An Open Letter to Alex Jones

Mr. Jones,

Yesterday, I was informed by a friend of mine about your appearance on Piers Morgan’s show Monday night. I watched the entire interview (and I use that term loosely) not only in awe and disgust by what I heard, but in awe and disgust by the fact that I live just a couple of hundred miles away from you, within the same state borders. While I have struggled with some because of my own socio-political viewpoints in this state we share, I have never given up my convictions or been unable to justify my stance on something, no matter how liberal it may have been. Sir, I am asking you to cease and desist. You’re one of the reasons the issue of gun control has become the topic it is today, completely blown out of proportion and citing a civil unrest within our culture.

While I watched you give Piers Morgan only a few words to speak during the entire segment, I began noting your claims. I researched your facts, and unsurprisingly, I found them to be unsubstantiated. I also found your demeanor deplorable, your arrogance despicable and your mockery of Morgan at the end a clear example of how bigoted you are.

According to you, Mr. Jones:

1. 20% violent crime drop in the United States over the last nine years

For the sake of information, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, violent crime is defined as “offenses which involve force or threat of force” and are constituted by four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Estimated Incidents of Violent Crime in the United States from 2003-2011

(according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation UCR Data, 2003-11)

2003:  1,383,676 incidents

2004:  1,367,009 incidents

2005:  1,390,695 incidents

2006:  1,417,745 incidents

2007:  1,408,337 incidents

2008:  1,382,012 incidents

2009:  1,318,398 incidents

2010:  1,246,248 incidents

2011:  1,203,564 incidents

In reality, there has only been a 13% drop in violent crime from 2003-2011. Also, a valid point to your claim that you did not mention was that the rate increased by 1.9% in 2006, and it took until 2008 to once again drop below the 2003 estimation. Incidents of property crime committed during that same stretch resulted in a 13% decrease from 2003 (10,422,862 incidents) to 2011 (9,063,173 incidents). I even looked to see if you may have quoted the wrong statistic, but alas, I couldn’t help you there. Your claim about the violent crime rate in the United States dropping from 2003-2011 is wrong.

2. Britain’s violent crime rate has tripled since gun control laws were instituted

I’m not going to state this claim as unsubstantiated or not. However, I will admit that violent crime rates, as a whole, have increased since Parliament passed the 1997 Firearms Act. This claim is inconclusive. I would appreciate taking a look at your source.

I did find homicide statistics for Britain and Wales, though. From 2000-2012, there have been 9,205 homicides, of which 725 were by firearm. The more you know.

3. 1776 will commence again if the United States passes new gun control laws

So, according to your exact statement, if guns are taken from the public, then we’re going to write the Declaration of Independence again? Or, are you stating that war will once again be declared on Britain? Whatever you actually mean by that statement, I think you’re delusional.

4. The Republic will rise again when the government tries to take guns

What Republic are you speaking of? Are you stating there will be a civil war? Again, I think you’re delusional.

5. You’ll take Piers Morgan out to a gun range and he’ll “join the Republic”

Is it wrong for me to wonder if you were to take Piers Morgan out shooting, you may have former Vice President Dick Cheney join you?

6. Piers Morgan’s sponsor is pharmaceutical companies

Mr. Jones, I could not find anything about pharmaceutical companies directly sponsoring Piers Morgan’s show or Morgan himself. Even then, in the United States, sponsors don’t dictate programming. They use time in the programming block to advertise their products. In your claim, it’s for “suicide pills” and “mass murder pills”. Again, a claim that I would love to verify, which means I need your source. Until then, I don’t buy it.

7. The leading cause of death in the United States is suicide

According to the National Vital Statistics Report posted by the CDC, the Top-10 leading causes of death in the United States in 2011 are as follows:

1. Diseases of the heart

2. Malignant neoplasms

3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases

4. Cerebrovascular diseases

5. Accidents (unintentional injuries)

6. Alzheimer’s disease

7. Diabetes mellitus

8. Influenza and pneumonia

9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis

10. Self-harm (suicide)

Another false claim, Mr. Jones. You’re not looking all that good right now.

8. 11,458 gun murders occurred in the United States in 2012, of which 74% are gang related.

How could you have known that? The FBI’s 2012 UCR hasn’t been published yet? All they have is a preliminary report for January-June that requires a username and password to access. Are you a government official? Is me poking holes in your claims going to get me arrested?

9. 197,000 people died of infections in hospitals in 2012

The CDC estimates that there are about 1.7 million hospital-associated infections each year, all bacteria types combined. Those HAI’s cause or contribute to about 99,000 deaths per year. That’s 98,000 fewer deaths than you claimed.

10. 5 people die every year from attacks by Great White Sharks

According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, from 1580-2011, there have been 980 unprovoked shark attacks in the United States, save for Hawaii, which is counted in Pacific statistics. Of those 980 attacks, there are only 36 fatalities, the last one occurring in 2010. Only 36 fatalities over a 431 year period. That’s an average of about 1 every 12 years or so. Nice try, buddy. You’re giving Jaws a bad name.

Sure, people were scared of the water after Jaws came out. People have reacted that way to countless horror films. It’s an invalid argument.

11. There were “a few hundred” gun murders in Britain last year

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2011 and 2012, there were 550 homicides in Britain and Wales, of which only 39 were by firearms.

12. According to the London Telegraph: “U.K. is the violent crime capital of Europe”

I’ll give you this one. I checked on it and multiple sources and statistics prove it. Congrats!

13. “Asking little factoids” is the oldest Perry Mason tactic in the book

If I were Perry Mason, I think I’d be offended.

14. Hordes of people in the U.K. are burning down cities and beating old women every day

That sounds like a desperate shot. Give me proof.

15. The U.K. is a police state

So, you’re comparing the U.K. to North Korea, Nazi Germany, and Cuba? Hmm… your ability to perceive governments should be called into question, I think.

16. Piers Morgan was fired from the Daily Mirror for publishing false stories

Morgan actually stepped down after some serious damage was done by publishing photos of British troops abusing an Iraqi. While the photos were proven to be a hoax, it did coincide with the Abu Ghraib scandal.

17. “How many chimps can dance on the head of a pin?”

That’s like asking “how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”. Terrible rebuttal.

18. The U.K. wants to ban knives

Let them. Here in America, we have knife laws as well.

19. Semi-automatic weapons are only used in a fraction of mass shootings

Really?

Mass Shootings in the United States in 2012 and Primary Weapons Used

February 27 – Chardon High School Shooting – Ruger MKIII .22-caliber handgun*

April 2 – Oikos University Shooting – .45-caliber handgun*

May 29 – Ian Stawicki – Para-Ordnance .45-caliber*

July 20 – Aurora, CO Theater Shooting – Smith & Wesson M&P15* AR

August 5 – Sikh Temple Shooting – Springfield XD(M) semi-automatic pistol*

August 13 – College Station, TX Shooting – Vz 58 Tactical Sporter* AR

August 24 – Empire State Building Shooting – Star M1911 .45-caliber handgun*

September 27 – Andrew Engeldinger – Glock 19 9mm pistol*

October 21 – Azana Spa Shooting – Glock .40-caliber handgun*

December 11 – Clackamas Town Center Shooting – Bushmaster AR-15* AR

December 14 – Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting – Bushmaster XM-15* AR

December 21 – Frankstown Township Shooting – Unknown Weapon

December 24 – Webster, NY Shooting – Bushmaster .223* AR

Every mass shooting listed above, save for the Frankstown Township Shooting, in which the weapon is unknown, involved a semi-automatic weapon. Five of them were assault rifles. And that’s just 2012 buddy. There have been 28 mass shootings in the United States since Columbine. Nearly all of them (if not all) used a semi-automatic weapon. So yes, it’s probably a percentage, but it’s a high percentage.

20. Aurora, CO theater shooting is NOT the largest mass shooting in American history

It actually is, in terms of total people wounded and killed. The Aurora shooting killed 12 and wounded 58, making the total 70 victims. Virginia Tech comes in second with 33 dead (including the shooter) and 23 wounded, for a total 56 victims.

21. Mentally ill people on SSRI’s, who play violent video games, want to kill people

They want to kill people? How do you know what people on SSRI’s want to do?

22. Dianne Feinstein told 60 Minutes she wants to take guns away from the American public

Referring to the 1995 interview, like I think you are, The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 would have banned the possession and sale of assault weapons. As you know, that statute didn’t pass. Feinstein is a realist, in some ways. Honestly, the American public doesn’t need assault weapons for any reason.

23. Dianne Feinstein’s bill will “disarm America” with gun confiscation

Again, assault weapons have no business being owned by the American public.

24. The United States shipped guns into Mexico during Operation Fast and Furious

Not exactly, but I’ll give this one to you. Operation Fast and Furious was stupid and the wrong way to go about determining the trafficking of American firearms to Mexican drug cartels.

25. The media and the American Government are the reason why Americans need to own assault weapons

We need to own assault weapons because the media and the government? You sound like a conspiracy theorist. Have you been to abovetopsecret.com? You might fit in perfectly there.

26. A study in Hawaii said that 292 million people were victims of “democide” by the United States government in the 20th century

From Wikipedia: “Democide is a term revived and redefined by the political scientist R.J. Rummel as ‘the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder.'” Rummel’s research (which is admittedly theoretical) actually states the number as 262 million, worldwide.

27. Statistically, more guns equals lower crime rates

Not necessarily. Australia instituted a ban on assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons, and even shotguns. There hasn’t been a mass shooting since. Also, the U.S. ranks number-one in the world for per capita gun ownership, while — according to a 2011 study in the Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Medical Care — it also has a gun homicide rate about 20 times higher than other affluent nations.

If you were referring to John Lott’s 1998 book “More Guns, Less Crime”, then you’re citing a source that has been heavily scrutinized and heavily investigated. Lott’s mathematical claims were the subject of verification by other researchers, and when asked for his data, Lott claimed to have “lost it”. Even if he did, the same claims were reconstructed using other sources, and the consensus was the data did not reflect what Lott claimed it did.

In 2009, Yale University’s John Donohue and Ian Ayres revisited Lott’s efforts, and found that if Lott’s methods were used on crime data from 1977 to 2006, then more guns increases crime rates.

28. America was born on guns and whiskey. 

I thought America was born on principles of freedom. I mean, to put it an obtuse way, you could argue that America was born on guns, but we were at war at the time, so I hardly think that counts. In case you may have forgotten, America fought for Independence because of an oppressive rule by a malevolent king. The British monarchy practically has no political sway anymore. Parliament makes all the laws and British Parliament has always been a relatively conservative group of people.

29. Statistically, knives kill three-times more people every year than guns

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2011, there were 8,583 homicides (67.8%) in the United States that involved firearms, compared to 1,694 (13.4%) involving knives or other cutting instruments.

30. The real culprit of mass murder are “suicide and mass-murder pills” and that’s the first time anyone’s heard of it, by the way

That’s the first time anyone’s heard that, by the way? There goes your claim, torched asunder because of that little exclamation point you put at the end of the accusation.

While I admit it’s no secret that a lot of violence in this country is caused by people who are mentally ill, you can’t necessarily make an accusation like that, because you have to take the individual into consideration. Was he/she taking their medication? Was he/she in the process of having their medication changed? Who is the psychiatrist presiding over his/her treatment? That’s only a few of the questions that need to be asked. Your claim, especially referring to them as “suicide pills” and “mass-murder pills” explicitly points out your ignorance when it comes to psychiatric medicine.

Sometimes, it just doesn’t work. We don’t know enough about the brain yet. However, it is people like yourself who reinforce the stigma when it comes to psychiatric medicine, which is large contributing factor as to why clinically diagnosed patients don’t take their medicine and don’t give their doctors the full story. That leads to misdiagnosis and mismanagement.

31. Mexico has a total gun ban on it’s citizens and has the world’s highest violent crime rate (over 57,000 people dead in the last five years)

First of all, over two-thirds of illegal guns seized in Mexico can be traced back to the United States. I would just like to point that out. Mexico does not have the world’s highest crime rate. Afghanistan does, even with U.S. military presence. I’m not going to dispute your claim about about Mexico’s violent crime death toll over the last 5 years, because I haven’t been able to find a definitive number. However, it doesn’t seem too far off base, considering that from 2007 to 2011, there were an estimated 38,310 homicides related to Mexico’s drug war.

Note that during that same time period (2007-2011), there were an estimated 77,802 homicides in the United States.

32. Switzerland has the lowest violent crime rate in Europe and has no gun ban, while the U.K. has the highest and has a gun ban

We’ve already discussed the U.K. as having the highest violent crime rate in Europe, but in recent years, Switzerland has been dropped on the list. The European country with the lowest violent crime rate is now Iceland.

At the end of your lashing of Piers Morgan, the topic of 9/11 came up. Despite my own opinions, I’ve decided to stay from that. I don’t feel like opening that can of worms at all.

Honestly, Mr. Jones, here’s what it comes down to. Your appearance on Piers Morgan’s show shot your own cause in the foot. You were brash, loud, arrogant, and interrupted Morgan more times than I could accurately count. You shot threats, gave false and misleading information, and showed the entire country how much of an ass and a paranoid conspiracy theorist you really are. All you succeeded in doing the other night is make yourself look like a stark, raving lunatic. I hope you understand that the manner in which you went about your television appearance took away from your cause, especially since the internet is now buzzing because of it. You looked like the gun-rights version of Shirley Phelps-Roper, and your threats of “1776 will commence again” and “the republic will rise” holds no more bearing and no more positivism than the aforementioned hatemonger’s “God Hates Fags” campaign. Mr. Jones, you are insane.

Sincerely,

Robert L. Franklin

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About Robert L. Franklin

Ah, the About Me section - social networking's excuse for you sounding like an elitist prick. Hmm... what to say? What to say?
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2 Responses to An Open Letter to Alex Jones

  1. Pingback: Free-Flowing Thoughts: The Zephyr Lounge on Immigration Reform and Crazy, Pissed-Off White-Trash Conservatives | The Zephyr Lounge

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