Guns and statistics

Yesterday I found some very interesting statistics online. Many people are very sharply divided about guns. “An epidemic in America!” Some of them have their minds so firmly made up, either pro or anti, that there’s no point in talking about it.

But, I think that one homicide is too many whether it’s by firearm, or using a wet dishrag.

I just want to show you some interesting statistics.

This one says that Americans own more guns per capita than any other nation. 0.97 guns per person

Yet, Switzerland, for example owns half as many per capita. 0.457 guns per person

This link shows how many intentional homicides by firearm there are per capita.

Yet, Switzerland only has 0.6 homicides by firearm per capita.
As opposed to the US with a number of 4.8. I think they have 1/8 as many homicides by firearm, because they raise better people. There are 16 times as many guns, available per homicide. Correct?

I think it is just better people.

Which I find very interesting, because I think that the primary problem is how we raise Americans. This includes ingrained attitudes that are learned as they are growing up, while they’re watching Saturday morning cartoons, the propaganda is everywhere. Not including KKK meetings.

Add to that a welfare system that may have begun with noble intentions, but seems to me to trap people into welfare. I’ve known single mothers that, every so often, have another baby because that will increase their welfare payments.

What could be more noble than motherhood?

And just the whole idea of a single mother. Clearly, with the right mother, that can be a wonderful environment, but I think a lot of factors conspire to have unwanted children, that are unloved, and are raised in an environment that poisons their mind. Check out a rerun of the TV series, “The Wire.”

Do those people look like they got a healthy upbringing? Did they live in Mr. Rogers neighborhood, eat organic food, and play with Lassie every day?

I think that bad choices in nurturing have really screwed up America. And then what happens when one of these challenged people, goes to jail? Because America puts 707 out of every hundred thousand people in jail. Switzerland puts 87 out of 100,000 in jail. It says that San Marino has no one in jail. Do they just shoot them? Or are they really nice people?

I see American jails as an incubator for gang membership, and a continuing education program for learning antisocial behavior. And then you put these people back out on the street and have them raise little criminals. Little rapists. Little drug dealers.

I think it’s no mystery, but is a big, tragic, problem and it is complicated. And, unless someone starts trying to fix it, then we need to just get used to it.

Switzerland is certainly not the only country to look at. There’s a lot of interesting data in these tables. You might want to have an honest conversation with people that you know, about these subjects. Who knows, you might change the world.

The total deaths, accidental, and intentional from firearms in America, are 9.42 per hundred thousand. As compared with Venezuela, which is 50.9. And that was just the worst one I noticed. There could be worse. Switzerland was 3.84. Since their homicide rate was 1/8th that of the USA, does that mean they have more gun accidents?

Far, far more people die every year in America from driving while using alcohol, drugs, or sleep deprivation, or some combination. And vastly more are injured due to those very preventable causes. Like one a minute. Yet most Americans just ignore it. Many countries don’t. And they have far fewer problems as a result.

Back in the early 1970s, one single drunk, hit 5 different automobiles in five, totally separate, accidents. And those are just the ones I know of, because they were five of my very good friends. This happened within the space of a couple of months. In each case my friend’s car was parked. One time, the car was inside of a backyard with a six-foot high wooden fence around it. It was always at night right after the bars closed.

Does that mean the solution is to not close the bars? Or to not tolerate drunk driving?

Does that mean the solution is to not close the bars? Or to not tolerate drunk driving?

IMHO, it is because, in America, drunk driving is OK. It is a badge of honor for many. How many times of you heard self-aggrandizing stories, about someone who was so drunk, but they did blob blah blah, and got away with it?

When will being pie faced drunk, not be cute? Or the sign of a ‘real man.’

Like the Marlboro Man, “Wow! He looks so manly, riding that horse, with his chaps, his gun and his big hat, and his handsome wrinkly face. I want to run out and buy a carton of Marlboros, so that I can pretend to be a real man too!”

Change it over to, “He looks so manly with that nearly empty whiskey bottle in his hand.” Hopefully, you get the idea.

When we returned to America aboard Alegria, in 1989, it was way before cell phones, and we needed to call my mom and dad, which meant a pay phone.

We were traveling along the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) which is a very nice canal system that runs from Brownsville taxes almost all the way to New York City. There are a few small gaps.

It was built for commercial barge traffic, but it can be a lot of fun, if you have the right attitude.

We were somewhere near Corpus Christi, Texas, and we pulled out of the canal system, and into a small river that drained into the Gulf of Mexico. As we got ready to anchor we happily noticed a pay phone on shore, right by our anchorage.

There used to be more of them in those days. This one was right next to a tavern, and while I called my parents, Janet stood around in watched in amazement. There was a lot of automobile traffic coming and going at the tavern.

Janet said that almost everyone arriving, had difficulty walking to the door of the tavern.

These people were right on the verge of falling down drunk, when they arrived! And nobody cared.

Texas was one of the last states, to have an open container law. Generally that means that, you are not allowed to have a container of alcoholic beverage, in the passenger compartment of a vehicle, if the seal has ever been broken.

Obviously, these laws are done in the hopes of reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road. I think that it was only a couple of years before that, that it became technically illegal, in Texas. This will be really hard for most rational Americans to believe. But, I think until 1985, somebody help me out here. No. I will go look.

Holy Mackerel!

Seems to say that there is still very little control in America. Well, impaired driving, only injures about one person a minute, in America. So, it is clearly not worth worrying about.

I often get into unnecessary arguments with people, well actually for lots of reasons, but in this case I was thinking, because I often recognize a literal, and logical, interpretation of a statement, where most people use a more practical, and realistic interpretation.

For example, I am certain that it is perfectly possible to safely drive an automobile while drinking a bottle of beer. We have the issue of the distraction, that is, just how well can you be driving, while you are lifting something up to your mouth and drinking it? And I completely recognize that that impairs your driving. So does tuning the radio. The new cars with a touchscreen display, where you must focus your full attention on a low part of the dashboard, while inputting surprisingly complicated commands, scare the hell out of me.

I totally admit that even carrying on a conversation in a car, is a distraction of the driver. And of course the movies where, they show the driver staring at the passenger, for frighteningly long periods of time, while arguing or expressing love or some powerful thought. All the while I’m going, “HEY! Guacamole brain! Drive the G*d d*mn car, or park it!”

I realize that most of us have driven a lot. Usually we have discovered that 95% of the time there’s not a lot going on. We can think about other things. We can be bored out of our minds. But, that’s the whole point. It’s that 1/100 of a percent of the time, when that little girl walks out in front of your car, while teasing her parents and playing runaway.

Lots of disasters happen in a blink of an eye. If driving does not have your full attention, every single second that the car is in motion, then you’re not really driving. And I admit that I am very guilty of not giving it 100% attention. But, I usually get away with it. I think that’s the excuse all of us use. “Well, the way I drive usually works just fine.”

But, back to alcohol. I don’t think that most of us believe that one drink, for example a SINGLE, 12oz American beer in a can, will dangerously impair a 200 pound man, who is in good health, and has plenty of sleep. Even though that may not be actually true. You may actually be able to measure impairment. But I think most people are comfortable with that level of impairment. “It usually works just fine.”
And, if someone is then driving down the road, while extremely cautiously, paying full attention to their driving, eyes on the road at all times, catlike reflexes, sipping on a beer, it might not be a problem.

The problem comes with reality. I think that in reality, by no means all, but a few of us, did not know when to stop. Alcohol, sleep deprivation, arguments with the person in the car, even talking on the cell phone or texting, the list goes on. We think of the limited of safety as being an extremely gray area.

In the real world, I think mistakes are very common. So, I for one am willing to give up the right to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. Which is easy for me to say since I barely drink alcohol. But, an open container law, seems like a reasonable sacrifice, in the interest of public safety.

And, I believe that the police department of the City of Everett, should have looked at the driving record, including any other location anywhere, that had data on this particular driver. The one that hit five of my friend’s cars, and who knows how many other cars?

I don’t think they had to be a statistician, or specialist in alcohol and its perils, to realize that this guy should not be on the road, even under America’s very lax ideas about public safety versus the joys of alcohol.

The problem was, that they didn’t care. It’s a democracy and when most people don’t care, nothing happens. Well, actually plenty happens. Five cars were hit that I know of. But, useful laws do not get past.

I’m told that some countries that allow alcohol, have a zero, or near zero tolerance to alcohol while driving. I assume that means if they can detect alcohol in your system at all, and you are driving, that the poop hits the fan! The penalty is severe.

I recognize that that is unfair to someone who was not measurably affected, and was no threat to society, but I also recognize that it is a relatively low-cost way to delineate a situation, in order to keep us all much safer.

IMHO, America looks the other way on alcohol-related dangers, far more than it should. So, too close by wrapping this back to the beginning, it seems to me that intelligent laws regarding driving under the effects of alcohol, prescription and nonprescription drugs, sleep deprivation, and several other factors, can save a whole lot more lives, than some of the, in my opinion, poorly constructed gun laws, that try to get passed in America.

And, I have no problem with intelligent gun laws. I think there are some.

Let’s put on our thinking caps, minimize ‘knee-jerk reactions’ and try to come up with good laws on MANY subjects in America. Let’s try to encourage, intelligent laws, that make America a much better place to live.


One thought on “Guns and statistics

  1. Thank you David for what I consider to be a very thoughtful post. I believe you are on to something. Now, how to get the USA to change………..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s