Saturday, August 11, 2012
Questions For The NRA
IThere is no doubt in my mind that my fellow blogger, cpmaz at Random Musings, does the best job of covering the political scene in Arizona. But last Wednesday he wrote an excellent post on a national issue -- the multitude of mass shootings in America. And he had some questions for the NRA -- questions I would also like to have answered. Here is what he had to say:
We have the "small" numbers -
- Six people killed and three wounded by a white supremacist at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
- At least 12 killed and 30 wounded at a movie theater in Colorado.
- Six killed and another dozen injured at a supermarket in Tucson.
- Four people killed by another white supremacist in AZ.
- A 16-year old boy killed in northern California.
- A 30-year old man killed in Nevada.
- And on...and on...and on...and on...
All leading to a *BIG* number - 30,000+ gun-related deaths per year (per the Centers for Disease Control).
Firearms enthusiasts/fetishists (use whichever term you prefer) will claim that more people die as a result of car accidents every year, and based on the CDC data linked above, that's true. By approximately 3000 victims.
They can make that claim, but it's a false equivalency, for a couple of reasons.
- As these USDOJ statistics of non-fatal gun incidents show, the number of victims of gun incidents is always larger than the number of incidents.
In short, if there is an "incident" involving a firearm, it is more likely than not that someone will be injured or killed in each *incident*.
However, there are billions of motor-vehicle person-trips per year with literally *trillions* of passenger miles-driven each to reach ~35K motor vehicle deaths per year (2009 number). Even adding in non-fatal injuries to the total, there were ~9.5 million motor vehicle accidents in the US in 2009 that resulted in slightly less than 2.3 million injuries or deaths.
In short, if there is an "accident" involving a motor vehicle, there is less than one chance in four that it will result in a death or injury (US Census Bureau statistics).
- In addition, when someone is injured or killed by a motor vehicle, it is almost always an accident or the result of the use of that motor vehicle in a manner for which it wasn't designed; when someone is killed by a firearm, it is frequently deliberate and a result of using said firearm for theexact purpose for which it was designed.
Yet the NRA and other gun enthusiasts/fetishists (again, your choice) are implacably opposed to even discussing ways to reduce gun violence in the US.
They've made a value judgement - their ability to obtain, carry, and use firearms, virtually unfettered by any constraints from civil or criminal law is more important than the lives of thousands of innocents.
As harsh as that sounds, I could have accused them of making a crasser, and far more cynical, value judgement, one where they actually welcome the litany of "firearms incidents" in the country because they lead to more revenue and profits for firearms manufacturers.
I don't know if anyone from the NRA/gun lobby will read this, or would dare to admit it if they did, but if they happen to do so, I have a couple of questions for them -
How many guns have to be sold before your benefactors in the firearms industry find that even their unbridled avarice is met?
How many innocent people have to die before your bloodlust is satiated?
What's the magic number?