, Gloucester, MA

April 25, 2013

Letter: How do we define our true safety?`

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Using the same reasoning as the time-honored of an oft-repeated slogan of the National Rifle Association, “Good guys with bombs can stop bad guys with bombs.”

Reality check: how many more children, women, and men would have been killed if a few “guardians” started lobbing grenades into the crowd just because they thought they knew who placed the bombs? The New York Post knew before it didn’t; ditto too many other media outlets.

The most recent year of statistical analyses of gun-related deaths from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is 2010. 31,672 people died by guns. 31,672 people were not safer due to the possession of a shotgun, rifle, or handgun.

From Johns Hopkins University Press, “Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis,” we can read these scary facts. In 2010, 73,505 were treated in ERs for gunshot wounds, and 337,900 non-violent crimes were committed by thugs using guns.

“Strong regulation and oversight of licensed gun dealers – defined as having a state law that required state or local licensing or retail firearm sellers, mandatory record keeping by these sellers, law enforcement access to records for inspection. Regular inspections of gun dealers, and mandated reporting of theft or loss of firearms – was associated with 64 percent less diversion of guns to criminals by in-state gun dealers.”

What is the point of this letter? Once your emotional reaction has faded, re-read the words as written. Then, see if you are able to consider how this information might affect your family — 31,672 plus 73,505, plus 337,900 people in 2010 had their lives changed. Many of the 443, 077 had their lives changed forever.

A friend who is a strong weapons advocate sent me an email detailing the times when having a personal weapon mattered. In a decade, anecdotal comments indicated there were 8 times across the world when having a personal weapon mattered.

In a decade in this country, we had at least 400,000 people a year whose lives were affected by the usage of guns in suicide, murder, or in a misadventure, or well more than 4 million people. Fifteen years of equal horror and that number would exceed the population of the commonwealth.

Do you still insist you are safer? Do all your neighbors agree?