But I digress. Let's talk about murder weapons. If you read murder mysteries, as I sometimes do, you find that just about anything can be a weapon. In one I just read, Immoral by Minnesota mystery writer Brian Freeman, the murder weapon was a vase. It was used to hit a young girl from behind; it caught her unawares and the blunt force of the wound from the heavy vase killed her. I'm sorry if I gave away the secret of this murder if you want to read the book. The developers of the game of Clue, of course, came up with more than a few instruments of death including a candlestick, a rope, a knife, a revolver, a lead pipe, a wrench and a new one- poison.
There is also the famous novel, American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser. I have never been able to get that one out of my mind though I read it a long time ago. A young man whose girlfriend was pregnant while he wanted out of the relationship, takes this innocent young woman out in a boat on a lake. He knows she can't swim. Voila- the boat capsizes and the girl drowns. Of course, the young man swims to shore and claims an accident but the book is all about his haunting thoughts before and after he kills her. How could we forget Raskolnikav in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment? The murder weapon in that famous novel was an axe.
Since I live near the largest fresh water lake in the world, there have actually been some incidents of intentional drownings of spouses, girlfriends, etc. There was also a much publicized murder of a wealthy woman whose adopted daughter and son-in-law famously murdered the old woman by smothering her with a pillow and bludgeoning her nurse to death with, of all things, a candlestick. Actually, though most believe the daughter was guilty, she was found not guilty in the trial and has had a lot of problems since that time with suspicious deaths of her subsequent husbands. That's another story.
Just recently, though, there have been two domestic shootings in the headlines locally. And then someone was beaten, though not to death, on the Lakewalk at night. A young college student was accidentally run down by a car driven by a young woman under the influence of alcohol. The honor student lived but is permanently damaged and just now trying to get his life back. We all know how many car accidents there are leaving many dead. Some, I guess, are intentional. There was a recent series on PBS- a murder mystery series, in which a man purposely drove his car off the road, killing his mother-in-law. Knifings- we all know about the O.J. Simpson case. There have been a recent rash of knifings in China, killing a lot of school students. Awful stuff.
But let's examine some facts about murder weapons since the topic keeps coming up. You may remember my link to the website of the CDC (WISQARS report) which displayed the boxes showing causes of death in different age brackets. I have already talked about some of this in a comment I made on one of my blog posts. So I took a look at this site again and clicked on the red "homicide" boxes. What I found was that in every age category through the age of 34 except one ( ages 1-4) firearms accounted for the greatest number of homicides by far. Check out how far out the bar goes for the firearms cause of death in the graphs. There is no mistaking that this is a fact. Coming in second was different in each age category. Other (1-4), suffocation (5-9), cut/pierce ( 10-14), cut/pierce (15-24), cut/pierce (25-34). It goes down to others such as fire/burn, poisoning, struck by/against, drowning, transportation related, etc. But none of these death causes come close to firearms as the leading cause of homicide in 2007 in the U.S. I suppose that ice picks would fall into the cut/pierce category and then lamps would fall into the struck by/against and hammers would fall into the struck by/against as well.
You should really check this out for yourself. It's pretty interesting. My assumption then is, based on the evidence from the official website of the Centers for Disease Control, that people in most age categories are much more likely to be killed by a gun than by other methods. People die from all kinds of causes, natural, accidental, intentional and not intentional ( homicides). I have known people who died from many of these. Some are good friends and relatives. As just a few examples, my brother-in-law jumped off of one of the highest bridges in the country and killed himself; a friend of my daughter's killed himself by hanging from a rope tied to a tree- pretty emotional stuff for 18-year-olds to handle; the brother of a good friend of my son's suffered permanent traumatic brain injuries in a car accident; he can't walk, can't talk or do many things for himself. He, too, was a friend of my daughter's. A good friend's 17 year old son died from complications of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. And yet another good friend lost her only son in the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis. I know someone whose son was beaten to death in St. Paul. I could blog about all of these sources of death and work to prevent them. I have chosen to blog about gun deaths and injuries since that is the one closest to my heart.
I also know a lot of people whose loved ones died from gun injuries- by accidents with guns, suicides or homicides. Their stories are amazing and they are all courageous in their work to prevent others from suffering the same grief. Many murder mysteries could be written about the stories we have all lived. And on this day of remembrance of the victims of 9/11, my heart goes out to the people who will be remembering their lost loved ones and friends. Anniversaries are painful.