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  •  Well, we'd have to start with data. (4+ / 0-)

    But since the agencies that would otherwise have that data have been prohibited from collecting and/or sharing it, that's difficult. Could we start, at the very beginning of this policy discussion, with agreeing to remove restrictions on public health data analysis related to firearm injury? That alone would be a step forward.

    Here's CDC data on causes of death broken down by age:

    Leading Causes of Death by Age

    The site provides pdfs of simple charts graphing the top ten causes of death for Americans in each category. For Americans age 1-44, the top cause of death is unintentional injury. Some of those are firearm accidents, but the vast majority are motor vehicle accidents; that's why we are constantly seeing PSAs about buckling seat belts.

    For Americans age 1-34, suicide and homicide are among the top four causes of death. Intentional injury drops down to causes number four and five only after age 35, when cancer and heart disease become prevalent enough to switch places with them.

    Within the category of death by injury, including both intentional and unintentional injury, homicide by firearm ranks among the top five causes of injury death for Americans age 5-44. Suicide by firearm doesn't enter the top ten until age ten, but from ages 10 on suicide by firearm remains among the top five causes of death by injury.

    •  Just keep in mind (10+ / 0-)

      100% of suicide by firearm involves just one bullet.  Also, almost all murders by firearm involve people who know each other, and there is seldom more than one to three bullets involved.

      When we talk about "high capacity" magazines, that becomes an argument reductio ad absurdum in relation to murders by firearm.  As I said, most mass murder cases I have worked on in the past forty years involved six or fewer victims.  The single worst was seven victims, all members of the shooter's family  and he shot them while they slept.  He used a .22 squirrel rifle, which does not make much noise.

      I am absolutely in favor of reducing crime of all kinds, not just murder and aggravated assault.  As a forensic scientist, I want solutions that actually work, and not just make people feel good.  Thinking you did something effective and actually doing something effective are two completely different things.  I have absolutely no problem with correlating the data the government has already compiled.  Forensic epidemiology is a legitimate area of study.  That needs to be the first step.  I think we are on the same page in that regard.

      The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

      by Otteray Scribe on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:56:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Suicide by firearm also often involves impulse. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco, oldpunk, Glacial Erratic

        Making firearms less accessible decreases the opportunity for someone experiencing suicidal ideation to take lethal action.

        You seem to be arguing against proposals I haven't made. I am actually quite receptive to honest discussions from a data-driven perspective about what specific policy changes would be most likely to reduce firearm injury with the least interference with personal liberty.

        I haven't encountered that discussion yet. At this point, I would settle for some agreement on the desirability of data collection-- but apparently "we can't analyze data we don't have" runs up against "I won't tell you how many guns I have and you can't make me."

        •  My point is that there is no way in hell (5+ / 0-)

          all firearms are going to be confiscated.  There is a firearm for every man, woman and child in this country.  Many of them are 'off the books,' so we don't know the exact number.  All we have are educated guesses.  

          If we want to address the problem seriously, the first place to start is with drugs, followed closely by mental health care.  The young man I mentioned that shot seven members of his family in their sleep was in his 20s, and a previously undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic.  

          In our area, there is not a single psychiatrist who takes health insurance....you have to pay at the door.  The mental health center does not schedule appointments ahead of time.  You have to call in the morning between 7:30 and 8:00 to see if you can schedule an appointment that day.  Of course, even if you have your phone on speed dial, it is almost impossible to get through.  

          Imagine the logistics of going from door to door asking people if they have guns in the house and telling them they are going to have to register them with you.  "Guns? What guns?"

          I have told people, only half jokingly, that if they want to confiscate guns, how about they ask to be appointed the Gun Czar to collect guns in Johnson, Carter and Unicoi county in east Tennessee.  Or maybe Mitchell and Avery Counties in western North Carolina.  Just have your affairs in order, and you can tell your family they can skip funeral plans, because with all the caves, coves, hollows and ravines in the mountains, the body will never be found.  

          As I pointed out before, almost firearm related deaths involve only a single shot.  Limits on magazine or clip sizes will have no impact at all on those deaths.

          The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

          by Otteray Scribe on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 12:47:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  So, you say the "public health data"... (5+ / 0-)

      is restricted, then you post it from a public website...

      Hmmmmm.....

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