Monday, December 17, 2012

Numbers Don't Lie

Here are some stats from the American Bar Association...

More here...

Here is Neil Garfield's excellent article on what is happening to the United States:

Reaching the Boiling Point: Sandy Hook and Wall Street

We all know that there was a tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. It was happening while we were pursuing our daily errands and work routines. I was typing an article on the blog, oblivious to the fact that at that very moment a gunman not only shot his way into the school killing the principal and other administrators and educators, but mostly killing children whom he shot, in some cases up to 11 times each. How dead did they need to be before the crazed gunman turned to the next child, aged 6 or 7?
The death toll is placed at 28 by most organizations on the scene. He aimed well with skillful precision having been brought out to the gun range for target practice by his Mother who legally purchased the weapons but obviously left them in a place where the gunman could gain easy access to them. He shot her before he left dressed commando style to commit one of the worst atrocities at a school in our history. And based upon history and human nature, there is no other reasonable expectation but that this will happen again and again with escalating numbers of dead victims.
I’ve heard comments like “at least it wasn’t as bad as Virginia Tech or Aurora.” Yes it is just as bad and the numbers of dead victims are barely relevant to the atrocity visited upon the actual victims and their families, the witnesses, and the children and adults who will be scarred for the balance of their traumatic lives.
Yet at the same time this school shooting was taken place, someone was planning a  similar shooting the next day. We live in a society in which there are, on average, 32 murders by gun each year.  Other countries have had incidents, but on balance the number of gun murders in the U.S. per capita, far exceeds the numbers in all other Western nations. On a visual chart it looks like the lines plotted for our country don’t even belong there because they are so far out of line with dozens of other countries and have been for decades.
It all comes down to determining our priorities — is it more important to protect people who have or want guns or is it more important that we protect our citizens, our children, from being targeted by gun violence. That is a fight between ideology and reality. 74% of NRA members are in favor of reasonable gun regulation, about the same as the rest of the population.
The dirty little secret is that the amount of  money being made by NRA leaders, lobbyists and vendors not only gives out the wrong message, but is making them richer, by the day, in opposing any regulation on gun purchases and ownership. In Florida and other states you need to renew your license every three years to use a dangerous instrumentality — a car. It is deemed a dangerous instrument because cars kill around 40,000 people per year.
I’m a gun owner and I possess weapons requiring a license if I want to leave the house. But I should be subjected to at least license requirements and renewals the same as cars. For those who say that the second amendment should protect them the government knowing their gun ownership and usage, we cannot deny they have a point simply because of the second amendment, which is the law of the land. Taken literally, it would appear that weapons of any kind should be just as available to members of the public as the military.
Yet taken to extreme, this would mean that missiles, cannons and nuclear weapons should be in the hands of civilians. With 32 gun deaths per day, how many times would we read in the newspaper that more missiles and nuclear attacks from domestic terrorists have occurred? There is obviously a tipping point where even the most ardent NRA member would concede that such weapons should not be allowed in the hands of the public. At that point these same anti-government ideologists concede that government indeed plays a rule in keep the playing field level and safe.
Those on the left end of the political spectrum mus realize and accept that the the second amendment actually exists and that some of the measures they propose would eviscerate the rights set forth in that amendment. In the end it is a process of keeping out children safe. We must balance rights perhaps too strongly worded but nonetheless in existence as set forth in the 2d Amendment with he public policy need to regulate the sale, ownership and use of those weapons.
Taking the ultra-orthdox gun owners’ arguments at their word, they want to be protected from a government or society gone wild. But a simple mind experiment (or actual experience if you have one) will tall you that even if you possessed the same number and caliber of weapons, you will never have the same number of soldiers that the government controls and that arming every household will only lead to more domestic filing shootings (a primary source of gun deaths) and death by police, in all probability, without enough intelligence to know what was going on or why.
32 gun deaths per day or to put it annually, that would make it 11, 585 per year, more than 3 times the number killed on 9-11. Over the term of a President, more than 48,000 gun related fatal crimes, some including police officers, around the same number of American treasure lost in the entire Vietnam war.
When it is bad enough in a wealthy, white neighborhood, it makes front page news. In the inner city the deaths from young gun wielding people in and out of school has reached daily epidemic proportions. We are numb to violence because it is all around us in reality, on TV, movies and video games.
Like the frog in the pan full of water, we are unaware that the heat has been gradually increasing until we are already cooked. And we reward the ratings of main steam media for continually reporting breaking news that is hours, days or even weeks old. It’s not the news that is breaking, it is the news media process that is broken.
It has been the same with foreclosures.  Continued here...

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