(Not) Smarter Than a Bag Full of Hammers

One of the regular Polsters around here, "The realist," brings our attention to a gun rights debate at the University of Denver two weeks ago. The discussion is a reminder that some of our elected officials are, uh, less smart than others. Take Sen. Randy Baumgardner, for example, who gleefully used the newest gun lover talking point du jour: "hammers kill more people than guns." 

Elected officials often get handed talking points that they use without much thought to accuracy, but this nonsense about hammers is inexcusable. Not only is this talking point easily refutable, it's not even potentially believable; if you stop to think about this for, oh, 2 seconds, you'd quickly conclude that it can't be possible for hammers to cause more death than guns. But if that doesn't work for you, here's Salon's explanation (originally posted in early January):

Breitbart.com added some numbers to the assault hammer crisis, reporting last week that more people are killed every year with hammers than with rifles. Indeed, according to FBI’s online homicide database, 611 people were killed with “blunt objects” (including hammers and clubs) in 2009, compared to just 348 with “rifles.” This, Breitbart argues, shows that “Democrats’ feverish push to ban many different rifles” is bogus. The meme took off in the conservative blogosphere and quickly hit all the most prestigious sites: Fox Nation, World Net Daily (the birther one), Alex Jones’ site (the weirdly paranoid one), and even the John Birch Society’s magazine (the other weirdly paranoid one). Even CBS News wrote up the stat — without crediting Breitbart (or vice versa, it’s unclear which story was posted first)…

…Now, while rifles account for only a few hundred homicides every year, guns overall are responsible for many, many more murders — almost all of them. If you add up all the other methods used to kill people in 2011 (fire, drowning, poison, strangling, hammers, etc.), you get 4,081 non-gun homicides. That’s fewer than half of the 8,583 gun homicides. Guns killed more than 17 times more people than hammers and are responsible for nearly 70 percent of total murders. There’s a reason you don’t hear about mass hammering sprees. [Pols emphasis].

With the debate on guns still raging in the legislature, we would remind the likes of Sen. Baumgardner and others that if the statistic sounds ridiculous, there's usually a reason for that.

5 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Algernon Moncrief says:

    You hit the nail on the head.

  2. BlueCat says:

    So I guess they left out hand guns. I bet more people get killed by hammers than by muskets, too.  They really should make the name "The Stupid Party" official.

  3. Craig says:

    This guy is really stupid.  The smarter "Republicans" would know better than to paraphrase their talking points.  The smarter "Republicans" would know to say exactly what they were told to say: "Hammers kill more people than rifles."  This wouldn't have been a flat out lie.  It's just like Obama painted the tail of Air Force One with his campaign logo (since Obama occasionally flies on his campaign plane and any plane Obama flies on is Air Force One this isn't a lie either).  What it is is a statement intended to mislead the public into thinkng something that's not technically ture.  Not technically a lie, but intended to mislead.  Once you understand the difference, you know how "Republicans" get away with this all the damn time.  Of, and the fact that most of the MSM doesn't give a shit to research on their own, isn't smart enough to figure this out or are such panty waists that they won't point out the intention to mislead and state the facts.  I've finally gotten my "ditto head" brothers to stop feeding me this infuriating bull shit by asking them it that is the kind of logic they wanted their children to use when they were adults.  One admitted to me that he didn't and the other sputtered something about yes, which his 17 year old son sitting between us didn't believe for a second.

  4. skeptical citizen says:

    The National Hammer Association was quick to state that " hammers don't kill people, only people can kill people".

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