Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

In 1979, there were nearly two automobile fatalities for each gun death. According to a study by Bloomberg, by 2015 firearm fatalities will surpass motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death.

The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has ignited a debate about gun safety, which is typical after a mass shooting. However, President Obama, in a speech to the residents of Newtown, CT, vowed to do more to stop gun violence. If this is true, he’ll have to take a look at the leading cause of gun deaths — suicide.

Eighty-five Americans are shot dead every day. Of those 53 — or 62 percent — are suicides.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America. You’re more likely to die in an accident and much more likely to die in a hospital suffering from heart disease or cancer. But if you’re going to die by a firearm, it will probably be the result of suicide.

There are 51,438 licensed retail gun stores in America, more than three times the number of McDonald’s restaurants.

Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Gun Policy, told Bloomberg that it’s unclear if gun ownership is linked to violence. But there seems to be a clear link to gun availability, and familiarity with guns and suicide.

Harvard University study conducted in 2007 found that “States with higher levels of household gun ownership had higher rates of firearm suicide and overall suicide.”

Adolescents who commit suicide by firearm generally use the family gun. Veterans have continually demonstrated high rates of suicide by firearm. Suicide by firearm is, of course, much more effective than other methods.

Gun deaths have been slowly rising since 2000, while deaths related to motor vehicles have plummeted since 2007.

Those who oppose further regulation of guns make the argument that guns are necessary for self-defense.

The 2011 study “Guns in the home provide greater health risk than benefit” showed that a gun is more likely to send a family member to the emergency room or the morgue than to ever be used against an intruder.

As the nation considers what can be done about gun violence, the issue of how to protect gun owners from themselves definitely needs to be considered.

 Photo: Reuben Yau via Flickr

Blake Neff

Twitter screenshot

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On July 10, CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that Blake Neff, the top writer for Tucker Carlson's prime-time Fox News show, had been anonymously posting racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and other offensive content on an online forum for five years. Neff used racist and homophobic slurs, referred to women in a derogatory manner, and pushed white supremacist content while writing for Carlson's show. Neff resigned after CNN contacted him for comment.

As Darcy reported, in an interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff claimed anything Carlson read during his show was initially drafted by him. Darcy also found instances where there was "some overlap between the forum and the show," as sometimes the "material Neff encountered on the forum found its way on to Carlson's show."

During a 2018 appearance on Fox's The Five to promote his book Ship of Fools, Carlson mentioned Neff by name, calling him a "wonderful writer." Carlson also included Neff in the acknowledgments of the book.


s3.amazonaws.com


Before joining Fox News, Neff worked at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. The outlet has published a number of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots.


Carlson has a long history of promoting white supremacist content on his show. His show has featured many guests who have connections to white supremacy and far-right extremism. Carlson has regularly been praised by Neo-Nazis and various far-right extremist figures, and he's been a hero on many white supremacist podcasts. Users of the extremist online message boards 4chan and 8chan have repeatedly praised Carlson.

The manifesto released by the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 was strewn with content that echoed talking points from Carlson's show. Days after the shooting, Carlson declared that calling white supremacy a serious issue is a "hoax" as it is "actually not a real problem in America."

Carlson has been hemorrhaging advertisers following his racist coverage of the Black Lives Matters movement and the recent protests against police brutality. Now that we know his top writer was using content from white supremacist online message boards for Carlson's show, it is more imperative than ever that advertisers distance their brands away from this toxicity.