Africa Check did us all a great favour last week by debunking a persistent piece of gun control fiction.
“You are four times more likely to have your firearm used against you than to successfully use it in self-defence”.
This claim has been doing the rounds for more years than I care to remember. And it is completely false. However, despite being devoid of even a shred of truth, it is still recurrently quoted in the media.
The four-times-more-likely lie was first thoroughly debunked in September 2014 by Richard Best. He contacted Anthony Altbeker – the author on whose work the claim was supposedly based – and asked him whether or not his research supports the aforementioned conclusion.
Mr. Altbeker’s response was quite thorough (please see the hyperlink above) but can be summarised as follows:
“The methodology of the study militates against drawing the conclusion that armed victims are much more likely to lose their weapons than to use them successfully.”
Unfortunately this was not the end of it. A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is busy putting on its shoes, after all. And Gun Safe Cities, a new entrant to the South African firearm debate, breathed new life into this old and tired porky pie. Their spokesperson, John Davenport, shamelessly peddled it on an ENCA televised interview.
Now, Mr. Davenport is also the new Chief Creative Officer of Havas South Africa– a marketing and advertising corporation.
Gun Safe Cities is conducting their campaign with the assistance of Havas. And in spite of extensive public perturbation about the deceptive content of their production, the company has yet to distance itself from the blatantly inaccurate work.
I view it as utterly shameful that a private company will effectively endorse their COO selling outright lies to the South African public – if this isn’t a shining practical example of the principal-agent problem, then I don’t know what is.
Seeing as the management and directors of Havas don’t appear too keen to address this outrage, perhaps their customers will. Havas counts several big brands as clients: Durex, Disprin, Gaviscon, and Universal. Yet it seemed unlikely that much would come of it.
Africa Check caught wind of the claims made by Gun Safe Cities, and decided to investigate. Now, I have been somewhat unflattering of Africa Check in the past. Part of my issue with them is that they receive grants from the OSF-SA. Hence I was pessimistic regarding their degree of investigative independence and considered them potentially biased.
On this occasion I am obligated to eat my hat.
In a piece titled No research backs widely shared statistic about gun ownership risk in South Africa, Africa Check concludes that “there is no recent, reliable data on the topic. We therefore rate the claim unproven.”
The research done by Africa Check was extensive, and they also interviewed a large number of subject matter experts who assisted in debunking the claim. I therefore highly recommend that you read it for yourself.
Since they also communicated with Anthony Altbeker, it isn’t coincidental that we reached the same conclusion. Albeit with a five year gap between us.
Hopefully now that John Davenport has been caught with his pants around his ankles, he will rethink the unwise decision to blatantly lie to the public about our rights and abilities to defend ourselves. And if he chooses not to, then perhaps his employer will do it for him.
Unless they choose to wear the label of “liar” with their currently displayed cavalier attitude.
South Africa is a country plagued by violent crime. A situation not improved by preventing law-abiding and responsible people from arming themselves against criminals. We can ill afford irresponsible people and corporations publicising untruths about self-defence. It is a deception that can quite literally cost us innocent lives.
And it is due to the terribly serious nature of the situation, that we are indebted to Africa Check for helping us tell the truth.
Written by Gideon Joubert
Gideon is the owner and editor of Paratus.
4 years ago
It would seem that you are either not aware of Ludwick Churr’s challenge to the Advertising standards Authority over the SABC aired interview or his personal efforts to forward firearm owners interests despite the absolute apathy of firearm organisations you promote instead.
Paratus had an opportunity to be the flagship of firearm owners in gaining recognition not only in presenting the truth omitted by the media and gun control but exposing the duplicity of firearm organisations as they continue to mislead and demoralise firearm owners. Nothing can be worse that being abandoned by the organisation that were expected to protect your rights, safety and ability to own firearms. That is without doubt what every firearm organisation in South Africa has done. One cannot even begin to list the dubious actions of throwing firearm owners under the bus to fend for themselves. The complete lack of leadership, advice, help and EXAMPLE in what is in reality a fight for survival. Firearm organisations, all of them should be at the forefront of opposition to gun control. There should be no shirking of this responsibility because every firearm organisation exist only because of the ability of citizens to own firearms.
Such actions by others like Ludwick Churr should be seen as welcome by an appreciative public in particular firearm owners.
Paratus does not need the approval of firearm organisations, i needs the approval of firearm owners. Thus far that recognition has not been achieved because the truth is not important to an organisations that claims to present the truth. Nobody can argue the achievements of firearm organisations would favour gun control more that the people they supposedly represent.
Near zero visible of verifiable opposition to the FCA.
Statements to obey the law and comply, gun can still be owned.
No opposition to the destruction of firearms not even a call for an audit when many thousands were unaccounted for. This despite being evidence in two court cases.
No opposition to amendments.
No opposition to new drafts
No help for anyone ever that was trapped by the FCA.
No organised anything except in the early days by SAGA branches which were abandoned and shut down.
Media releases of compliance and advice on obtaining a licence only.
Media releases of winning with only a court case despite the advice that no useful win can be thus achieved.
Complete opposition to anyone who did not want to “negotiate” a better deal with government.
A stupid attempt to rewrite the FCA asking firearm owners what gun control they would accept.
This list of demoralisation, collaboration and appeasement just goes on and on to the point firearm owners have lost complete faith in all firearm organisations. They are simply a joke. Paratus is continuing that trend and making absolutely no attempt to change this abysmal situation.
Firearm owners should be flooding the media with complaints of HAVAS, SABC the advertising standards authority. Firearm owners should be backed by their organisations and helped to OBJECT to all gun control activity statements and media coverage. Firearm organisations should be encouraging firearm owners to stand up or their good name, safety and rights to self-defence. Where is Paratus because in all its years of existence not once has it encouraged that? Exactly what is Paratus? The mouth piece of firearm organisations apathy or firearm ownership? Nobody needs confirmation of firearm organisations complete lack of interest in even attempting to oppose gun control. Nobody needs lessons on training, legal aspects of compliance, boot camps, craftsmanship, shooting, what gun to use or buy or a report on others activity that they failed to do themselves. Africa fact needs thanks and encouragement. It needs above all PUBLICATION and PROMOTION as well as objection to the SABC and the media ombudsman.
Altbekers research was known by GFSA to be not applicable from the launch. Adel Kirsten attended that launch and was informed that GFSA could not make the claims it was making as the research was not representative. Richard Wesson attended that launch and reported that fact.
Chris du Plessis•
4 years ago
3 years ago
Your comment regarding Africa Check and OSF-SA . You are fully justified and understood and you concern is seconded. I noticed the tribute to Soros and was quite shocked at this revelation.