More often than not Americans are propagandized rather than informed.

One form of propaganda is simply the endless repetition of a lie or false statement.

One such example is the statement “people who purchase a handgun for self-defense are endangering themselves more than the criminal.”

This crops up endlessly among those leading the charge to deny Americans their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

People with common sense could, by logic, see that this is false.

Fatal gun accidents — all types: of guns, all types and ages of people including cops, military, and hunters — are such a small number, 1,645 in 1985 — compared to the number of privately owned guns (47 million handguns and 156 million guns of all types) that the statement could not possibly be true.

Moreover, in recent years, as gun ownership has increased, the number of gun fatalities has decreased — absolutely, not just in relative terms.

Now we have a genuine social study by a genuine sociologist published in a genuine sociology periodical (Social Problems, Vol. 35, No. 1, Feb. 1988) to verify with scholarly research the common-sense observation.

Let me print for you the summary of this lengthy article by Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University.

“Legal defensive violence by private citizens armed with firearms is a significant form of social control in the United States. Evidence indicates that private gun use against violent criminals and burglars is common and about as frequent as legal actions like arrests (and) is a more prompt negative consequence of crime than legal punishment and is often more severe.

“In 1980, about 1,500 to 2,000 felons were legally killed by gun-wielding civilians, about 8,700 to 16,000 were non-fatally wounded and guns were used defensively about one million times. Survey and quasi-experimental evidence are consistent with the hypothesis that the private ownership and use of firearms deters criminal behavior.”

Kleck adds considerable statistics and details: people who defend themselves with guns against robberies and assaults foil the criminal and suffer fewer injuries than people who respond in any other fashion, including non-resistance.

Of course, the propagandists and the simple-minded idiots who are their faithful allies, will ignore the facts and continue to repeat the lie.

Lies, however, cannot be converted to truth by repetition. Here again, common sense verifies the scholarly research, which includes many surveys and interviews. Crime is a personal confrontation between the criminal and the victim.

If the criminal is armed and the victim is unarmed, then the victim will suffer whatever the criminal wishes to inflict — indignity, injury, rape, or death, and that’s that.

If the criminal and the victim are unarmed, but the victim cannot physically overpower the criminal, ditto.

Defending yourself with a gun is not without risk, but it is a lot less risky than doing nothing. Kleck’s study found that only 12 percent of gun resisters in assault and 17 percent in robberies suffered any kind of injury whereas of those who did not resist at all, 25 percent of the robbery victims and 27 percent of assault victims were injured.

The men who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights were not fools, as are many journalists and lawyers today.

They would not have argued that people have a natural right to life and liberty, but no right to possess the means of defending both.

That’s why the right of private citizens to keep and bear arms comes immediately after the right of free speech, press, assembly, petition, and religion. One right protects the others. Ask the Panamanians and Romanians.

Source: Charley Reese, San Gabriel Valley Tribune