Sunday, July 10, 2016

Guns: We're Arguing Over the Wrong Things...

June 12, 2016: 49 dead, 50 wounded, Orlando, FL.
December 2, 2015: 14 dead, 22 wounded,  San Bernardino, CA.
November 29th, 2015: 3 dead, 9 injured, Colorado Springs, CO.
October 1, 2015: 9 dead, 9 injured, Roseburg, OR.
July 16, 2015: 5 dead, 3 wounded, Chattanooga, TN.
June 18th, 2015: 9 dead, Charleston, SC.

You get the idea...

Gun debates are ubiquitous.  We don’t seem to be getting anywhere however.
Some thoughts...

1) If you’re truly fearful that President Obama or Hillary Clinton are going to confiscate all the guns in this country, you can relax. Obama hasn’t taken anyone’s guns away, and Hillary is less liberal than he is on this issue. No matter what you hear from the NRA or talk show hosts like Shawn Hannity or Rush Limbaugh, it’s fear-mongering. You’re being played. Talk shows can be informative and entertaining as hell, but they should never be anyone’s primary source of information about anything. Gun sales are robust, especially after a big event like the shootings in Dallas this past week. (Gun stocks rose over 5% the next day...)

2) Mass shootings are horrific and terribly sad but they make up a very small percentage of gun deaths. According to Center for Disease Control, over 33,000 people died from gun violence in 2013. Of those 33,000 victims, “mass shootings” accounted for just 1.5% of all gun deaths. The vast majority of gun deaths are suicides. Homicides have stayed pretty consistent in the 11,000/yr. range. Suicides using a gun are rising in the US. In 1999, we had roughly 16,500 firearm suicides in the US. In 2013, that number grew to a staggering 21,175 firearm suicides. In Ohio alone, more than 3 Ohioans die by suicide every day. Roughly, 1,100 of our fellow Buckeyes commit suicide and guns are the most common way to end your life for men and the second most common for women.

3) In 1996, Congressmen Jay Dickey from Arkansas who, along with like minded fellow Representatives, didn’t like what the CDC was coming up with in their research in gun violence and its effect on public health. In 1996, Dickey added an amendment onto a House Bill that prohibited the CDC from using any public funds to “...advocate or promote gun control.” The language was vague and researchers didn’t want to risk their careers or other funding to find out how far they could go. Therefore, gun violence research basically ground to a halt.

They weren’t done. The House then voted to strip $2.6M from the CDC’s budget, precisely the amount spent on firearm injury research the year before. Congress also applied the same restrictions on other Federal Agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute for Health.

To quote physician and epidemiologist Arthur Kellerman, “Health researchers are ethically bound to conduct, analyze, and report studies as objectively as possible and communicate the findings in a transparent manner...criticizing research is fair game; suppressing research by targeting its sources of funding is not.

Jay Dickey reversed himself in 2012 after the Aurora, CO theater shootings where 12 people were killed and another 73 were injured. Dickey said “...scientific research should be conducted into preventing firearm injuries and that ways to prevent firearm deaths can be found without encroaching on the rights of legitimate gun owners. The same evidence-based approach that is saving millions of lives from motor-vehicle crashes, as well as from smoking, cancer and HIV/AIDS, can help reduce the toll of deaths and injuries from gun violence.“

4) The NRA in all of its infinite purity contributes heavily to those conservative congressional entities and candidates who can aid them in their policy interests. Those conservatives then toe the line when it comes to blocking or voting down any legislation the NRA finds objectionable. The NRA continues to wail that Obama/Hillary are COMING FOR YOUR GUNS, the 2nd Amendment is UNDER ATTACK, etc... Gun sales/gun stocks are healthy... Congressmen get re-elected, nothing ever changes, life is good for the whores on the Hill and in the executive suites of the NRA.

We should be demanding the removal of the impediments preventing us from studying the gun issue on a Federal level.

What is the NRA afraid of?

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