Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Which One Is a Public Health Risk?

Today's letter of the day from the Star Tribune:

Recent articles have illustrated how gun violence is treated entirely differently than other risks in the United States. The first was about the tragic death of a child who was run over because her mother couldn't see her in the blind spot of an SUV. The mother is pushing for backing-up cameras on all SUVs to prevent such deaths. Total child deaths from being run over by SUVs? About 230.

The next day there was an article about baby recliners and the huge recall to get these dangerous items out of stores. Total baby deaths? Five -- possibly because safety instructions were ignored. Remember the poisoned Tylenol and what happened? (Hint: It's why you need a crowbar to get into your over-the-counter drugs now.)

How about the shoe bomber? How about lawn "Jarts?" Now, how about gun deaths? Around 32,000 per year in this country (half suicides). What can we do about that? Apparently nothing, not a thing, nada. I don't believe this at all.

It takes a strong movement and strong personalities, but culture can change. Think of drunken driving, smoking, seat belts -- ideas and behaviors changed over time for all of these.

I believe we can have change, but it will require matching dollars and willpower with the big bucks that gun manufacturers use to control our elected officials. The Constitution does say "well-regulated."

And, I would note, as of this moment there have been 393 deaths from guns in the U.S. — including six children and 20 teenagers — just since the Newtown, Conn., shootings. (Via I wonder how long they'll maintain daily updates on this grim infographic?) 

Slate's graphic probably doesn't include many suicides, since those are usually not reported in the newspapers that are the primary source for @GunDeaths, Slate's data source. It's sad that @GunDeaths only has about 6,500 followers on Twitter. I guess not many people honestly want to know how bad it is.


Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Great post. So many movements began with one or two people at a kitchen table saying, "Somebody should do something. I'll see what I can do to get it started."

Ms Sparrow said...

So often, the families involved are ashamed of the violence and want to cover-up the tragedy. The true statistics are probably far worse!