Monday, February 15, 2016

Guns, Kids and Power

So much of the public rhetoric, both for and against firearms, confuses statistical correlation with cause and effect. For example, states that have both more firearms and more firearm deaths may have other correlative factors...perhaps more alcohol consumption or more children per household or more poverty or less education. Or something else, entirely. No one of those factors can be singled out as the cause.

Let's face it, if an area has more cars, there are more car accidents. Do we take cars away from people? No, we require more driver training and put more restrictions on use by minors.

Roughly 100 children are killed in bicycle accidents every year. Does anyone call for taking bikes away from kids?

People who don't grow up around firearms often view them as an unnecessary evil. For those who are used to them, they're just another tool; one to be handled with respect just like any tool or machine that can injure or kill.

What are the most dangerous things in our households? Electricity. Fire. Cars. 411 people died from electrocutions in the US in 2001.1 Seven people died each day in U.S. home fires.2 According to the CDC3, motor vehicles were the leading cause of death of children and young adults from ages 5 - 24 in 2013. That same year, accidental death by firearms was 10th in the 5-9 age group, 9th in the 10-14 group and didn't make the top 10 for teens. Homicide by firearm was near the top of the list in every age group, but that's surely a function of gang violence, which is a whole different problem.

I really wish we would focus our energies on violence in our culture and on the socio-economic disparity that drives it. Then we might get somewhere. People who are productive and have non-violent control over their lives don't, generally, commit crimes or kill others. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that become despair and rage...those are what we must deal with. Disparity in power is at the core of all of the violence in the world, not just the U.S.

Does there seem to be a theme here?

1. Seven people die each day in reported U.S. home fires
2. Deaths from Electrocution 
3. Ten Leading Causes of Death and Injury