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NRA Safety Program Hits St. Louis

Looks like St. Louis Today is trying to say nice things about the NRA in advance of the upcoming convention which I will be attending and live blogging:

The NRA says fatal firearm accidents among children in the Eddie Eagle age group — preschool through third grade — have dropped 80 percent since the program began 19 years ago.

Good. But from there:

No local figures are available, but earlier this year, two children shot and killed two others in separate incidents. Timberlyn Terrell, 2, died in January when a child under 5 found a loaded handgun and shot her in the head in a Venice apartment. A few days later, an 8-year-old boy found a shotgun under a couch at his home in Edmundson and killed his 3-year-old brother.

Throw in a little local anecdotes to cast doubt on the claim.  And of course, our friends at the Brady Campaign:

On average, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a young person was killed by a firearm once every three hours in 2002, the last year for which statistics were available.

That year, the organization said, guns were involved in the murder, suicide or accidental death of 2,893 young people.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady group, credited the NRA for promoting gun safety.  But he criticized the gun group’s tactics.

“It’s their version of Joe Camel,” he said of Eddie Eagle.

Because Eddie Eagle is all about making kids buy guns, right?  How can someone even say that with a straight face?  Overall this is at least a decent attempt at a balanced article.  But the media should not take either the NRA or the Brady’s numbers at face value.  The Brady’s have been caught counting people up to 24 years old as children, and here they throw statistics on murder and suicide in to obscure the fact that gun accidents among children are exceedingly rare.

I’m not arguing that murder and suicide of young people is not a legitimate social problem, but it’s not one likely to be solved by any of the Brady’s prescriptions.  But why debate that when it’s easier to jumble statistics together to create an impression that accidents are a bigger problem than they really are?

One Response to “NRA Safety Program Hits St. Louis”

  1. Ahab says:

    [sarcasm]Yes, let’s follow the Team Brady’s example and effectively end firearms education. In fact, lets make firearms even more mysterious and secretive, so that kids will only learn about them from the movies. I figure since that’s what we do with sex education; and kids aren’t at all curious about sex than it should work just fine with guns.[/sarcasm]

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