Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Should you get a gun? Part two

“In a first-of its-kind study, epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that, on average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. The study estimated that people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun.”

Actually that study in 2009 wasn’t nearly the ‘first of its kind.’ The New England Journal of Medicine reported back in 1993 that having a firearm in the home made it 2.7 times more likely that a homicide would occur in the home.
And a similar study reported in South African newspaper The Natal Witness in 1999 concluded that “victims with guns were four times more likely to be robbed of their firearms than they were likely to use them.” It also reported that armed car-jacking victims were far more likely to be shot than unarmed victims.
Pro-gun sites claim that guns are used ‘millions of times per year’ to ward off threats; but they can’t show you statistics because, they say, such interactions go unreported. They claim that, for example, armed home-owners often shoot intruders who don't report the shooting.
The Harvard School of Public Health, however, "worked with a prison physician to determine whether criminals seek hospital medical care when they are shot." Their conclusion?
"Criminals almost always go to the hospital when they are shot. To believe fully the claims of millions of self-defense gun uses each year would mean believing that decent law-abiding citizens shot hundreds of thousands of criminals. But the data from emergency departments belie this claim, unless hundreds of thousands of wounded criminals are afraid to seek medical care. But virtually all criminals who have been shot went to the hospital, and can describe in detail what happened there."
Why do otherwise sensible people believe, in the face of common sense and facts to the contrary, that owning a gun will make them safer?
Is it, as my friend Mark believes, a conspiracy to keep us all unarmed and unprotected? If that was the plan, it has failed abysmally.
It was Mark, too, who told me that baseball bats were more lethal than guns. I checked…False. According to the FBI’s own crime stats, guns are responsible for 67.8% of homicides in the U.S. each year, knives for 13.4%, and other weapons – including blunt instruments, bare hands, clubs, and no doubt some baseball bats, the remaining 20% or so. If you don't want to wade through the FBI's stats, just go to snopes.com.
Modern guns – by which I mean guns from the late 1800s on, by Colt, Winchester, et. al, which gave the shooter the ability to fire more than a single shot at a time – are an American invention. One of Colt’s early advertising slogans was ‘God made men, Sam Colt made them equal.’
The testosterone began to ooze. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that, by one reckoning, of 62 mass murders / rampage killings in the last 30 years, only one of them was perpetrated by a woman. It’s a guy thing. Guys want to be Dirty Harry, not Adrian Monk.
The most popular video game with boys is Halo 4, followed by Call of Duty, both involving gun violence. The most popular game with girls is Just Dance 4. There’s no proof that violent video games desensitize boys to shooting and killing other people but one thing’s for sure: Just Dance 4 didn’t desensitize any girls to killing people.
The gun lobby loves the tired slogan 'Guns don't kill people, people kill people.' But the truth cannot be ignored: people with guns kill more people than do people without guns.
And, in the case of accidental shootings, guns do, in fact, kill people.
Having a gun in your home does not increase your safety, it lowers it. Having a gun in your home raises the odds enormously that someone will die by accident, or that someone will die in an argument, or that your child will kill another child, or you.
Having a gun in your car raises the odds that you will be shot during a carjacking, or that you will be shot in a road-rage altercation, or that you will shoot someone you might otherwise only have yelled at.
But should the rules change? As our world gets more violent, more out-of-control, what are Christians to do to protect themselves? That will be part three.
Feel free to leave a polite comment – nothing anyone would shoot you for!
Click here to read my previous column.
Bill K. Underwood is the author of several books, all available at Amazon.com. You can help support this site by purchasing a book.

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