green_man_2010 (green_man_2010) wrote in talk_politics,

Guns - dangerous to who , exactly?

One of the most graphic images I remember seeing was a short clip made by film maker Micheal Moore. He had a British flag, then a Canadian flag, and finally, a United States flag appear on screen in succession. As each flag appeared, there was the sound of gunshots, and each one left a bullet hole in the flag. the text below related that each bullet hole equals one gun death per year per 100,000 people. Maybe a dozen or so holes in the Union Flag, a few more in the Maple Leaf, but the Stars and Stripes had what appeared to be over a hundred, at least.

A very graphic image and a powerful argument against gun ownership. Or so it seemed.
So, I was interested to see this graphic that gives us a breakdown on all those gun deaths that happen in the USA. The biggest cause of gunshot fatalities, it seems, is not being hit by a stray bullet in a street gun battle. Nor is it accidentally shooting yourself when you are cleaning your own gun ( I mention this because, as a Brit myself, I still hear some of my leftie freinds present these as arguments for not having guns in this country)

Oh, no. If you are going to die of a gunshot wound in America, you are most likely to have inflicted it upon yourself in a suicide attempt. Especially if you are a man over 40.

Ok, suicide may be a lot easier if there is a gun in the house, I agree. but a guy who wants to end his life is going to use whatever is at hand. in the UK, a certain brand of painkillers is lethal if taken in large doses.You can't buy it in bottles of 50 anymore, but people still buy enough, at the rate of one 10 pill box at a time, to give themselves an overdose.

Take all those tragic suicides out of the picture, and what are we left with? Fact is, if someone really wants to end it all, they will do it some other way, so it makes no difference.

There are obviously lots of different issues around crime and crime prevention to be raised here, but my two cents worth is as follows -

Policing has changed somewhat over the years. In my country at least, the average age of the average cop on the beat is noticeably younger than what it was when I was younger. Britain has the strictest gun control laws anywhere in Europe, if not the world - yet I don't feel that much safer as a result. The police in this country are dead set against people who 'take the law into their own hands', but it's not like our police have got a sterling record for keeping trouble off the streets. 28 out of 50 US states have some sort of law that allows the citizen to defend themselves if attacked - allowing them to fire first, if need be.

Perhaps the best defence against rising crime is not more rigourous State control, but more latitude given to the ordinary citizen to defend life and property.
Tags: crime, gun laws
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