one-eyed fat man's Journal
Cease Fire PSA
The plot of the PSA is as follows:
A child opens a closet door and looks at the top shelf. He drags a chair to the front of the closet and stacks books and boxes on the seat. He climbs up and reaches for a gun on the top shelf.
MICHAEL DOUGLAS (voice over):
If you think your kids aren't old enough to find your handgun, think again.
The child turns the gun around, pointing it at his face. We hear a SHOT and we see a graphic with the following statistic: "10 children are killed by a handgun every day." The Cease Fire logo and web page address appear.
Part of the reason this ad is effective is it uses the image of a toddler to fix an image in your mind, then goes on to say 10 children a day are killed by a handgun EACH DAY. TEN A DAY!!! That's 3,650 children a year who the sponsors of the ad want you to believe are preschoolers who blasted themselves by finding a loaded gun "hidden" in the home. The intent is to have you tie the number "ten a day" to the image of "children" as innocent young toddlers.
2007 was the last year the CDC reported this. But as you can see firearm accidents for kids, and defining EVERYONE UNDER AGE 18 as a kid to get the widest possible range range, is 8th on the list. If you use age 10 and under, then firearm accidents are not even in the top 10.
1 - Unintentional Motor Vehicle Traffic = 3,644
2 - Unintentional Drowning = 844
3 - Unintentional Fire/burn = 458
4 - Unintentional Poisoning = 379
5 - Unintentional Suffocation = 280
6 - Unintentional Pedestrian, Other = 208
7 - Unintentional Other Land Transport = 196
8 - Unintentional Firearm = 111
According to the CDC, if you include everyone under voting age as a child the number is 111. If you pick the 4-5 age group as shown in the PSA it is 14.
So how do you turn 14 accidents a year into 10 a day, besides just flat out lie??
First, expand your definition of child. Why not define everyone as "children" up to age 23? After all the IRS will let you count your college student offspring as dependents at 23. Second, why stop at accidents when you can include suicides, homicides, and legal intervention?
This is a big boost to the numbers as the crime rate follows the proportion of young males in the population. Both the victims and the perpetrators of crime tend to fall in the 18-25 age category. This way you get to count in homicides both innocent victims, and any criminals dispatched by the police.
One of the leading causes of death amongst teenagers is suicide. The Centers for Disease control report that it is the third leading cause of death, behind accidents (all types of accidents, mostly motor vehicle) and homicide, of people aged 15 to 24. Even more disturbing is the fact that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 14.
For further discussion on techniques used to manipulate a message: techniques, part II
It's still a lie, even if it is well thought out exceedingly deceptive and slickly produced lie.