Instead of looking at actual facts and figures about gun deaths for a discussion, like a real news organization would do, Fox & Friends attacked Australia as having “no freedom” at least partly because the country regulates guns.
It’s telling that yesterday’s Fox & Friends avoided the kind of real reporting that Vox did about guns, gun ownership, gun deaths and mass shootings. One suspects that it’s because the statistics are very damning for Fox News’ gun mania.
Instead, the show quoted Donald Trump's fact-free rhetoric and the three cohosts did their best to validate him by suggesting that gun-free zones, not guns, are to blame for mass shootings.
The segment began with Trump spouting off:
TRUMP: That was a gun-free zone in Oregon where they had no guns allowed, no nothing. So the only one that had the gun was the bad guy and everybody was sitting there and there was nothing they could do, not a thing they could do. And wouldn't they have been better off if somebody in the room - anybody, you know, anybody! - had a gun to at least help them out?
In fact, Umpqua Community College is not a gun free zone. Furthermore, there was a "good guy" with a gun present. He didn't want to draw his weapon because he was afraid of being mistaken for a bad guy. But not one of the three cohosts corrected Trump's claim. Instead, they seemed to fall over themselves looking for ways to make their viewers believe Trump's falsehoods as truth.
Cohost Tucker Carlson argued, "When there’s a drunk driving accident, you don’t ban cars, you try to prevent drunk people from driving them. The idea that taking guns away from the law abiding will make us safer is insane and childish."
But even there, Carlson’s argument is faulty. Car ownership and driving is heavily regulated, which is what gun-safety advocates want, not banning. I didn’t hear Carlson arguing that people should not have to be licensed to drive nor that cars should not be registered.
Not surprisingly, neither of Carlson’s cohosts pointed out the fallacy.
Instead, cohost Clayton Morris feigned balance – with a whopper: “The other side of that argument though, of course, is in what people always throw out there, is like, look at Australia! They have no gun violence. They don’t have guns. Citizens aren’t allowed to have guns.”
In reality, Australian citizens ARE allowed to have guns, but not semi-automatics. Nobody corrected this falsehood either.
Carlson added, “They also have no freedom. You can go to prison for expressing unpopular views in Australia and people do. And in Western Europe by the way. And in Canada. No one ever says that.”
Nobody corrected that untruth, either.
Cohost Anna Kooiman added her own false, pro-gun talking point. “Would he [the UCC shooter] have been going there in the first place if it wasn’t a gun-free zone?” Kooiman "asked." She added, “That’s why we’re seeing these mass shootings happen. It’s not in places where you know there’s going to be guns.” Besides the fiction that UCC was a gun-free zone, it's also a myth that gun-free zones attract shooters.
From Media Matters:
The overwhelming majority of mass shootings actually occur where guns are allowed to be carried. And according to an analysis of 62 public mass shootings over a 30 year period conducted by Mother Jones, not a single shooting was stopped by a civilian carrying a firearm. Mother Jones also found that gunmen do not choose to target locations because guns are not allowed, but rather other motives typically exist for choice of location, such as a workplace grievance.
As Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes explained in a commentary for The Trace, the idea that “gun-free zones” attract mass shooters is based on the faulty assumption that the shooters are “rational actors”:
Watch the discussion below, from the October 4 Fox & Friends, via Raw Story, and ask yourself, did any of these three hosts do any research before spouting off? Did they just rely on arguments spoon fed to them by their superiors? Or did they just ignore the actual facts because they didn’t like them?
I report, you decide.
Australians obviously need to have guns—but they find no reason to use them on their fellow citizens. There are other things far more deadly in the land Down Under that’ll kill you just as soon as look at you.
The country’s home to something like 6 or 7 of the world’s ten most lethal snakes (and it’s not like they live far away from people—a couple like to live IN the cities). There are spiders and ants that make black widows and fire ants seem positively friendly. Kangaroos and emus can literally kick you to death. There are crocodiles, both fresh-water and salt-water varieties just waiting for you to venture into their territories. And then there’s the ocean. Jellyfish that can barely be seen by the naked eye, but pack a sting that can kill a child. Sharks cruising the coastline. Sea snakes (among the previously mentioned “most lethal” in the world) roam the seas—fortunately, they’re fairly shy and avoid anything they can’t eat, but they’ll defend themselves if necessary.
You don’t need to worry about your next-door neighbors losing it to pack a gun; you just need to worry about the wildlife.