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