What’s Your Gun Number?

The Washington Post is trolling for gun violence stories to prepare a compelling anti-gun narrative for the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting. In their own words:

Saturday marks a year since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.  Since the shooting, an intense political debate on guns has occurred, with about 1,500 gun bills introduced across the country. But for many Americans, the impact of guns and gun violence has also been incredibly personal, making this week a time for reflection.

As we cover the politics and policy about guns, we are also looking for stories of the personal impact of gun violence. Share your story using the form below.

The form includes the question, “How many people do you know who have been killed or injured by gun violence?” This number is what the Post calls your “gun number.” I don’t know if you are to subtract people from that list who have been shot by the police or shot in active combat. It doesn’t matter, I’m sure. The higher the number the better. The Post is also encouraging people to post photos:

We’re illustrating this project with photographs of people holding their “gun numbers.” If you can take a photo like this, it would help us illustrate your story and increase your chances of appearing on the site.

You may write your number on anything—a piece of paper, a chalkboard, a notebook—and take it with a cellphone or a camera. You can upload a photo below or, in the next box, send us a link to an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other photo.

Given the fact that social media exacerbates the already competitive bend of human nature, I’m sure some idiots will be one-upping each other into triple digits in no time. The Washington Post is going to use all of these numbers and sob stories, of course, as a way to bolster their claims that guns harm more than they help.

I’d like to recommend something as a counterpart. Let’s change the gun number narrative by posting pictures with a negative number instead of a positive. Call it the “gun defense number.” It represents the number of people you personally know (including yourself) who have been protected by a gun in the hands of a private citizen.

If the gun number people make an honest accounting and the gun defense number people do the same, I am sure that the net gun number would be negative. And that would actually be a positive. So… what’s your gun number?