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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How about we take on gun control this time.

This is a subject that is dear to my heart. I hate to see some of the arguments that are used to try to justify more stringent gun control, especially "if it saves one life then it's worth it". Let's look at some numbers for this one, shall we. I am going to use numbers from 2007 as it was the easiest to find compiled data for. If you have newer data , please link in a comment and I will update. In 2007 there were 31,224 deaths by firearm in the US, out of a population of about 301,140,000, or .01% of the population. Please, before you call me callous, understand that I believe every unnecessary death is a tragedy, especially youths. Please also realize that this number is statistically insignificant, merely noise in the numbers, except to those directly affected by it.

First, about half of the deaths in the US by firearm are suicides, 17,352 in 2007, about 55% of the firearms deaths. These people will, for the most part, find a way to kill themselves even if a gun is not available. Some of these may survive their first attempt using another method, only to try again until successful. Others may survive, but with a greatly diminished capacity for life, possibly including a persistent vegetative state, requiring a lifetime of care (with modern medical care it could be along time). While I think life is sacred, I also believe that you should have the choice to end your own, if that is your desire. You will be missed by family and friends, and you will also be responsible in whatever afterlife you believe in for your actions, but it is still your choice. These deaths should not be reported as firearms deaths but as suicides, the tool the person uses is not important.

So, removing suicides from the total of firearms deaths leaves us with 13,872 people killed with firearms, still too many, but an even smaller percentage of the population, now only .0046%, or less than 5 per 100,000 people. By way of comparison, traffic accidents killed 41,059 people, more than the total killed by firearms in the US, in 2007. I very rarely hear of anyone wanting to ban cars, except for some hardcore environmentalists, but wouldn't this save even more lives than banning guns?

To be Continued...

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