Concerning Guns and Death

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News flash! There are more guns than cars in the United States. What do you think of that?

Gun related deaths averaged about 30 per day in 2013, which equals 10,950 people. With about 300 million guns in the country, that equals about one death for every 27,400 guns.

Of course, one is too many.

Automobile related deaths averaged around 96 per day in 2013, for a total of 35,200 deaths. Since there are approximately 253 million autos in the country, the death rate equals one death for every 7188 automobiles.

Again, one is too many.

Do guns kill people? Yes and no.

Do automobiles kill people? Yes and no.

Percentage of guns to gun related deaths – 0.00365%

Percentage of automobiles to auto related deaths – 0.01391%

Yes, it is true, more automobiles are involved in fatalities than guns. Gun owners, does that information give you a reason to high five one another?

Isn’t one death too many?

A lot of my friends are gun owners. I’m not a gun owner, though at one time I owned an old 12 gauge shotgun. I’m not anti-guns.

Nor am I anti-autos.

I am anti-death.

People say guns don’t kill people. People kill people. But what do they use, at least 115 a day last year?

Guns.

I can hear you now. “You just said autos kill more people than guns!”

True. But try and picture someone walking along with a car stuck in their pants, until they reach the person they’re “car-ing for”. As they approach the person they’ve planned to kill, they reach into their pants, pull out the car, and smash into them. The victim didn’t see it coming.

Was that hard to picture? Yes? Why? Because it’s hard to conceal a car. And, unfortunately, accidents happen.

However, it’s much easier to imagine the scenario with that same someone walking with a pistol in their pocket. And, though some accidental shootings have occurred, most shootings happen on purpose. Most gun related deaths were cold-blooded murder.

I have a problem with cold-blooded murder, whether someone uses a gun, a car, or their breath.

I get the second amendment thing. I’m all for defending our rights.

But back in the day when our forefathers penned our “rights” this was a different country. Things happened a lot slower, life was less stressful, and people were more God-fearing. Schools didn’t need armed policemen or metal detectors. Hate crimes? Nonexistent. Was life or the people perfect? No. But people were trained in social graces; mainly, how to get along with others.

Homes didn’t have the luxury of cable or dish TV, broadcasting nonstop violence and depravity. Video games? Not even.

Back then “mature” didn’t refer to age only, but the full development of a person. Mature audiences weren’t simply people who were old enough to listen to smut filled “jokes”. They were people who had developed more than their sexual organs. They could live in society, even through hard times, and cope without expecting a handout from the government.

People could handle being told “no”.

I know some of my friends won’t agree with my take on gun laws, gun control, etc. Sorry.

Life isn’t about you, or me, for that matter. Life is about…

Life. Remember, one death is too many.

I’m not sure what the answer is. But I’m a bit concerned that people want us to go back to the days of the old Dodge City, Kansas, and Marshall Matt Dillon. Guns, guns, and more guns.

Sorry, I just don’t believe THIS society can handle the responsibility or the pressure.

Tell me what you think. Do you have any good ideas?

14 Comments

  1. “But back in the day when our forefathers penned our “rights” this was a different country. …Schools didn’t need armed policemen or metal detectors.”

    Professional police did not exist. Schools _did_ often need an armed militia of regular citizens to protect the settlements and what schools they might have.

    “Most gun related deaths were cold-blooded murder.”

    Most “gun related deaths” in the U.S. are suicides. Some have claimed that having more guns leads to more suicides but if you compare total suicides in the U.K. (guns difficult to own) to the U.S. (guns easy to own) they are nearly identical (12.0 vs 11.8 per 100,000). I would also doubt that most murders are “cold-blooded.” That is why we have a distinction between 1st and 2nd degree murder – the first is planned in cold blood and the second is usually due to people losing control in a situation and killing someone in a moment of anger, for example. I suspect there are more of the second than the first. Not excusing any murder, but most are not really planned beforehand (“cold blooded”).

    “Back then “mature” didn’t refer to age only, but the full development of a person.”

    This seems to have existed in living memory. When I was growing up in the 1950s guns were very abundant and easy to get in many places. Where I lived people might have a loaded M1 Garand (WWII and Korean War semi-automatic battle rifle) that fires a much more powerful cartridge than so-called “assault rifles” of today. Kids in country schools might bring a .22 rifle to school to hunt with on the way home. Kids in city schools might be in a marksmanship team. You could buy WWII German and Italian battle rifles collected off the battlefields of Europe through an ad in the back of a comic book. You sent in a check or money order and they mailed the rifle, with ammo if you paid for, directly to you through the mail with no check. Kids could buy a hunting rifle in the hardware store.

    But we didn’t have school murders or some of the problems we see today.

    We also didn’t have a lot of young boys legally drugged with psychoactive drugs to treat ailments like ADHD. I never knew anyone diagnosed with autism. There were no “Gun Free School Zones” either.

    Just for reference the legal drug industry has profits 100X larger than the industry that supplies firearms to civilians (not talking about military). Guess who really has the money to buy Congress? Some have said that a very large number of school mass murderers on whom we have reliable information on we using one of these drugs or withdrawing from them.

    “Life. Remember, one death is too many.”

    Too many for what? Have you any idea how many lives may be saved every year with guns? In truth no one knows for sure because many, if not most, are never reported to the police. In the vast majority a gun is not fired. The intended victim displays a gun and the bad guy goes somewhere else. There have been at least 13 major studies that came up with quite a range of estimates of these self defense uses. At least one study in the 1990s (Dr. Gary Kleck) estimated over 2 million per year with perhaps 400,000 lives saved.

    So before you start talking about “too many” you need to consider how many lives of good people you are willing to sacrifice to criminals and crazies because they couldn’t defend themselves.

    regards,

    lwk

    • I didn’t say got do away with guns. I appreciate your comments. I’m glad people’s lives have been saved. But I still don’t believe this society can handle Dodge revisited. Not sure the answer

      • The great majority of gun violence occurs in our inner cities where a drug and gang war is being waged (and where liberal policies have destroyed the two parent family).

        Consider that the homicide rate in the U.S. is 4.7 per 100,000. But in New Orleans it has been for a number of years greater than 50 per 100,000. I have been in at least one war zone that was probably safer than the Ninth Ward in New Orleans. The same picture is repeated over and over again in major cities – usually run by Democrats for decades. Washington D.C., Detroit, Chicago, etc. have a large number of young black men murdering each other in record numbers.

        But for most of the rest of America the homicide rate is much lower. It is the horrific numbers in these inner cities that drives up the U.S. average higher than many places in Europe considered quite safe. In my little town in Texas the homicide rate is usually 0.

        We have serious social problems (and the Drug war and gang wars) in these inner cities that are the _real_ problem.

        I made another reply re “Dodge City.”

        Responsible gun owners and the NRA do not, contrary to what many in the media seem to be saying, advocate everyone should own a gun. They advocate it for responsible and law abiding citizens. They often are against schemes of registration because in fact they have been used in other countries to set up confiscation (in both the U.K. and Australia). They oppose so-called “responsible” proposals because they see less than honest motives in the politicians that propose them. But most of all they oppose measures that want to blame guns for social problems that were in fact caused by dysfunctional social programs for decades.

        I wrote a proposal for universal background checks on my blog that I think a majority of gun owners would support.

        Universal Background Checks
        http://free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/universal-background-checks/

        As to answers we need to try to understand how attempts to help people on the lower end of the social and economic spectrum have acted perversely to create people without hope and huge grievances. One answer is to see how those programs destroyed the two parent family in the inner cities. We have to realize that we lost the Drug War decades ago and decide to stop enriching Mexican drug cartels. It would be a far sight better to have some of these drugs sold legally then without the huge profits there will much less motive to sell guns illegally in these cities to fight over the illegal drug trade.

        We should also I think launch a full fledged investigation into legal psychoactive drugs and their effects on children including violent ideation. Have written some on this on my blog.

        Those are at least some ideas.

        regards,

        lwk

  2. “I’m a bit concerned that people want us to go back to the days of the old Dodge City, Kansas, and Marshall Matt Dillon.”

    You have watched too many Hollywood movies. Towns in the Old West, including some notorious ones, were far safer than many modern cities.

    When I was a kid a civilian, non-police person having a concealed carry permit was very, very rare in any place I lived. Since the “shall issue” concealed carry movement started in Florida in the 1990s all states now have some form and millions of your fellow citizens legally carry loaded handguns in public every day. In every state before a law was passed legalizing the issue of these permits the opponents screamed that blood would run in the street (like their imagined idea of what Dodge City was like in the Old West).

    But after the law was in place for a couple years and thousands had licenses it simply didn’t happen. People who get concealed carry licenses are some of the most law abiding people in the U.S. based now on almost three decades of experience.

    regards,

    lwk

    • Lwk, I don’t think I explained myself very well. I’m not saying dodge city was unsafe. I believe it probably was. What I AM saying is with TODAY’S nutty society, I’d hate to see people walking around like they did in Dodge. People who don’t want anyone to look at them, or whatever. That’s all I’m saying.

      • “I’d hate to see people walking around like they did in Dodge.”

        I am not sure if you are talking about something you have seen, or something you don’t want to see?

        In fact there are millions of people today in many states who carry loaded handguns in public every day. I am one of them. In Texas where I live it is a violation of the law, and cause to lose your license and possibly be prosecuted, to reveal or “flash” that you have a gun unless you are in an actual situation where use of deadly force is warranted. It is a serious violation in Texas to in any way let anyone even know you are armed in public unless at that moment you are justified in drawing your firearms and using it in justified self defense.

        A lot of people walk past these people every day and have no idea the person has a gun legally right next to them. As I said before these people have an exemplary record of safety and obeying the law.

        There is another movement afoot, and maybe you have seen this and perhaps are thinking of it. This is the “open carry” movement like some folks who would go into public places carrying firearms in clear view where it was technically legal. Have been a number of confrontations between these people and police and property owners. This has happened in Texas in Austin at the capital grounds.

        Some folks did that at Starbucks and got some notoriety. These folks are I think kind of like blacks in the 1950s trying to ride at the front of the bus, trying to test the law. In many cases I think they are a little misguided, but harmless. Here is why. If you really want to carry a gun for self defense you would be far better to carry it concealed. You don’t want to advertise to the bad guy that you are armed before you need to. The bad guy may try to take it away from you (as many cops years ago were killed with their own guns taken away from them by bad guys).

        I didn’t get the impression you were anti-gun per se. I got the impression you were looking for answers. That was largely my motivation for replying. Now I am going to bed. Thank you for a pleasant conversation. 🙂

        regards,

        lwk

  3. Jules Worl

    I must respectfully disagree with you. I don’t think you are accurate when you contrast colonial era people vs. current society. It is all about our sin nature, which hasn’t changed. The Constitution and the Rill of Rights were documents that were thoughtfully created over long periods of time and much debate. The Bill of Rights are given by our creator. God is unchanging, and although the Bill of Rights is penned by man, where it lines up with or mirrors the scripture it, too, must be unchanging.
    Guns are not about life. Guns are about our ability to defend a civil society. We hear from on high and low about “turn the other cheek” but rarely do we hear the scriptures about swords. Remember when Jesus was arrested and one of his disciples cut an ear off one of the scribe attendants or guards. Why did someone even have a sword? The scriptures never condemn weapons, however, numerous scriptures record where weapons were used, even by men of God.
    When you write that most shootings happen on purpose I believe you mistakenly direct link that with cold-blooded murder. You did not provide any tangible statistics which makes it an opinion. No matter how passionate, it is just an opinion.
    I do respect that you write that you are not sure what the answer is. But you follow with a concern that is telling. The towns and era you mention were notoriously peaceful. There were shootings and looking back it’s easy to confuse the headlines for chaos, it generally was not that bad. Guns kept the peace where the lawman was scarce.
    This society has many that can handle it. Those that prove incapable should not have the right. All others must have the freedom. The right is inalienable.

    • Jules, I agree about the peaceful towns. That’s what I meant. But I do disagree on one point. Sure, sin nature has been around for a long time. But there are certain things that can help slow down the complete move to lawlessness. But, in my opinion, the church has been letting up more and more, allowing compromise to suck it in with the world. Therefore, the societal change is increasing faster and faster. Just as knowledge and technology is impossible to slow down, without a move of God this society is sunk. And that’s my concern. What will it look like with a bunch of spoiled, self centered, people shooting one another.

      • Jules Worl

        I think the move towards lawlessness is inevitable, according to scripture. But for our part, what we can personally do, guns will be a positive force. The violence of gang on gang aside, I don’t see the common citizen trending towards any more violence than we see historically. There are always a few, but historical figures do reveal that violence is at it’s lowest when potential victims have a valid means of defense.

    • “I don’t think you are accurate when you contrast colonial era people vs. current society.”

      I would have to agree with the author that there are some very great differences. I have read some convincing evidence that the average citizen of colonial America in the late 18th century was one of the most literate to ever exist in America. One basis of that claim are the records of books sales at the time, books that many today might have difficulty digesting and understanding. It is hard to imagine the volume of sales in relation to the size of the population unless there were some pretty well educated (probably large home schooled and self educated) to buy them which by the evidence they did.

      There is an amusing story of Congressman David Crockett (you may have heard of him) stopping to solicit a farmer plowing his field to vote for his re-election. The farmer stopped his plowing and gave Crockett a long lecture on the principles of the Constitution which he felt Crockett violated in a particular vote (Crockett was in fact not well educated formally). One of my ancestors died with Crockett at the Alamo.

      In the 19th century of course America had huge numbers of uneducated immigrants from Ireland and other places (which led to a lot of gun control laws largely based on racism). A number of my ancestors came here from Ireland just in time to join the fight against the Brits in the War of 1812. They were not well educated but eager for the opportunity to shoot at Brits! 🙂

      However today we have large parts of our society that are functionally illiterate. Many aspects of moral governance are becoming more obsolete in the minds of many younger folks whom we have not responsibly educated either to history or morality.

      Yes, I would have to largely agree with the author.

      “Why did someone even have a sword?”

      I am too tired (and going to bed soon) to look up the specific scripture, but Jesus said specifically that he had the apostles to buy a couple swords to fulfill a prophecy that they would be counted among the law breakers or wicked (perhaps Isaiah 53.9?). Jesus also said that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. He also said that he came to fulfill the law, not repeal it, and the law of Judaism held that use of violence in self defense was justified (the commandment is not “thou shall not kill,” but rather “thou shalt not murder” in the original Hebrew).

      I may disagree with some of your points in matter of fact, but I am not an opponent of what I see as your general alignment on many of these issues. 🙂

      regards,

      lwk

  4. Jan, I agree with you 100%! I HATE that almost everyone that we know owns guns. Hate it. And church outings to go to the shooting range to practice using their guns and teaching their children to use them… Oy… Don’t get me going……

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