Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Keep perspective - gun deaths are preventable, and need to be prevented

  • This is stripped from a Jane Smith G+ thread.  I did this, because I have seen these arguments before, and refuting them is worth highlighting and making easy to find again.  The first thread has the basic persuasive argument goal of convincing you, the reader that "Gun deaths aren't that bad, so let's not waste time doing anything."  Seriously.  Read it and ask yourself at the end if you feel like spending time on gun violence isn't a waste of time.
  • So, below that, I rip the entire thing to Hell.  Again, because the point is that "Yes, people die in car accidents - which are already heavily regulated."  
  • If we can apply some very simple and basic regulation, and reduce the number of firearm deaths by any amount, then we have done a good thing.  According to CDC statistics - tracking firearm deaths, among other things - more than 38,000 people - or about 96 per day were killed, in the United States, by firearms.
  • If 96 people per day isn't worth doing something about, then we have no claim on morality, period.
  • By the way, the last year the Center for Disease Control was allowed to study and recommend ways to prevent firearm deaths (before Republicans shut down that research) was 1997.  Yeah, a major Federal Agency charged with keeping Americans safe from preventable things that kill them, was 1997.
  • Where's the outrage at the terrorism our government supports through the sale of arms to folks all around the world? Wouldn't it make sense to reduce the huge numbers of deaths of innocent people by constraining these industries of death? In 2015 there were 333 teenagers killed in mass shootings in this country. That is a big deal but global United State sponsored and supported terrorism has killed untold numbers more. If the objective is to save lives let's invest our time and efforts were it will do the most good anything else is a dereliction of our responsibilities as citizens of the largest state sponsor of terror on the planet.

    All major causes of needless deaths deserve to be addressed.

    The campaign to minimize loss of life should be proportionate to the deaths each cause is responsible for.

    The nation's citizens should demand that those in positions to institute change prioritize each campaign such that the most deadly are addressed first. This will help save the most number of lives.

    For the age group 15-19 years, the death rate from opioids (2015) was 4.6/100,000 or 15,180 (https://goo.gl/9SEMTP)

    For teens killed or injured by gun violence (2015), 2696
    Deaths by mass shooting (2015), 333 (https://goo.gl/epjdYy)

    -Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States.
    -Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.
    -Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks.
    -On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers.
    -In 2010, there were approximately 189,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol. (https://goo.gl/kUkNMb)

    In 2015, 2,333 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 235,845 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. (https://goo.gl/uZ4pPa)

    No one can reasonably deny that gun violence is a problem, especially teenage deaths from guns which in 2015 accounted for 2,696 (10.8%) and _mass shootings which accounted for 333 (1.3%). However, to focus on Mass Shootings with as much attention as is being given to it since the Parkland event, to the chagrin of the other 89.1% who died needless and preventable deaths should lead any reasonable person to a rational conclusion, we are not being "informed" to act wisely and responsibly toward the issue of preventable teen deaths in this country. We are making a bigger issue out of the least of the concerns. Why? Isn't this about saving lives? Or is there some other more important concern?
  • Icarus Anne Riley's profile photo
    Conditional "yeesssssss...." except there are a shitload of vehicle safety laws on the books, from engineering requirements of the vehicle frame, seatbelts and airbag systems, to engineering requirements for road material and grade of curves to reduce accidents, and roadside railings, and laws requiring use of seat belts (which save lives), and laws against texting and driving (which kills people), and laws against drunk driving (which can kill people), and laws restricting purchase and consumption of alcohol, and laws and restrictions concerning the consumption of illegal drugs.

    There are an estimated 263 million registered motor vehicles in the United States. Each American spends an average of 1 hour per day on the road. Statistically, motor vehicles - which are heavily regulated who can own, who can operate, and the design and safety of their devices and skill level - means, that, yeah, they're gonna kill people.

    Conversely, firearms really are poorly regulated. Want to own a device whose entire function is to kill people? Sure! In most states, you just go buy one. Seriously. Some states have background checks, or waiting periods, but a lot of them don't!

    Most states do not require any competency training in the proper usage, storage, or lawful use of guns. That seems really stupid, to me. Apparently, 26 states let you "carry concealed" without first proving you know how to use the damn thing.

    The NRA opposed smartguns - which would prevent unauthorized people - like children in the home - from using them. Why would the NRA block this common sense security device? Fuck, the court can order a breathalizer installed on cars to stop people who can't seem to stop themselves from driving drunk from driving drunk. But, smart gun locks? Noooooo
    forbes.com - The NRA's Next Battleground ... Smart Guns

    Apparently, "every" American consumes 2.3 gallons of ethanol every year (per capita). So, if beer is 5% alcohol, that means about 46 gallons of beer per year, per person.

    So, alcohol kills people? Duh. Cigarettes do, too, but there always seems to be that weird thing about "letting adults kill themselves by ingestion of lawful poisons," thing that is always a funny slippery slope, all the time.

    Now, as noted before, it is already illegal pretty much everywhere, to consume any substance that impairs reflexes, senses or judgement, and then operate heavy machinery. But, you know, people do it all the fucking time, anyway, right? Yeah, well, imagine if it wasn't illegal - then the death rates would soar.

    So, you're right to say "More needs to be done to prevent motor vehicle deaths!" and to say "More needs to be done to prevent alcohol and drug deaths!"

    But, luv, while I appreciate that you did, in fact, write very eloquently and politely (which, let's face it, is rare on the Interwebs anymore), I'm calling the commonly used (but not so well as you did) "But, look at all these other [heavily regulated] things that kill people, while [very poorly regulated] guns hardly kill anyone at all!" is hand-waving "don't look behind the curtain" persuasive argument bullshit.

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