On Christmas Day, David Frum posted an opinion piece on the CNN website entitled “Guns endanger more than they protect”. Mr Frum is a republican commentator and author of note, and although I don’t agree with his positions a lot of of the time he is nobody’s fool. His piece made very well much the same argument I have been doing for a while now – that the proliferation of guns and the gun culture in the US enables angry, resentful people to turn into deadly killers with ease and at very little provocation. All those firearms ostensibly bought for “protection” are in fact causing more deaths and injuries than they save. For Mr Frum to do this on Christmas Day was, I thought, a measure of the deep concern that many of us share.
Needless to say, though, he was assailed by comments from gun owners who vehemently expressed their disgust at his well-reasoned proposition. Comments ranged from “we need guns to protect us from a tyrannical government” (!!!), to “what about all responsible gun owners who have guns for protection” (missing the point altogether). (One problem with the latter argument is that by the standards of the NRA and gun advocates, Mrs Lanza was a model citizen.) One person, in a painfully convoluted argument using statistics to support gun-ownership, said “there were only 330,000 crimes using guns in 2011″. He did not appear to appreciate the irony.
Here are some examples, from the news in just the last 24 hours, of some who might be called “responsible gun owners” by their fellow gun advocates, until in an instant of carelessness, or a flash of anger, they weren’t:
An Iraq war veteran ambushed his wife, a police officer, in the early hours of Christmas Eve while she patrolled the streets of a Milwaukee suburb and shot her repeatedly in the face because he was allegedly ‘jealous of other men,’ investigators said.
A Washington man drove a truck into the front of his ex-wife’s home where his ex-wife and three of their four children, ages 10 to 18, live. He then shot her in the hand before speeding off, and is thought by police to have then shot himself to death on a roadside 50 miles away.
A two year old boy was celebrating Christmas at his family’s home in Conway, South Carolina when he grabbed his father’s gun from a table and shot himself. The father said that he only recently got a gun after an intruder tried to break into their home two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Slate magazine has been compiling stats of people killed by guns since Dec 14th, the day of the Sandy Hook shooting. That number now stands at 269. Among those are three other children who died in the homes of responsible (?) gun owners:
A three-year old died in Guthrie Oklahoma after accidentally shooting himself inside an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper’s house. Investigators say the boy was visiting his aunt and uncle when he got a hold of a gun.
Two year old Brennan Nowell died after he picked up a .40 caliber gun owned by his grandfather and shot himself in the side.
A 10-year-old boy, Alfreddie Gipson, was shot and killed when he and his brother were handling a gun. The brothers got a hold of an unsecured handgun in a bedroom.
Protecting people? How many lives will be lost while gun advocates continue this absurd justification of unrestricted gun possession?