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How to Make People Think More People are Killed with Hammers than with Guns

It is demonstrably untrue that more people are killed each year with fists and hammers than guns. The FBI’s Crime in the United States Report expanded homicide data in Table Number 8 (source | source) demonstrates that firearms in general kill many more people than are killed by blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.) or the use of a killer’s own body as a weapon (hands, fists, feet, etc.):

Homicides by Weapon Type, 2008-2014

With that in mind, how can you possibly make people think that more people are killed with fists and hammers than guns every year in the United States? Why, it’s easy. Just follow these three steps.

Step 1: Pick a subset of guns, not all guns.  According to the FBI, the following are the numbers of homicides carried out with different kinds of guns, using the FBI’s own reporting categories:

Firearm Homicides by Year

And the following are the numbers of homicides carried out with blunt objects and “personal weapons” (meaning the assailant’s own body):

Number of Homicides by Blunt Object or Assailant's Body, 2008-2014

Well, that comparison doesn’t look so good for guns, does it?  Hey, I know: why don’t we pick the two specific categories of firearms that are least responsible for homicides, and leave out the set — handguns — responsible for about 90% of firearm homicides where the type is mentioned?  That’ll fix the statistics!

Step 2: Ignore the “firearm, type not stated” category.

Of course, there’s an additional problem: each year, anywhere from 1,600 to 1,900 gun homicides are reported to the feds with the type of gun not stated in the report (see the light blue category in the second chart above).  If just 10% of the “type not stated” firearms were either rifles or shotguns — roughly proportional to the frequency of their appearance when the type is stated — then that would make the number of rifle and shotgun killings greater than the number of blunt-object and assailant-body killings.

That wouldn’t look good in the story, either.  Hey, I know: why don’t we just ignore the “type not stated” category entirely?

Step 3: Rely on your readers to make the casual assumption that the statistic refers to all guns.

Do all that and you can make the claim…

“With newer crime statistics now out for 2012, Breitbart News can report that more people are killed each year with fists and hammers than are killed with rifles or shotguns.” — Awr Hawkins, Breitbart News

Congratulations.  All that’s left is to let your careless readers assume that the already truth-light claim about “rifles or shotguns” is equivalent to a claim about all guns.  They’ll lose the fists and the other blunt instruments, too: just plain “hammers” is much more dramatic.  All over the internet, your followers will post messages like these:

“Far more people are killed by hammers in the US than by guns. When are we going to stop this senseless slaughter and outlaw hammers?” (MarketForum)

“If guns are inherently unsafe then so are hammers. Hammers were originally made to kill things. As man evolved he found other uses for them, just like guns. But their origins were used to kill things. Same with clubs. A tool for killing. But you take the same club and hit a baseball with it suddenly it goes from a inherently unsafe killing machine to a object that provides us a sport to play. The object has no moral’s or unsafe or safe features, and to attach moral’s, etc.. to an object and not the person is intellectually dishonest. More people are killed by hammers and bats than by the weapons the anti-gunners are trying to ban.” (DanCarlin.com)

“Obama and all those pushing gun confiscation in our government are lying to the American people about what their real motives are. They know that more people are killed by hammers, knives, ball bats and many other methods they are killed by guns.” (WND)

“You know that more people are killed by hammers than are killed by guns, right? Well, would society function fine without hammers?” (HotAir)

“Far more people are killed by hammers and blunt instruments than guns. Are you going to cry deeply and longingly to ban hammers?” (RefugeForums)

 

It doesn’t matter that this isn’t actually true.  The point is that thanks to your obfuscation people will absolutely incorrectly, but very loudly, insist that hammers and fists kill more people than guns do.

Your next mission, should you choose to accept it, is to recharacterize tobacco as a natural health supplement.  Ready?  1… 2…

22 thoughts on “How to Make People Think More People are Killed with Hammers than with Guns”

  1. Leroy says:

    Wait, wait…you mean cigarettes are NOT a health food supplement???

    WTH!

    Back on path however…. note how many (few comparatively) are killed by rifles. And these could be single-shot rifles, bolt action rifles, lever-action rifles, pump-action rifles, semi-automatic rifles, or automatic fire rifles (or carbines if they fire a less-than-full power cartridge or a pistol cartridge). The last category (fully automatic) are true “assault rifles” (more appropriate yet would be “assault carbine”).

    Yet time and time again the Media folks refer to ANY rifle as an “assault rifle”. It is bad enough when the weapon physically resembles an AK-47 or M-16 / M-4 (but is strictly fully legal being strictly semiautomatic). But to see / hear of almost any type of long gun (or even high-capacity pistols) referred to as an “assault rifle” is not only ridiculous, but costs the legitimate REASONABLE gun control movement a lot of credibility. (Example: In several reports of the junior college shooting in Oregon it showed – in the background behind the journalist – a picture of the suspect holding a pistol in one hand and an “assault rifle” in the other…only it wasn’t an assault rifle or any type of rifle – it was a shotgun!)

    As a Constitutionalist, I support ALL of the Constitution, to include ALL of the Amendments. And specifically the Second Amendment as ruled upon by the SCOTUS in the Heller (and subsequent) rulings. These rulings DO permit the enactment of reasonable gun control provisions.

    As such, I am in favor of closing all loopholes to background checks – and tightening background check requirements (and enhancing the budget of the ATF so that background checks can be investigated and prosecuted if falsehoods presented in statements given).

    As to limiting magazine capacity… meh. I don’t see it accomplishing that much. A criminal shooter can always carry extra magazines for semi-auto firearms (speed loaders for revolvers) and / or additional guns (as did the Oregon shooter who brought six guns but left three in the car and entered the school with three – two pistols and a rifle; stalking the rifle, which was NOT an assault rifle, unused, in one of the first rooms that he entered and using only a pistol).

    For some more relevant statistics, in 2013 there were 11,208 homicide deaths by firearms – and 21,175 suicide deaths by firearms.

    Now as a long-term police officer, I can assure you that people determined to commit suicide are NOT going to be deterred by gun control laws (or even eliminating all firearms). In 2010 there were 38,364 reported suicides (many go unreported if they are things like elderly overdoses, etcetera… And I do wish that these stats were all more easily compiled under the same years, that was not something that I could readily do).

    While it would appear that somewhat over half of suicides are performed with firearms nationally, it was my personal experience (in a couple score or so of suicide cases) that firearms were used in slightly less than 1/2 the cases (and by a woman only once). Popular choices included intentional drug overdosing, carbon monoxide poisoning, hanging (only had two cases of women hanging themselves), “wrist cutting”, and (in two cases) intentional crashing of cars (both times into bridge abutments).

    Now to have to backtrack to 2004 (for better accurate statistical input), for Causes of Death for PRESENTABLE DEATHS – deaths by firearms were 31,940 (11,101 homicide, suicides 19,796, accidents 852, and undetermined – likely suicide – 822) or 1.3% of Cause of Death (and ranked 9th (but dropped to 10th by 2010… And still gradually declining). This is still an inaccurate assessment however as Suicides of all causes are much higher – closer to 40,000 so much higher up the Cause of Death listing. While close to only 1/3 were gun homicide deaths (62% of firearms deaths were suicides). So therefore dropping gun homicides well out of the Top Ten Causes of Death in the United States (2004… but I would be shocked if numbers were drastically changed – other than gun homicides likely mildly declining since 2010 as rates of violent crime have been on the decline as reported even on this blog site).

    Top causes:

    1. Preventable Medical Errors – specially if including those outside hospital settings (210-480,000 people. 23.1%)

    2. Smoking Tobacco (435,000 people – 18.1%)

    3. Complications of Obesity (111,909 – 4.6%)

    4. Alcohol related medical conditions (85,000 – 3.5%)

    5. Infectious Disease (75,000 – 3.1%… talking things like lack of vaccinations here)

    6. Toxic agent poisoning (55,000 – 2.3%… things like pesticides, cracking toxins,radon, etcetera)

    7. Traffic Collisions (43,000 – 1.8%)

    8. Preventable Colorectal Cancers (41,400 – 1.7%)

    9. All Firearm Related Deaths (31,940 – 1.3%… see above commentary which shows that gun suicides would likely be 10th or 11th, with ALL suicides being likely 8th; and gun homicides around 1/2 of 1%).

    10. Sexually transmitted diseases (20,000 – 0.8%)

    11. Deaths from Non Suicidal Drug Abuse (17,000 – 0.7%)

    Let’s see. Since Alcohol causes about 7 times as many deaths as do gun homicides and about 2 1/2 or more deaths than ALL firearm deaths, it seems more apparent that first we should work on a Constitutional Amendment to prohibit the manufacturing, sale, and possession of alcohol.

    Wait.

    We already tried that.

    It didn’t work. If anything it caused the explosion of organized crime, the flourishing of that crime – and (worse) at attitude of disdain by (otherwise) law abiding citizens toward this Prohibition.

    You see the same thing in recreational drug prohibitions (especially as relates to marijuana and psychedelic drugs).

    And you’d see the same thing (likely worse) with excessive gun control.

    IMHO.

  2. Dave says:

    Leroy — I learned much from your comment, well said. And a good point about prohibition, whether drugs, alcohol or guns.

    I agree with Jim that stats are easy to manipulate as he has demonstrated, but I see evidence in the “all over the internet” comments posted above that there is an even easier way. Just make the statement that “more people are killed by hammers and bats than by the weapons the anti-gunners are trying to ban” and people, not being very good listeners in the first place, will not comprehend that the weapons being spoken of are not “all” weapons, just the much smaller category of weapons they are trying to ban.

    It’s probably a true statement, but careless repetition and distortion is a much faster way to do what the graphs above indicate.

    1. Leroy says:

      Thanks.

      And, I agree with you.

      And I agree with Jim also in principle.

      What those hammer / fist / bats people (who are really trying to make a subconscious tie-in to the listener specifically about assault rifles – which kill VERY FEW) are doing isn’t right. It is not only playing with stats, but playing with words.

      But unfortunately, too often, BOTH sides do it. (Which was what I was demonstrating as an example). Being up front and truthful with ALL the facts and processes at work is the best bet.

      To do more than REASONABLE restrictions to firearm possession and carry (say an outright banning or ban everything but specific target guns) would require a Constitutional Amendment. (I really believe that a great many gun control proponents have never read the SCOTUS ruling in the Heller decision (2008) or the follow-up McDonald decision (2010). If so, they would know the involved limitations.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald_v._Chicago

      Polls have repeatedly shown a significant number of Americans supporting the current Second Amendment as ruled upon. There most assuredly is NOT the super majority support that would be necessary for a new Amendment.

      As this blog itself has noted, violent crimes (which would include GUN crimes) have steadily gone DOWN.

      Even with that…

      http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/17/despite-lower-crime-rates-support-for-gun-rights-increases/

      http://www.ijreview.com/2015/04/301406-new-poll-shows-major-shift-in-how-americans-view-the-2nd-amendment-and-gun-control/

      http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/09/14/cnn-poll-registered-voters-continue-revolt-against-more-gun-control/

      Of strong notice, on a somewhat slightly liberal oriented MSM source:

      https://www.thefederalistpapers.org/second-amendment-2/msnbcs-gun-control-poll-on-kroger-shoppers-who-carry-guns-blows-up-in-their-face

      And the comment of this responder is.critical:

      “Being Pro-Constitution and Pro-2nd amendment if I have a legal right to carry, have the required training and license yes. Criminals have neither the training nor the license and will do it anyway.”

      As a long term police officer, I can assure you that people who have a criminal mindset are NOT suddenly become law abiding if it involves some new gun control law (they don’t obey the current gun laws).

      A crackhead who burglarized houses for money and things to hock for his heroin habit and – if discovered – is NOT going back to jail and will if necessary kill if discovered in the course of the burglary is NOT going to say, “Aw, crap, I can’t get a gun though – cause that would be breaking the law” (and ones with that attitude will gladly grab a butcher’s knife or the hunting knife they brought along as they don’t have enough money yet to buy a street gun or find one in a burglary WILL gladly slice and dice his victims that walk in on him).

      I know of a couple local newspapers that thought that it would be neat to do a FOI request and get information from the local officials as to WHO had obtained Concealed Carry Permits… and then published that info (with their addresses) in the newspaper! Well, people who carry concealed usually own more than one gun. Guess where strings of daytime house burglaries then flared up?

      Yep.

      Like handing out candy to kids.

      Several states now make that information exempt from FOI record release.

      JUST USE COMMON SENSE, REAL LOGIC… AND THE TRUTH!

      1. Dave says:

        The Pew Research link you provide reminds me of what I hear from time to time about incarceration rates increasing “despite” an overall drop in violent crime. Some folks don’t see the correlation, that is, perhaps crime drops because more perps are in prison. I don’t know if the two are related, but could it be that an increase of guns and gun “consciousness” may be partly responsible for decreasing violent crime?

        People for the last 50 years seem to increasingly believe that government at the Federal and State level have little real interest in their well being. The dramatic increase in gun sales lately may be more a result of the way people feel rather than what they think.

        1. Leroy says:

          RE: “The dramatic increase in gun sales lately may be more a result of the way people feel rather than what they think.”

          Absolutely.

          The media (mainstream as well as conservative ones – as well as the gazillion rightwing Blogs, etcetera) blasts away (pun intended) at gun violence incidents.

          It is “sexy” and “scary” (as compared to something that is MUCH more likely to kill you… “slowly set down that soda pop and bag of chips and back away” just doesn’t get it – but you are about eight times as likely to die from that than you are gun violence).

          So people (law abiding citizens types) do become more fearful and concerned… And so become STRONGER supporters of the Second Amendment – and many more of them.

          Unfortunately, I do not see a correlation between more gun ownership and increased incarceration. Or a lessening of violent crimes due to increased incarceration. In the tracking that I have done, privatization of prison systems has created a requirement that prison have larger populations. Those who are prison owners / operators have a LOT of clout.

          Therefore increased incarceration tends to e mainly due to minor (more often non violent) criminals being incarcerated. Minor drug possessions that previously would have resulted in probation. Other minor property crimes. I think it was a recent Ohio case where an older guy shoplifted a spoon to eat his cereal. Off-and-on homeless guy who lived with people here and there. Did have a minor criminal record. No crimes of violence. Unfortunately, he had a couple prior (very minor value) misdemeanor shoplifting convictions, so this became a felony – and he was convicted and incarcerated… for a $1.20 spoon.

          1. Dave says:

            Helpful info, Leroy. And “slowly set down that soda pop…” Now that’s a hoot!

  3. Quinton Underwood says:

    My thoughts on this is: It is next to impossible for a person to protect the 2nd amendment, his family, friends, or himself without the means to do so. Our present government does not want us to have that ability. The individual himself or herself needs to give a lot of thought to this subject. There needs to be the training and mindset and this has to continue after the decision.

    In Conclusion:

    “I make a living by what I get, I make a life by what I give”

    1. Leroy says:

      I disagree with your assessment of what this government wants.

      What do you mean by “this government”?

      The lame duck coming-to-a-close Obama administration? There’s nothing that he can do unless Congress passed gun control legislation.

      So you mean the GOP-controlled Congress (both Senate and House)?

      The conservative oriented SCOTUS which made the Heller ruling (2008) and the follow-up McDonald ruling (2010) that were absolutely favorable to gun ownership and even that the Second Amendment has one of its primary reasons for being in the Constitution as the right of self defense. Ergo making any attempt at legislation a moot point as it would rather quickly be ruled unconstitutional!

      I hope that your later part of the comment refers to concealed carry and possible use of deadly force… because it could sound like you are taking a non existent problem (but one blown up as a supposed problem by rightwing fanatics) and making veiled suggestion for the establishment of treasonous militia type groups.

      I am going to assume the former…

      1. Dave says:

        Leroy, you mentioned a couple of newspapers that published where the guns are and are not. Can a government do bad things with the info they gather on gun ownership on a much larger and more mischievous scale?

        I think you’re quite right that it’s blown out of proportion, but as long as there is someone, small percentage that they are, who states publicly that they would like to see “all” firearms removed from the public domain, the fear of such is enough to give rise to militias and fuel resistance to registration and background checks. It goes back to how people feel, not what they think. If they get the idea that there are things those on the far far far far left (or right for that matter) want to do to them but being armed will prevent it, then they will be ready for Armageddon.

        This is not a veiled suggestion for the establishment of treasonous militia type groups, but it’s my take on why things get blown up to be a problem. A corollary might be the left’s fear that abortion will have regulation and women will be forced (barefoot of course) back to the kitchen. There may be a handful of conservatives who would be fine with that, but like removal of the guns, it ain’t gonna happen. That doesn’t keep presidential contenders from campaigning on the issue, and making culture war battles over it.

        An aside from this, but presidential races are interesting mostly because each side will shine the light on whatever people fear the most regardless of how unfounded the fear really is.

  4. Leroy says:

    “Can a government do bad things with the info they gather on gun ownership on a much larger and more mischievous scale?”

    Not Constitutionally. What possibly could they do? The government is the one that is PRIMARILY bound by the Heller decision and the McDonald decision.

    As an example, Obama’s personal comments as to a perceived need for more gun control is just that… a personal opinion. Might it sway a certain portion of the people. Possibly. So what? Even if you had a very pro gun control president and a very pro gun control legislature, so what? They could pass one thousand gun control laws, and any deemed to be unreasonable per Heller / McDonald would be tossed.

    Maybe so many popular political types talk up gun control that they get 2/3rd the voters to agree to a new Constitutional Amendment that would in effect overturn the current 2nd Amendment? Well, then THAT does become the law as per the Constitution. It will never happen though. Polls repeatedly show that a great many Progressives, Liberals, and Independents do not favor any further gun control OTHER THAN CLOSING SOME GLARING LOOPHOLES… and are comfortable with Heller / McDonald.

    Now if you are talking about “the ZOG / UN gummit” with black helicopters and Mossad agents and UN paramilitaries swooping in and doing covert gun grabs… then you’ll have to go bark up another tree cause that dog just don’t hunt!

    But, yes, ALL KINDS OF TOTAL BULLSHIT will be spread by all the sides on this issue. I read somewhere (and I believe that it was here on Irregular Times) where someone spoke of “No Gun Zones” that have been already established in this country. That was such a nauseous lie that I felt like vomiting… but there will be some (who deep down WANT TO BELIEVE that type stuff) that will swallow it like a tasty morsel.

    1. Leroy says:

      Here’s a very good example.

      This involves a mass shooting in Australia (1996 I believe) and their Prime Minister’s response which led to MAJOR gun control.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/australias-ex-pm-changed-gun-laws-2015-10?nr_email_referer=1&utm_content=PoliticsSelect&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_campaign=BI%20Politics%202015-10-13&utm_term=Politics%20Select

      Scary, huh?

      Except…..

      The big difference is that Australia has NO Constitution that contains a BILL OF RIGHTS (where the Second Amendment resides).

      That’s why it couldn’t happen here.

      1. Dave says:

        Thanks. Good stuff.

  5. Victor Erimita says:

    Like other articles purporting to debunk the (FBI-generated) statistics about deaths caused by guns versus hammers, this piece negligently or intentionally misses the point. To my knowledge no one has claimed that more people are killd with hammers than with all types of guns. The statistic is that more people are killed by hammers, clubs and blunt intstruments than long gun…rifles and especially so-called “assault rifles.”

    The relevance of this is that many anti-gun advocates use the mass murderers who have used guns that have cosmetic features similar to, but that do not function like, military firearms called assault rifles as a focus of their call for “sensible gun laws.” But a small number of people are actually killed by such weapons compared to handguns, and it appears, hammers and blunt instruments. So if the real concern is about murders in general, why the focus on those committed with a particular type of weapon that accounts for a small percentage of murders? The answer is because distortion of the facts and an appeal to emotions is a more effective persuasive tactic than the truth.

    In any case, this article defeats a claim no one ever made to begin with.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Victor,

      Actually read the friggin’ article, and you’ll references to a number of people using the blanket term “guns” with this claim.

  6. Bryan Case says:

    My friends and I put a hand gun on a table, we sat so everyone surrounded the gun, two hours later we decided the gun wasn’t going to kill any of us, go figure. People kill not guns. How about cars, maybe we should ban them, they seem to kill just like a gun. People are idiots, giving up something that can protect your family is plain stupid. Take away guns and the criminals will still habe them .

  7. Common Sense says:

    It clearly says “rifles” dumbass. And the lying (or stupid) media classifies all rifles as “assault rifles”. And ur dumb enough to believe that, ur prob the one dumb enough not to the diff in all of it and are the one fooled like u describe in ur article

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Look at the actual quotes of what people have actually written, my courteous friend. They write “guns.”

  8. Doug Book says:

    If there is anything dishonest about the debate you have framed, it’s your article. I’ve not seen any claims that more people are killed with hammers, clubs, rocks or in swimming pools than with firearms. It is, however, quite true that more people are homicide victims of blunt instruments that by “assault rifle.” It is the fact that this does not comfortably fit the narrative of the left–that so-called “assault rifles” are responsible for the bad things which happen in the United States–which causes people like you to ignore the truth.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      If you “haven’t seen any claims,” then you haven’t read this article, Doug. I’ve cited and sourced multiple such claims. You may not LIKE that I have, but your reaction is a separate issue.

  9. Tired of the LIES! says:

    Fact is what the left want banned the most is the type of guns used less then the number of people murdered by blunt objects and peoples own body. Another thing is how large of a number is it that already have easy ability to get there hands on guns any gun they want weather they are banned or not? All these gangs sure ant going to go hand over theres because of some new law! Good chance 99.99% of them are already carrying a gun illegally.. So whats it to them to break yet another when they already have no fear of committing one of the worst crimes of murder? So really is it fair to add in the gang murders into such a stat? Hard call to make ant it? well atlest if your trying to get a real grip on things and not just be another gun hatting idiot! Also i know of for a fact of atlest one instance where they listed a gun was used in a murder when infact the guy never shot the people only doors and walls and actually burned the people. How much can we really trust these stats in the first place? sure there was a gun there it did get fired but never actually hit anyone. This was a local case and scary enough i knew the crazy POS that did it and his hole dang family sad fully enough. Lucky us the guy is rotting in prison and most of his family has moved out of state since that happen. Back to the gang thing for a sec… Most gangs revolve around illegal drugs right? how could you destroy most of these gangs with just a few simple law changes? It is simple! legalize the damn drugs!!!! BOOM just destroyed most the gangs in the US instantly because they have no reason to hide then thus no reason to really hurt innocent people. Do we really care of some drug nut that will do drugs weather they are illegal or not dies of over dose? Is that really a fair trade off to the innocent that die because they must hide it? Or the gang members that want out but cant because they know to much? There would be no reason to kill someone leaving the gang if there was nothing illegal about what they are doing! So really let the stupid fucks kill them selves……. let the decent hard working people not have to worry or the guys that want out of the life a way to do it! CRAP i forgot most of the left wing likes people dying…. Rambling here off topic a bit. But now how low would them numbers go if you legalized all drugs ruining the cartels and gangs? Damn good chance it will fall like a rock and let the dumb shits doing drugs kill them selves off. As long as it dont hurt others what is the problem huh? Same with smoking and drinking…. Dont hurt anyone but your self doing them things i dont give a shit what you do to your self…………

  10. Bob says:

    The point was to make a comparison between murders with hammers, clubs.etc. to rifles including assault rifles to show that banning them doesn’t solve anything. No one stated anything about handguns or tried to make the point that there are less murders from all guns than hammers. So, don’t twist things to support your agenda.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      There’s the people who I’ve explicitly quoted here, Bob. Look at what they said.

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