This is disturbing. A study by the Violence Policy Center (admittedly biased but some quick checking seems their numbers are right) shows that in 2009 in a whopping 10 states gun deaths surpassed vehicle deaths (including pedestrians).
While I haven’t had time to fully research these states, at first glance I’m pretty sure they are all states with “shall issue” concealed carry laws, coupled with fairly, to extremely lax gun laws in general. And with the exception of Alaska, are all states with fairly major urban centers and major interstate highway systems. (and arguably Alaska has unique weather conditions, an extremely high rate of alcohol and prescription drug abuse, and a high rate of transient population [tourists and seasonal workers] that likely lead them to have a higher then per capita average of car fatatilities).
Regardless- I found these numbers a bit shocking. And of course- cars are one of the great killers gun rights advocates love to point to as being far more dangerous then guns. (and don’t get me started on the BS email that’s been circulating in recent weeks claiming baseball bats are the main murder weapon according to FBI data..hint- their not- not even close).
I don’t know…I’m increasingly troubled. I’ve never been a particular fan of gun control. I like guns and have been around tehm most of my life. And I know the problem is more us- humans…our weaknesses and predilections..and to be honest, the predominantly male penchant for violence.
And increasingly I see the cost of guns in our society far outweigh their benefits. And to digress- as you might guess from my user name one of my major areas of interest is drugs. And one of the cardinal rules of drug use is recognizing/knowing when drug use is causing not only problems for the iindividual- but for those around you. and if one can’t recognize that- to try and accept when those around you tell you. So time for a gun intervention. The harm has clearly outpaced the benefit. We are long, long, long past the point of the founding fathers fear of a standing federal army and the desire for an armed populace, under control of their states governors, being an important check. And we are past the point where guns in the home stop more crime then they cost in murders/suicides.
How many lives must we sacrifice to assuage our daily fears? To feel some strength or invincibility in our lives? Are their not better ways to find the salve for which we seek then a machine designed to take life? Is this, the current gun reality really what America is about? What those wise founding fathers intended? Or is it just another example of our weakness and failings perverting yet another ideal that once made sense?
Article that inspired the start of this post at Slate here