Quote of the day–Paul Helmke

The decision by Starbucks to welcome guns in its restaurants where the law permits represents a public health risk. While food-borne illnesses are estimated to kill 5,000 Americans each year, more than 30,000 of us are killed annually by firearms. Guns represent a public health threat at least as great as food poisoning.


Paul Helmke
President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
March 8, 2010
Why gun-control activists are targeting Starbucks
[Typical half-truth stuff from the anti-gun crowd.


First off, Starbucks does not have a policy to “welcome guns in its restaurants”. They have a policy of letting local, State, and Federal law be the determining factor as to whether customers may carry firearms in their restaurant. This is no different than a policy to not discriminate against mixed race couples who enter their restaurant unless the law prohibits mixed race couples from dining in public.


Second, 30,000 people are not killed annually by firearms in this country. The truth is that about 15,000 people kill themselves with firearms. In addition to that huge fraction of misrepresented deaths he is deliberately misleading his readers by including in those 30,000 people who were justifiably killed by police and private citizen defending themselves or other innocent life. Some of those people successfully defending themselves were in restaurants similar to Starbucks.


Third, Mr. Helmke makes a very large unsupported claim here by saying “Guns represent a public health threat…” Food poisoning from public restaurants has no upside. No one that I know of is advocating for more food poisoning. Carrying guns in public restaurants does have a potential if not actual upside and because of this there are people advocating for carrying guns in public in and outside of restaurants. It certainly isn’t obvious to everyone, as it is with food poisoning, that guns are “a public health threat”. Before making such a claim he should be able to show the studies that agree with him. While there are some studies that agree with him there are also numerous studies that disagree. And even the “Brady State Rankings” on gun restrictions by his own organization show no correlation to violent crime rates. I find it very telling that even when the rule-maker and scorekeeper get to make the rules and compute the score after the game is over they still don’t end up with a winning result.


Three sentences, three half-truths. That is a score worth publicizing.–Joe]

5 thoughts on “Quote of the day–Paul Helmke

  1. Also, not only is Paul not making distinctions between suicides, and justifiable homicides, and honest-to-goodness murder and manslaughter, but he’s not making a distinction on the context of those murders.

    “Gun Crime” and “Gun Violence” in this country (to use their own made-up units of measure) is vastly a gang problem. This is not a man or a woman going to buy a latte with a gun on their hip, or somebody with a .38 in their nightstand for home defense. This is drug dealers shooting drug dealers, and pimps shooting pimps, and criminals shooting witnesses who might inform the cops.

    Eliminate Gang violence, and the made-up units of “Gun Crime” and “Gun Violence” will fall into the statistical noise.

    Also at risk of hijacking the thread I’ll point out that gang violence almost always centers around the unlawful commerce of drugs and prostitution.

    Used to be rum runners and moonshiner doing a whole lot of killing, they don’t anymore…I wonder why….*rhetorical*

  2. Well, the obvious common ground here is for us to use our guns to kill germs! 😉

  3. Their desperation is getting worse all the time. It’s pretty pathetic when they have to use that kind of convoluted thinking to try and make some points.

  4. “a public health threat”.

    That right there tells you everything you need to know about government health care.

    That they would use the term “public health threat” against something they hate, like guns, shows a couple of things. It shows their assumption that any “public health threat” is the government’s business by its very nature, and it shows why they want totally government run health care. It places everything you do under the auspices of “health care” and therefore very much the government’s business. It is their key to totalitarianism. Alcohol prohibition was sold to the public in very much the same way, as a public health threat. That turned out great, didn’t it?

    Statism is truly a public health threat. Lets ban it. That should be our alternative health care bill– a total, permanent ban on nanny state programs and politics.

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