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RE: Which Do You Value More: Freedom or the Well-being Freedom Brings?

in #guns5 years ago

Let me put out two figures:

Gun deaths (homicides and suicides, intentional and unintentional) in 2014: 33,594
Courtesy of: Pro-Con

Total deaths in the US in 2014: 2,626,418
Courtesy of: CDC

Now, let's do the math. What's 2,626,418 into 33,594? 1.28%. In other words, of the over two-and-a-half million people that died in 2014, just over 1% of them died because of intentional or unintentional use of a firearm, by themselves or by another person. If you exclude suicides from the original firearm figure (which I'd argue you could do since suicidal people that would follow through are likely to follow through with some other means of suicide), that percentage drops to .4%

The percentage of deaths caused by firearms used by another person on the victim in 2014 was .4% (11,008 total homicides). That's it. By contrast, the percentage of deaths attributable to, say, motor vehicle collisions was 1.2%. Even if you include suicides in your calculation of deaths by firearms, they're roughly in the same category of danger.

My question is this: what's the issue? Are tragic deaths perpetrated by people who use firearms any less tragic because they account for just over 1% of total deaths? No. Is this a pressing concern? Also no. Given that the rate of gun ownership exceeds the number of owners by a significant margin, I'd say that the level of safety exercised by the overwhelming majority of gun owners is unquestionable.

Moreover, given that this is a question concerning what to do about mass shootings, why does any of this have any bearing? We've seen multiple instances of mass killers us vehicles and other methods to kill large groups of people as well (primarily in areas where firearms are either heavily restricted or illegal for possession and carry by civilians). To say that addressing gun ownership will somehow limit the reach of someone intent on killing a large group of people for whatever end is short-sighted.


Here in Australia, sad/angry young men get blind drunk and drive a fast car into a huge gum tree in the middle of the night.
Not a 'suicide' though, and not a 'gun death' so at least we're more 'civilised' on paper.

I understand your point, but I'm not sure it's relevant to this post. I'm talking about violent death via weapons designed to kill. Yes, cars have been used along with knives, etc, etc. We could talk about those in other posts if we want, but the fact remains other countries don't have this problem to the extent the United States does. We can either talk about that and figure out why it is, or we can change the subject and talk about something else.

To say that addressing gun ownership will somehow limit the reach of someone intent on killing a large group of people for whatever end is short-sighted.

Unless that's what the evidence suggests.

Thought experiment: if it was really easy to get nuclear weapons, grenades, chemical weapons, etc, etc... would we see more crazy people using them to kill? I think the answer is yes. Do you disagree? If not, why is the argument different here? Yes, there are a lot of guns already here and no amount of government law making will change that any time soon. It's still something to be discussed.

My point is that it's not the crux of the problem. A violent person intent on killing large numbers of people will use whatever means are at his disposal, so to argue that these means should be limited from that perspective alone - that violent people will use these means to kill people - is a weak argument. By that same argument, there are any number of other things that can be used for the same purpose.

The figures I quoted should indicate that gun violence is a relatively minor threat to human life. By statistical account, it's an exceptionally minor cause of death. Given that there is a prolific rate of gun ownership in the US, gun ownership alone is not the determining factor.

I don't disagree that we should be addressing the issue of mass violence, but addressing it from the point of view of the means rather than the ends is short-sighted.

I understand the problem is the violent people directly, I still don't understand why looking at the data to say "X leads to Y" and "A leads to B" and A seems to be a lot better than X if we compare outcomes Y and B isn't worth doing. You could talk about heart disease or cancer and how many deaths that causes and those would be important topics as well, but they aren't what's being discussed here. Many people are harmed by these acts of violence via psychological trauma. It's real and if we can take steps to improve things, we should consider our options.

You do not improve your security by creating or furthering double standards. Criminals by definition do not follow the law. Murderers do not care about gun laws. We've been down this path before. It just doesn't work. Firearms are like nukes. They exist. You cannot simply wish them away. Worse, by taking them away from law abiding protectors such as myself, you leave them only in the hands of predators.

I agree, but (1) disincentivizing people from owning firearms is going to ensure that people who don't care about others will be the only ones who then go on to make/purchase firearms; and (2) the implements themselves are not at issue.

The reason I mentioned automobiles was to add some perspective to the scope of the issue. I honestly don't think it's a problem. That being said, if we want to address it, focusing on the implements is not an effective method for curtailing the end result: mass violence.

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