A recently posted video on YouTube has been making the rounds in conservative circles as it shows an eloquent 15-year-old girl giving a speech to Maryland legislators against gun control. The speech is well delivered and only has one major flaw: most of her points are shoddy arguments, at best, when looked at a little more critically.
To begin, an early piece of her opinion jumps out as a stretch of imagination considering reality.
You are not eliminating guns from society but eliminating our ability to protect our lives, liberty, and pursuits of happiness.
Actually, most people seem to be doing just fine living their lives and pursuing their happiness without guns in their possession. As has been reported in recent years, the number of gun owners in the U.S. has dropped and seems to be continuing in that direction as “the number of households owning guns has declined from almost 50% in 1973 to just over 32% in 2010.” Not only is her claim an opinion (as is mine, admittedly) but it’s one that is weakening over time (not statistically the case with mine).
Then comes one of the most irrational claims I have ever heard in defense of gun rights.
And it is currently more than twice as likely for you to be killed in Chicago as in the Afghan War. For the past 11 years and 4 months in the Afghan War 2,166 people have been killed. Now in only 8 years in Chicago, 4,265 people have been killed and 3,371 of them were from being shot.
Wow, that Afghan place sounds like a magical land of safety for Americans compared to Chicago. Twice as likely to get killed in Chicago? Whole numbers are fun but completely illogical when comparing two places, particularly when the populations differ wildly. Let’s take a look at the numbers.
I’m going to be incredibly generous here and use the highest American troop levels in Afghanistan, right at 100k, and only the given population of the city of Chicago, 2.7 million, and not the larger number of the Chicagoland area, well over 9 million. By doing this, I’m swinging the numbers in favor of her argument just for the sake of showing how ridiculous the claim still is.
So, assuming 100k Americans were in Afghanistan during the entire period (not true), and 2,166 were killed, you get a death rate of 21.66 per 1k people. In Chicago during the time given, you get a death rate of 1.58 per 1k. Therefore, using the most generous numbers possible, you were actually 13.7 times more likely to get killed in Afghanistan than Chicago. Feel free to run the numbers with more realistic estimates of population if you want but I’m choosing to be nice.
There is also the ridiculous claim that Chicago is a great example of the failure of gun control because it’s restrictive laws have not been very effective. To which I would counter, what idiot doesn’t know how to drive outside the city limits when they want a gun? Gun advocates do realize it was a city policy and not a national or even state one, don’t they?
As this article points out, “Statistics show that more than half of the guns seized by Chicago police in the last 12 years came from other states. A University of Chicago study found that more than 1,300 guns confiscated by police since 2008 were purchased at a single store just outside city limits. More than 270 were used in crimes.” No gun control policy would or will ever work in a major U.S. city alone when it is so easy to purchase so close to the area. It is just as silly to pass this type of measure at the city level as it is to claim this is an example of how gun control doesn’t work.