Translating Anti-Gun Propaganda into English

In George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, a tyrannical government attempts to control how people think by, among other things, reducing language to "a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc [English Socialism]" and "to make all other modes of thought impossible." In the IngSoc government's new language, Newspeak, the original meanings of many words are discarded in favor of new definitions designed to conform people's thoughts to the tyrants' political objectives. For example, Newspeak phraseology includes this gem, "ignorance is strength," a nonsensical construction that gun control advocates appear to have taken literally.

Speaking of gun control advocates, that brings us to the Children's Defense Funds' (CDF) latest offering, "Protect Children, Not Guns, 2013." If you can stand it, bear with us now, while we translate a representative sample of the CDF's gibberish into English, so the real gist of what the group is saying can be conveyed. Sticking with conventional practice, we'll go with a "Top Ten," of sorts.

1. "The Senate voted down a package of common sense gun violence prevention measures." Translation: This year, the Senate rejected legislation that would have banned semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, banned standard-capacity magazines that Americans want for self-defense and practical shooting sports, and paved the way for universal gun registration by requiring an FBI background check on private firearm sales. But if we refer to gun bans and registration as "gun safety," maybe some people who don't read the fine print will go along with us. Everyone's in favor of "safety," right?

2. "The U.S. has as many guns as people. The U.S. accounts for less than 5 percent of the global population, but owns an estimated 35 to 50 percent of all civilian-owned guns in the world." Translation: Americans have more guns than people in other countries, because they have a constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms that people in other countries don't. But pretending that Americans have "too many" guns pleases our donors and helps keep the money rolling in.

3. "America's military and law enforcement agencies have four million guns. Our citizens have 310 million. Has this made our children safer?" Translation: Private citizens have almost 100 times more guns than the military and law enforcement agencies, because there are almost 100 times more civilian gun owners than there are military and law enforcement personnel who are issued firearms. Also, the rate of firearm-related deaths among children has decreased 59 percent over the last 20 years. But we'd be stupid to say that.

4. "The number of children and teens killed by guns in 2010 was nearly five times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in action that year in Iraq and Afghanistan." Translation: In 2010, there were over 83 million "children and teens" in America, compared to about 150,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, so the per capita death rate among the military personnel was much higher than among the "children and teens." Not to mention that combat operations ended in Iraq in 2010. But the people who pay attention to us don't care about the facts, so let's just throw this out there and see what it gets us.

5. "A gun in the home increases the risk of homicide, suicide and accidental death." Translation: Several "studies" by anti-gun researchers have claimed that having guns at home is statistically unsafe, and even though the claim has been debunked, let's repeat it anyway. It's not like the mainstream media are going to call us on it, after all.

6. "Guns are the second leading cause of death among children and teens ages 1-19." Translation: If young people die, it's usually due to external causes (mostly auto accidents) because they usually don't die of diseases. But gun control supporters like this sound bite, so let's roll with it.

7. "Children and teens die from gun violence in all states." Translation: Sometimes we just have to say anything we can think of to rile up our gullible followers.

8. "A 1976 amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Act specifically states that the Commission shall make no ruling or order that restricts the manufacture or sale of guns, guns ammunition, or components of guns ammunition, including black powder or gun powder for guns." Translation: Sure, the reason that Congress passed that law was to prevent gun control supporters from using the Consumer Products Safety Commission to shut down the manufacturing of firearms by imposing manufacturing requirements that would be impossible to achieve. But if we act outraged about it, maybe a few people will think we're on to something.

9. "Common sense gun safety regulations protect lawful ownership and use of guns. The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban that expired in 2004 protected the rights of gun owners by exempting every shotgun and hunting rifle in use at the time." Translation: If we refer to a gun ban as "gun safety," and if we pretend that a law banning some guns "protects" other guns by not banning them too, maybe we can sucker a few naïve gun owners into coming over to our side.

10. "American companies manufacture enough bullets each year to fire 31 rounds into every one of our citizens." Translation: American gun owners spend a lot of time at the range, so if we divide the number of rounds they fire by the U.S. population number, we can come up with yet another nonsensical factoid our few supporters will like.

© 2013 National Rifle Association of America. Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

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