Vol. 136 November 15, 2015 “By Degrees”

Hub thumbnail 2015

“If a frog is placed into a pot of boiling water it will immediately try to jump out; but if it’s placed into a pot of cool water that’s gradually heated until boiling, it will stay put and never try to jump out.” (1)

Fall is here in New England. There’s a snap in the air as we shuffle through the leaves waiting to be raked up. It is a most beautiful time of the year when many of our thoughts turn to hunting. A noble sport, a timeless match-up of human endurance, skill, and patience against the stealth and quickness of wild game. Of course, the human often has the advantage of a gun. Except for the occasional cow, horse, or large dog that gets mistaken for a deer there are few accidental hunting deaths. That is because hunters are familiar with their guns, know how to handle them, and respect them. Not so much for toddlers.

“Toddlers in America this year have been shooting people at the rate of once a week.” (2)

That’s only 52 a year. Not a really big number. But if you add on 2 parents, 2.18 siblings (on average), 4 grandparents, and maybe at least one lovely teen age baby sitter per toddler, you get up to over 500 devastated people per year. Now THAT number might be big enough to get our attention.

Last week’s Miami Herald reported that a 3 year old who was looking for an iPad in his father’s dresser drawer found a loaded Smith & Wesson pistol instead. The .40 caliber bullet struck him between the eyes. The father worked as a fitness attendant, not usually considered a high-risk or dangerous occupation, so presumably he had the gun for self-defense.

Statistics show that people who have guns in their homes for self defense (”home protection”) are actually shot more often than intruders are. For every gun used to wound or kill in self-defense, four are involved in accidental shootings. (3)

Self-reported use of guns for self defense are grossly exaggerated. On examination most “self defense” use is actually  “threatening or intimidation” use.

In one study over 1/3 of parents who reported that their son had not handled a household gun were contradicted by the child.

By a margin of more than 3 to 1, Americans would feel less safe, not safer, when others in their community acquire guns.

Nearly one-half of gun deaths in U.S. are suicides. Suicides are often impulsive acts, and once the trigger is pulled the act is over.

75% of the guns used in crime are handguns.

An American teenager is more apt to die from a gun shot wound than from all natural causes.

Enough statistics. We all know that the debate about “gun control” is not a rational one anyway.

How about a musical contribution instead of quoting more statistics?  In the tradition of Pete Seeger, a singer of many protest songs, including the still relevant  “The Banks are Made of Marble”, Mark Erelli  (4) has just released “By Degrees” . Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 9.56.03 AM Click below to watch Mark Erelli’s quietly powerful music video about gun violence in America..

1.Edward Scripture, The New Psychology (1897): “The original 1872 experiment was cited in: Sedgwick, “On the Variation of Reflex Excitability in the Frog induced by changes of Temperature,” Stud. Biol. Lab. Johns Hopkins University (1882): 385. “in one experiment the temperature was raised at a rate of 0.002 °C. per second, and the frog was found dead at the end of 2½ hours without having moved.” 2. Washington Post, Christopher Ingraham, Oct 14, 2015
3. Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
4. Full disclosure: Mark is my favorite son-in-law…OK, my only son-in-law.

2 Responses to Vol. 136 November 15, 2015 “By Degrees”

  1. Moni Stacy says:

    Wow, Hub,

    That was quite the email, to say nothing of the great new song by Mark!!! Those lyrics and photos were tear jerking for sure . Loved the song and your statistics are always interesting. 🙂 Thanks, Moni

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Wow — what a post!! I would write more but I can hardly see the screen because of tears.

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