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.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bullets are expensive

The actual cost of a bullet isn't much. Some people think the price of a bullet should be made more expensive in an effort to prevent shootings. But it's the aftermath of the bullets used in shootings that we should be concerned about. Now an article about the estimated costs of gun violence to the individual, the family, and the community has been published in boston.com. This article looks at the "costs" of gun violence in a more comprehensive way than we usually think about it. What about the costs of maintaining the crime scene and then cleaning the crime scene of blood and other body fluids? What about the cost to the neighborhood when no one wants to buy a house that close to a crime scene? What about the emotional impacts that last as long as 20 years which may require some kind of therapy? What about the actual Physical Therapy and other such services that go along with rehabilitation of gunshot injuries? The costs are great all the way around.

This older study from the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms the data from the linked article above. It deals only with the actual costs of gun injuries and deaths which are significant and paid, in part, by taxpayers. Where is the commotion about taxpayers paying for the medical costs of gun violence victims? If we want to lower our taxes and health care costs, here is one area that needs attention.

I have had a recent "discussion" with a commenter about whether medical journals are biased. It was, to say the least, a ridiculous discussion. The gun rights extremists are convinced that Physicians, their associations and any journals which are written by, sponsored by or articles compiled by physicians are necessarily biased against guns. Their proof is that some articles actually discuss how to prevent gun violence. How awful. Can you imagine that medical doctors would know anything about trauma and injuries related to bullets? Can you imagine that medical doctors are interested in saving lives and preventing senseless injuries? To attack a group of well educated medical personnel, whose knowledge about the subject of morbidity and mortality is, and well should be, much greater than the average person, is a funny way of trying to defend the second amendment. Of course, some of the folks on my blog think they know more than the experts in many areas and are not shy about saying so. Doctors, in my experience, have a lot of common sense. In fact, I'm counting on my doctor to have common sense when treating my ailments and helping me to lead a healthier life. Ignoring the advice of your doctor could be harmful to your health. Because I have two close family members who practice medicine, I'm all in favor of them practicing medicine with the best empirical and practical knowledge available to them. That is their job. They understand the risks to the health of their patients when their advice is not followed.

This article goes right to an on-line back and forth I had with one of my commenters who thought he knew more about medicine than the medical experts. Dr. Gary Slutkin, founder of the Ceasefire campaign has this to say: " Informed by my training and experience at the WHO, CeaseFire uses disease control methods to stop the  transmission of violence from person to person." The commenter to whom I referred above insisted that Epidemiology has nothing to do with violence. He is wrong. I suspect that the problem the gun rights extremists have with medical doctors being involved in prevention of gun injuries and deaths is that they may actually have an influence on a lot of people. And you never know, they might convince some of their patients that guns in the home are dangerous and could cause serious harm to children and family members. And that, my readers, would inevitably lead to the the confiscation of guns of all gun owners in America.(she said sarcastically)

Some new information for data collected regarding 2008 deaths and methods of death show clearly that firearms are the cause of the majority of homicides and suicides. There are no surprises here. I have referenced these kind of figures many times on this blog. Some in the gun rights community try to deny it but facts are facts. It seems that facts are not what the gun lobby likes. Fear and paranoia about gun confiscation is foremost on their agenda. We can prevent gun injuries and deaths if we use common sense and education. Sensible gun laws can and would make a difference. To say otherwise is disingenuous and false. We haven't really tried to pass sensible national gun laws in this country so we don't know how such laws would work. But other countries have and their gun deaths are vastly below that of the U.S. which leads the civilized world not at war in gun deaths per 100,000. That is unacceptable. Ignoring advice from the medical community is just plain silly. They just might be more convincing than other folks who work on gun violence prevention. And therein lies the problem for the gun lobby.


  1. Two points.

    The issue here isn't bullets - it's crime. Criminal actions and the results of those are expensive. Shootings are just one aspect of crime - and they're the result of someone choosing to take a criminal act.

    Second, some medical articles are biased, others aren't. Some writers have agendas that aren't necessarily rooted in fact - others are more objective. The key is determining which is which.

    I certainly wouldn't consider Dr. Slutkin an unbiased objective researcher.


  2. Naw, can't get into how much gun violence costs society in the long run.

    That's the cost of "freedom".

  3. RE:"Some new information for data collected regarding 2008 deaths and methods of death show clearly that firearms are the cause of the majority of homicides and suicides."

    Firearms cannot and do not cause homicide and suicide any more than a paintbrush creates art. PEOPLE commit homicide and suicide and yes, some of them use guns. But some people jump off bridges and some kill with baseball bats.

    Eliminating gun ownership does not reduce crime. Violent crime has gone up in England since private ownership of guns was outlawed. Look at Chicago, look at D.C. Compare crime in those cities with cities that allow citizens to own and carry weapons for protection. Violent crime drops when citizens are allowed to own guns to depend themselves.

  4. Nice post Laci. I love it. I couldn't have said it any better myself. You may be my new hero.

  5. I have no problem with those who commit criminal gun violence being assessed their share of the costs.

  6. That is total nonsense Unknown. If you are going to comment here, give me a name of some kind- even a screen name. Otherwise I will not be publishing your comments.

  7. I have no problem with victims of gun violence collecting a share of the costs assessed to those who commit criminal gun violence.

    Who could object?

  8. I am using my Google profile and when I posted, the software asked me for a screen name, which I gladly filled in (nicemac). Your error, not mine…

    Look at homicide rates around the world.

    Look at suicide rates around the world.

    The USA is no where near the top of either list. Actually, look at gun ownership around the world. None of the top countries lead in homicides or suicides.

    People kill themselves and each other without guns. Japan is at near the top of the list for suicide. Private ownership of most guns is illegal and rare. They still find a way to kill themselves at a much higher rate than in the USA. (I envision all of them by samurai sword)

    Gun ownership in Honduras is 6.2 %, or about 1/15 of that of the United States. Yet the homicide rate in Honduras is 12 times that of the United States.

    You can blame violence/ homicide/ suicide on guns all they want, but guns are not the problem. People are. Why can't you see that? It is COMMON SENSE!

  9. It should be important to note that CeaseFire Chicago doesn't show any support for gun control on their website.

    "CeaseFire uses disease control methods to stop the transmission of violence from person to person."

    It would appear they recognize the futility in trying to control the tool and instead they wade into the PERSONAL part of violence, using "violence interrupters" to talk to the people and they have a proven track record of effectively reducing violent crime.

    Unlike gun control, which has never been proven to significantly or consistently reduce firearm-related crime anywhere it's ever been tried.


  10. Since you are new to this blog, Nice, you will not know that we've gone over this ad nauseum many times. I am writing about GUN deaths No other industrialized country not at war has the rate of gun deaths as that in the US. No comparing apples to oranges. Why can't you see that?

  11. Of course orygunner you are wrong. Many industrialized countries have strict gun control. And it works since their rate of gun deaths are far fewer than ours. Unless you don't believe the numbers which wouldn't surprise me.

  12. I see that.

    I suggest you are focusing on the wrong thing. You make it sound as though if only guns were eliminated, homicide, suicide and violent crime would go away. My point is that places that do not have guns still have people killed, still kill themselves, etc…, and in most places, IN MUCH GREATER NUMBERS THAN THE USA.
    By focusing only on GUN deaths, you villanize the object–the gun. This promotes your anti-gun agenda.

    Florida leads Tennessee in the number of reported shark attacks. If you focus only on one type of attack (by shark), you could make it seem as though nobody is ever attacked in TN and by golly, that makes TN a much safer place than FL. Of course that is not the case. Your logic is just as flawed

    Why can't you see that?

  13. Are you serious NiceMac? Have you thought out what you just wrote, sir? Really, I would be embarassed to make the statement you just made. I hope you will think through your comments better the next time. I don't publish comments that have nothing to do with the post or the blog. So if you can find a blog writing about shark attacks, I suggest you comment on that blog and maybe ask them why they aren't blogging about knife attacks or gun deaths. In the mean while, I will continue to write about gun deaths and injuries and how to prevent them since that is what THIS blog is all about.

  14. NiceMac used an illustration, a common and effective tool in rhetoric. He makes a nice point, that people kill people, and have for a very long time, using what ever tools are around.

    China even prorated by population, is a much more violent place than America, you may believe otherwise, but facts do not support you view.

  15. Given that shark attacks have a miniscule number of deaths compared to guns, it seems to me that the commenter was grasping at straws- facetious or not. There are facts here. Did I ever say that I didn't believe people have been killing each other with whatever kind of weapon was available to them since time began? No. I am writing about today- the current situation- and about what's going on in America concerning gun deaths and injuries. Just because you don't like what I'm writing and disagree with my philosophy does not mean I should start writing about something else or stop writing about gun deaths and injuries. Good grief- take a rest and troll through someone else's blog. Maybe that person will come back at you for your nonsensical rhetoric, Peter. This thread is over. It doesn't have to do with the original post.

  16. Japete wrote:
    "Of course orygunner you are wrong. Many industrialized countries have strict gun control. And it works since their rate of gun deaths are far fewer than ours. Unless you don't believe the numbers which wouldn't surprise me."

    Yes, I believe the numbers, but you have to consider ALL the numbers, not just the ones that support your argument.

    Sure, many countries have strict gun control. Many of those countries also have lower firearm-related crime rates. The numbers YOU seem to be ignoring are the ones that show their rates of violent firearm-related crime were ALREADY low (compared to the USA) BEFORE their gun control and remain relatively low AFTER, having NO significant or consistent change due to the gun control.

    If you look at the history of gun control, it simply doesn't have any real effect on firearm-related crime rates. This is what baffles me - why people keep pushing gun control as a safety measure when it has absolutely no evidence it has EVER made ANY society safer. Gun control is like trying to cure cancer with painkillers - it only makes you feel good but does nothing to actually cure the disease.

    You ignored the evidence that there are 7 countries in the world ABOVE the US for firearm-related homicide rates (see my link above). They all have far fewer guns per capita and much stricter gun laws. Just another a monkey wrench in the idea that guns cause crime and that gun control solves it...


  17. My comment speaks for itself orygunner. We're done with this thread.