Posts Tagged ‘firearms’

Cheeps and Chirps for May 11, 2019

May 11, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 11, 2019

Let’s fire up the old tweeting machine.

• Politics

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Tragedy upon tragedy: America suffers its worst week in nearly 15 years

July 9, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 9, 2016

This week, two men — two black men — who did not seem to pose an imminent threat to anyone were shot to death by police officers in Baton Rouge, La., and in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. About 24 hours after the death of the second man, Philando Castile, a gunman began firing at the conclusion of a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas. Five law enforcement officers died; eight other people were wounded, all but two of whom were police.

More than two years ago, I called April 2, 2014, “a most American day” because of the events that took place on a seemingly ordinary Wednesday. That morning, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision that eased restrictions on political donations, thereby further paving the way for America’s wealthy to expand their influence on the nation’s political process. That afternoon, a mass shooting took place at Fort Hood in Texas, as three people were killed and 13 others injured by a soldier who subsequently took his own life.

That was a bad day, and bad in ways that were characteristically American; that is, in ways that showed off our nation’s embrace of money and guns. This past week, I think, has also been uniquely American, and for some of the same reasons. In fact, I think this has been the most discouraging week for our nation since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Read the rest of this entry »

Arguing about American rights: The U.S. Constitution and its first two amendments

April 29, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 29, 2016

Perhaps the worst day in American history since Sept. 11, 2001, was Dec. 14, 2012. That Friday morning, a 20-year-old fatally shot his mother in their Newtown, Conn., home before driving to nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed six adults and 20 children before turning a weapon on himself. The gunman used weapons that had been legally purchased by his mother.

Over the course of more than a year following that massacre, I spent a great deal of time on Twitter attempting to persuade people who held what I thought to be excessive enthusiasm for gun rights that their ideas were somewhat misguided.

“I no longer want to live in a country that shrugs and says the Second Amendment justifies every gun death,” I told one such fanatic several hours after the killings had taken place.

After right-wing conspiracy peddler Alex Jones told Piers Morgan in a January 2013 interview, “My point is that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct,” I quoted Jones and added a sarcastic parenthetical (“Kids’ lives? Whatever”) in attempt to highlight his skewed priorities.

When a conservative mixed-martial-arts fan told me on Twitter that “guns as written in the constitution are to protect countrymen from a tyrannical government,” I dryly observed that “[t]hat worked perfectly in Waco and at Ruby Ridge, right?” Shortly afterward, I asked the same individual, “So 31,000 gun deaths annually is the price of the Second Amendment?”

Reader, I’m 99 percent sure that I persuaded approximately zero percent of the people I engaged to alter or adjust their views in any way.

Read the rest of this entry »

The American way of death: Assessing 2015 mass shootings in the United States

December 22, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 22, 2015

The gun massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., that left 14 dead on Wednesday, Dec. 2, followed shootings and a five-hour-long siege at Colorado Springs, Colo., Planned Parenthood clinic that left three dead on Nov. 27. And that attack, of course followed one at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., that left 10 dead on Oct. 1.

But it’s not as if gun violence in America took a two-month holiday between Roseburg and Colorado Springs. In attempt to understand the extent of mass shooting incidents in America, I went to the Gun Violence Archive and downloaded its data on 2015 mass shootings.

The site defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are “shot and/or killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location not including the shooter.” I realized afterward that what truly interested me were what the archive categorizes as mass murders, in which four or more people are “killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location not including the shooter.”

The archive hasn’t broken out data on gun massacres (as I will call them) separately from mass shootings, but I did some number crunching using their information. I found that there had been 300 mass shootings in which 341 people were killed and 1,212 injured. Read the rest of this entry »

One Wondrous Sentence: The expanded meaning of the Second Amendment

January 17, 2013

This one wondrous sentence shows just how far out of the mainstream the proposition that the Constitution guarantees private citizens the right to bear arms was once considered.

The NRA’s fabricated but escalating view of the Second Amendment was ridiculed by former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger — a conservative appointed by President Richard Nixon — in a PBS Newshour interview in 1991, where he called it “one of the greatest pieces of fraud — I repeat the word ‘fraud’ — on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

Source: Steven Rosenfeld, “The Suprising Unknown History of the NRA,” Alternet, Jan. 13, 2013. (Quote appears on the second of three pages.)

One Wondrous Sentence: The Nazi gun control falsehood

January 16, 2013

This one wondrous sentence, quoting Brown University history professor, Third Reich expert and former Israeli combat soldier and officer Omer Bartov, tears down a prominent fallacious conservative argument against gun safety laws and regulations.

He continued: “Their assertion that they need these guns to protect themselves from the government — as supposedly the Jews would have done against the Hitler regime — means not only that they are innocent of any knowledge and understanding of the past, but also that they are consciously or not imbued with the type of fascist or Bolshevik thinking that they can turn against a democratically elected government, indeed turn their guns on it, just because they don’t like its policies, its ideology, or the color, race and origin of its leaders.”

Source: Alex Seitz-Wald, “The Hitler gun control lie,” Salon, Jan. 11, 2013.

Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 4

December 25, 2012

Last week, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

Much of the post was based on a report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, that spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As previously noted, the Centers for Disease Control has sliced and diced the data in multiple ways.

Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, this is the fourth and likely final post in a series presenting excerpts from these Centers for Disease Control publications. (The first two entries appeared on Thursday and Friday of last week; the third, on Monday of this week.)

Please enjoy these data on 2009 American deaths:

• There were 5,005 deaths listed as having unspecified intent, meaning authorities could not determine whether the fatalities were intentional or accidental. Of those, 232 involved gunfire.

• Of 25,562 falling deaths, 18 were homicides and 67 had undetermined intent.

• There were 4,211 drownings, most accidental. Read the rest of this entry »

Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 3

December 24, 2012

Last week, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

Much of the post was based on a report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, that spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As previously noted, the Centers for Disease Control has sliced and diced the data in multiple ways.

I found a number of fascinating facts and figures in this almanac of American death. Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, this is the third post in a series presenting excerpts from the report. (Here are links to Thursday’s and Friday’s fatality fact roundups.) I’ll probably put up one final fact-filled entry on Tuesday.

Without further delay, we now present the following 2009 death data:

• Murder claimed 5.5 lives per 100,000 Americans. The three highest rates are for these age brackets: 15 to 24 (11.3 deaths per 100,000), 25 to 34 (10.2) and, astonishingly, those younger than 1 (7.4). Those aged 5 to 14 were least vulnerable (0.8).

• The District of Columbia had the nation’s highest homicide rate, with 135 killings translating to 22.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. The national rate of 5.5 was less than a fourth of the district’s tally.

• D.C.’s 111 gun deaths, including suicides, homicides and accidents, also made for the nation’s highest rate, with 18.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. The national rate was 10.2. Read the rest of this entry »

Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 2

December 21, 2012

Yesterday, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

Much of the post was based on a report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, that spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As previously noted, the Centers for Disease Control has sliced and diced the data in multiple ways.

I found a number of fascinating facts and figures in this almanac of American death. Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, this is the second post in a series presenting excerpts from the report.

I’m planning to post more items containing 2009 death data on Monday and Tuesday of next week; the first item went live Thursday evening. And now, some additional fatality facts:

• A child born in 2009 had an expected life span of 78.5 years. The rate was 76 years for males and 80.9 years for females. For all races, females have longer expected life spans than males.

• A black child born in 2009 was expected to live 74.5 years; a white child, 78.8 years; a Hispanic child, 81.2 years; a non-Hispanic black child, 74.2 years.

• Alzheimer’s disease was first recognized as a cause of death in the late 1970s. It is now the nation’s sixth-leading taker of lives, claiming 79,003 victims in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

One Wondrous Sentence: Gun ownership rises even as crime falls

December 21, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, part of a fascinating opinion piece by a former advisor to President George W. Bush, highlights the uncertain relation between gun buying and crime.

Gun buying spiked in the Obama administration, pushing the share of households with a gun all the way back up to 47%, near the 1960 peak, even as crime rates tumbled to the lowest levels ever recorded, making guns less necessary than ever to self-defense.

Source: David Frum, “Why Obama shouldn’t lead fight against gun violence,” CNNOpinion, Dec. 17, 2012.

Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 1

December 20, 2012

Earlier today, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

The report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As noted, it slices and dices the data in multiple ways.

I’ve selected some additional facts and figures from this almanac of American death, chosen simply because I found them interesting. Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, I’ll put up at least one more post featuring excerpts from these Centers for Disease Control publications in coming days.

On with the fatality facts:

• In 2009, 10.2 Americans out of every 100,000 were killed by firearms, whether by suicide, homicide or accident. From 1999 through 2009, the rate ranged from 10.1 to 10.5. These rates, like other gunshot fatality rates, have varied only slightly over the previous decade. Read the rest of this entry »

On firearms and firearm fatalities

December 20, 2012

Author’s note: This entry was initially posted on the afternoon of Dec. 20. It was extended and re-posted later the same afternoon. Slight edits were also made to the original text. Thank you for reading! MEM

***

The 117-page report compiled by the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control provides detailed breakdowns by age, race and sex for more than 100 different causes of death in the 2009 calendar year.

The nation tallied 2,437,163 deaths that year, with a number of predictable causes leading the way. Heart disease was the top culprit, claiming nearly 600,000 people. Malignant neoplasms, or cancers, finished in second place by ending just shy of 568,000 lives. Chronic lung disease and various ailments that stop or limit blood flow to the brain respectively notched 137,353 and 128,842 deaths.

Accidents or unintentional injuries were responsible for 118,021 fatalities, ranking fifth on the list. Eight of the next 10 causes are diseases, except for suicide (No. 10, 36,909) and assault or homicide (No. 15, 16,799).

Incidentally, the government’s catch-all category, covering all but the top 15 causes of death, accounted for 469,367 deaths, or around 19.3 percent of the total.

These rather dry tables drew my interest because of the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter, which claimed the lives of 20 children and six staff members. They were all killed by multiple gunshot wounds, like victim No. 27, the shooter’s mother, who was slain in her own bed. (The suspect also dispatched himself with a bullet.)

This horrific event has prompted Americans to begin debating gun safety with a fervor that has perhaps never been matched. It’s resuscitated a great deal of argument over this old saw: “Guns don’t kill people, people do.”

Yet a superficial reading of government statistics indicates that guns do in fact kill.

Read the rest of this entry »

One Wondrous Sentence: Benevolent protection and gun rights

December 20, 2012

This one wondrous sentence presents a conservative view of the “benevolent protection” of the Second Amendment and the way that debate about guns has been affected by supposed media bias.

The practical consequence of living for nearly two-and-a-half centuries under the almost universally benevolent protection of the Second Amendment is a society in which there are hundreds of millions of guns, in which 47 percent of families and nearly as many Democrats as Republicans own guns, and in which the dissent over the sacrosanctity of gun rights is heard largely because of the overrepresentation in the media of the coastal, urban Left.

Source: The editors, “After Newtown, and Before It,” National Review, Dec. 17, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: Guns, death and injury

December 18, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, citing 2005 data about gun violence in the United States, captures the extent to which firearms affect Americans’ health.

When we consider that there were also nearly 70,000 nonfatal injuries from firearms, we are left with the staggering fact that 100,000 men, women, and children were killed or wounded by firearms in the span of just one year.

Source: Gregory D. Curfman, Stephen Morrissey and Jeffrey M. Drazen, “Handgun Violence, Public Health, and the Law,” New England Journal of Medicine, April 3, 2008.

%d bloggers like this: