Gun violence, facts & a prayer

Damned if I understand why some seemingly decent people are about as responsive to facts as a cluster of tree stumps.  On top of that, there is a disturbing instinct in some to protect guns before children. On top of that, there are some who seem to think knives are as much if not more dangerous than  guns (that must be why so many of today’s modern armies are throwing away their firearms and replacing them with steak knives).

I do understand that we are a culture addicted to violence. We are a culture that has come to believe that an accurate measure of one’s strength is one’s capacity to inflict violence. We are also a culture that has taken the Second Amendment and morphed it into meaning something it doesn’t mean. The Second Amendment does not mean the founding fathers, had they known, would think it would be just peachy for citizens to own assault weapons, that it would be okay to buy thousands of rounds of ammunition at a time. They would no doubt be troubled by the fact it is easier in some areas of the country to buy an assault weapon and thousands of rounds of ammunition than it is to get a driver’s license.

As Bill Moyer’s said, and I quoted in a recent commentary for Independence Today, the NRA is “a killer instinct’s best friend.”

The penchant for some to blame the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School solely on mental illness, or medication (anything but guns),  is disheartening. Yes, without question, the issue is more than simply guns and the desperate need for responsible  gun control measures, but the other elements of the issue must not be used as a reason  to turn our attention away from the need for gun control.

For those who cling to the utterly misguided belief that knives are just as dangerous as guns (assault weapons), consider this: knives are not want these mass murderers of our innocents are choosing, they are choosing assault weapons. (Note to reader: I do not expect this fact to make one iota of difference to those clinging to the knife-worse-than-gun myth. Nor do I expect the following facts to make a difference to those who seek to protect guns before people, but, perhaps in some cases, I’ll be wrong. Let’s hope.).

  • More Americans suffer gun deaths by homicide and suicide in a six-month span than have died by terrorist attacks in the last 25 years and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
  • In one year, 31,224 people died from gun violence and 66,769 people survived gun injuries (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)). That includes:
    o 12,632 people murdered and 44,466 people shot in an attack.
    o 17,352 people who killed themselves and 3,031 people who survived a suicide attempt
    with a gun.
    o 613 people who were killed unintentionally and 18,610 who were shot unintentionally
    but survived.
  • Over a million people have been killed with guns in the United States since 1968, when Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated (Childrens’ Defense Fund, p.20).
  • U.S. homicide rates are 6.9 times higher than rates in 22 other populous high-income
    countries combined, despite similar non-lethal crime and violence rates. The firearm homicide rate in the U.S. is 19.5 times higher (Richardson, p.1).
  • Among 23 populous, high-income countries, 80% of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States (Richardson, p. 1).
  • The estimated  cost of gun violence U.S. citizens $100 billion annually
    (Cook, 2000).
  • An estimated 41% of gun-related homicides and 94% of gun-related suicides would not
    occur under the same circumstances had no guns been present (Wiebe, p. 780).
  • Higher household gun ownership correlates with higher rates of homicides, suicides, and
    unintentional shootings (Harvard Injury Control Center).
  • Keeping a firearm in the home increases the risk of suicide by a factor of 3 to 5 and increases the risk of suicide with a firearm by a factor of 17 (Kellermann, 1992, p. 467; Wiebe, p. 771).
  • Keeping a firearm in the home increases the risk of homicide by a factor of 3 (Kellermann, 1993, p. 1084)

For those who care about facts, you’re in my prayers. For those who don’t care about them or believe them, you’re in my prayers too, and that’s a fact.

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One thought on “Gun violence, facts & a prayer

  1. Thank you, Peter. I appreciate the concise list of facts. It is helpful to those of us who plan to fight this battle. ❤

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