|Guns in society are serious threat|
Letter to the Editor:
In the aftermath of last month’s mass murders in Connecticut, two letters to this paper have attempted to explain the existence of such violence.
One, by Uno Bloom, places the blame squarely upon what he sees as a widespread spiritual failing.
The other, by Warren Anderson, expands upon that theme explaining that it is moral relativism and a general disregard for “traditional morality.”
Some have expressed the view that a violence-prone entertainment industry must bear responsibility, while others tell us that the answer to gun violence is more guns.
It is people, not guns, who kill people, they say. Or that guns are symbolic of “freedom.” Or that we need a better mental health system.
But what about guns themselves? All the concerns mentioned above may have merit, but relatively little space, in my opinion, has been given to guns as a public health issue.
Forget, for a moment, about bad guys and good guys, or the right to bear arms. Let’s concentrate instead on some facts about guns and society and ask ourselves whether a nation which has nearly as many guns as people is a healthy and safe place in which to live.
A great deal of evidence suggests that this is not the case — especially when the topics are suicide, domestic violence and fatalities among children.
Suicides, most of which occur at home, account for well over half of all gun-related fatalities. Of all manner of suicide methods, death by gunshot is by far the most effective.
And, according to the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, “Access to lethal means, especially firearms, greatly increases the likelihood that someone will commit suicide. A gun in the home is 11 times more likely to be used to attempt a suicide than to be used in self-defense.”
In a paper about firearms and domestic violence, the Violence Policy Center points out that: “An analysis of female domestic homicides (a woman murdered by a spouse, intimate acquaintance or close relative) showed that having one or more guns in the home made a woman 7.2 times more likely to be the victim of such a homicide.”
How about guns and children? An analysis by the Children’s Defense Fund in 2012 found that of 23 industrial nations, “87% of the children under 15 killed by guns in these nations lived in the United States. The gun homicide rate in the U.S. for teens and young adults ages 15 to 24 was 42.7 times higher than the combined rate for the other nations.” And the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that “the safest home for children and teens is one without guns.”
These findings are not outliers. Nor are they the rantings of left-wing liberal bloggers intent on banning and confiscating all our hunting rifles. What they reflect is a vast amount of research concerning the prevalence of firearms in America. And that research clearly indicates that guns in society — at the levels that we apparently take for granted — represent a serious threat to the health and safety of many American citizens.
|Tuesday, January 08, 2013 4:22 PM|
|Last Updated on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 3:39 PM|