was a report on a drug bust that didn’t involve an exchange of gunfire. And no, there isn’t any evidence that the less-than-curious reporter bothered to ask His Chiefiness why the Titusville PD is armed with cop-killer guns. Nor did he ask if it’s not the case that any rifle round other than a .22LR can pierce common police body armor. No, that would probably get in the way of the accepted narrative.
Now the truth is that during this time when police firearm deaths have declined to a 126-year low, sales of modern rifles like the AR-15 have been soaring. During the last year for which there is data from the NSSF, so-called “Assault weapons” accounted for nearly 25% of all firearms sales; and most of those were AR-15s. Between 1986 and 2012, somewhere between 3.3 and 3.5 million AR-15 rifles were bought by Americans. So as the rifle that has Chief Thomas’ knickers in a thorough bunch became more and more popular, police fatalities due to all firearms declined.
So where else, other than from a few of us pajama-clad blogger types, have you heard this story? ABC? CBS? NBC? CNN?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.