It's not a rock problem either

Here's a guns + scripture billboard from somewhere in the U.S. of A.:

 Gun control billboard

It says:

Cain killed Abel with a rock

It's a HEART problem, not a gun problem.

Jeremiah 17:9

Okay. So Cain killed Abel with a rock.

But in December 2012, Adam Lanza killed 26 people at a school, including 20 kids, with an assault rifle.

Over 4,000 more people in the US have been killed with guns in the 6 months since then.

Over 32,000 people in the US were killed with guns in 2011 alone. Subtracting over 19,000 suicides by gun, over 1,000 accidental or undetermined gun-related deaths, and a scant 600+ "justifiable" homicides by gun, around 11,000 gun deaths in the US in 2011 remain classified as murder.

Every year about 30,000 people, 10 times the death toll from 9/11, are killed with guns in the US. Counting only murders as the problem addressed by the billboard, that's still 11,000 people, or about 3 times the death toll from 9/11, murdered by gun every year in the US.

You're wrong, billboard. It's a gun problem.

(The false equivalency on the billboard is the same as that in this cartoon: pretending that the gun problem in the US is one of "a guy killed a guy." At 11,000 murders a year, the problem in the US is not "a guy killed a guy.")

Comments

You say 30k people per year are "killed with guns"...what is that minus the suicide rate?  Are you missing the point of the billboard being it doesn't matter if it's a gun, knife, or a rock?  Sure you could take away a few "mass" homicides, but the VAST majority of these are still single-incident cases, and it makes no difference whether it's a gun or a rock; people will still find a way to kill other people.  What's an "assault rifle"?  You mean a .223 caliber rifle that fires one round with one pull of the trigger?  I bet our military wouldn't want that in combat.  Your gun laws did nothing to prevent that tragedy.<br><br>By the way, there were over 33k people killed in 2009 in motor vehicle accidents.  Where's your crusade to remove vehicles from the streets?  Is it an epidemic, or is traveling by vehicle too convenient for you that we can't dare touch THAT?<br><br>Try actually looking at the facts and figures on this page, and let me know what you think.  I know in your grand quest to kill everything religious that firearms must be tackled, but as they say...Molon Labe.<br><br>http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

defaithed's picture

Hello!

You say 30k people per year are "killed with guns"...what is that minus the suicide rate?

Many gun deaths are indeed suicides. I note that of the 30K+ figure, only about half are said to be homicides. But rechecking the source I linked to, I want to revise that downward. Based on 2011 figures from United States — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law, we have the following:

  • 2011 US gun deaths, homicide: 11,101
  • 2011 US gun deaths, suicide: 19,766
  • 2011 US gun deaths, other: 1,073

 

The numbers above for homicides, suicides, and other (= unintentional + undetermined) gun deaths total 31,940. (The total is separately given by that page as 32,163; I may be missing a minor category in my summing, or the page's use of varied sources could explain the summing discrepancy. In any case, it's roughly 32K.)

The easy access to gun by the suicidal may very well be seen as a serious issue – but the topic of the billboard in question, and of my response, is homicides. For the topic at hand, it's fair enough to set aside suicides and accidents, and focus on the 11K homicides.

It would also be perfectly fair to set aside the homicides that we'd classify as justifiable, including shootings in self-defense. No sane person would demonize deadly force used in legitimate defense against a true deadly threat, and if such shootings made up the bulk of gun homicides, it'd indeed be arguable whether we have a "gun problem" at all. Alas, "legal-intervention gun homicides" are, for 2010, reported as only 617 – less than 6% of gun homicides that year. (I genuinely wish the percentage were far higher!)

Are you missing the point of the billboard being it doesn't matter if it's a gun, knife, or a rock? 

The post addresses precisely that point – to wit, that the billboard is wrong. It matters and it matters greatly. Total gun homicides in the US in 2011 were about 11K. Total homicides by any means were about 16K. Roughly 2/3 of homicides in the US are by gun, meaning twice as many homicides are committed by gun as by all other methods combined. We have few murders by rock, many murders by gun. The billboard is dishonest in trying to equate the weapons.

"It makes no difference whether it's a gun or a rock" is silly in that it tries to argue that a gun offers no more effectiveness than a rock! Ridiculous. A gun is a brilliantly (and often beautifully) engineered tool that's vastly more effective at killing than a rock. Militaries stock rifles, not rocks, for good reason. Civilian homicides overwhelmingly employ guns, not rocks, for that same reason. Guns work!

Your gun laws did nothing to prevent that tragedy.

Is this the "Your gun laws didn't work, so we might as well not have such laws" argument? Hmm, let's see how that works applied elsewhere:

There are laws against sexual abuse of children in the US. The US Department of Health & Human Services reports 61K+ cases of child sexual abuse in the US in 2011. Your sexual abuse laws did nothing to prevent that tragedy, so we might as well not have such laws.

I do hope that's not the suggestion...

By the way, there were over 33k people killed in 2009 in motor vehicle accidents.  Where's your crusade to remove vehicles from the streets?

I'm glad you bring that up, because it's a great comparison. Society does a lot to strike a balance between automobile freedom and safety. We require training and licensing to operate a car. We enact copious traffic regulations, we punish violations, we require registration and licenses for vehicles themselves. And however people may quibble over details, we overall support this sort of regulation. Because we're all too aware that cars can be misused dangerously, despite their desired and valuable intended purpose: transportation.

Yet many of the same folks who support regulating a tool that's intended for transportation scream foul when there's talk of regulating a tool that's intended solely for killing people! It's nuts. Even nuttier: One argument made by anti-regulation voices – that strict regulation infringes on people who are responsible, law-abiding, gun owners – is a perfectly valid concern. There are responsible hunters and sport shooters who don't murder, and their concerns have to be heard. So the proposal is made, "Great, let's use tools like background checks to better ensure that guns stay with those responsible owners" – and the NRA and other supposedly-responsible gun owners oppose that? Huh?? Shoudn't they be cheering the idea?

Bizarre stuff. Speaking of which:

I know in your grand quest to kill everything religious that firearms must be tackled...

Hm? What's the connection between religion and firearms? You lost me there. But in any case, if by "firearms must be tackled" you mean that we should do a better job in reducing an annual 10K+ homicides committed with a tool designed only for killing, then yes, I'm all for that sort of tackling. Sensible proposals for reducing that number, while still preserving responsible owners' rights as much as possible, would be much better than silly billboards pretending that a gun is no different from a rock.

Anyway, I appreciate the opportunity to revisit the homicide statstics, and will update the page to make more clear that 11K gun homicides in 2011, not 32K gun deaths, is the appropriate figure to focus on when discussing homicides specifically. Thanks!

Couldn't say it any better than the writer of this article.  "America Has A Morality Problem, Not A Gun Problem" http://www.dailypaul.com/266399/america-has-a-morality-problem-not-a-gun...

defaithed's picture

Indeed, there is a morality problem. And until that morality is addressed – until a society is willing to embrance responsibility, self-control, and safety – it seems a pretty bad idea to put deadly ranged weapons into everyone's hands.

We do not blame spoons for making someone fat. We do not blame pencils for mistakes. guns are inanimate objects that are used by humans. Humans that are being raised by incorrect parenting. Atheists...stop replacing God with Govenment. Pop the balloon, dont just squeeze one end to make the other side bigger. 

defaithed's picture

We do not blame spoons for making someone fat. We do not blame pencils for mistakes. 

True. We do not blame spoons for fat. We do not blame pencils for mistakes.

More to the point, extending that same principle to potentially dangerous items: We do not blame cars for road accidents, or toxic chemicals for spills, or guns for murders.

However, given the dangers involved, we do regulate the use of cars, through a system of education and revokable licenses. We do regulate the use of toxic chemicals, requiring proper credentials and safety procedures. And, assuming you're in agreement with those common-sense precautions, I'm sure you'd be in agreement with appropriate regulation of gun ownership. Right?    

Humans that are being raised by incorrect parenting. 

Are you suggesting regulation of parenting?

Atheists...stop replacing God with Govenment.

??? Unrestricted gun ownership is God and background checks are government? And people calling for background checks are therefore atheists??

I sense a sudden drop-off in comprehensibility looming.... 

Pop the balloon, dont just squeeze one end to make the other side bigger. 

....aaaand, off the edge we go. I honestly don't know what that means, but I have a feeling that someday I'll run across the perfect moment to use it!

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