Following Twigg's diary, I am also going to wade into the question of gun control. Like Twigg, I am not going to question the constitutionality. The Supremes have weighed in on it, and for the moment the right to bear arms is constitutionally upheld. My issue centers more on whether those who choose to carry are allowing irrational fear to cloud their judgement on the need to carry.
So, below the orange gunsmoke, please follow along.
Let me start with a simple question, how many of you carry around an Automated External Defibrillator with you on a regular basis?
From the CDC
Every year about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 610,000 are a first heart attack. 325,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.So, just about a million people a year have heart attacks. There is a chance that you, or someone you love, or someone around you will have a heart attack. If you constantly carry a portable heart defibrillator with you, and are trained to use it, you could save somebody's life, or someone else could save yours.
So now, let's look at the value of carrying a weapon. Per the FBI
In 2010, an estimated 1,246,248 violent crimes occurred nationwideSo, just over a million people are victims of violent crime per year. There is a chance that you, or someone you love, or someone around you will be the victim of violent crime. If you constantly carry a weapon, and are trained to use it, you could save somebody's life, or your own.
So, how many folks carry around a portable heart defibrillator on the off chance they will be able to use it? Yeah, not so many. And yet, about half the people who have heart attacks die from them, while homicide accounts for only about 1% of violent crimes. Half a million potential lives saved with a heart defibrillator versus about 15,000 lives saved with a gun.
If you don't see a reason to carry a heart defibrillator with you, there is--at best--an equal value for carrying a gun in terms of violent crime, and far less value in terms of the potential to save someone else's, or your own, life.
Carrying a weapon is not a rational choice based on evaluating all the potential hazards that we face on a day-to-day basis. If that was the case, we'd all be carrying portable defibrillators. But we don't, because it isn't rational--just as carrying a gun around all the time isn't rational. The Supreme Court has ruled you can bear arms...but that doesn't make it rational.
The gun is a safety blanket to ward off remote dangers, no more, perhaps even less, rational than carrying around a AED all the time.