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gun people

I unfriended a guy on facebook last week after he posted about wanting to make sure he could get an AR-15 before they were banned. His friends were commenting in support. Hell of a priority to have the day after 50 people are killed in an Orlando nightclub, right?

I am no longer a good freedom-loving libertarian on the issue of gun rights. I don't trust gun people anymore. Sorry. I am convinced that their priorities are totally out of whack, that they care passionately about their guns and their "rights" but do not give two shits about safety. If gun people cared about safety, why would there be 12,000 non-suicide gun deaths in the US every year?

Where I work in the factory, we have this philosophy about safety: that for every actual injury, there were near-miss incidents that should have clued us in and made us change something. So we obsess about every near-miss or close injury or minor injury. Even if you get a bad paper cut and go to health services for a band-aid it's a "recordable injury" and taken very seriously. If an actual death were to occur? We would not shrug it off as an accident, we'd start going back through the records of all those minor things that could have POSSIBLY told us we were going down the wrong path. It's the famous OSHA safety pyramid.

So pretend for a moment that a toddler finds a gun and shoots herself. The gun was kept loaded, and not locked up. This fatality is the top of the pyramid. Then we'd ask ourselves if there were other gun injuries in the news lately... yup. Then we'd look at property damage and accidental shootings that don't injure a person.

According to the pyramid, you multiply your near-misses by some factor, 20 or 50 or 100 depending on the data, and you get the number for "at risk unsafe behavior". In other words for every one toddler who accidentally shoots herself there are hundreds of loaded guns in this country now that were, luckily, left alone today. But maybe not tomorrow.

Where is the evidence that gun owners are being safe?

Why should I trust them?

Why do you need a semi-automatic weapon that can kill 50 people at one event?

Sometime if you want to feel terrible, click around the Everytown map of gun deaths in the US. They happen almost every day. I almost reposted one but didn't want to ruin anyone's morning because they are horrible.

Instead I just unfriended the guy. I don't want my kids playing at his house ever again, even though all our daughters are friends. I told my husband we needed to "distance ourselves" and he agreed. It is obvious to me, from the statistics, we have too many guns in the population of America. So even if these accidental deaths are not all mass shootings, I think we should TRY reducing the number of guns as an ATTEMPT to limit the mass shootings, right?

Guns are doing more harm than good and I don't trust anyone who fools themselves into thinking otherwise.

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 25th, 2016 01:18 pm (UTC)
" don't want my kids playing at his house ever again, even though all our daughters are friends. I told my husband we needed to "distance ourselves" and he agreed."

This used to be a powerful social force in the the 19th century - shunning or cutting. It was used as social control - as in, a woman who got a divorce would be "cut" by her former friends who would no longer see her - but also for people guilty of malfeasance. It's not as powerful anymore because there are multiple groups to belong to and surely gun fans can find other gun fans online and down at the range, but I think it's still important. And of course, there are safety reasons not to let your child play at a house with guns in it.
Jun. 25th, 2016 01:40 pm (UTC)
Yup. :(
Jun. 25th, 2016 01:58 pm (UTC)
*nods* It sometimes seems to the more Machiavellian parts of me that the lax gun laws are set up as an outlet for people's desire to feel in control and powerful in a society where they really aren't.
Jun. 25th, 2016 03:13 pm (UTC)
I've also gotten more conservative on guns (and by that I mean by the classical definition of the word!) as I've gotten older.

I get it. I mean, I know people who were raised on guns, shooting when they were 8 maybe, owned and shot guns all their lives. It feels weird to them (and oppressive) for them to have to give up their guns (which is the Australia scenario they're so terrified of).

But, at the same time, now that I've had kids I'm more sympathetic to the "protecting ourselves from our own stupidity" argument. It's paternalistic, but, you know, fathers are sometimes a good thing to have watching you- like for example when you're 4, and have found an unsecured gun.

I think the best argument is the comparison to cars. In Michigan, in order to drive, you are legally required to take a class, practice, pass a written and practical exam. You are also required to own liability insurance for your car. Your car has to have a license plate which identifies your car to your name and address and goes into a national registry. Children are required to be in car seats, adults have to wear a seat belt.

In Michigan my husband walked into a gun shop, bought a shot gun, and walked out. No class. No test. No license. No insurance. He stored it under our bed where our 18 month old easily found it. Yes, it's just a shot gun, but the AR-15, like all other "long guns," is subject to the same laws. You only need a permit for a handgun. It's pretty mad.

I am definitely in favour of requiring owning guns to require passing a practical and written test, passing a background check, requiring that all guns be stored in a wall-mounted gun safe (as is the case in the UK), and requiring you to hold insurance in the case of any accidents, just like you would with a car.

As you say, people make it sound like all these deaths are freak accidents and we shouldn't do anything about it, but we don't have that attitude towards car deaths, which are actually a lot more likely to actually be accidents. The number of deaths caused my motor vehicles and by guns is roughly the same:

Motor vehicle traffic deaths
Number of deaths: 33,804
Deaths per 100,000 population: 10.7
All firearm deaths
Number of deaths: 33,636
Deaths per 100,000 population: 10.6

Jun. 25th, 2016 06:00 pm (UTC)
I'm with you, too; I unfriended several people, because I'm tired of having the same arguments. I grew up with guns, but I know too many people now who treat them as toys, not tools.
Jun. 25th, 2016 07:46 pm (UTC)
This is a very good article. I'd like to share it on Facebook, if I could.
Jun. 25th, 2016 09:47 pm (UTC)
A good summation of the gun (and drug, but that's for another day) situation in this country is the fact that many more restrictions are placed on the acquisition of certain sinus decongestants than on firearms and their ammunition.
Jun. 25th, 2016 10:16 pm (UTC)
I am a gun person who grew up target shooting out in the desert, but my parents were SUPER keen on gun safety. Everything was in a safe, unloaded, and you treated everything as if it had a live round in it (still don't like looking down a barrel even if the thing is stripped for cleaning).

There is a serious lack of common sense gun safety in this country. Taking a safety class before your first gun purchase wouldn't be a bad idea. Background checks before any purchase is common sense. No one needs a gun today, though with modern technology the background checks take minutes instead of days. Mental health professionals should be able to flag someone as not being allowed to purchase firearms and someone on the terror watch list should definitely not be allowed. I don't know why law-abiding gun people have such a hard time putting restictions on who can purchase a gun.

My own personal use at this point is very rare target shooting and carrying when I ride horses out in the desert for wild animals, signal in an emergency, and if something happens to my horse and there's no way to get veterinary help. Of course I also carry a full first aid kit with everything from bandages and duct tape to a whistle and signal mirror.

I don't get the gun hoarding thing and certainly would be happy to be slightly inconvenienced in my next purchase (which may be never at this point) to make it harder for some nutjob to get one.

Another thought is if you made it harder to get ammunition it wouldn't be a bad idea. I doubt there are many people who get bludgeoned to death by a firearm.

I really like the OSHA pyramid there, makes total sense to me.
Jun. 26th, 2016 01:53 am (UTC)
That pyramid is new to me. Thanks for posting it. Something to think about, even just for my little household.

100% with you on guns. FanSee
Jun. 26th, 2016 06:38 am (UTC)
That's one of the best applications of the OSHA I have ever heard!
(Because at work it drives me crazy... take hold of the handrail, walk on the sidewalk instead of the roads in campus (roads are the shortest paths and there are not everywhere sidewalks and there is no traffic!),...)
Jun. 26th, 2016 08:37 pm (UTC)
You are 100% right!
Jun. 27th, 2016 03:46 pm (UTC)
I understand why you unfriended the "gun person". You are shielding yourself and your family from someone whose personal choices you do not support and feel strongly against it. Although this will not change the fact that reality remains. No change in any laws... Because in order to do that, folks need to act and that takes time, energy, getting outside of the comfort zone and maybe can even get a bit heated.
I have a question that is slightly on the related topic. Daily mass killing by drivers impaired by alcohol. Chances are, you may have come across those folks more so that the "gun people"... Pretty sure any of us have... Pretty sure many of us at some point of time Were them. Here are some numbers - in 2014 9,967 people died in drunk driving - that is 27 people daily. In 2014 290,000 people were injured in drunk driving crashes- many of them severely. The drivers all got their license legally, passed tests, aware of the risks and made a choice to drink and drive. Very many of them are very nice, upstanding citizens who carelessly didn't give two poops about other people when they decided to drive under the influence.
Now, I am certainly NOT telling you what choices to make... I am also NOT suggesting to chose one issue over another... I am trying to put things in light of reality and offer to think about the last time you unfriended a person who went out, came back, parked his/hers car and stumbled home while slightly tipsy. No intent on mass murders, killers nevertheless.
Jun. 27th, 2016 04:03 pm (UTC)
Yes, I would also quickly unfriend and distance myself from someone who thinks its okay to drive home buzzed.

ESPECIALLY if, like this guy with his guns, they were posting about how they're entitled to drive home drunk because it's a free country and safety numbers be damned.

Edited at 2016-06-27 04:04 pm (UTC)
Jun. 27th, 2016 05:31 pm (UTC)
Respect. I hope everyone understands that today public opinion/reaction gets orchestrated and manipulated with much ease. In my view there are massive issues that we face daily that don't get airtime (but should) nearly as much attention as others. The intent here is often politically motivated and has little to do with actually resolving anything but rather stirring the pot and ride on the wave. As a Responsible gun owner, collector, avid user, I am perplexed ( to say the least) at:
1. how the issue of 2nd amendment gets in the mix when people talk about modern day controls that are required in order to assure safety.Both pro and anti gun people are to blamed. The 2nd amendment is a staple and should not be questions and used as a political tool. Gun ownership is here to stay. What we need to talk about is Responsibility and Safety, especially with modern days in mind
2. The lack of any sort of required training and examination to own weapons. I am very proficient with weapons for one major reason - I grew up in Soviet Union where we learned all about it in school. We also practiced at the school range. Many of us were shooting in competitions that went national and international. Nobody could own any firearms other than hunting types, following special permission request). We also didnt turn out into gun crazed nuts just because we were shooting it. So living here, I often find it very unsafe to be around many shooters at local ranges and choose to come there at either a very early time or much later in the day to avoid crowds and specifically to avoid a large number of untrained gun owners that have very little of knowledge and practice time... So yes, long story short, many gun owners do agree that important steps must need to be implemented. It is a responsibility of the citizen to protect his/hers country. You should not just let your military to do so. Historically it has been so - not much changed there. BUT it is also a responsibility to know how to handle any weapon that you chose to have in your hands. That means you have to train and pass exam before you could get a chance to buy a weapon. It would not be a good idea to do re-examination every few years...
I also think mentally ill/FBI watch list/people with prior conviction can not purchase weapons unless approved so. In my house, your kids (or mine) will not have access to weapons... As you see not every gun owner is irresponsible crazy person, but I think you know that.

Edited at 2016-06-27 05:38 pm (UTC)
Jun. 28th, 2016 06:59 pm (UTC)
Was talking with a friend about things and how it's just hard to even bring up "so do you have guns in your house" at all in conversation. :(

FWIW none in ours, should you ever wind up coming over.

[also I agree with all your points]
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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