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Archive for 2012|Yearly archive page

Vol. 81 January 1, 2013 Happiness is Not a Warm Gun*

In current events, evidence-based medicine, Pediatrics, politics on December 31, 2012 at 7:20 PM

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JUST LIKE SEAT BELTS AND BIKE HELMETS, GUNS ARE A CHILD-SAFETY ISSUE.
-Eileen Costello, MD, pediatrician Boston Globe 6/13/12

The discussion about gun control is not a rational one. “How does one argue with someone convinced that the routine massacre of our children is the price we must pay for our freedom to have guns, or rather to have guns that make us feel free? You can only shake your head and maybe cry a little.” Adam Gopnik July 7, 2012

As both sides relentlessly quote statistics, some good old satire and ridicule is needed to help us cut through all that smoke. Like something Stephen Colbert would do.
That’s it!
We need Stephen Colbert caressing his warm gun on TV while spouting NRA truisms to show us how ridiculous we are as a nation in controlling everything BUT guns.

“The United States is responsible for over 80% of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined. Considering that the people of those countries, as human beings, are no better or worse than any of us, well, then, why us?” (Michael Moore)

In the U.S. there are 98 guns per 100 people. In the U.K. there are 6 guns per 100. “If America’s real concern, as expressed by its Second Amendment, is that the British are coming, I think they got that one covered.” (Tabatha Southey, Vancouver B.C. Globe and Mail, 12/29/2012)

3000 people died in the September 11th attack. In response we started two long wars and built a vast Homeland Security Apparatus that cost us trillions of dollars. Since that time 275,000 Americans were killed by gunfire at home and our response has been weakened gun laws. (Doonesbury, Feb 13, 2011)

Better still. Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC money, if there is any left, could be aimed at the NRA.There is no BIG gun control lobby. Just several well-meaning small ones.Without a well-financed lobby the outlook for any gun control legislation is bleak in our current democracy.
How about a new NRA (“Now Reduce Arms”) or “NRA 2, the sequel” Super PAC for Colbert Nation?
Stephen could pull it off.

A few “fun facts” to throw out to your social network (includes old-fashioned cocktail parties):

The number of children and teenagers killed by guns in Massachusetts was double that killed in motor vehicle accidents during 2003 -2007 (CDC)

Many guns used in school shootings come from the shooters’ homes. (CDC)

The firearm suicide rates among children aged 5-14 was 8 times higher in the U.S. than in comparable high-income countries.

Children in the United States are 11 times more likely to be killed accidentally with a gun than children in other developed countries. On average, 38 children and teens are shot and 8 of them are killed every day in the United States from gun violence.

Guns in a home increase the risk of suicide. NO data supports successful defensive use of guns against homicide. “It appears that gun ownership is associated with a net increase in the risk of death for a typical household.”

Why not tax guns?
“Cigarettes should be $25 a pack to pay for the damage they cost”.  The CDC has estimated that the cost of smoking (estimated cost of smoking-related medical expenses and loss of productivity) exceeds $167 billion annually. The smoker paid approximately $5 a pack up front, but the additional cost of medical expenses and lost productivity is born by all of us taxpayers and anyone who buys health insurance. Raising the taxes on a pack of cigarettes so that they would cost $25 a pack could cover that.
Could they do those calculations for the medical costs, lost productivity, AND  costs of criminal prosecution/civil litigation for gun-related deaths?

“Things NOT to do”:
Put armed guards in schools – “3 COPS SHOT IN POLICE STATION BY ARRESTEE” –  a New Jersey headline December 29, 2012
Increase mental health screening – “The government has no business knowing that you have a dozen AR-158s” says the NRA in defense of the right to privacy. “Why then would the NRA suggest that the government needs to know if your Aunt Jean is arachnophobic?”, says Tabath Southey, Vancouver Globe

In half of my lifetime our culture has moved from arguing that sometimes it was “better to not wear a seat belt in case there was a car fire” to having my grandchildren remind me that I shouldn’t start the car until MY seat belt is buckled.

No ONE law accomplished that, and it happened despite critics and opposition from big time lobbyists. Why can’t we do the same for gun control?

Other sources:
Violence Policy Center, CDC,  and Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
http://www.nij.gov/nij/topics/crime/gun-violence/prevention/welcome.htm
*Apologies to The Beatles, The White Album

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