Published: Friday, Feb. 1 2013 12:00 a.m. MST
"One death is a tragedy. A million deaths are a statistic."--Joseph
If twenty dead children is not enough hard evidence, I don't know what is?
The FBI statistics, you quote, are those murdered with a gun. The number of
people included in deaths by gun violence includes accidental deaths and
suicides with a gun. There are twelve times as many gun deaths in homes that
have guns in them than gun deaths that occur in homes that do not have a gun in
them. Close to 30,000 people in America die each year from gun deaths. I simply
ask, "Should we ignore the possible deaths of 30,000 people who will die
next year from gun violence?" As the President has said, "We can do
better." There have been several accidental gun deaths in Utah in the past
few months. We can do better.
"One has to also wonder the logic of banning assault rifles when there is no
outcry to ban the weapons used in the 4,081 non gun related murders of the same
year. "See, this is where the author has himself cherry picked
stats to try to make his own point. The more salient question would be how many
deaths by incident by gun type. If these 4,081 deaths were the result of 4,081
individual incidents... the death rate would be completely different than to the
recent event where 26 people were killed in a single event. The
problem with assault weapons is that they are not precision weapons. They rely
on spray and pray - max number of bullets in air in the shortest period of time.
They are built on the premise of number of hits per second - not precision of
hits. In the last event, it was 26 dead from one killer. I doubt the kill rate
in those other 4,081 deaths was anywhere near that ratio. The issue
is how many can you kill before you have to stop, think, reload. Its deaths per
minute. Its number of people killed per incident.
Beverly"If twenty dead children is not enough hard evidence, I
don't know what is?"The gun did not break into the school
and kill 29 children, a 'man' (using the term loosely) did. We know
how to keep a gun from killing, don't squeeze the trigger. How do you keep
such people from killing? There are plenty of other weapons around, and
instructions for bomb making widely available. He could have still killed just
as many, or more, with other available weapons. Remember Timothy McVeigh? Killed
145 people, 19 were children in a daycare-without firing military style assault
weapon, or any gun for that matter.
Christian 24-7 So glad you mentioned the Oklahoma City bombing. While much more
can and should be done to stop terrorist attacks such as that, at least in June
1995, Congress enacted legislation requiring chemical taggants to be
incorporated into dynamite and other explosives so that a bomb could be traced
to its manufacturer. In 2008, Honeywell announced that it had developed a
nitrogen-based fertilizer that would not detonate when mixed with fuel oil. The
company got assistance from the Department of Homeland Security to develop the
fertilizer (Sulf-N 26) for commercial use. It uses ammonium sulfate to make the
fertilizer less explosive.In other words, Congress and a private
company have worked together to make a potentially unsafe situation better.
Instead of making hyperbolic statements about the government taking away their
rights, Honeywell joined in and became part of the solution instead of part of
the problem. Wouldn't it be nice if the gun manufacturers and their
surrogates at the NRA and on the pages of this newspaper would do the same?
American families are already at risk. I ask anyone to challenge these facts.
With guns or a gun in the home the odds of dying from suicide, accidental death,
or being shot by a family member are each greater by far than being killed by a
home intruder. And now add assault weapons to the controversy. Lets think about
it and make a rational choice.
You're right, you can prove anything with stats. The article nicely did
that. So maybe we need to move away from a purely statistical discussion. Maybe
it's oversimplification to reduce gun deaths to numbers, or people who
think they need assault rifles to 'consumers'. They're not buying
toilet paper or beer, they're buying assault rifles. Newtown, and the
shootings since, have made one thing evident. What we've done up to this
point hasn't worked. We need to change things.
The author makes some compelling points. Per Roger Brinner, "The plural of
anecdote is not 'data'"I don't think his points
mean we have no problem to solve. But rather, we need to look a little harder
at the various claims made on both sides. Otherwise we can produce a lot of
movement and no real action.
Whatever we do, let's make sure there is real WISDOM behind it.
I'm surprised by Jon Bouwhuis's letter.As a former USAF
veteran myself, he should know FULL well the safety precaucions we were
REQUIRED and ORDERED to follow around any and all weapons and weapon systems.Did Jon not remember that all rifles were locked in a gun safe and
armory?Does he not re-call that safety pins were never pulled and
weapon armed until the last possible second during the final EOR
(end-of-runway) munitions inspections before and after take-off? Does he suddenly forget that all weapons operators must never be alone, a
buddy system if case someone did goe "rougue" the other guy could take
them out?Does he forget the extensive background checks, physical
AND Mental evaluations, training, certifications, and qualification we needed to
pass in order to even TOUCH a weapon?Does he forget the penalties we
would be subject to IN ADDITION to any and all civilian laws and penalties if we
ever did break the law?Sure - let civilians have military type
weapons.Just make sure they are kept and held to the same level of safety
and training for those wepaons as we were held to in the Military.
The response to my question, "What should we do in America about the fact
that, every year, 30,000 people will die in the U.S. from gun violence?" The
answer to my questions is always a defense in support of doing nothing, or it is
consistently the NRA's rhetoric about arming more people. I own guns and
I'm not afraid of my government. I'm looking for suggestions to stop
gun violence. From mass shootings in schools, malls, and movie theaters, to
teenage suicides and accidental shootings in America's homes, I'm
seeking suggestions. As the President said, "We can do better." What
is your recommendation to help prevent the consistent, year in and year out, the
fact that 30,000 people will die each year from gun violence if we do nothing??
May I nominate Open Minded Mormon's post here as the POST OF THE MONTH? Or
maybe even of the year?Thank you for injecting some much needed
sanity into the discussion.
As one who was educated in the sciences where citing references is standard
practice, I applaud the author's suggestion. I used to participate on the
talk.origins usenet board, where the debate is vigorous and occasionally
vicious. If you couldn't back up a claim with a publication citation there
(and a real one from the primary literature, not just Newsweek or a blog), you
got hammered hard. They had very high standards for supporting evidence.
Unfortunately, the DesNews 200 word limit and ban on hyperlinks works against
that. Why sacrifice 20 words for a citation?I see numerous logical
fallacies on this board in the gun discussions, especially confusing correlation
with causation and confounding different types of data (claims that more die
from cars than from guns, which conflates accidental deaths with intentional
homicides-- apples and oranges). As others have observed, the author is not
immune to this himself (nor am I).While I disagree with his
conclusions, I hope the author's goal of raising the standard of debate is
achieved.Twin Lights: "The plural of anecdote is not
'data'"Absolutely love the quote. Thanks for citing your
Heh, Mr. Bouwhuis cites stats on falls, and claims that no one is interested in
reducing them. Considering the level of fall protection training I go through
at work, I'd say that there is a great deal of interest in minimizing
injuries and deaths from falls. The same can be said for automobile accidents,
chemical exposure, food safety, and nearly every other hazard we are exposed to.
A great deal of thought and effort is put into how to help people protect
themselves.Firearms seem to be a glaring hole in this equation. The
primary purpose of a firearm is to injure and kill. Weapons are dangerous, by
definition. The only way to minimize that danger is through training and
evaluation. I strongly support closing the background check loopholes.
Gunshows and personal sales need to require a check, just like a sale from any
store. Gun owners need to be prepared to prove they are able and willing to
handle their weapons safely before taking them home.I believe the
second amendment gives us each the individual right to bear arms. I also
believe that we must be prepared to accept the risks and responsibilities of
Insisting on evidence is a criterion just as applicable to blaming movies, video
games, etc. Bowhuis here confines it to the gun question. Both sides share the
same hypocrisy, don't they?Guns are at issue even if these
recent mass shootings had not occurred. Likewise for criticisms of popular
culture and negligence in the area of mental health. We can apply common sense
in all areas on a case by case basis and not stall on as an overall
comprehensive solution continues to be so mind boggling that it promises to
perpetually elude us.That’s why I favor a ban on assault
rifles at the earliest, whether it makes a dent in the mass shooting craze or
not. Weapons that make it easy to kill a lot of people fast are an immediate
threat to public safety that outweighs any hypothetical benefits of availability
for public access without even minimal safeguards.
I love the anti-gun nuts and the usual rhetoric. Never changes.I
know at least 12 people who I have been aquainted with in my life that have
committed suicide. Only 1 used a gun. Most OD'd (two on Lortab so
let's ban that), three used their cars (a tree, a concrete wall at over 60
MPH with no seatbelt, one car running in the garage), a couple slashed their
wrists, and one walked into traffic (so technically he used a car), one dived
off of a cliff.Until everyone gets into their head that guns, by
themselves do nothing, then we can have an intelligent discussion about
criminals and crazy people.
It's difficult to have either statistics or evidence to support a claim
when no one collects the data. For years the NRA has backed riders to
appropriations legislation that effectively prohibits CDC funding for gun
violence research. How can you have an honest discussion of the issue when you
are legally barred from collecting the relevant data? You can't make
decent decisions or good policy in an environment of ignorance. Fortunately,
one of President Obama's 27 action items on gun policy is to direct the CDC
that it can conduct research on gun violence. This has nothing to do with the
Second Amendment, gun ownership, registration, keeping and bearing, rights, etc.
It is only about science and obtaining the information needed to make sound
decisions. I don't see how anyone who claims to be an honest broker in the
discussion can object.@Flashback: Please refer to the Briner quote
in the Twin Lights comment.
Flashback - what do you think would happen to death rates in cars if we allowed
unlimited horsepower, we didn't require any certification to drive one, and
that car dealers were legislated as little as gun dealers? What has
happened is the NRA has arranged for legislation that has gutted the ATFs abilty
to do their jobs, have denied the ability to have anyone nominated to lead the
agency for over 5 years, and have insisted that any types of safety restrictions
are a breach of gun owner rights. Parents let their 14 year old drive a car,
they have sever consequences. Tell a parent they need to safe guard their
weapons from their 14 years old - and you have a constitutional crises.And I have no idea what is happening to your friends... but 12 that have ended
their lives? That is extreme. There are other issues at play there. These are
exactly the mentally unstable people I don't want deciding what is safe and
unsafe to do with guns.
We definitely need limits on magazine capacity to cut down on the number of gun
suicides. Regarding "assault" weapons, can any anti-gun
person supply a persuasive argument as to why an "assault" weapon like
an AR-15 is significantly more dangerous, in the context of crime or a spree
shooting, than a non-"assault" rifle like the Ruger Mini-14?Same caliber, same rate of fire, same muzzle velocity. Why do you want to ban
the one and not the other?
DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.— About comments