While President Barack Obama — and most Americans — shed tears, expressed sympathy, and reached out to families, teachers, and neighbors stricken by the Newtown, CT shootings, Ann Coulter was busy telling radio talk show host Sean Hannity that things would have turned out better if “conceal and carry” laws had been in effect. For those who don’t hang around gun nuts, ‘conceal and carry’ (or ‘concealed carry‘) is a euphemism for people walking around with concealed weapons.
After devoting a couple of seconds to making the obligatory sympathetic noises — “Well, it’s just horrifying …” — Coulter cut to the chase:
“Only one policy has reduced the incidents of these mass-shootings, and the number of casualties, and that is concealed carry permits”
Oh, REALLY? But 49 out of our 50 states currently allow people to carry concealed firearms, and — according to The Nation‘s George Zornik — we’ve had 16 mass-shootings in 2012 alone. We’ll never know how many shooting sprees were deterred by hidden guns, due to the logistical difficulties involved in gathering data about non-existent events being prevented by unseen weapon (if there are any science fiction writers out there, you’re welcome to take this concept and run with it).
But wait, there’s more:
“If you want to reduce the number of dead, and the number of times this is going to happen in an area … you sort of sense this because they so often happen at public schools … though it’s been a long time since there was a school shooting … but post offices and places that are gun-free zones …”
After running this snippet of breathless, stream-of-consciousness drivel through Google’s free translation service, I shook my head and rubbed my eyes in disbelief, then realized that Coulter really DID mean that she thinks shootings often happen at schools and post offices (!) because they are “gun-free zones.” According to her convoluted logic, would-be shooters will think twice about cutting loose in a venue where others might also be armed. Even when considering Coulter’s ever-tenuous relationship with facts, this makes no sense. Firstly, the old cliche about “going postal” indicates that post offices do not enjoy a reputation as “gun-free zones.” Secondly, Zornik’s list shows that only four of this year’s 16 shootings took place in schools, and zero occurred in a post office.
Aviva Shen’s timeline of the 28 mass-slaughters since (and including) 1999′s Columbine Massacre for Think Progress shows only that only eight shootings occurred on primary and secondary school or college campuses. Shen’s and Zornik’s lists combined — which span April 20th, 1999-December 14th, 2012 — add up to an appalling total of 38 massacres, only nine of which occurred on school campuses and zero of which occurred in a post office. Mass shooting locations have included an IHOP, a spa, a funeral home (how convenient), an army base (did it not occur to the killer that a lot of the soldiers present might have guns?), a Safeway, an office, a mall, and a movie theater.
Does a 23% rate of occurrence of mass shootings on school campuses (including colleges, with adult students who are less protected) — with only five out of 38, or a scant 13% taking place at primary or secondary schools — justify encouraging our children and their teachers to start packing heat?
Oh, and in the scary, creepy place that is CoulterWorld, it’s usually some hero with a gun that claps a stopper on the killers’ capers:
“And once the shooting starts, in case after case, if there’s someone around … often just an off-duty police man … will step forward and stop the shooters.”
Well, I suppose it’s true that someone with a gun usually stops the shooting, but that’s partly because the killers often wind up shooting themselves in the end. 18 of the 38 murders from Shen’s list — 47% – ended in suicide. The remaining murderers were either arrested or shot down by police on duty — not heat-packing citizens or a random “off-duty policeman” who just happened to be carrying a concealed weapon.
You can hear the audio (formatted as an embedded video) here:
You can read my full transcript of Coulter’s rant from Sean Hannity’s radio show in all its incoherent glory here (I’ve done my best to translate Coulter’s rambling, trailing, run-on sentences into readable prose, but I can only do so much):
Well, it’s just horrifying, it’s ironic that we were just remarking on that shooting out in Portland how few victims there were … [they] were lucky the guy’s gun jammed.
This is a tremendous number [of people killed], and it’s a fact that there is only one policy that’s been shown to reduce the incidents of multiple shootings … There’s going to be crazy people in a country of three hundred million people [311,591,917 according to the U.S. Census, but who's counting?] … Only one policy has reduced the incidents of these mass-shootings, and the number of casualties, and that is concealed carry permits.
If you want to reduce the number of dead, and the number of times this is going to happen in an area … you sort of sense this because they so often happen at public schools … though it’s been a long time since there was a school shooting … but post offices and places that are gun-free zones …
John Locke and Lamdist [?!] … I forgot his first name … a couple of economists did a massive study of every public shooting incidents in the United States from 1977 to 1988 … looked at all sorts of public policies … what we can do about it in advance … and only one had a beneficial effect, and that was concealed carry permits, it reduces people daring to go into a place and pull out a gun … which is why schools and post offices are so popular.
And once the shooting starts, in case after case, if there’s someone around … often just an off-duty police man … will step forward and stop the shooters.
Here, this guy was apparently just walking through with impunity.
NOTE: We here at Addicting Info were unable to verify the above-mentioned study, because John Locke would not return our phone calls (perhaps because he died in 1704) and his co-author, “Lamdist,” does not appear to exist.
UPDATE: A reader suggested that Coulter was referring to an economist/author named John R. LOTT, Jr. who has published books advancing the dubious theory that more guns=less violence, including: More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics). He also published an earlier study with someone named David B. Mustard (which makes me wonder … is this the same person as Colonel Mustard, last seen in the Billiards Room with the Revolver). We still can’t find anyone whose name sounds like “Lamdist,” though. Perhaps Coulter needs to work on her diction as well as her facts, and not being a thoroughly vile and hateful human being.