Saturday, July 21, 2012

Guns Don't Kill People. And Jesus Was Born of A Virgin.

So let's see... Since I have moved to the United States of America, land of the free to own guns but not to demand reasonable gun control, the killings are piling up. In no particular order:

  • Virginia Tech: 33 dead, including gunman; 23 injured.
  • Columbine High School, Colorado: 15 dead, including 2 gunmen); 21 injured.
  • Lancaster County Killings, Pennsylvania, Amish school: 6 dead, including gunman; 5 injured.
  • Fort Hood, Texas: 13 dead; 30 injured, including gunman.
  • Westroads Malls, Nebraska: 9 dead, including gunman; 4 injured.
  • Tucson shooting, Arizona (attempted murder of Congresswoman Giffords): 6 dead; 14 injured (13 gunshot victims).
  • Platt Canyon High School, Colorado: 2 dead, including gunman.
  • Jonesboro, Arkansas, middle school shooting: 5 dead; 10 injured.
  • Tuscaloosa, Alabama, bar shooting: 17 injured.

This is obviously an incomplete list, and it's one that I have compiled from memory. It does not include shootings at postal facilities, fast food restaurants, offices, even churches where multiple victims were killed or injured by a supposedly deranged gunman. If you are interested, here is a list of notable shootings since 2005, compiled by the Brady Campaign for the Prevention of Gun Violence. It is 62 pages long, and not comprehensive.

But that list is just an emotional trick I played on you. Consider instead the following incontrovertible data, courtesy of the aforementioned Brady Campaign:

  • Every year there are only about 200 legally justified self-defense homicides by private citizens (FBI, Expanded Homicide Data, Table 15) compared with over 12,000 murders (NCIPC).
  • Among 23 populous, high-income countries, 80% of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States

Get it? The USA is indeed the number one country in the world, when it comes to deaths and injuries by gunshot among Western countries.

Remarkably, every time such events happen, there are many who instinctively retreat against any and all attempts to impose stricter gun controls or bans at the state or federal level. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people", goes their mantra. Except, as British comic Eddie Izzard deftly points out, they make it much easier.

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