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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Researchers: Where there are more guns, there are more homicides

The NRA apparently believes that in the course of our reflection over Sandy Hook, we must deal with a ton of issues, including mental health and morality - but not guns, never guns, not a single thing about how we overly-cling to our supposed right to bear the most-powerful guns possible.

That is, we shouldn't talk about guns - except only when we want to place more guns in the hands of more people, as though the real problem is that we currently don't have enough guns in this country already. The fact is that we have the worst gun violence rate of any like country in the world - and more guns than anyone else as well. There are a variety of things to deal with to confront and change that fact - and one of them is dealing with how we view and deal with guns. Avoiding the question of guns when it comes to gun violence is akin to avoiding the question of alcohol when it comes to drunk driving.

The answer is not more guns

From the piece:

More important, while mass shootings like the one in Newtown are always the catalyst for a debate over guns, they’re a tiny fraction of the problem. There are about 20 mass shootings a year in this country, which altogether take the lives of perhaps several hundred people. But there were over 32,000 firearm-related deaths last year, the majority of which (almost 20,000) were suicides. There were also almost 850 accidental deaths from firearms. Among homicides, “far more common than mass killings are altercations where, because there is a gun available, someone ends up dead instead of a less lethal option,” Wintemute said.

And this is the problem with focusing on how to stop mass killings: It ignores what happens when there isn’t one. “Let’s say we flood the country with guns. We put guns in every school, every hospital — more guns everywhere. This kind of thing happens about 20 times a year in the United States; what are the chances that any one of those guns is ever going to be used to help prevent or abort a mass murder? Vanishingly small,” Wintemute said.

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