Saturday, February 01, 2014
Wonkette to the Rescue
Ana Marie Cox, the Wonkette, all grown up now and writing for the far left British paper The Guardian, has a brilliant solution to our dread. She thinks the President should give speeches nearly every day about gun control. Really. What a wonderful idea!
To put it in Obama-moved-to-speak math (18 speeches for each Newtown-sized group of deaths): would Obama be willing to give a speech on gun control 250 times a year, just about every day?Wouldn't that be effective.
I don't doubt Ms. Cox's sincerety, but her math is a little fuzzy. First, she says 10,950 people in America have been "lost to gun violence." (30 x 365). She later says the real figure is 12,000 people. The FBI, which is reputed to be a competent federal agency, says that in 2012 there were 8,855 firearm homicides. That's down from 2008 and steady with 2011. It's a lot less (nearly 2000 people less than the 30/day figure and 3,145 less) than Ms. Cox's second number). Where did she get 12,000? She tells us with a link.
Over 12,000 people, adults and children, died from gun violence in 2013 – about 30 a day.
She got her figures from Slate. But here's the thing, Slate lists some suicides and some righteous shootings along with the crimes, the murders. How do I know that? They include, for example, the death of Sonny Archuleta in Aurora, CO on 1/5/13. Mr. Archuleta shot three other people to death and then he was shot dead by Aurora police. His shooting other people to death is a problem. His being shot by police to prevent him shooting others is not a problem. Similarly, Stephen Harper, killed by a gun in Jacksonville on 11/26/13 was a suicide (he shot his old lady down, shot her down, and then self executed). Suicides are tragic events, clearly a shame and a sin, but they are different from murder. Lately suicides by guns have run in the low 19,000s more than double the FBI's count of gun murders. Salon has a count too, but it's no more reliable: They say over 33,000 have been killed by guns in America since Newtown, including murders, suicides and accidents (deadly gun accidents run in the mid three figures).
So other than exaggerating and conflating gun death numbers, what does the Wonkette have to say, what sort of solution, other than more dreary speeches by the President, does she present?
She ultimately gives up any hope of preventing gun murders and focuses, if that's the right word, on suicides and writes:
The math is easy: if you somehow (a waiting period, sophisticated gun locks) kept guns out of 10% of the over 19,000 in 2010 that died from a firearm suicide – if you forced the determined to use next most effective method – then about almost 600 of them would get another chance at life. And 76%, over 400 of them, would decide they'd stick around.Let's look at her helpful, suicide prevention suggestions (which "somehow" might keep guns out of 1,900 men contemplating suicide--women don't use guns to kill themselves, perhaps they are too effective). She proposes a "waiting period." Well, if we knew that someone was suicidal, then I guess we could put off selling them a gun. But what if the potential suicide already owns a gun? Or he can borrow one? And how are we going to know, in the HIPPA era of medical information privacy protection, if the potential purchaser of a gun is a potential suicide? That one looks like a non-starter to me. What about a "sophisticated gun lock?"
Well it would have to be very sophisticated indeed to recognize, just from palm contact, that the human grasping it was suicidal. I guess if sufficiently sophisticated it could somehow (there's that word again) sense the brain chemistry of the human holding it from the nearby blood in the palm; but what if you were depressed and suicidal and someone broke into your house or apartment and was trying to kill you? Nothing less useful than a gun that won't fire because it wants to save you from yourself. So the home invader stabs you to death because your gun was useless. Well, the Wonkette would be happy that your death wasn't a new case of gun violence and at least you didn't kill yourself. No, I'm afraid that 'solution' to gun suicide might not work out either.
Then she proposes more speeches by the President. Why that's so crazy, it just might work. Nah, probably boring people nearly to death is not much of a solution to gun violence.
So maybe she knows of no solution to the declining number of gun violence deaths each year here in America. Join the club, Wonkette. Crime is the price we have to pay for freedom. I still want freedom.