During a radio segment that aired on The Tom Joyner Radio Show, CNN host Don Lemon delivered a thought-provoking monologue about gun violence — but he took the opposite viewpoint than some might expect from a mainstream journalist.
Rather than flatly speaking out against firearms, Lemon noted that a recent study has actually changed his views on guns. Citing the Center for Disease Control’s research that was released this summer, he implored listeners to consider that the results might also challenge their own perspective.
“It just might make you rethink your stance, your view, on the issue,” said Lemon. “It did for me. It’s making me rethink it.”
So, what, exactly did this apparently transformational study claim? Here are just a few of the bullet points, as assembled from Guns & Ammo Magazine:
1. Armed citizens are less likely to be injured by an attacker:
2. Defensive uses of guns are common:
3. Mass shootings and accidental firearm deaths account for a small fraction of gun-related deaths, and both are declining
And those are only a few of the findings — data that Lemon found more than compelling.
In the past, Lemon has taken a staunch view on firearms and gun violence, as evidenced here. In a fascinating dialogue with TheBlaze’s Will Cain following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last year, Lemon went after AR-15s.
“Who needs an armor-piercing bullet to go hunting? Who needs an assault rifle to go hunting? You can’t even use the prey that you kill with an assault rifle if you indeed do it,” he said at the time. “No one needs an assault rifle to go out and shoot a deer. No one needs an assault rifle that’s capable of shooting 10, 20, 30 rounds off at the same time to shoot a duck, or to shoot quail. It does not make sense.”
But he’s now singing a different tune.
In his most recent radio commentary, the host explained that the results of the CDC study do validate the notion that the U.S. has the worst gun-related homicide problem among industrialized nations in the world. That said, the CNN host launched into some other tidbits that he said are essential to acknowledge.
A transcript of the segment, as published on BlackAmericaWeb.com, offers up Lemon’s insistence that mass shootings are not the real problem and that that handguns, instead, account for more deaths:
“However, that same study – are you listening? – it shows that mass shootings are not the problem. They account for a very small fraction of firearm related deaths. Here are the numbers. Since 1983 there have been close to 80 shootings where four or more people were killed by a single perpetrator in one day in the U.S. Eighty shootings, four or more people killed. That’s about 560 victims, people who have been killed, since 1983. Thirty years.
You know how many people died from non-mass shooting events, four or more people, between 2000 and 2010? That’s ten years alone. Three hundred and thirty-five thousand people. Three hundred and thirty-five thousand. And the vast majority of those victims did not die from those so called military style assault weapons that people rally against so much. Instead they died from handguns. Handguns are used in more than 87% of all violent crimes. And in fact handguns accounted for the most, most of the murders, the manslaughters, the incidents in this country.”
But he didn’t stop there. Lemon also took the time to explain a notion that sometimes gets swept under the rug: The fact that the majority of the killing that happens with guns isn’t being committed by hunters or people in the military — those who are traditionally known to use weapons more frequently.
Lemon said that, based on the CDC results, people have a better chance of being shot while walking down the street and getting into a fight or getting robbed in big cities than they do being killed in a mass shooting. But it wasn’t as though he dismissed firearm violence outright.
He did describe the phenomenon, on the whole, as an epidemic, but noted that crime — including those incidents committed with a gun — is going down. And Lemon offered up some questions about what he thinks should happen to help curb the violence.
Without going into specifics, the television host noted that some changes to the law are warranted, but he threw in a surprise twist.
“If our lawmakers, including the President, won’t step up and make significant changes in gun laws, in gun registration, background checks, mental health, if gun purchases continue to grow and flood the streets, it makes me wonder that by some of us not owning a gun, or at least embracing the idea of one, are we setting ourselves up to be victims in a movie theater, a school, a public building, most of all in our streets, in our own neighborhoods, and in our own homes?,” he asked.
“And armed with just our cellphones, our fists and our wits, are we setting ourselves up to be sitting ducks, defenseless in the face of a sane, or an insane person, armed to the teeth and bent on killing,” Lemon added.
Listen to the CNN host’s commentary, below: