- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
Being just like everybody else, I find it gratifying to see support for some of my viewpoints that others find either troubling or outrageous, especially when it comes from real numbers and statistics people, but looking at how strong are the gun control opinions that fill my mailbox every day, I really don’t put much faith in the ability of facts to overcome them – particularly the obsession with “assault rifles” that account for such a minuscule proportion of the overall death toll. In the last week, I’ve had more exhortations for banning these things than I have damning Trump’s murder of children.
Assault rifles writes Leah Libresco, are:
“an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.”
This is something anyone who looks at the gun publications and catalogs knows well. Indeed some of these parts can be made at home using kits supplied for the purpose. Indeed previous bans have been so loosely defined and generated by people with lots of anger but no knowledge that every gun shop in America during such times has been well stocked with guns and magazines – with elevated prices.
What’s less apparent is how few of our annual gun murders involve them, with the handgun accounting for over 95%. What’s less apparent is that firearm related murders continue to decline, although the venues may have changed. In a handful of recent years, the graphs show, there have been larger death tolls in mass shootings, but the numbers of them haven’t changed as much as you might think, in years. 4 of the last 8 years have shown an increase over where it’s been since 1993.
Suicides using firearms have increased quite a bit and older males seem to be the source. Is there the same passion for offering counseling and medical care as there is to buy back 300 million guns? Not really. And of course suicide is always lumped in with the overall statistics and the false number will always be used, every time, to create false fear. Every time. More than 60% of gun deaths are suicides. 13,000 in a country of 325 million is too many, but just isn’t as scary as 33,000 and fear is what this is all about because the goal of a death-free society warrants any means to achieve it.
Next to suicides in number, are the young men aged 15 to 34. Much of it having to do with gangs and drugs and vendettas. Next in volume are the approximately 1,700 women victims of domestic violence. Still we aren’t told to demand more in the way of removing guns from those with restraining orders or in making them easier to obtain. Just ban assault rifles and it will all go away.
Most of the specific measures needed to target different categories of killings are never discussed and the rarest category is the focus of nearly every effort. We see lots of hysterical rhetoric about “sensible” gun control, which means nothing, or the “Gun show loophole” which seems to be statistically irrelevant. We have, as the writer says:
“Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.”
Americans want simple solutions for complex and diverse problems and they will shout you down if you suggest something else and they will go on about things that have no statistical support, such as for buybacks in countries that had no significant mass shooting records anyway.
What we have, in my opinion, is just another symptom of our national madness and inability to do anything about a collapsing civilization, in the grip of fear and loathing. Can it be that the loudest and most well-funded advocates are their own (and perhaps our own) worst enemy?