Doing Whatever Is Necessary To Curtail Gun Deaths
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil
to one who is striking at the root.” ~ Thoreau
A Florida radiologist examined the wounds made to the Parkland, Florida shooting victims by the AR-15 bullet. She describes the utter devastation to organs and tissues caused by a high velocity bullet.
Then she goes on to say, “I have friends who own AR-15 rifles; they enjoy shooting them at target practice for sport and fervently defend their right to own them. But I cannot accept that their right to enjoy their hobby supersedes my right to send my own children to school, a movie theater, or a concert and to know that they are safe.”
Nobody, especially parents, can define the emotional pain that the families of the victims are going through, and the emotional trauma of parents who vicariously put themselves in the place of the parents of the victims. The horror is beyond description.
However, putting emotion aside for a few minutes, let’s put things into perspective and analyze what the radiologist is saying by substituting some words:
I have friends who own alcoholic beverages; they enjoy consuming them at parties and at home for recreation and even for religious purposes and fervently defend their right to own them. But I cannot accept that their right to enjoy their consumption of alcohol supersedes my right to send my own children to school, a movie theater, or a concert and to know that they are safe.
Surely, this radiologist has seen the devastating effects of alcohol consumption, in all its myriad forms. The deaths in America directly related to alcohol, dwarf any comparison to AR-15’s. Automobile deaths alone from impaired driving, amounted to 10,265 in 2015, 29% of all automobile related deaths. Similar numbers are reported for other years. This does not include the pain and suffering of those who didn’t die in the impaired driver incidents.
Additionally, the CDC reports that excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2006 – 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years. Further, excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2010 were estimated at $249 billion, or $2.05 a drink.
The damage to society, the deaths, disease, mayhem, pain, suffering, the spousal abuse, the child abuse and all other negative consequences of alcohol consumption versus the damage caused by AR-15’s, is like comparing Godzilla to an ant.
The standard reply from those who passionately defend the right to alcohol consumption versus the right to owning and enjoying AR-15’s, is:
“We tried to ban alcohol with The Prohibition, and it didn’t work. We had to repeal it. It is a dead issue and is not relevant to the issue of banning AR-15’s.”
The rebuttal to that argument is what the radiologist said, paraphrasing:
“I cannot accept that the failure of prohibition and the right to consume alcohol responsibly, supersedes my right to send my children to school without fear of a drunk driver devastating our lives.”
The weight and gravity of harm caused by alcohol consumption is so vast that it deserves 100 prohibitions if we think legal bans are the answer. Because prohibition failed once does not justify giving up, if prohibition (bans) are the solution.
I lived in Mauritania, an Islamic country, that does not allow the sale nor consumption of alcohol in the country. Consequently, alcohol impaired driving is almost unheard of as well as all the other social ills related to alcohol consumption.
Do I want the USA to be like Mauritania? NO!! I support the responsible use of alcohol, whether for recreation or for religious traditions, it doesn’t matter. Will I start a crusade to make alcohol illegal if a drunk driver harms my loved one? NO!!
Because the right of responsible drinkers to consume alcohol supersedes my right to prevent a drunk driver from harming my family. It is fundamentally unjust and unfair to punish the majority of law abiding citizens for the acts of a minority of irresponsible people.
In its attempt to mitigate the devastation caused by alcohol consumption, society barks up the right tree! Instead of blaming alcohol, they blame the user and billions of dollars are spent on rehabilitation, treatment, education and awareness. Laws and penalties are aimed at the adult user, not the substance.
In contrast, society barks up the wrong tree with regard to AR-15’s by blaming the inanimate object instead of the user and finding ways to prevent irresponsible users from gaining access to the gun.
The other argument made by pro-alcohol, anti-AR-15 activists is that:
“Alcohol has redeeming value, it is a social lubricant, relaxes people, and even has religious meaning. While AR-15’s have no redeeming value, they have no worthwhile use, there is no reason why somebody would want an AR-15 in their gun collection.”
Think about that logic. Alcohol has redeeming value? If so, does that redeeming value justify the thousands of deaths and millions of broken lives related to alcohol consumption?
Additionally, why can one group of people decide for another group of law abiding citizens, responsible drinkers and responsible gun owners, what they can and cannot have?
I can’t conclude this article without mentioning the other big difference between AR-15’s and alcohol consumption:
The constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The second amendment.
Because the founders did not see the same redeeming value of alcohol, they did not protect it with a bill of right. They did protect AR-15’s and other guns.
The Florida radiologist stated: “Every constitutionally guaranteed right that we are blessed to enjoy comes with responsibilities. Even our right to free speech is not limitless. Second Amendment gun rights must respect the same boundaries.”
Again, she is barking up the wrong tree. The constitution did not award rights, it merely stated what rights, among many, we have with or without government. The only duty of government is to protect those rights, not regulate them. The limits to free speech, to free press, to freedom of religion and to gun rights, are not based on regulations by the government, they are based on the end user, the person, not using the rights to hurt others.
In other words, I have unlimited free speech rights as long as I don’t infringe on the rights of other citizens through slander, libel, false witness, false accusations, etc. I don’t take away free speech rights because some people are irresponsible with free speech, I punish the offender. The same goes for gun rights, I don’t take them away until the right is abused, and I don’t go after the gun nor do I go after the alcohol, I punish the end user for irresponsible use of those inanimate objects.
The AR-15 and alcohol are the leaves and branches of the tree, mental illness and social ills are the root, and are where the radiologist and the rest of us, need to be focusing.
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