Automobile Violence

I’ve got some statistics to share with you about gun violence in the United States. Did you know that for the first 10 months of 2008 that 31,110 Americans were killed by guns? That’s 104 Americans dying each day, or 726 people each week. That’s the equivalent of two 747 jet airplanes crashing and killing all of their passengers and crew each week! Why isn’t someone doing something about Gun Violence? People who use these guns are crazy. If we take away their guns they won’t kill people. The logic is simple. Guns kill 726 people each week. People who use guns to kill their fellow human beings must be nuts. If we get rid of the guns, we stop the violence!

Oops! Sorry, I made a mistake. The above statistics aren’t for gun violence, but for automobile deaths. The numbers (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) are for fatalities caused by automobiles from January through October, 2008 in the United States. But it shouldn’t make any difference, the logic should still hold true. Why isn’t someone doing something about Automobile Violence? People who use automobiles are crazy. If we take away their automobiles they won’t kill people. The logic is simple. Automobiles kill 726 people each week. People who use automobiles to kill their fellow human beings must be nuts. If we get rid of automobiles, we stop the violence!

Funny, but I don’t know of any groups getting broad based press coverage who want to ban automobiles, despite the fact that running a 3,500 pound chuck of metal down a street is a very dangerous activity indeed.

Like guns, automobiles are even more dangerous when used by stupid people. This week in Chicago a female motorcyclist was waiting for a red light to change when she was rear-ended by a Chevy impala traveling at a high rate of speed. The motorcyclist was killed instantly. When questioned by police, the driver of the automobile explained that she was painting her fingernails while driving and did not notice the light was red.

The number of people killed by guns in the United States is roughly the same as those killed by automobiles. However, 57% of gun inflicted deaths are suicides (men prefer guns, women prefer poison). Homicides account for 37% of gun inflicted deaths, while only 2.7% of all firearm deaths are accidental.

We live in a society that values both automobiles and guns. Owners of cars believe that automobile transportation is vitally important to them and to the country. I think they are correct. Likewise, owners of guns believe that firearms are vitally important to them and to our legacy of freedom. Again, I agree. Use of either guns or automobiles involves a high degree of risk. Any rational person who picks up a firearm does so with extreme care and heightened mental awareness, yet people routinely drive automobiles while using cell phones. On average, why can’t drivers of automobiles exercise the same degree of care and attention as those who handle firearms?

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