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View Diary: Condolencer-In-Chief (41 comments)

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  •  Wouldn't it be something (9+ / 0-)

    if the nightly news would run the total of gun violence daily.
    They don't even have to break it down, just say "Today we had xx deaths by guns today which makes xxx deaths so far this year"  One minute at the end of each news broadcast, that's all.  

    •  Check out this comment (8+ / 0-)

      that BOHICA posted in my diary this morning.  I'll excerpt some of it:

      Terry Gross interviewed Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center and author of the forthcoming book "The Last Gun."

      This is just mind boggling

      GROSS: Is there any research on how these semiautomatic weapons are being used? I mean we know they've been used in massacres, but many more people buy them than become killers who go on these killing sprees. So are people using these as hunting rifles?
      DIAZ: The industry says that they are, but preliminarily let me say this: Let's assume that there is a large number - a large number of people who - take your choice of benign uses - use it for hunting, use it for target shooting. The policy choice, the cultural choice that we face is: Is that enough, does that balance the bad consequences that we know flow from the easy availability of these firearms? Does that balance the slaughter of children? Does it balance the increasing killing of law enforcement officers that we see from assault rifles? Does it balance the traffic to other countries from the United States civilian market?

      So it's not just a question of do other people use these. The direct answer to your question is, because the gun industry and the National Rifle Association have been so very successful in shutting down federal sources of data - for example, from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and basically shutting down cogent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Injury - we don't really know the extent of the use of these guns in crime, because we cannot get even the generic aggregate data. It's been shut down. What we learned from are simply - for example, at the Violence Policy Center we do a lot of anecdotal research. I, for example, did a study about assault weapons a couple years ago, but I had to rely entirely on what I could derive from news reports and other public sources.

      You cannot get that information from government sources because of something called the Tiahrt Amendment, which has basically shut down ATF from releasing data. So...

      GROSS: So this amendment prevents the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from releasing information about what guns have been used in crimes. Do I have that right?

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:39:21 AM PST

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    •  It might be help public understanding... (0+ / 0-)

      ...and put the situation in context. Obviously it should include all forms of premature death and injury to help the public focus on highest risk areas first.

      I suppose the report would have looked something as follows on Dec 31, 2011 (see

      (All numbers are for deaths in the US by listed cause. Some deaths fall in two categories in rather obvious ways due to classifications of method vs. intent)

      • Major cardiovascular diseases: 778,503
      • Cancers: 575,313
      • Drug-induced deaths: 40,239
      • Suicide: 38,285
           Via discharge of firearms: 19,766
           Via other and unspecified means: 18,519
      • Motor vehicle accidents: 34,677
      • Injury by firearms: 32,163
           Suicide by discharge of firearms: 19,766  
           Homicide by discharge of firearms: 11,101  
           Accidental discharge of firearms: 851  
      • Falls: 26,631
      • Alcohol-induced deaths: 26,256
      • Alcoholic liver disease: 16,634
      • Enterocolitis due to Clostridium difficile: 7,994
      • HIV: 7,638
      • Accidental drowning and submersion: 3,555
      • Salmonella infections: 42

      Such information would help the public have informed reactions to events.

      For example, it's clear that elimination of drugs would be more effective than elimination of firearms. It would also be easier:

      • First, there is nothing in the US Constitution explicitly preserving the right to keep or use drugs so there are no constitutional issues or amendments required.
      • Second, all levels of government have a lot of experience with banning drugs so should be quite effective at doing so whereas banning guns would require a whole new technique and infrastructure.
      • Third, drugs only have value for consumption (brandishing a package of meth will result in little return for the person doing so unless they actually sell it for consumption) and are therefore consumed and disappear while guns are not "consumed" very quickly and there are probably tens or hundreds of billions of rounds of ammunition in private hands in the US, most of which will last for at least 50 years and it only takes a few of those, on the average, to kill one individual.

      It's also clear that self-inflicted causes - including suicide, drugs, alcoholic liver disease, and many cardiovascular deaths - cause significantly more premature deaths than firearms do. These are easy to address since each individual can, perhaps with a bit of education, protect themselves from such premature deaths (or, make an informed decision over their own body to engage in behaviors which will, likely or certainly, result in premature death).

      If we exclude self-inflicted causes of premature deaths as a matter of importance to public policy, that leaves the number of firearms deaths to not many more than caused by a single bacterial disease that is generally acquired in health care settings. Since there are relatively few such health care facilities and they are already subject to regulation, tighter oversight and regulation of those institutions can quickly reduce the number of such incidents (albeit, at an increase in healthcare costs).

      If we discount to some extent, which probably isn't unreasonable in the minds of many, a firearm death arising from the deceased's voluntary involvement in criminal or criminal related activity (such as gangs and drug dealing), the number of "weighted" firearms deaths drops yet more and moves such deaths down the hierarchy of magnitude.

      So yes, such reporting would be helpful if done correctly (of course only the latter portions of each report would actually cover firearm deaths if time was allocated in proportion to cause of premature deaths - roughly the same amount of time as devoted to automobile accidents).

      •  In the top four non-disease causes of death (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PSzymeczek, Laconic Lib

        Isn't it interesting that firearms are basically up there with drucgs, alcohol, and motor vehicle accidents? Our society and it's politicians can work on the other three, but not the firearms.

        There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

        by OHeyeO on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 12:19:34 PM PST

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      •  In what world is this true? (0+ / 0-)
        For example, it's clear that elimination of drugs would be more effective than elimination of firearms. It would also be easier:
        Easier? Easier?  Have you not been paying attention to the failure of the "War on Drugs"?

        Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

        by ohiolibrarian on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:24:12 PM PST

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        •  My (too well hidden it appears) point... (0+ / 0-)

          ...was that the war on drugs has been an ineffective disaster. It has also caused additional violence by driving prices of drugs up and making trade in them an illegal activity reserved to criminals who use guns to protect their interests.

          A war on guns will have much the same effect. It will be as hard (except against law abiding citizens of course) to enforce a firearms ban.

          Acceptable quality firearms can be made with equipment that fits in a two car garage. This will only get easier and faster as 3D printers become cheaper and more functional for making various internal "non load bearing" parts although the receiver and barrel probably won't be practical to make safely on home 3D printers for a long time. Right now, no one bothers (nor did they during the "assault" weapons ban) because such weapons are not really necessary -- weapons that were not banned were perhaps not as "scary" looking, but were just about as functional for whatever crime one wanted to commit.

          Mass produced firearms can be smuggled in from other countries and, once here, last virtually forever (as will the existing firearms).

          Obviously we can't stop drug smuggling in/out of the country after all these years of trying, why would we think we could stop smuggling of firearms once it became interesting and profitable?

          •  And yet, zip guns can be made (0+ / 0-)

            by anyone in their own home right now. They even have the advantage of not being traceable.

            And yet, I've never heard of mass shootings with homemade guns.

            Oh, OK people will smuggle guns ... just like they do into all the countries that have very few gun homicides. They may do it, but make guns harder to get and fewer stupid/crazy/angry people will have them handy when they have the urge to kill.

            You know, even this guy had 20 years of living without shooting up anyone. He might never have acted on whatever demented reason he had last Friday if he hadn't had ready access to lots of firepower.

            The point is our country would be different if guns were not normalized. We were not always this way in America and we don't have to continue this way.

            Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

            by ohiolibrarian on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 08:33:11 PM PST

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      •  This is wrong, firearms deaths are preventable (0+ / 0-)

        but there's no real cure for cancer. These comparisons do not work.

        Comparing accidental death with murders, that's wrong.

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:52:06 PM PST

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        •  The attempts to minimize the appalling rate of (0+ / 0-)

          firearms deaths is betting very tiresome.

          ❧To thine ownself be true

          by Agathena on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:53:21 PM PST

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        •  They only work... (0+ / 0-)

 put things in perspective as to where effort would be best devoted.

          We can reduce accidental deaths also by preventing high risk activities or activities from being done in high risk ways.

          And, in fact, many premature deaths from cancer ARE preventable. We know, for example, that not smoking would prevent many lung (and related) cancer deaths. We know that high fiber diets reduce colon cancer deaths. We know colonoscopies prevent colon cancer deaths. Yet, many people fail to take advantage of these techniques.

          In addition, research and development (especially of pharmaceuticals) has made a number of cancers quite "curable" - not 100%, obviously though. Again, a matter of devoting money to these things to prevent more deaths from these sources.

    •  Worked with Vietnam (0+ / 0-)

      There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

      by OHeyeO on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 12:14:31 PM PST

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