Some people strongly believe that a gun for self defense will result in their safety and allow them the ability to "take out" someone who means them harm. I have posted many instances of when that didn't happen. I wonder how that view squares with this incident at a police station in Detroit? A gunman walked into a police station presumably full of armed officers and managed to shoot and injure 4 officers before they could react with their own guns to shoot the man. And then this article with 2 more shootings of armed police officers in Florida confirms that having a loaded gun will not always save your own life. Further, this article lists that 11 police officers have been shot in the last 24 hours. What in the world is going on? I ask again, how can officers protect themselves against being shot on a daily basis? They are armed and even they can't stop it.
I don't know if you remember the article to which I linked in my last blog referring to a study by the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. In case you forgot, here it is again. "The study estimated that people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun." Surely the man who boldly walked into a police station with his gun at the ready knew that there would be armed people inside. Perhaps this was a case of suicide by police. Even if that is the case, 4 people suffered gunshot wounds before the shooter was downed. They were taken by surprise and couldn't get their own guns out in time to stop the shooting. And the other police officers killed in the line of duty? How do they defend themselves against surprise shootings? From the article above:" The cluster of shooting deaths of police officers comes after an especially deadly year for law enforcement. In 2010, 60 federal, state and local officers were killed by gunfire, a 20 percent increase from figures in 2009, when 49 were killed in the line of duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit group that tracks police deaths." And this year is looking to be similar.
So regarding self defense and the need to know whether it is true that having a gun will make you safer, the University of Pennslyvania report says: " “The US has at least one gun for every adult,” notes Branas. “Learning how to live healthy lives alongside guns will require more studies such as this one. This study should be the beginning of a better investment in gun injury research through various government and private agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, which in the past have not been legally permitted to fund research ‘designed to affect the passage of specific Federal, State, or local legislation intended to restrict or control the purchase or use of firearms.’”" Say what? The CDC cannot legally study anything that might conclude that guns are dangerous and kill too many people or that having more guns around the house doesn't make you safer? Or maybe, actually, the CDC would come to the opposite opinion. But no matter. Why is this? I seem to remember the NRA having something to do with it.
How can we possibly learn anything or have any common sense in this country when knowledge is suppressed? What kind of country do we live in? Once again, research and reporting of data have been blocked by the powerful gun lobby.This is the scuttling of important health and safety information for purely political reasons. If the gun lobby is afraid of what the results would show, who and what are they protecting? It's fine to have a reasoned debate about gun safety in America but it has to come with facts and knowledge that is available to all. Shame on the NRA and shame on the elected leaders who have gone along with this nonsense because they have listened to the fears of the minority of gun owners in this country. Follow the money and the influence.
And to add insult to injury, what about those connections between the NRA and the companies who sell guns and ammunitions? Is that why we can't study these issues? This article shows that nefarious connection. When such a large and obvious conflict of interest stands in the way of common sense legislation to protect our citizens from being mowed down in a spree shooting, something smells. "Speaking of this close association with gun industry CEOs and the NRA, Josh Sugarmann, the executive director of the Violence Policy Center said, “The NRA’s priorities are not gun owners but the manufacturers of guns and accessories,” and that the NRA’s opposition to gun control legislation often “isn’t about protecting the rights of millions of gun owners [so much] as protecting the financial interests of NRA board members and the NRA itself.”"
Whose rights should be more important? Is the right to have access to data that could save lives more important than the rights of some gun owners to have 30 round ammunition magazines which end up in the hands of crazed gunmen? Do the rights of criminals to get their hands on dangerous guns and ammunition trump the rights of law enforcement officers to be safe in their jobs while trying to keep us all safe?
If there is an opportunity to study the effects on public health and safety concerning guns, why would we not want that information? Guns, after all, cause an inordinate number of injury deaths in our country. Instead, we keep believing the myth that guns for self defense stop more deaths and injuries than they cause. It is a choice to have a gun in the home or carry one for self defense. Just like it is a choice to smoke, to drive over the speed limit and/or without a seatbelt on, to ride a bike without a helmet, to not strap a child into their safety seat, etc. But consumers and patients know about those risks because of studies, because of public health information, because their doctors talk to them about the risks, and because of the injuries caused. The same should be true of guns. When we start thinking differently about guns as contributors to our country's public health and safety problems, we might actually try to do something about the problem. Lives depend on our acting for safer and healthier communities.
Welcome to Common Gunsense
I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.