SIMPLE PLAINS, NEW JERSEY — Marcus Palumbozo is a self-described free-market capitalist libertarian gun rights activist. The 22 year old Palumbozo is currently two semesters shy of his Bachelor’s Degree in statistics, which he hopes to one day parlay into a job working for a right-wing think tank like The Heritage Foundation, The Cato Institute, The Foundation for Economic Education, or Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza. Palumbozo is the president of the National Rifle Association’s local chapter in his New Jersey hometown, where he lives with his parents, making money to pay for college by writing articles for various right-wing affiliated sites and sharing them on his tightly-knit network of Facebook pages that have different names, but serve and share the same content created by the same handful of conservative, white men.
In the wake of the latest mass shooting in the United States — the killing spree at an Oregon community college that left 13 dead — President Barack Obama challenged the media to politicize the issue of mass shootings by comparing the number of American deaths at the hands of terrorists to the number of deaths in mass shootings. Palumbozo, however, wrote an article for one of his Facebook pages that attempted to, in his words, “give the libtarded gun grabbers some perspective.”
The graphic shows two large pie charts, one green and one blue. The blue pie represents every single death in the U.S. compared to the number of deaths by homicide and the percentage homicides and all other causes of death. The green pie chart represents the total number of murders reported in America versus the total number of murders perpetrated versus those committed during mass shootings. The message behind the meme, Palumbozo told The Political Garbage Chute, was to show that “compared to every single, solitary kind of death from infectious disease to traffic accidents to any number of deaths that have nothing to do with the problem of gun violence” mass shooting deaths are “extremely rare and therefore don’t really need any legislation to address them.
“If you ask me, and any red-blooded-true-American-ammo-hoarding patriot,” Mr. Palumbozo said, “the simple fact is that mass shootings aren’t that big a deal because everyone dies, so why should we do anything to address a specific problem society is facing,” he then asked rhetorically. Palumbozo told our reporter he thinks it’s a “disease among liberals” to “want to solve problems they see in the world they live in” and that the Constitution “wasn’t written so we could go and change it, just because there are amendments in it and stuff.”
Palumbozo’s critics however were unimpressed with his meme. Ronald Cropper, a Democratic pollster and strategist, said, “Mr. Palumbozo — and everyone like him that misunderstands what gun regulations are supposed to do — would do well to take some basic civics classes.” Cropper told us that “Gun laws aren’t about preventing every death. Gun laws are about preventing gun deaths” and that the United States “can absolutely prevent mass shootings from further increasing in frequency by doing things like not handing guns to literally every single person in the country as long as they put their hands over their hearts and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.” Cropper said that “the level of intellectual dishonesty it takes to imply that one problem doesn’t exist simply because every single human being dies is staggering” because “he has to know how irrelevant to the discussion the paradigm of human mortality really is.”
“It’s just willfully and deliberately ignoring the President’s points,” Cropper said, adding, “and more importantly the overwhelming evidence that mass shooting events, and especially those on school campuses, have seen a sharp rise, and the FBI is reporting the same thing. It’s extremely telling that the meme in question stopped in 2013, but it’s also extremely telling that the meme didn’t actually chart the number of mass shootings year over year.”
“Oh sure, the facts show that the majority of murders committed in America are with guns,” Palumbozo said in response to Cooper’s criticisms, “but why would I want to put that fact in my graphic? Intellectual honesty? Don’t make me laugh; that’s not what my fans want.” Palumbozo reiterated that his meme and article accompanying it are meant to “demonstrate how dumb it is to want to fix a problem before it grows out of control” because “government never does anything right, ever in the history of the world.”
“Palumbozo completely missed the point — and probably intentionally — that President Obama was making,” Cooper told our interviewer. He added, “The point being that we’ve spent trillions of dollars of chasing down terrorists all over the globe essentially because of one terrorist attack, yet many more people have been shot to death in these mass shootings and there has been almost no reaction from the Federal government whatsoever.”
Cooper said that “dragging irrelevant comparisons to the total number of deaths no matter the cause is all the proof you need that the pro-gun no matter what crowd is disconnected from reality and a desire to have rational discussions about fixing problems that may not represent a large number of deaths statistically, but morally they represent a repugnant deal we’ve made with ourselves, sacrificing the innocent on the altar of doomsday fantasies and gun manufacturer profits.”