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Please begin with an informative title:

Georgia has featured Robinson's Washington Post column in the pundit round- up, which is good.  

It is not enough.

Everyone should read it.  Consider:  

In 2010, guns took the lives of 31,076 Americans. Most of the deaths were suicides; a few were accidental. About a third of them — 11,078 — were homicides. That’s almost twice the number of Americans who have been killed in a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In Britain, by comparison, the number of gun homicides in 2010 was 58. Here we’d consider that a rounding error.

Let's convert those actual gun homicides into death rates:  

UK  58 deaths in an estimate population of 62.3 million
US 11,078in a population of  308,745,538

Deaths per 100,000 of population

UK 58/623 = .093
US 11078/3087 = 3.59

.093/3.59 = .0259      

The UK is increasingly diverse in its population.

It has a strong rural constituency that hunts - with shotguns, with hunting rifles.

And it has a gun homicide rate less than 3% of ours.

Or if you prefer, 3.59/.093 = 38.6

The gun homicide rate in the US is 38 times that of the UK.

Stop the gun madness

There is more. . .   unfortunately too much more . . .

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

I am not going to quote further from Robinson's powerful column.  You can and should read it for yourself.

No one's rights are absolute -  in such a setting the inevitable conflict between assertion of rights would inevitably lead to a return to a Hobbesian state of nature where the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short

Regardless of the bloviations of the likes of Wayne LaPierre, increasing your personal armory is no guarantee of safety.  One can still be outgunned, one can face multiple assailants, and if I am within ten feet of you I can kill you with a knife before you can unholster your concealed firearm and shoot me.  

Once upon a time this nation did not taking driving while under the influence of alcohol seriously.  Then Candy Lightner, born exactly one week after me, began her crusade with MADD - Mothers against drunk driving after her 13 year old daughter was killed by a drunk driver in 1980.

Using National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, the number of deaths due to drunk drivers was 21,113 in 1982, 15,827 in 1991, and 10,228 in 2010.

Take that last statistic.   And let;s go back to the gun homicides for the same year.

drunk driving deaths  10,228

Or perhaps you prefer to consider not merely homicides, but all deaths from the source

So in 2010 32,885 died in auto accidents according to NHTSA

so let's look at gun death data for 2010 from the CDC _

homicides by firearms  11,078
Suicides by firearms     19,392

total, homicides and suicides caused by firearms: 30,470

We are quickly approaching the point of more deaths by firearm than in auto accidents.

Few people commit suicide by automobile.

The presence of guns increases the likelihood of successful suicide attempts.

The NRA has lobbied heavily to prevent us from understanding the real costs of guns.

As you can read here in 2010

Suicide by firearm was the leading cause of violence-related injury deaths in 2010, followed by homicides with firearms, the CDC reported. Together, they made up 57 percent of violent deaths.
And you can read this:  
The CDC attempts to put a price tag on gun violence in an earlier report. Combining the direct medical costs of treating fatal gun injuries with the economic damage of lost lives, firearms-related deaths cost the United States $37 billion in 2005, the most recent year for which a CDC estimate is available. Non-fatal gun injuries cost an additional $3.7 billion that year, according to the agency.

Guns and ammunition manufacturers will make a projected $993 million in profits on sales of $11.7 billion this year, according to a report issued by the market-research company IBISWorld. Revenues have grown 5.7 percent since 2007, the report says, and the murders in Newtown have sparked a surge in gun sales in recent days.

Remember, treatment of trauma from gun shot is expensive.  It raises medical costs for all us.

Yes, we have wonderful trauma centers, such as the one in Arizona that was able to save the life of Rep. Gabby Giffords.  They have surgeons experienced in treating gunshot trauma, including from high-velocity military quality weapons such as the Bushmaster AR-15s used in Newtown, to shoot the firemen near Rochester, and by the DC sniper.  Increasingly they are getting the experience not from serving in places like Afghanistan or Iraq, but in inner cities.  

Merely on economic grounds, should not we be discussing the cost to all of us of our current perverted gun policy?

What about the morality of legislatively preventing the federal government from collecting data that shows how high the costs of  our guns really are?  Would we tolerate the automakers prohibiting our keeping statistics on auto deaths?  Would the reduction in drunk driving fatalities that we have achieved have been possible had the producers of alcoholic beverages or the professional associations of restaurants and bars been able to prevent collection of data on drunk driving?

Supposed we only halved the death rates, both homicide and suicide, from guns?

That's 15,000 lives / year we would save.

Or what if instead of being 38 times that of Britain our gun homicide rate were only 10 times.  

Instead of 11,078  being murdered by gun in 2010, the figure would be 2,915, or a savings of more than 8,600 lives in one year.

Consider also this:  according to statistics from the United Nations, over 65% of the homicides in the US in 2008 were committed by firearm.

And yet some people think the solution is still more guns

-  in schools
-  in churches
-  even in bars

Stop the gun madness

We can start by collecting and publishing the data that shows the cost to America of our obsession with guns

We can ensure that Americans know that compared to most other industrialized democracies we are a war zone, having more in common with places with drug wars like Colombia and Mexico, or without functioning governments like Somalia, than we do with our economic competitors, including not only the members of the European Community but also Japan and China.

It should not take mass shootings, whether they be at Fort Hood, a movie theater in Aurora Colorado, or schools in Littleton or Newtown, to call our attention to the cost to America, morally as well as economically, of our current gun "policy."

Stop the gun madness

Otherwise we will continue to slaughter our own, by homicide, by suicide, by accident.

Stop the gun madness

If we cannot now have the long-overdue serious conversation on this topic, then do not be shocked when we continue to see unnecessary deaths by unnecessary firearms.

Stop the gun madness

Please

for the sake of those who have already died

so that we will not continue to have such tragedies

so that we do not become inured to only to the lives lost and families shattered, but to the lives limited by those who survive, but with broken bodies and shattered psyches.

Stop the gun madness

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to teacherken on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:05 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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