“Liar liar pants on fire”

pants-on-fireWe’ve been lied to. Congress has been lied to. Our state legislators have been lied to.

Someone’s pants are on fire. But what does it mean? Let’s take a look at the meaning of the phrase we use often and more often now that faux news and people in power are lying to keep their power and control over us:

When the lad heard his father’s footsteps, he snuffed the burning cigar as best he could and stuffed it into his back pants pocket. The father opened the shed door and barked at his son to tell the truth about what he’d done. The youngster feigned innocence, saying he was looking for a hook to go fishing with a friend at a promising fishing spot nearby. The cigar in his pocket suddenly sparked into flame. The father spotted the smoke and yelled, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” Then he swiftly turned the boy over his knee and whacked his behind, extinguishing the danger.

The NRA and the corporate gun lobby are lying to us and have been for decades: 

That is, of course the paradox. We are in thrall to a fib of epic proportions that itself relies on two other lies. And because we are captive to all these lies, we are also captive to the notion that as much as we wish someone would do something about all the innocent dead people, our hands are tied by the freedom-affording gift that is the Second Amendment. It is a sick joke of our democracy that after every mass shooting we must tell our children that the Framers gave us this precious gift of liberty, more valuable than their lives, and that we are stuck with it. This is the opposite of freedom. It is slavery by choice.

Most of us who have any common sense at all have understood the big lie for years now. But we have not been able to get our voices heard over the loud noise of the lies. Exposing the lies is key to saving lives and most especially after the election that brought us the “liar in chief” as our next President. Exposing the faux news sites and stories is also key to our American democracy and freedom of the press.

The lies will continue if we don’t make noise and keep agitating for the truth. An article in The Trace, written by someone who grew up with the NRA lies, alerts us to the dangers of these lies:

Rather than critically evaluating articles for their correspondence to known facts, the NRA has long encouraged its audience to dismiss these reports and the outlets that produce them as irredeemably opposed to a cherished way of life. In the NRA’s view, the mainstream media not only fails to reveal the truth, its editors, reporters, and producers are inherently incapable of being honest about gun issues.

Why bash the press? Because it is a strategy that works. Many of the NRA’s members are primed to trade in “fake news” precisely because of the epistemological groundwork the lobby has laid. The price of admission in this pro-gun bubble is no longer merely firearms ownership or enthusiasm for shooting sports. The NRA is speaking to any real American concerned about the intentions of those cold, timid souls in the media who just don’t get gun people, much less bother to know the difference between full-auto and semi.

It’s bad enough that our next President will be a liar in chief. So when @realDonaldTrump becomes President of the United States he will be informed about policy ( or not since he chooses not to be informed) by other liars.

This just can’t be good for any of us. But for those whose concern is that too many people are being shot to death every day in America, it is very concerning.

The truth matters. Facts matter. If we are to live in a fact free country, our democracy will die a slow death and more people will die sudden violent deaths.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has released it’s annual state score card regarding gun laws and numbers of gun deaths. You can click on your own state to see how they came up with their scores. What the report concludes, as have all other reports before this one and many other such reports by other organizations, is that in states that have stronger gun laws, in general there are fewer gun deaths. This is not rocket science. It is the truth. From the report:

The premise of the Law Center’s annual Gun Law State Scorecard is simple. Our legal experts evaluate every state’s gun laws, assign grades, and compare those grades with the state’s most recent gun death rate. Consistently, we see a powerful correlation: states with stronger laws have fewer gun deaths per capita while states with weaker laws have more gun deaths.

2016 brought increased public outcry over gun violence, as well as real progress at the state level, with a flurry of new gun laws passed, including ballot initiatives in three states. But, with 25 states scoring an F for their gun laws, clearly there is so much more work to be done. Use the map above to see how your state stacks up and learn about the steps your lawmakers can take to save lives in 2017.

Laws matter. Truth matters. Reality matters. The culture of guns and gun violence matters. Changing the conversation about the laws and the culture matters.

As the Law Center states, smart gun laws can save lives. We must be smart, not ignorant.

For example,  there is evidence that an increasing number of Americans choose gun ranges to commit suicide. Guns are available there. Maybe they don’t want to go buy a gun or maybe they would be prohibited purchasers making it more difficult. But don’t we have to deal with this American public health and safety epidemic given the evidence? A recent incident is just one of many. A Wichita man went to a local gun range and shot and killed himself:

“I’m sorry for the people that were there. Sorry for my employees that have to deal with it. Sorry for the person’s family. This time of year is a bad time of year. The last time we had this was the day after Christmas,” Relihan said.

Both times, the person used a rental gun.

Yes there is a ripple effect to gun violence. Many are affected and will never be the same, least of all the family members of the victim.

Gun suicides cause over half of American gun deaths. Easy access to guns is the culprit. Guns account for about half of all suicides in America. Other countries experience high rates of suicide by other means but our rate of suicide is high compared to many democratized countries.

Christmas is not always a happy time for many who are experiencing some mental health problems. Family members and friends should be vigilant and not afraid to mention the unmentionable. Is there a gun available in the home? Can the person access a gun easily?

There are laws that can help. Gun Violence Protection ( or Restraining)  Orders for example, allow family members to report that a family member ( or friend) may be dangerous to him/herself or others so guns can be temporarily removed. The person’s name can be added to the prohibited persons NICS list to prevent the sale of a gun at a federally licensed dealer.

But of course, as we know, in too many states, guns are easily available with no Brady background checks on-line and at gun shows through private sellers.

The thing is, we can prevent gun deaths and injuries. Why would we not want to do that? Good question.

Guns are dangerous and risky. They are the only product on the market actually designed to kill people. Facts matter. We can’t let lies inform our public policy about lethal weapons and where human lives are at stake.

What we need is more than a little common sense combined with a change in laws and a change to the conversation about guns. More guns have not made us safer. Period.

What we also need is elected leaders who hear the truth, see the truth, believe the truth when they hear it, reject the lies and innuendos and fear and paranoia coming from the corporate gun lobby.

In the upcoming administration, the gun lobby will have a seat at the table. The country will be led by corporate business billionaires, deniers of the truth, sycophants, campaign donors, conspiracy theorists, Russian friendly folks, second amendment enthusiasts, and others who don’t seem to care about public health and safety. 

That will not bode well for our children, families and our communities.

Please get involved as a truth teller and stand up to make noise when the lies are spewed. The time is past for demanding that something be done to stop the daily carnage of gun deaths in our country. We can’t let the lies interfere with saving lives.

Demand that @realDonaldTrump and his administration and other elected leaders tell the truth.

Lives depend on it.

Let’s get to work.


6 thoughts on ““Liar liar pants on fire”

  1. Mark says:

    “Consistently, we see a powerful correlation: states with stronger laws have fewer gun deaths per capita while states with weaker laws have more gun deaths.”

    Except when it doesn’t. My home state of Minnesota is ranked much lower in gun laws that the number one state, California. Yet it has a lower gun death rate.
    Minnesota has also been steadily expanding gun rights through legislation.
    The law ranking system seems a bit off too. It shows minnesota went from 12th to 23rd in gun law rank, but the grade rose from C to C+.

    1. The main reason Minnesota does as well as it does has nothing to do with expanded gun rights. It has everything to do with the permit to purchase system that requires one to purchase a handgun or assault weapon from licensed dealers. It is good for one year, as you know, and is obtained by going to local law enforcement who do a thorough background check on the applicant. If one does not have this permit, a conceal carry permit can be used which also comes with a background check through local law enforcement. In addition, if one has neither of these, a form is filled out at the point of sale( only at a licensed dealer) and a background check must be performed before the sale can be completed. Sometimes a wait is necessary before this happens. The grade rose to a C+ because of the passage of the law to take guns from domestic abusers.

      1. Chad says:

        Vermont is even safer than Minnesota, and has virtually no gun laws whatsoever. What’s your explanation for that?

      2. That one I can’t explain. Vermont appears to defy the logic presented in the report. It is a state with a low density population without a really large urban area where many gun crimes occur. This is an interesting article about Vermont. https://www.thetrace.org/2015/07/vermont-gun-rights-constitutional-carry/
        Vermont does have a high rate of gun suicides per capita. I have a close friend who shot and killed himself in Vermont. ( http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/vermont/2014/07/17/vt-gun-deaths-outpaced-car-accident-deaths/12756651/) Domestic shootings are also high in Vermont according to: https://www.thetrace.org/2015/09/vermont-domestic-violence-suicide-gun-deaths/
        From the article: ” According to the state-issued Domestic Violence Fatality Commission Review Report, half of the 237 adult homicides committed in Vermont between the years 1994 and 2013 were related to domestic violence. Fifty-six percent of adult domestic violence homicides during that time were committed with firearms. And although gun-related domestic violence isn’t always fatal, assaults committed with guns are twelve times more likely to kill their victims than those involving other weapons or bodily force.

        There is another tragic layer to gun violence in Vermont. In almost every year since 1990, the state has suffered a higher suicide rate than the country at large — a number that has continued to climb recently — and well over half of its suicides are committed via firearm. And the grim harvest of its weapon surplus can’t even be properly contextualized by looking at in-state numbers, since it’s also a northeastern hub of gun trafficking.”

  2. mike says:

    Oregon and Texas have about the same gun death rate. Why is that? They are 19 states apart on gun laws ranking. Is your metric of deaths involving guns valid for what you want to measure, or should you be looking at total criminal misuse of firearms as your metric?

    1. The rankings take into account the gun death rate plus the gun laws in the state. As you know, Oregon has passed a background check law requiring all sales to go through a background check and Texas has not done that. That is how the score card works. All things are taken into account. The Law Center takes into account all gun deaths- accidental, homicides, and suicides. They are not looking only at criminal misuse of firearms. That is something different from the number of people who die from gunshot injuries in total.

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