The Machine That Kills The Most Americans Is…
“Alec, I’ll take ‘Three-Letter Controversy’ for $800.”
“This item kills thousands of Americans every year. It’s easy for people in Montana to legally acquire and operate one, but New Yorkers have a tougher time doing so and Londoners find it nearly impossible. Using one correctly was once considered to be a normal prerequisite of American manhood but in today’s campy culture it’s often satirized as a psychological substitute for the once-controversial but now societally-approved free and morally ambiguous usage of a substantial penis. Disparaging the ownership and abuse of this item on social media is the number-one pastime of non-beautiful women and twentysomething men who cannot bench press two hundred pounds. Robert Farago created a website about it.”
“Alec, this one’s a no-brainer. What is a gun?”
“I’m sorry. I’m afraid the correct answer is: What is a car? No, wait, I’m hearing from our backstage experts. Your answer is also correct.”
Firearms and automobiles have been the focus of the progressive kulturkampf in America since before most of TTAC’s readers and contributors were born. Many strange bedfellows are made in the process, and thus it is that the Atlantic finds itself in the position of praising the automobile for a very particular purpose.
The article is entitled America’s Top Killing Machine. The subheading deserves a close reading:
“Gun deaths are poised to surpass automobile deaths in the United States this year.”
My initial reaction to this was visceral: “It’s January 12th of this year, you moron.” In what world can we accurately predict the outcome of hundreds of thousands of complex incidents eleven and a half months before the final tally is taken? If this kind of logic-allergic thinking is worthy of publication in The Atlantic, I have a few more stories for them:
“Heads are poised to surpass tails in coin tosses this year.”
“The number 33 is poised to kick major ass in lotteries this year.”
“Jack Baruth is poised to win the Formula 1 WDC.”
Where’s this factoid come from? Oh, wait: it’s from the Center For American Progress, the same people who think that HIV is rampant in prisons because police seek out and target HIV-positive individuals for arrest and prosecution. I can’t wait for them to explain to me that wasp nests are full of wasps because the patriarchy is kidnapping free-ranging wasps and placing them there. (If any of you care, a far more likely explanation for high HIV rates in prison is the fact that about one in twenty inmates reports being raped in a given year, often by HIV-positive fellow inmates.)
The CFAP’s predictions aren’t worth the paper on which the Starbucks cups consumed by their over-privileged creators are printed, but they align with the desired story so they’re taken as fact. That, by the way, is the biggest problem with the American media in 2015: we regularly skip fact-checking on things that confirm our own beliefs. If you sent me a press release entitled “The Viper TA 2.0 cures cancer in children” I wouldn’t even think of calling anybody for an opposing opinion. If you sent me one with completely factual content like “Licking the hot exhaust pipes of a Viper can burn the tongues of children”, I’d call you a racist or some other word the meaning of which has been degraded by rabid and ignorant usage to simply mean “bad” and bury it under my Recycle Bin.
The Atlantic is eager to push the message of the day, which is simply “Guns (in private hands) should be restricted further”, so they have to temporarily share a bed with the people who have lauded the increasing safety of modern automobiles. They don’t have to like it, however. Can you spot the ridiculous excuse-making going on here:
The number of fatalities on the roads in the United States has been going down for years as fewer young people drive, car safety technology improves, and even as gas prices climb. (Lower gas prices are correlated with more deaths. A $2 drop in gasoline is linked to some 9,000 additional road fatalities per year in the United States, NPR recently reported.) Though even as fatal transportation incidents dropped in 2013, they accounted for two in five fatalities in the workplace in the United States that year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Did you spot it? Let me give you a paragraph with which to compare it:
The number of new chicks Jack hits it off with every year has been going down for a few years as sunspots appear, Jack advances into a remarkably unflattering late middle age, and even as new Terence Howard/Taraji P. Henson projects reach television. Though even as Jack slows down, he’s still accounting for two in five ruined marriages in Central Ohio that year, according to a random post on Facebook.
In other words: Cars are becoming really safe, but that’s off-message. The idea that the automotive industry is proactively creating safer vehicles has to be glossed over at all costs. If cars come to be accepted as both really safe and impressively efficient, it becomes more impossible to get rid of them and usher in the utopia of the future in which everyone lives above a bodega in Williamsburg and telecommutes to their job doing social justice reporting for Horticulture Weekly or something like that. It also hampers the creation of a public mandate for the government to regulate the living shit out of passenger vehicles until they all look like Chiwetel Ejiofor’s CUV in “Children Of Men”.
As if that admitting the reduction in the loathsomeness of the privately-owned automobile wasn’t difficult enough for The Atlantic, it turns out there’s another problem: gun deaths are going down, too, even as the population increases! Ugh. How are we going to get a public policy heavily regulating cars and guns if they keep becoming more benign? It’s a hard-knock life. However, given that much of the editorial material in this country written concerning automobiles and firearms consists entirely of appeals to emotion, it’s not terribly unusual for that fact to find itself simply omitted from most of that material.
There’s just one more somersault to be performed, and this time I’ll help you by replacing the useless posturing with ellipses so you can focus:
CDC data on firearms offers a more complicated picture, in part because of how the agency categorizes causes of death. Gun deaths can include suicides… the number of firearm homicides dropped dramatically over a 20-year period ending in 2011… suicides now account for the majority of gun deaths, according to Pew.
So, just so we’re clear despite massive efforts on all sides to make it unclear, the majority of “gun deaths” are suicides. Note, also, that only in the case of firearms are suicides ever added to the death toll by our servile media. A DOT survey of deaths on long-span bridges would be unlikely to include people jumping off them. When you ask your doctor how dangerous a medication is, he doesn’t include the suicides assisted by that drug in those deaths. Teenagers use Tylenol to kill themselves but I’ve never heard anybody suggest that Tylenol is responsible for suicide, or call a suicide a “Tylenol death”. Sixteen hundred people have died jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge but the media never refers to the Golden Gate as “the deadly bridge”.
Can we effectively recast the entire Atlantic article into a single, mostly unbiased paragraph? I believe we can. Let’s try:
“It is possible that deaths where a firearm is involved will overtake deaths where a car is involved in the year 2015. Both categories have seen significant declines over the past twenty years. In vehicular deaths, improvements in passive safety have been a major contributor to that decline. In firearms deaths, decreases in violent crime have been a major contributor. The majority of firearms-related deaths are self-inflicted. The majority of automotive-related deaths are not self-inflicted. Which means that unintentional deaths by car are still much more common than unintentional deaths by gun. Every one of those deaths remains regrettable and unnecessary.”
Statements like that one don’t drive a particular agenda, but they are effective platforms on which to start building solutions. Statements like the ones peppering the Atlantic article are actively harmful to the process of finding solutions to either automotive-related deaths or firearms-related deaths, because they focus on predetermined conclusions. You can’t do science that way, you can’t improve the human condition that way, and it’s depressing that some of our country’s best minds continue to work that way. Luckily for all of us, there are still people who work on improving crash resistance and ameliorating the root causes of violent crime anyway. There are still people who are focused on truth, not agenda. Those people, like Woody Guthrie’s guitar, are machines that kill — and they kill everything from fascism to socialism.
Just a reminder of our comment policy: You can attack me, you can attack public institutions or figures, but be respectful to each other — JB
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- Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
- ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
- Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that
- John Williams Sounds like a Burnout Special you can put together on any 5.0 F150. Whoever said this was Cars and Coffee bait is right on the money.
- ToolGuy Question: F-150 FP700 ( Bronze or Black) supercharger kit is legal in 50 states, while the Mustang supercharger kit is banned in California -- why??
...suicides acccount for the majority of gun deaths acccording to pew, but homocides account for the majority of gun deaths according to pew-pew... ...thanks, i'll be here all weekend...
mkirk / January 15th, 2015 at 5:40 pm re: "...carrying on post is a no go ..." wonder why that is? one might think rationally and come to conclude that our fighting forces should be sufficiently intelligent and certainly experienced with firearms to conduct themselves in a safe, civil manner while in possession of their weapons in a non-combative environment, since they ARE highly trained, professional combatants - and yet they are still not permitted to carry on-post. if our own military leadership does not have sufficient confidence in the appropriate behavior of their own troops when it comes to weapons, how can the behavior of a vast, disorganized, unmanageable, armed civilian population ever be expected to behave any better?