Over the recent weeks I’ve been somewhat distracted from this blog – quite a change from the time where it seemed I put something new out there almost every day. Part of me has been distracted with the loss of our pet, Gunther, 5-6 weeks ago. It is still hard to pretty much do anything without realizing how integral he was to our house, our family and the rhythm we came to expect and enjoy. Boy, the pain and the tears stay pretty close to the surface – more a testament to how great a little guy he was. I’ve also had another shoulder surgery a couple of weeks back – due to a great extent of me maybe not taking the first one as seriously as I should – I’ve been a lot less active this time around including doing a bit less typing. So I have some excuses but when I look around there seems to be somewhat of a diminished intensity on areas or issues which were pretty important not that long ago. We are definitely a society with ADHD – how quickly we let things pass and become non-issues when something new shows up. Pretty sad overall. But not enough reason to give up. I stay stubbornly positive in hoping that knowledge and commonsense will ultimately prevail – maybe not because I necessarily believe it deep down but I’m not sure I can make my head get around the fact that ignorance and emotion will rule the day.
So with that, let’s talk gun control again. I read an interesting and relevant article in the May 2013 Scientific American – not a magazine I usually read as most of it typically flies over my head but my son frequents it and this recent one ended up on our kitchen table as one of the key articles was on 3-D printing – a new world (well relatively new to consumers) our household recently entered into. In any case, I came across a great article by Michael Shermer, who is the publisher of Skeptic magazine where he attempts to add some facts to the current discussion and takes on the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and the view that essentially more guns are the only way to make things better. He sites a couple of studies on guns that paint an interesting picture – one that many of us I think already know (that more guns mean more problems) but the stats are interesting so I thought I’d share some of them as well as the link to the article (which I would strongly you read and take way what you may) – http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gun-science-proves-arming-untrained-citizens-bad-idea
Some highlights for those of you who don’t want to read it all (credit again to Mr. Shermer in Scientific American – May 2013 issue as I’ve shared this verbatim) –
A 1998 study in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery that found that “every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.” Pistol owners’ fantasy of blowing away home-invading bad guys or street toughs holding up liquor stores is a myth debunked by the data showing that a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault, an accidental death or injury, a suicide attempt or a homicide than it is for self-defense.
From a 2013 book from Johns Hopkins University Press entitled Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis, edited by Daniel W. Webster and Jon S. Vernick, both professors in health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In addition to the 31,672 people killed by guns in 2010, another 73,505 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for nonfatal bullet wounds, and 337,960 nonfatal violent crimes were committed with guns. Of those 31,672 dead, 61 percent were suicides, and the vast majority of the rest were homicides by people who knew one another. For example, of the 1,082 women and 267 men killed in 2010 by their intimate partners, 54 percent were shot by guns. Over the past quarter of a century, guns were involved in greater number of intimate partner homicides than all other causes combined. When a woman is murdered, it is most likely by her intimate partner with a gun.
For gun nuts who really don’t care, numbers and statistics are, well, just numbers and statistics. But for the rest of us who could easily be one of the statistics above, I’d actually want to make sure we don’t lose sight of how important an issue this is. Newtown shouldn’t just be a distant memory. Pretty disappointing how quickly we all forget. Equally scary that the likes of Wayne LaPierre gets his way and sees validation of his views in the inaction and antipathy of the American public.