BU Politicizes Gun Ownership, And Gets It Completely Wrong

P. Gardner Goldsmith | March 14, 2019
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I am a graduate of Boston University.

I have never given to the BU Alumni Fund and never will.


For years, I suspected that BU would use my cash to promote political agendas inimical to the rights of my neighbors.

I was right.

On February 28, I noticed a Tweet from the BU School of Public Health promoting its glorious “work” to “tackle gun violence”, a Tweet that included a still-shot of BUSPH staff holding a giant banner emblazoned with the words, “Gun Violence Is A Public Health Issue”.

And, by any metric, it’s not.

The Tweet was part of a funded campaign to push the school’s March 11 PR Effort called “Tackling Gun Violence”, an effort that would see such intellectual titans of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healy, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, the completely unbiased Chair of “Stop Gun Violence”, John Rosenthal, and more, visit the government-subsidized BU to push for further infringements of the right to keep and bear arms.

Notably missing were members of Gun Owners of America and the NRA. Missing were people such as John Lott, whose “More Guns, Less Crime” is the benchmark for research on the practical salutary effects of allowing more guns into political and/or geographic regions. Missing was anyone who might provide information or an opinion that ran counter to the fantasy-world, gun-control, anti-rights, narrative.

Instead, the panel organizers didn’t bother to fashion even the pretense of fairness.

Why bother, when there are agendas and policy goals to push? Why bother, when, in fact, statistics from the FBI reveal that as gun ownership skyrocketed in the US, violent crime (including gun crime) decreased?

Why bother, when professor Gary Kleck recently uncovered a study hidden by the CDC revealing that Americans use firearms 3.6 times more often to stop crimes than to engage in them?

Instead, moderator Deborah Becker, of WBUR, set the stage by offering unsubstantiated propaganda about the glory of Massachusetts “gun control”.

We have a lot of folks with us to talk about a very complicated topic tonight: Gun Control, and gun violence, and Massachusetts violence. How did we get here? And why are we said to have such a low rate of gun deaths?

Perspicacious observers will notice not only the passive voice of the final sentence, but the fact that there is no attribution for the statement.

In fact, Ms. Becker, Massachusetts is not an oasis of safety, be it involving guns or not, in the US.

In December of last year, Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts released a study of various metrics comparing gun violence in Massachusetts to that in the nation, the four northern New England states, and to itself from periods prior to its infamous 1998 gun restriction law known as Chapter 180.

Strangely, Ms. Becker’s claims ring hollow:

What the data actually show is that the three (other) northern New England states have consistently lower murder rates (per 100,000) than Massachusetts. In only one of the years represented (2014) did Vermont exceed Massachusetts… According to the report, New Hampshire has the 2nd lowest gun related murder rate with a 0.5 per 100,000, nearly one-third that of Massachusetts, which is 1.45 (per 100,000). Maine comes in 6th place with a 0.9 (per 100,000) and Vermont in 8th place with a 0.96 (per 100,000). The facts are clear that those states that are often blamed for “weak gun laws” are, in fact, much safer places to live.

Additionally, the temporal facts about the 1998 Mass gun-restriction law are clear.

According to ISP (the state Injury Surveillance Program) reports, in the four years preceding Chapter 180, there was a drastic decrease in gun related homicides in Massachusetts. Immediately following the passage of Chapter 180, gun related homicides began to rise. At one point the number of firearm related murders more than doubled. In 2011 and 2012 there was a decline mirroring the national decline that began in 2007. It is important to note that the State’s decline was years behind the national trend. Even with this, the numbers were still not an improvement from 1998 and the numbers are rising again.

Don’t bother to discuss any of this or even note it, Ms. Becker. March on, towards intellectual oblivion…

This lack of directness and empirical attribution was evident throughout the event. And the errors and misleading statements, the unquestioned propagandistic drivel piled on top of her introduction leave one to wonder how the panelists could leave the stage without hanging their heads in shame.

BUSPH Dean Sandro Galea’s continued the insufferably self-righteous and lock-step political march. Indeed, he openly said:

So, gun violence is an epidemic. It’s an epidemic by any standard, and has been so for the past 25, 30 years in this country.

Which is, of course, egregiously incorrect on two key levels.

First, as I have mentioned at MRCTV, and as the Dean of a public health school should know, even if annually measured gun violence were increasing geometrically or exponentially, it could not be medically categorized as an “epidemic”.

Epidemic, or “epi-demos”, is Greek for “upon-man”. It pertains to diseases and maladies that are spread naturally, a-la viruses, without people willingly taking any action. They “fall upon man” from nature. Hence, no matter how swiftly gun violence were increasing in a given area, one cannot categorize it as an epidemic unless there were some pathogen that spread from human to human and compelled them to kill others.

If a new album by The Damned were suddenly very popular, and everyone you knew bought it, one could not say there was an “epidemic” of Damned albums. If people were suddenly smashing bricks into their heads as a popular fad, one could not categorize that as an epidemic, because it is not “epi-demos”, upon man, from some external natural force.

Even if one overlooks Galea’s insultingly inapplicable use of the term “epidemic” – a tactic often employed by politically minded people to gin up fear and anxiety -- if one were to believe gun violence has skyrocketed over the past 25 to 30 years, they, like he, would be embarrassingly wrong.

If he had bothered to look up the statistics, Dean Galea would have seen that for the vast majority of years over the last 25 to 30, violent crime, including gun-related crime, has decreased, even as gun ownership has risen.

So, for example, Dean, you would have seen this 2013 headline via NPR -- you know, the tax-supported radio network of which WBUR is a part…

Rate of US Gun Violence Has Fallen Since 1993

And you would have seen this, via the Washington Post, from 2015:

We’ve Had a Massive Decline in Gun Violence in The United States. Here’s Why

Far from skyrocketing, as this self-righteous and fact-deprived man implies, gun violence has trended downward since the early 1990s, and violent crime in general has declined since 2002 for all but 2015 and 2016.

And that includes 2017 and 2018.

Here’s the FBI Uniform Crime chart covering the decrease in violent crime from 2007 to 2011, in case you missed it, Dean

And, just to remind you, that occurred during a time of rising gun ownership.

It’s almost as if, as mentioned earlier in this piece, citizens use guns more often to stop crimes than to engage in them. Almost as if, as John Lott’s book and history shows, the presence of more guns in civilian hands is strongly correlated to less crime, including gun-related crime.

But the wonderful BU panel didn’t offer, let alone discuss, this information.

They also did not discuss the fact that BU, like most universities in the US, gets loads of cash from the US government. Dean Galea’s school itself recently gushed over this obnoxious federal transfer of wealth:

SPH Secures Federal Grant to Gauge Impact of Gun Laws by Race, Ethnicity

So, why should anyone be surprised that a BUSPH panel drives left into the gutter of dangerous propaganda?

This is a palace of “higher learning” that promotes the idea of a “Health New Deal” while offering a wink and a nudge to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist “Green New Deal”, while pushing the fallacy that abortion is solely about one human being making a decision about her life, and her life, alone.

Reality isn’t part of the picture.

Unless it’s the reality of the government infringing on your right to self-defense, backed by the insufferably unscientific propaganda of tax-subsidized BUSPH staff.

Goodbye, BU. Glad I’m gone.

I’m sorry you ever got a penny of my money.


Altered Cover Photo: Jim Bumgardner