Rest of the Story

. There were an estimated 323,127,513 people in the United States as of July 1, 2016. This current nut in Las Vegas, Stephen Paddock, according to the Washington Post, joins the historical list of 134 other wackos here in the U.S., who have killed 2 or more victims in rage with a firearm. Hysteria, notwithstanding, an American citizen has a far greater chance of being killed by lightening than a random crazy with a firearm.

By Pat Merriman

At the outset, I am absolutely NOT belittling this tragedy in Vegas. Or, the fact that hotel security failed miserably here. I mean if someone is toting in all these rifles, wasn’t someone paying attention? But, let’s fix the problem not the blame, and have some perspective, right? I mean, if we’re going to do the emotional thing and decry all gun owners, is that really fair?

The inevitable result of the current tragedy has been for the media to immediately attack the Second Amendment, again, and, for our elected officials to call for more gun restrictions. But, remember, even NPR reports (on October 6th) that the United States only has the “31st highest rate [of gun deaths] in the world.” Of course, that number is then spun as “3.85 deaths due to gun violence per 100,000 people in 2016…eight times higher than the rate in Canada.” Begging the question, “Logically, what the heck does Canada have to do with this?”

Guys, there are 195 countries in this world and, even, charitably, NPR, your math is a bit fuzzy too because you’re making comparisons based on percentages not actual numbers. And, weeding through the chaff to find those numbers is virtually impossible since everyone has an agenda here. So, after looking, and trying to be impartial, I found that for 2015, firearms were actually used to kill 13,286 people in the U.S. And, US News reported that the U.S. population in 2015 was 320,090,857.

In other words, .00004 percent of our population died as a result of being killed by a firearm. I’m just saying, for the folks who are killed and injured by these animals, and their loved ones—that’s a tragedy. But, to disarm an entire population, under the guise of protecting the general public, simply doesn’t, statistically, hold true. And, even in researching suicides, virtually the same number of folks kill THEMSELVES by other means as they do by firearms, so, these deaths can’t really be laid at the feet of our Second Amendment either.

On January, 22, 2017, Dr. David Stark (former research fellow at Stanford University) reviewed the issue and found some other pertinent facts. Not because he wanted to protect Second Amendment rights but, because he wanted to criticize Congress for getting the CDC out of the gun control debate. Regardless, Stark found that in 2014, there were 415,000 who died as a result of a car accident. People died from sepsis (blood poisoning) at virtually the same rate as gun violence. And, remember, “gun violence” is NOT defined the same as innocent victims KILLED by the use of a firearm.

So, what are the annual, top ten, killers of Americans? Ischemic heart disease (15.5%), stroke (11.1%), respiratory infections (5.7%), COPD (5.6%), cancers (3%), diabetes (2.8%), Alzheimer’s/dementia (2.7%), diarrhea (2.5%), tuberculosis (2.4%), cirrhosis (2.1%). To recap? Dying as a result of a gun is virtually non-existent in this country in comparison to physical disease.

When one has a 62,500 times greater chance of dying from diarrhea than an armed thug, again, we may need to adjust our perspective instead of just demonizing an inanimate object.

Pat Merriman is the Dunn County State Attorney. He is a photographer and also officiates high school and college athletics events in the area.


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