August 4, 2019 7:30 am EST
Twenty-nine people are dead and 42 injured in two mass shootings just 13 hours apart. Saturday at 10:39 am local time, 20 people were killed in El Paso, Texas. Then at 1 am Sunday morning, nine people were killed in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Lone gunmen are responsible for both killing sprees. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims.
In 2017, 12,839 people died from homicide from firearms prompting many to call for stricter gun control.
However, in that same year, more than three times that number were killed by another deadly cause, and yet there are no demands for stricter control of it. Why the discrepancy in concern? Because those 37,133 deaths were caused by vehicles with 10,874 of those caused by drunk driving. (There was an attempt to control alcohol during the days of Prohibition, but that did not prove an effective solution.)
In the case of mass shootings, guns are to blame. In auto deaths, the drivers are held responsible. The truth is that in both cases it is the person who is responsible. Banning vehicles would be much more effective in decreasing auto deaths than banning guns. Illinois has some of the toughest gun control laws in the United States, yet it has one of the highest rates of gun-related deaths.
Rather than calling for stricter gun control—which has proven time and time again ineffective—we need to be addressing the moral, social and mental health causes that are contributing to this alarming effect. But it’s much easier to blame an amoral, inanimate object than to address the real human issues.
• Rx for gun control
• Talking to your children about terrorism, school violence
Note: Gun control advocates use the total number of deaths from firearms per year—36,383—but don’t distinguish that 22,274 of that number are suicides, 496 are police shootings and 295 are accidental.
Photo: New York Times
Copyright © 2019 James N. Watkins