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By anti-gun 'logic,' Weinstein plans to contribute to millions of deaths

Movie producer, gun prohibitionist, and Obama supporter Harvey Weinstein presumably intended to make a splash last Wednesday when he announced on the Howard Stern Show that he has a movie in the pipeline, starring Meryl Streep, that he apparently believes will be a scathing, blistering indictment of the NRA (you know--"the gun lobby," to those who don't know the truth--or who wish to hide it). If that was indeed his goal, one would be hard pressed to say he failed to achieve it, given the quantity of commentary, from both sides of the issue, his announcement has generated.

If we were suicidal, we would not insist on the means to defend our lives
Photo © Oleg Volk. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

On the other hand, if intimidating "the gun lobby" was the goal, he should probably take a trip back to the drawing board. Still, the exact wording of his threat probably deserves some scrutiny. As Emily Miller writes in the Washington Times (emphasis added):

Mr. Stern asked Mr. Weinstein on Wednesday whether he owned a gun. The Hollywood heavyweight replied that he did not and never would. “I don’t think we need guns in this country. And I hate it,” the producer said. “I think the NRA is a disaster area.”

Mr. Weinstein then revealed his secret project about the gun rights group. “I shouldn’t say this, but I’ll tell it to you, Howard,” he said. “I’m going to make a movie with Meryl Streep, and we’re going to take this head-on. And they’re going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them.”

Hmm--NRA members are "going to wish they weren't alive"? What an . . . interesting turn of phrase. Interesting, because, according to conventional anti-gun "wisdom," very few people are more capable than gun owners of making precisely that wish come true.

According to the anti-gun zealots, after all, gun ownership is itself a risk factor for suicide. In 2007, for example, the gun ban jihadists of the Violence Policy Center, with the Supreme Court poised to overturn Washington D.C.'s handgun ban, argued that doing so would greatly increase the number of suicides in the District. In 2010, apparently worried that their earlier prediction failed to make them look silly enough, VPC tried to imply that possession of a concealed carry permit was a suicide risk factor, as if suicide not only requires a gun, but the government's permission to carry it outside the home, as well.

More recently, public health "studies" claim flat out that gun ownership=suicide risk. From the Harvard School of Public Health:

Put simply, the fatal link applies across the board. “It’s true of men, it’s true of women, it’s true of kids. It’s true of blacks, it’s true of whites,” says [Harvard School of Public Health, and associate director of the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center Deborah] Azrael. “Cut it however you want: In places where exposure to guns is higher, more people die of suicide.”

Slate Magazine, in an effort to track every shooting death since the Sandy Hook Elementary atrocity in December 2012 (no agenda there, I'm sure), laments that information about suicide by firearm is not as easy to come by as information about homicide by that method. The implication is that this focus on homicides and the occasional fatal unintentional shooting lets guns off too easy, statistically speaking, because (according to Slate) nearly two out of three fatal shootings are suicides.

Never mind that Japan manages to have a much higher suicide rate than the U.S., despite a near total absence of privately owned firearms. Never mind that law enforcement officers have a significantly higher suicide rate than the general population--shall we disarm the "Only Ones" now, for their own good? Never mind, indeed, that living at high altitude is a risk factor for suicide--why do we let people live in the mountains without an extensive battery of psychological tests?

No--forget about all that for the moment, and instead take the anti-gun position at its word (you don't see that in this column often, do you?), and accept the premise that gun ownership--in and of itself--makes suicide much more likely. And then consider that Weinstein intends to make NRA members--a group presumably characterized by a very high gun ownership rate--"wish they weren't alive." That's a rather large quantity of blood--perhaps even more than is spilled in a typical Weinstein movie--that he'll be needing to wash off his hands.

So if the public health "studies" are to be trusted, and if Weinstein's ability to dramatically alter society's view of guns with a movie is as great as he evidently believes it to be, NRA members should be very nervous. Hmm . . . come to think of it, I guess there's nothing to worry about, then.

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