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home : opinions : letters May 26, 2016

4/18/2013 8:09:00 AM
Letter: Talk about misplaced priorities


In a recent editorial, The VI proclaims, “Boston bomb blasts an assault on all Americans.”


Wasn’t Columbine an assault on all Americans? Aurora? Killeen? The Texas Tower? Connecticut? Tucson? Virginia Tech? The two kids murdered in a drive-by shooting in Phoenix over the past weekend?

The list goes on and on.

We can no longer go anywhere in public with any assurance of safety yet people nonchalantly accept such imprisonment as the price of 2nd Amendment “Freedom.”

Conversely, 3,000 die in the 9/11 attacks and the US angrily wages a global ‘war on ‘terror,’ and initiates in two wars costing trillions.

On the Home front, many Americans cower in fear and allow -- no, demand! -- 4th Amendment Constitutional Rights to be abdicated in the name of their “security.”

Since 9/11, 30 -- that is thirty, three-zero, 3 x 10 -- Americans have died from acts of terror. However, there have been approximately 130,000 Americans murdered by gunshot; over 3,000 have been killed by gunfire just in the past three months.

Yet, all we hear is the collective yawn of the gun-violence jaded US citizenry or the far-right’s demands for the easy availability of more guns for everyone.

It does not matter to us.

The comic strip character Pogo foretold the future when he said, “We have met the Enemy and He is us.”

Phil Falbo


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

The price we pay to be almost Free.

Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Article comment by: P F


I find it impossible that a manipulative gov't using a complicit media could convince 20 parents their school-age children were mass murdered, when, in fact no murders took place.

Your point is well taken, but, that is waaaayyyy tooooo extreme, even for the conspiracy fans.

Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

@ P F:

Thanks to oddly shallow and conflicting reports by news media and government officials, the belief of your friend remains a plausible possibility. Paranoia is being stoked with conflicting 'facts', and paranoiacs tend to conclude what they fear the most to be most likely possibility.

Do you remember the McMartin Preschool child molestation prosecution back in the 1980s, when supposedly-intelligent adults were convinced that broom-riding teachers had for years been performing satanic sex rituals as described by children blatantly manipulated by government 'investigative psychologists'?

It was a prime example of how a manipulating government with a complicit media can pervert people's perception of reality.


Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: P F

@ nutso

I have a libertarian friend from Texas who believes that the CT school shooting was faked by the government using "crisis actors." (I never heard of them before).

"Overwhelming evidence" is effective only if the observing person has a brain that can at least be 'whelmed.'

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Ya lost me.Are we still talking about the amount of brain cells we lose in a shoot out or
how many drunks drive.
This gets so confusing.Flip a coin already.

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

"...everyone believes what they want to believe."

There are many things I would rather not believe, but the evidence is overwhelming.

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: Don't it make you crazy?!

MJ, what about uber conservative former Guv, Fife Symington whose partner-in-crime, Charles Keating spent 10 years in prison? Good thing Fife saved Clinton from drowning and later got pardoned!
Or our current AG whose SEC fraud conviction denies him ANY association with the stock market? Or, SB1070s passage with the Guv's chief adviser being a private prison lobbyist? Or the fertilizer plant owner in TX that killed 16 and blew up the neighborhood due to TX's lack of regulation? Or The felon, Rick Scott as guv of FL? And then there's Watergate. And now, Andrew Thomas attempts to recycle himself after his misdeeds...ahahahahahaha

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: Don't it make you crazy?!

Australia took away everyone's guns and haven't had a massacre since. That was a decade ago.

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: P F


Dwelling on the obvious, everyone believes what they want to believe.

You, too.

As others have pointed out, one can prove anything they want with stats.

Posted: Monday, April 29, 2013
Article comment by: David in Cottonwood

@ Phil

So the sum total of your argument is "I, Phil Falbo, believe what I want to believe, and accept the data presented by proven biased sources over the factual data collected by one of our highest law enforcement organizations."

Got it. Thank you for clearing it up.

Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013
Article comment by: M J

Re: Falbo
Thanks ...... but my Mother died some time ago ......

Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Falbo

@ M J-- Actually, it says a lot about me as it speaks to the unbelievable levels of patience, tolerance and understanding in me. (humor)

On the other hand, keep in mind that your friend associates with a crazy person.

Moms are like that, though.

@ itsy-- it is called the 'practice' of medicine and I'd be delighted if they stopped prohibition.

IMHO, the databases already exist in the form of the Social Media people willingly give personal info to, the government need do nothing.

@ David

What I glean from your info is that somewhere between 108,000 and 2.5 million violent crimes a year might be prevented by the presence of a gun.

Wide range, that, and 'might' a telling word.

As the Cato Study report states, "Outside of criminology circles, relatively few people can reasonably estimate how often people use guns to fend off criminal attacks," and, "...The high-end figures on defensive gun uses may well suffer from exaggeration or outright lies."

Hmmm, 'exaggeration or outright lies." One can prove anything they want with statistics.

But, you make a point and the Study is an interesting read.

The Cato Study documents 4,000 defensive gun incidents over an 8 year period.

Not that that is all of the actual events, but, that averages to 500 events a year.

One in 88 Americans owns a gun there are 310,000,000 million guns owned.

Depending on which source one uses for murder statistics, there are approximately 11,500 murders a year by gunshot.

That, to me, is the pertinent statistic.

That fact must be okay to many.

Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013
Article comment by: itsy bitsy Spider

Well, let's see, Mr. Falbo, those figures look close enough. So 11 times 200,000 is 2,200,000 minus 130,347. Gee, that's only 2,069,653 more deaths by hospital than by guns.

But seriously, we all know those homicides are concentrated in the inner cities of major urban areas (google gunshot demographics), and many suspect drug prohibition is the major culprit. Why not try ending prohibition before creating national registries and databases that could easily be misused as they have in other advanced, industrialized nations? Personally, I wouldn't want the NRA getting its hands on something like that. Would you?

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Article comment by: David in Cottonwood

Ok Phil, my apologies for questioning the 130,000 number. I misread your original post and had understood you to be claiming that 130,000 had been murdered with a firearm since September 2011, which would have been simply absurd. The use of inarticulate slang is generally discouraged in serious debate precisely because of the opportunity for that kind of misunderstanding. I do however still believe your number is inflated.

With that out of the way let me address the rest.

First off, I notice you've changed your numbers a bit. Back in January of this year, the 16th or 17th I believe, you were claiming on these pages that there were '12,000' murders with (not 'by') some sort of firearm each year, and if memory serves, you were claiming to get your numbers from the CDC. Now I see you've narrowed down those numbers a bit by using another source - gunpolicy.org.', a foreign site run by the University of Sydney, and known for its anti-gun bias. Not terribly reliable.

If you bothered to really pay attention to anyone that disagrees with you, you would remember that I presented you with the actual numbers for 2011 from the FBI, 8500 actual murders with a firearm. Of those 8500 murders, only 323 were committed with a rifle of any type. Also in 2011, 1,694 murders were committed with a knife, and 1,659 were committed with a 'weapon of convenience', for example - baseball bats, hammers, etc. Interesting, knives and weapons of convenience outnumbered rifles used in murders by around 10 to 1.

In any case, once you start doing real research, you know, that thing you accuse everyone else of not doing, it becomes obvious that your research is flawed Phil.

Let’s address your 3672 number that you got from Slate. If you wanted to be honest with your audience you should have told them that the Slate piece is a totally unscientific collection of ‘crowdsourced’ information, derived word of mouth from Twitter and similar sources. What was it you said about my info? Oh ya, sounded to you like - "because they heard, once, that someone they knew knew someone who". Ya, your Slate statistic is exactly that kind of information.

Now standing in opposition to your assertion are FBI crime data, which is freely and easily searched by anyone. And I provided you with my source for the hundreds of thousands of violent crimes prevented each year back in December of last year. Again, if you bothered to listen to those you disagree with, you would remember that. For the sake of new readers I'll post them again.

1. The Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz study published in 1990's in the "Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology" found that there were between 830,000 and 2+ million defensive gun uses per year in the U.S. .

2. A Federal Gov't study, the "National Crime Victimization Survey", found there to be about 108,000 defensive gun uses each year.

3. Another Federal Gov't study, the "National Survey of Private Ownership of Firearms", was conducted in the 1990's because of doubt over Kleck and Gertz's numbers, and it found approx. 1.5 million defensive gun uses per year.

4. And last but not least, a Cato Institute 'white paper' titled "Tough Targets" takes a close look at a little over 4000 recorded gun incidents between 2003 and 2010, and blows just about every single anti-gun meme out of the water using actual case information. You can access the study here: http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/WP-Tough-Targets.pdf

This also from our January 'chat' – "Now Phil, it's your contention that the proliferation of guns in our society is a bad thing, and contributes in a lopsided way to the dangers we all face. Guess what, you're wrong. Based on a multitude of data, and both private and government studies, it is comfortably estimated that the use of, or the mere presence of a firearm, results in the prevention of approximately 1.5 million violent crimes each year. The most recent study shows that the number may very well be closer to 2.5 million. According to the FBI, approximately 1 in every 100 violent crimes is a murder, so 1% of those 2.5 million violent crimes may have resulted in a fatality, these numbers would indicate about 25,000 lives saved by the lawful use of a firearm. Wanna talk about women who are the target of an attempted rape? A woman without a firearm has a 1 in 3 chance of actually being raped, while an armed woman in the same situation has a less than 1 in 33 chance.

Frankly Phil, making firearms harder for law abiding citizens to acquire actually puts them at a higher risk for being a victim of a violent crime, it doesn't make them safer. And for someone like yourself and your ilk, who enjoy playing the class warfare card, your continued push to make firearms harder to obtain is pushing the price of firearms through the roof, making it harder for the financially disadvantaged to protect themselves. You're doing a good job of hurting those you claim to champion. "

Remember those conversations Phil? If not here ya go, perhaps you'll pay closer attention this time and won't have to make a fool of yourself acting like no one ever pointed this stuff out for you.

Sincerely, one of the "research adverse cynics" you mentioned.

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Article comment by: M J

Re: Phil Falbo
You know phil .... a person is know by the company they keep .... and iffin your "friends" are paranoid and/or feel threatened all the time ...... then it ain't sayin' much 'bout you now is it .....

just sayin'

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