NRA Commentators Episode 26 – Billy Johnson for NRA News: “Domestic Violence”
March, 2009, Robert Stewart opens fire in a Carthage, North Carolina nursing home killing 8 and injuring 2.
October, 2012, Scott Evans Dekraai opens fire in a Seal Beach, California salon killing 8 and injuring 1.
April, 2013, Dennis Clark opens fire in a Federal Way, Washington Apartment building killing 4.
What do all of these tragedies have in common? They started as domestic violence. According to a recent report by USA today, approximately 900 people have died in mass shootings since 2007. Of those, a majority were killed by someone they knew.
Even the rabidly anti-gun Mayor Bloomberg can’t deny the connection. His coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns recently released an analysis of 56 mass shootings and found that almost 60% of them involved or started as domestic violence.
We are often asked to believe that we are morally obligated to respond to mass
shootings by limiting gun ownership or told we owe it to the innocent victims and our children, to the youngest victims of this unthinkable violence. Those of us who continue to defend the rights of law-abiding citizens to own and operate firearms are accused of not caring about innocent lives, or even worse, not caring about the children.
Well, I would like to set the record straight. I care a lot about children.
I care about the 15.5 million US children who, according to a study in the Journal of Family Psychology, live in families in which domestic violence occurred at least once in the last year. That’s 15.5 MILLION children who have witnessed or been the victim of domestic violence.
If we sincerely want to decrease violence against children in our country, it’s time we stop talking about AR-15s and start talking about real threats that millions of our children face every year.
The scope of domestic violence is difficult to measure because it occurs in private and victims are often reluctant to report it because of shame or fear of reprisal. Still, according to a 2010 CDC study, 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 7 men have experienced SEVERE physical violence by an intimate partner. That’s approximately 60 MILLION people who have been the victim of SEVERE physical violence. And all of them at the hand of someone they knew, of an intimate partner.
Adults are not the only victims of domestic violence.
According to the most recent US Department of Human Services data, Child Protective Services agencies investigated reports of abuse or neglect toward 3.0 million children in 2011. Of those reports, approximately 676,000 were substantiated. That’s 676,000 children who were abused or neglected in ONE year. Further, in 2011, there were 1,570 confirmed fatalities of children who died from abuse and neglect at the hand of a parent or caretaker. 81% of those children were under 4 years old.
The numbers are staggering and in my mind the implications are clear. Everyone from President Obama to Mayor Bloomberg’s Demand a Plan campaign will shamelessly exploit the stories of children who were killed in tragic, but isolated, incidents. Yet these same people are noticeably silent about the millions of children and innocent adults in our country who are victims of, or witness to, violence in the place they should feel safest–their homes.
I have spoken in previous videos about identifying the logic that violence follows so that we might prevent it. Domestic violence follows one of the saddest patterns of all. Domestic violence is often a child’s first introduction to violence. These children, the ones who make it out alive, become desensitized to and prone toward violence as a means of resolving disagreements. They are more likely to wield violence for power or control. And sadly, our homes are often a training ground for future generations of victims and abusers.
So I don’t have a silver bullet to avoid domestic violence, but what I do know is that we can no longer avoid this issue.