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Jason Rantz
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The Seattle City Council just spent over $150,000 on a study to look at gun violence in King County. The study was done by the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Washington and the results sound really, really scary. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Jason Rantz: Seattle City Council gun violence study reeks of political agenda

Taken from Monday's edition of The Jason Rantz Show

The Seattle City Council just spent over $150,000 of your dollars on a study to look at gun violence in King County.

The study was done by the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Washington and the results sound really, really scary.

Here's the coverage from The Seattle Times:

"People hospitalized with a firearm injury are 30 times more likely to return to the hospital with another firearm injury than people hospitalized for other reasons. And they're 11 times more likely to die from gun violence within the next five years, according to a study commissioned by the Seattle City Council."

That sounds scary. It sounds shocking, and it's supposed to. It's meant to scare you into action. The Times report continues:

"Researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Washington studied 20,000 patients hospitalized in King County and 77,000 hospitalized in all of Washington state in 2006 and 2007. They went back five years and forward five years, examining patients' previous arrest and hospitalization histories.

Now City Councilmember Tim Burgess sent out a press release about these results and this is what he said:

"The evidence shows gun violence begets gun violence. If you are harmed by a gun, you are much more likely to be harmed again or to harm others," said Burgess. "It is unfortunate that the National Rifle Association has blocked this type of research at the national level because it provides valuable information for policymakers and the public."

Now to me, that quote just reeks of the City Council spending $150,000 to make a political point. This was not about the NRA. The research didn't look into the NRA. That just reeks of some sort of agenda.

Here's the thing, most people out there will not read the study. You likely didn't read the study, and that's OK. Reading studies can be really boring. This one is about 17 pages, it's not written like Stephen King novel. You're not on the edge of your seat. It reads like a research study. Most people aren't going to read it.

Here's the thing, I read the study today. I read the entire 17 pages of that study and it's pretty illuminating.

It says in King County they looked at data from 2006 and 2007. So here is my question for you: How many firearm-related injuries do you think we experienced over that year?

Now, remember we're in the middle of a gun violence epidemic that is not improving. It's been getting worse. At least that is what we're being told, that's the narrative that is coming out. What do you think the number of gun injuries for an entire year in King County is? It was 222.

That is awfully low statistically. So let's go back to The Seattle Times coverage.

"People hospitalized with a firearm injury are 30 times more likely to return to the hospital with another firearm injury than people hospitalized for other reasons. And they're 11 times more likely to die from gun violence within the next five years, according to a study commissioned by the Seattle City Council."

That is the takeaway from the Times. That is likely the takeaway you've heard from different radio stations, from different newspapers, from different television stations, recounting what the study actually said. But they don't give you any context.

They use the term "people," which is pretty vague. What kind of people? The inference they're talking about, you and I, we're people. It sounds like they're talking about the average person. That's usually what people mean when they say "people."

How about this context? This is directly taken from the study: 50 percent of those admitted for firearm injuries, and 47 percent of those admitted for injuries from assault had an arrest in the prior five years. One quarter of individuals hospitalized with a gunshot wound were arrested within the next five years for a violent or gun-related crime. Nearly 50 percent of people hospitalized for a firearm-related injury were arrested for a non-violent crime over the next five years. So in other words, these people are criminals.

We're talking about criminals here, but The Times writes "people." The takeaway from the study then isn't "people" are more likely to die or be injured, not the average person, it's not as Councilmember Burgess would say, "violence begets violence," it's criminals with guns end up getting themselves killed. Criminals. That's kind of an important takeaway, right?

We're spending $150,000 to find out that criminals who use guns on each other, they end up dying. Yes. I kind of believe that. And the rate at which they're killed doesn't actually surprise me because that is what happens to bad guys with guns who act irresponsibly with guns, they end up shooting each other. That's what happens.

Now, that's just on the local level, so let's look at the state level, because you've got a bigger number there right, you've got a bigger population, presumably more gun deaths.

In 2011, that's the latest date we have data from the state level, 624 people died from gun injuries in Washington state.

Statistically, 624 doesn't seem all that high and the fact is it's not all that high. It's well below the national level. But here's the kicker Burgess won't tell you and The Times won't tell you: of those 624 people who died from gun injuries in Washington state, 79 percent were suicides. Fourteen percent were homicides. That's low. I wish it were zero, but 14 percent is very low.

They'll have you believe by keeping out some of the info in how they present this to you that all 624 were just normal murders or accidents. But 79 percent were suicides. When we talk about the 30,000 or so people who die from gunshots every year in this country, nearly two-thirds are suicide.

They won't tell you that because they want to put fear in you. They want you to think we have this gun violence epidemic where bad guys with guns are getting a hold of them and shooting us, or good guys with guns are mishandling them and killing us accidentally, that's what they want you to think.

Now, if I look into the future, I see this study will be used by anti-gun activists to stop average, law-abiding gun owners from purchasing and owning a gun. I see Washington CeaseFire quoting this study out of context and not pointing out the number of suicides, the number of criminals reflected in the study. I further see Tim Burgess is going to use this study to push an agenda. The mayor is going to use this to push an agenda. Some people are going to use this study as justification to go after guns.

We've invited Councilmember Burgess to come on the show this week. I want to have a conversation about this.

Taken from Monday's edition of The Jason Rantz Show

Related:
Seattle study: Gun violence begets gun violence
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray trying to forward inaccurate narrative on gun violence

JS

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