Ever since the tragic shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night, legions of celebrities who have very little knowledge of guns, criminal psychology, mental disorders, or any helpful information have taken to Twitter or gone on television to offer their “solutions” to the problem of mass shootings in America.
The latest such incident of ill-informed advice, in the sports world, comes from New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.
On Tuesday, Payton responded to the heinous Las Vegas attack by tweeting claims that, since 1968, more Americans have been killed by guns than have been killed on all battlefields throughout the whole of the American experience.
— Sean Payton (@SeanPayton) October 3, 2017
Note how he followed the claim with the hashtag “common sense.” Ironically, if we look at this death claim comparison via common sense we quickly see it is a a facade.
For example, the number of Americans killed on the Civil War battlefield alone was approximately 620,000 and the number killed in World II was 418,000. From those two wars alone we are already at 1,038,000. Add the approximate 115,000 from WWI, the 35,000 from Korea, and the 58,000 from Vietnam and we are at 1,246,000 without even considering the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Iraq, and others.
And it is important to remember is the the military deaths are combat deaths. If we add in non-combat related military deaths the numbers would surge. Yet the figures Payton tweeted for gun deaths are not limited to gun crime–i.e., gun homicides. Instead, they include firearms-related suicides as well. The source for Payton’s tweet is the New York Times and the NYT’s inclusion of suicides allows them to swell gun death figures by 63 to 66 percent.
Politifact discovered his when they reviewed the NYT piece, then reported:
These figures refer to all gunfire-related deaths, not just homicides. In fact, homicides represent a minority of gun deaths, with suicides comprising the biggest share. In 2013, according to CDC data, 63 percent of gun-related deaths were from suicides, 33 percent were from homicides, and roughly 1 percent each were from accidents, legal interventions and undetermined causes.
The bottom line, the claims that Payton calls “Crazy statistic!!” epitomize the bad habit of comparing apples to oranges. The gun numbers are overblown by 63-66 percent and that gives the false impression that American society is more dangerous than the battlefield.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.