My Google News Alert rang for an invocation of my state's motto in an unexpected source: the Buenos Aires Times. Yes it's from that country way down in South America. The headline:
A forlorn fight to stop America’s gun factoriesAnd the subheadline:
Just over eight million handguns and rifles for domestic sale were produced in the state from 2015-2020 or about 17 percent of the national total, according to the most recent government figures.
And, yes, they're talking about my state, New Hampshire. It's nice to be noticed, I guess.
The date on the article is January 8 of this year, so it's hardly "news". And the article turns out to be a reprint found at a number of sites, like Raw Story, Newsbreak, Barron's, MYsinchew (Malaysia), IndoPremier (Indonesia), Macau Business (China), and even Breitbart (!) Mostly, the article is credited to Joshua Melvin of Agence France-Presse (AFP). (But I can't find it at the AFP website.) That's a lot of potential readership about our tiny state!
Unfortunately, the article is one of those undisguised advocacy pieces.
Clai Lasher-Sommers alternates between tears and fury over the flow of guns from the factories in her home state of New Hampshire, a top producer in the United States of America's multi-billion dollar firearms industry.
Speaking just miles from the house where an abusive stepfather shot her with a hunting rifle when she was 13, the survivor-turned-activist said she thinks about moving – just to get away from the gun makers.
"I don't want to be anywhere near them, and the damage that they perpetuate every day," she said. "I want them to close, but that's not going to happen."
I can't help but think that "abusive" adjective is a tad superfluous; shooting one's stepdaughter in the back… well, I got the point about abuse right there.
Well maybe I shouldn't be so flip. Maybe I'd feel differently if I had been shot in the back with a hunting rifle when I was 13.
Ms. Lasher-Sommers is taking her sweet time making her mind up about moving, though; via Rolling Stone, she was shot over 50 years ago. She claims "they never sent anyone in to talk to me about it" when she was in the hospital. Legal repercussions? This WMUR article from 2015 says the stepdad, Crosley Fletcher, was charged with "aggravated assault", but doesn't provide any more detail.
Ah well. Asking these kind of questions is rude, I guess.
The US state that produced and shipped out the most firearms since 2015, New Hampshire has funnelled millions of weapons into the already-flooded domestic market of a nation beset by a gun death epidemic.
What can I say, except "Thanks for your business" and "You're welcome."
And… ah, there it is:
The state with a motto of "Live free or die" has long been home to gun makers, as have other manufacturing hubs on America's eastern seaboard.
Indeed. Left out of the Argentinian story: the US is a pretty violent country, with an intentional homicide rate of 6.3 per 100K population. But that's not too much more than Argentina's: 5.3 per 100K. Is that enough of a difference to permit this hectoring? I mean, I don't want to get all biblical, but… take it, Jesus: Matthew 7:1-5.
And (as I've pointed out before) the Merchant of Death state of New Hampshire has a rate well under that: 0.9 per 100K (2020), the lowest in the country. (And that's not a statistical fluke: we had the lowest rate in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.)
In comparison, Buenos Aires itself had a murder rate of 4.6 per 100K in 2020. About 5 times New Hampshire's. (But to be fair: much lower than Chicago's.)
Maybe Argentina shouldn't be lecturing New Hampshire? Just a thought.