The New York Times’ recent 6,000-word major opus, “Children and Guns: The Hidden Toll ,” is the latest installment in the paper’s self-described series on “the gun industry’s influence and the wide availability of firearms in America.” In this article, it took the authors 75 paragraphs before they acknowledged that federal statistics, in fact, show a dramatic 30-year downward trend in accidental deaths involving firearms.
But that’s not the impression that the Times wanted to leave with its readers.
The article focused dramatically on case vignettes involving the accidental deaths of children from firearms, which we all agree are tragic and that need to be reduced further. It also detailed that a Times’ examination of death certificates in five states uncovered that a substantial percentage of accidental fatalities are routinely misclassified as homicides. The article did note that classification procedures varied by jurisdiction.