December 21, 2012

If we truly care deeply about the death of young children...

... what are the most effective things we can do? There's so much talk about gun control in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, but rather than fixating on the particular device that has fixated our attention, perhaps we should reflect on what actually causes the most fatality in children, particularly since we have so much power to act affirmatively to prevent these deaths.

Here is a chart (PDF) from the National Center for Health Statistics, showing the "10 Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, United States – 2010." Young children's lives are clearly most threatened by accidents.

Here's a chart (PDF) showing "10 Leading Causes of Injury Deaths by Age Group Highlighting Unintentional Injury Deaths, United States – 2010." You can see that the greatest threat, by far, is the motor vehicle accident. Second, for 5- to 9-year-olds, is drowning. Third is fire. Homicide by firearm is fourth for this age group.

Go ahead and talk about the problem of murder, but let's remember that one thing we've learned from the Newtown massacre is how much we love and want to protect children. Children are continually dying from crashing cars, drowning, burning, suffocating, and poisoning. There are so many things we could do to be more careful and protective every day. Some of these things are fabulously banal, like keeping your eyes on the road and not walking away from the bathtub. There are no political enemies here to demonize, no legislation to stuff down your stubborn opponent's throat.

We're fixated by violence, and we love remedies for violence that have a frisson of (metaphorical) violence. But if we really care about the death of young children, we could take care.

67 comments:

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Nice job, Ms. Althouse, in applying a voice of reason to the debate. On the other side, it appears that they're largely invested in the collective chant of "blood on the hands of NRA", and much more interested in stuffing legislation wherever they can stuff it.

It's not for the children. It's for gratification of an anti-NRA lynch mob.

rhhardin said...

It's not about love for children but entertainment value.

Gabriel Hanna said...

It's the difference between perception of risk and assessment of risk.

For a technical writing course I wrote on this topic, and I compared various risks to the cancer risk from smoking one cigarette. So I had a cigarette scale of dangerousness.

One of my examples was peanut butter. Eating 1 jar of peanut butter = smoking one cigarette. (Aflatoxin is the mechanism, if you're interested.) I had a lot of concern from the class in my presentation, should they stop eating peanut butter?

Well, if you smoke a pack a day you might get cancer, it's a lot lower risk than people think (only 20% or so of smokers get lung cancer). You'd have to eat twenty jars of peanut butter every day to get the same risk.

1) Even if you were shipwrecked on a desert island for fifty years with a container vessel full of peanut butter, you'd have difficulty eating this much;

2) if you succeeding in doing so, you'd be suffocated by your own fat long before you got cancer.

bpm4532 said...

Why focus on reason and fact when you can impose dreams?

I've noticed among my democrat friends that many have a sparkle in their eye at the concept of a perfectly beneficial dictator that can impose order, peace and prosperity.

jd said...

Every death of an innocent person is sad. But when a large group of people are murdered in a terrible fashion, society rightly seeks to stop such crimes from happening again.

That's why al Qaeda and not heart disease has been public enemy #1 for the last 11 years.

It's insincere and betrays an untenable position expect society not to react strongly to mass murder. The "move along, nothing to see here, stop paying ATTENTION" mentality is really odd, tbh.

SarcastiCarrie said...

People don't actually care about children's safety. I have young kids. The AAP came out with new car seat guidelines. Children should be rear-facing to age 2 or as long as possible (like they fit in their seat, etc). I fully intend to comply. I am getting pushback. People think that's weird. I'm guessing it's not what they did with their kids so they feel threatened that I think I am a better parent. Anyway, even other people with young children who could keep their kids rear-facing are giving me trouble. Seriously, a 5-point harness and rear-facing is safer for everyone (except the driver but a 5-pt harness is better there too). But it's not convenient. And some kids get car sick. And then the kids can't fasten their own belts, etc. Lies. All lies.

jimspice said...

The difference is that accidents are just that -- without motive or malice. Who can you blame for incidents. God? It is the intent in these massacres that we find so appalling.

Bob said...

Sorry Ann but we aren't really that interested in violence to children. The media only gets interested in "gripping stories". Those are usually multiple deaths or grisly deaths. Mother straps young kids in car seats and rolls car into lake. School shootings. Child microwaved or put on stove. If a child dies in a garden variety manner its silence.

This weekend a couple of kids will die as by-standers in a drive-by shooting. Or will be beaten to death by a drunk parent. Result, a one or two line mention on page 12. More young kids will die in a few months in Chicago or Newark or New Orleans than in CT with no acknowledgement by this President or Congress. No calls for action.

Rick Lockridge said...

Why don't we just fixate on the specific problem of protecting children better while they're in school?

There are two obvious ways to get started: replace all classroom doors with heavy steel "fortress" doors (Alex Lanza skipped the first classroom he encountered simply because the door was locked), and bring the equivalent of an Air Marshall program into schools.

Would-be shooters must be confronted with the certainty of an immediate armed response.

We let the media turn this into a gun-control argument before we finished the school safety argument. Of COURSE that's what they were gonna do.

SJ said...

Are you saying it's time for some common sense car control?

Shouting Thomas said...

Of all the explanations for the massacre that have been floated, I still find Heartiste's the most likely.

Older Moms And Divorced Moms Raising Generation Of Psychopaths?

Note how placing blame on a woman simply does not seem to enter the public consciousness.

Ms. Lanza had a child in her mid-30s when the likelihood of birth defects has risen substantially, divorced her wealth husband, lived on $12,000 a month alimony and apparently had no money of her own, and apparently isolated her son from his father.

In other words, she was living out the cult of single motherhood, courtesy of a husband with deep pockets.

We've been so heavily indoctrinated to manufacture empathy for whatever a woman chooses to do that it has become impossible to assign blame to a woman.

jr565 said...

Remember Piers Morgan hectoring Lary Pratt director of Gun Owners of America about how he had blood on his hands.
Sample arguments from Morgan:

"What a ridiculous argument. You have absolutely no coherent argument whatsoever. You don’t give a damn, do you, about the gun murder rate in America. You don’t actually care...."


"I know why sales of these weapons have been soaring in the last few days. It’s down to idiots like you....

You are a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense, and you shame your country."


On one side is a rational argument. On the other side is all emotion, and sputtering rage and denunciation. Which side do you think Piers Morgan is falling on?
He has to realize he lost the debate simply because of how he handled himself, doesn't he?
Tis is the gun debate we're having. It's not a reasoned, lets weigh the options and run cost benefits analysis over the best way to curtail gun violence. It's "the NRA wants to kill kids and if you even offer a rebuttal you will be insulted. Even though nothing(or very little) the anti gun proponents offer will actually work or wold have in this case"
Piers Morgan sounds like a shrill, effeminate woman. If CNN had any shame they would have made him take a week off to practice his professionalism. But right now they're too into their blood libel mode.

I'm wondering if anyone at CNN has bodyguards or security, and if any of them use guns. Piers should go up to them and demand they start using slingshots.or we should hold CNN members accountable for taking such security for granted while they hector everyday people for trying to protect themselves the same way.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

When a connected Democrat rapes a young teen like just happened here in CO, should she be forced to have that rape baby were she to be impregnated?

If your answer is no, like mine, then in this way we don't want more healthy little kids running around.

I demonize myself for not wanting more healthy little kids running around.

harrogate said...

"This weekend a couple of kids will die as by-standers in a drive-by shooting. Or will be beaten to death by a drunk parent. Result, a one or two line mention on page 12. More young kids will die in a few months in Chicago or Newark or New Orleans than in CT with no acknowledgement by this President or Congress. No calls for action."

I get (or at least I think I do) your point that calls for more laws, legals action as a result of the CT shooting are misguided. But I am not sure what your point is here, as far as media attention. How could the CT shootings not have gotten the media attention it has gotten? This reminds me more than a little of people during the Iraq War saying they couldnt understand why there is so much attention on dead soldiers, because so many more people die in automobile accidents.

damikesc said...

Progressives don't really care about what they lecture us about.

It's insincere and betrays an untenable position expect society not to react strongly to mass murder. The "move along, nothing to see here, stop paying ATTENTION" mentality is really odd, tbh.

But nobody is saying that.

What is being said is "Hey, you know, laws passed SOLELY on an emotional basis tend to be really bad laws. Let's actually look at this a bit"

damikesc said...

Also, if Obama cared about gun control, he wouldn't have used executive privilege to protect Eric Holder who violated numerous gun control laws and gave lots of guns to known-to-be dangerous drug cartels.

Just sayin'.

harrogate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
harrogate said...

"On one side is a rational argument. On the other side is all emotion, and sputtering rage and denunciation"

Yes, because the world really is black and white like that. And what a happy coincidence for the author of the above quote, that he falls within the "rational argument" side!!

Firehand said...

We hear about it when it's a politically-correct death or set of deaths, or threat:
Kid gets stabbed or beaten to death in a school bathroom, local news.
Kid brings gun(loaded or not) to school, national news for two or three days.
One, somebody is actually DEAD, but not in the way the media likes to blow up as big as possible, so...

Shouting Thomas said...

I live in one of the great philosophical centers of the cult of single motherhood... Woodstock... you know, the real one!

Woodstock went absolutely nuts over the domestic violence thing.

With good reason. If you want to create the conditions for domestic violence, and all other sorts of violence, encourage women to dump the fathers of their children, sleep around and have children by various fathers.

Teri said...

Schools should have security assessments. I also like this program: http://www.schoolsecurity.org/trends/students_fight_gunmen.html .

I'm most in favor of dealing with this on a state level. It's been interesting to see the debate ignore how strict the gun laws are in CT and how the ACLU blocked a law that would have allowed for involuntary commitment in cases where public safety is at risk. I guess it doesn't fit the narrative.

jd said...

it makes me sad to see people who would rather protect a dying political position than react appropriately to the slaughter of so many innocent people in a school.

How empty of a feeling that must be.

Shouting Thomas said...

How empty of a feeling that must be.

That's a classic!

An old fart (make that Old Dawg) like me has heard this one a zillion times.

Here's the logic...

1. A tough social problem exists.
2. Moron is convinced he has the "solution," which, of course, is easy to enact.
3. Moron convinces himself that those who have reservations about the "solution" actually have a perverse desire to perpetuate that problem.

campy said...

But if we really care about the death of young children, we could take care.

Key word: if.

Bob Ellison said...

Bob said "Sorry Ann but we aren't really that interested in violence to children."

That's the problem. "Think about the children" is an argument, not a sincere thing.

Piers Morgan's recent weird rant shows how desperate lefties are. We must use this tragedy now, quickly, before the outrage subsides!

Bruce Hayden said...

One problem with gun deaths is that they mostly ignore the difference between the death being caused by a legal gun used by someone with a legal right to possess it, and everything else - notably all the collateral damage from gang violence - plus, some of the victims there are themselves not so innocent, despite still being classed as children. My expectations, from everything that I have read, is that the vast majority of gun deaths of kids falls into the second category. Yet, we find many on the left right now advocating restrictions on the law abiding based on misuse by the law breakers (who don't obey gun laws in the first place).

NotquiteunBuckley said...

ST I disagree. There would be many more psychopathic-caused terror events were Kingpimp Alphasodomite correct in his analysis.

Also, think of Norman Bates. Seems to me his generation of single moms raised a generation of psychopaths, per the data regarding violence in America and single motherhood.

Peter said...

Wow. Looking at all those "unintentional poisonings," it's hard not to wonder how many might have been ... intentional?

Bob Ellison said...

I used the wrong word. "Argument" should mean something serious. I don't know the word for what lefties are doing about guns lately. Hysteria, perhaps, but that has anti-female stuff in it.

dreams said...

About three hundred children under the age five drown in swimming pools each year and over 500 children have died from heat exhaustion since back seat car seats were required, because they are more likely to be forgotten. Another unintended consequence of those who thought they were doing good.

jr565 said...

Harrogate wrote:
Yes, because the world really is black and white like that. And what a happy coincidence for the author of the above quote, that he falls within the "rational argument" side!!

the world isn't black and white like that. But tell that to Piers Morgan why don't you? Tell Soledad Obrien. Tell Mike Bloomberg. Tellthe media at large.
Don't blame me for point out how the lefties are turning into a bunch of hectoring assholes. Tis particular conversation is actually emblematic of the conversation we seem to be having right now. Is every single lefty emgsging in this simplistic rage. Pretty much! But I'll grant you there may be one or two in the world that are arguing reasonably.

If an outside observer though were to view the Piers Moran conversation he would instantly recognize the argument style from both sides as being representative of that side. One side is emotional and irrational and screaming. The other side is largely polite, not engaging in insults, not accusing the other side of wanting to kill kids and actually arguing the merits or demerits of proposed laws and why they are problematic and may not help.

ricpic said...

Think of all the good people with yellow ribbon stickers on their cars talking on their cell phones while driving. But they're good and caring. The stickers prove it.

Jay said...

The idea that the people calling for "common sense gun control" are in any manner, shape, or form concerned about dead children is silly and obscene.

Freeman Hunt said...

This is why we have lots and lots of smoke alarms, several fire extinguishers, a fire ladder, outrageously expensive car seats, a car picked out by crash test ratings, and no pool or pond.

dreams said...

Liberals love to do things even if they don't do any good for the important thing is that it makes them feel good. The law of unintended consequences is never taken into consideration.

jr565 said...

Harrogte wrote:
I get (or at least I think I do) your point that calls for more laws, legals action as a result of the CT shooting are misguided. But I am not sure what your point is here, as far as media attention. How could the CT shootings not have gotten the media attention it has gotten? This reminds me more than a little of people during the Iraq War saying they couldnt understand why there is so much attention on dead soldiers, because so many more people die in automobile accidents.

it is a big story, and it would e unreasonable to have no coverage. But to have up to the minute coverage that goes into every detail, much of which is wrong is ghoulish. The media has a tendency to prostittute themselves in the interest of telling the story and trying to turn it into an agenda, rather than simply reporting the news. We thus get the Piers Morgans and Soledad's arguing like jackasses rahter than trying to remain objective. Also, we shold really have rules in place t this point whee we aren't mentioning the names of these shooters.
The amount of media attention only emboldens the next Adam Lanza who sees the coverage and realizes that he can be famous the same way. Tell the story, but leave photos and names out of the story of the killer.

Jay said...

Don't blame me for point out how the lefties are turning into a bunch of hectoring assholes.

I think they've been hectoring assholes since Al & Tipper were trying to ban, then label albums with "obscene" rock lyrics...

Freeman Hunt said...

Additionally, when children are murdered, it is most often by their own parents, so if you're not a murderer you've got that one mostly covered.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

Risk and perception of risk... two very different things. If 600 kids drowned per year in the USA in groups of 20, pools would be banned. But since it happens individually, it is seen as less of a threat.

edutcher said...

Since we're legally bound to buckle them in the best things you can do for a kid is teach to swim (and other water survival techniques) and teach them to respect fire and know what to do in an emergency.

As for firearms, aside from hit the deck, the best thing to do is execute anybody who shoots a kid, purposely or not (accidents are another matter, of course).

Rumpletweezer said...

There is no "perfect" security for anything or anyone. There is, however, "optimal" security. Rather than assigning armed guards to the schools, I propose letting those teachers and administrators who so choose to carry concealed. The uncertainty acts as a powerful deterrent.

Paul said...

Ann,

I'm 58 years old.

I've seen TONS of car wrecks. I have given first aid in two of them to victims. Seen rollovers, broadsides, rear end, even one crashing into a tree.

And at the same time I've lived with guns since 15. Yet I have never seen a shooting (accident or not.)

It's not guns I fear but cars. Over 50,000 people each year die on highways and way over 100,000 injured, many maimed! And yet the speed limits go up and up!

Oh, and pool drownings of kids. Back yard swimming pools kill far more than all the mass murderers combined per year!

But no, they want 'gun control' as if that will stop anything.

Colonel Angus said...

Don't blame me for point out how the lefties are turning into a bunch of hectoring assholes.

What do you mean turning into? That ship sailed decades ago.

carrie said...

I wish we would be fixated on child abuse and child neglect. Something like 1,800 children die from child abuse/neglect each year, but countless other suffer from child abuse/neglect and studies show that kids that were the victim of child abuse/neglect tend to treat their children the same way that they were treated by their parents. It seems to me that stopping kids under age 18 from engaging in sex would be the number one priority, encouraging people to be married before they have children would be number 2, and then targeting alcohol/substance abuse would be number 3 on the list of priorities. But none of that will happen. Those in power will continue to target sugary drinks and fast food and encourage everyone to have as much sex as possible with as many people as possible. I would also place the blame on the husbands in divorces who take the easy way out when they have troubled kids--they leave it to the wife to raise the troubled kid on her own and then, from afar, criticize everything the wife does and then wash their hands of it (in many cases because their new wife/girlfriend does not want to be bothered/understand/burdened with any child, much less a troubled child, from a prior marriage. As an estate planner, I am always amazed as the number of men who let their second wives talk them into cutting their children from a prior marriage out of their estate plans, or at least minimizing their shares as well as breaking off contact with their kids from a prior marriage. The evil step mother is not a myth.

Colonel Angus said...

I still appreciate the delicious irony of the abortion on demand crowd's sudden outpouring of concern for the children.

Rustling Leaves said...

My greatest fear is peanuts. My daughter has a peanut allergy (the real blood test verified anaphylaxic kind, not an intolerance). Places such as ice cream parlors, bakeries, picnics, and church are deadly dangerous for her. People who don't take us seriously and give her food could kill her. We have been in situations in which kind hearted strangers have tried to give her food. A nice old man gave my son a bite of his ice cream one day. If it had been my daughter it could have killed her. It is absolutely frightening. Who thinks of cookies as poison? They are if my daughter eats them.

Ann Althouse said...

"Wow. Looking at all those "unintentional poisonings," it's hard not to wonder how many might have been ... intentional?"

I think that's the label under which they put drug overdoses.

Ann Althouse said...

Another thing to fear is just plain falling. Look at this chart on hospital visits. The #1 problem, across all but one age group, is falling.

Those who are worrying about guns in the home should worry more about stairs.

hga said...

Peter and Ann: out of the current ~ 600 fatal gun accidents a year (down 25% in total as bith the population and number of guns has increased by 50%) some fraction of them are anything but accidents. In my home town of Joplin, MO two years ago a 14 year old was killed when one of her "friends" there for a slumber party picked up a gun that had accidentally been left out, pointed it at her head and pulled the trigger.

Ruled a "tragic accident"; don't believe "the weapon discharged", it takes a lot of force to do that on a revolver's trigger.

There was also a hunting accident which sounded awfully improbable to me, but there was only one witness left, so....

All these statistics need to be taken with a large grain of salt.

William said...

Some crimes achieve a new dimension in human malignity. The Manson murders. Jonestown. The atrocities on 9/11. Now this. You like to think that human evil exists within human dimensions and is in some way comprehensible. But a crime like this is just too monstruous for ordinary outrage....It doesn't help that the perpetrator is too wispy to absorb the rage that he generates. The other crimes had villains worthy of their crimes.... All of the solutions that the left has proposed seem to me to be ineffectual, but the NRA is substantial and solid enough to hate.....There's a connection between gun ownership and this crime. There's a connection between Muslim fervency and the crimes of 9/ll. I would ask the left to extend to the NRA the same tolerance they extend toward the Muslim.

mikee said...

William, I came here to propose that teaching kids to swim starting at age 5 or 6 at the latest would save a lotta lives.

Having said that I strongly second your motion that the left and in particular elected officials should be treating the NRA, the country's oldest civil rights organization, with at least the respect due to the religion followed by our worst enemies.

Gahrie said...

I still appreciate the delicious irony of the abortion on demand crowd's sudden outpouring of concern for the children.

Exactly. They are willing to sacrifice millions of unborn children a year to protect a right that does not appear in the Constitution, but are willing to destroy a Constitutional Right because a couple of dozen children are killed.....

Gahrie said...

Over 50,000 people each year die on highways and way over 100,000 injured, many maimed! And yet the speed limits go up and up!


It is not the high speeds that are the problem. Out here on the freeways of California millions of people drive 80+ miles an hour inches off of each other's bumper safely. In Germany they drive well over 100 mph on the autobahn perfectly safely.

There are two big problems with driving today.

The first is the differential in speeds. If all the cars on the road are going the same speed, everything is fine. It is the cars that are driving significantly ( I'm talking 20 or 30 miles an hour) slower that are the problem. (Which is why there is a minimum, and no maximum , speed limit on the autobahns) Some do it out of thrift ("I save gas when I drive 55"), many are illegals trying to escape the notice of the police (which is funny, because they stand out so well because they drive so slow) and other s who are too scared to drive any faster.

The second problem on the freeways today are those who are afraid to drive, but do it anyway. You can't predict what they will do when something unexpected happens, they tend to drive slow in the left hand lanes and have no idea how to efficently merge or change lanes.

You want a suggestion on a quick and easy fix that will improve the lives on millions of Americans every day? Convince slow drivers to move to the right!

SJ said...

@Paul,



It's not guns I fear but cars. Over 50,000 people each year die on highways and way over 100,000 injured, many maimed! And yet the speed limits go up and up!


I don't think your numbers are a little outdated.

But I'm the kind of guy who took one weekend to compare "Accidental Death; Automotive related" in the the WISQARS database to "Homicide, Firearm."

During the 1980s, deaths in automobile traffic routinely ran in the 45000-to-50000 per year range.

However, that declined into ~40000/year during the '90s and most of the '00s. In 2008 or so, it declined dramatically again.

The last year for which data is available had ~30000 deaths in automobiles.

During that time, the total number of cars and drivers in the U.S. has increased by many millions.

During most of the years between 1995 and 2009, homicides by firearm stayed in the range of ~13000 per year.

Ann Althouse said...

"During most of the years between 1995 and 2009, homicides by firearm stayed in the range of ~13000 per year."

Can you break that down so we can see which of those are innocent victims and which are criminals killing each other? I would assume that murders by firearm include more criminal on criminal murders than other sorts of murders. Am I wrong about that? It seems to me that children are more likely to be murdered by family members in the home in a child abuse situation that is less likely to involve guns.

Alex said...

The only reason the left cares about kids dying is when it's useful to a political agenda. Drowning kids in a backyard pool doesn't help any agenda.

Alex said...

Ann - as soon as you go for the demographic breakdown come the shouts of RACISM, because we know what the stats are.

n.n said...

Colonel Angus:

Don't harsh their mellow! Recreational sex is a human rights priority.

It is dissociation of risk which causes corruption. It is dreams of instant gratification (including sex) which motivates its progress.

Men and women just want to have fun. This is a progressive condition which leads to the civilization paradox. It is why history is recycled.

n.n said...

SJ:

In 2009, murder committed with a firearm (or representative) was under 9,200. While the total murders was under 14,000.

FBI: Murder by State, Types of Weapons, 2009

Alex said...

It's true that a mass shooting causes us to recoil in a way that drownings, car accidents do not. It's the sheer horror of the incident that matters.

Lem said...

rh is right.

creeley23 said...

Ann: Well said.

SteveR said...

The real danger: Automatic transmissions

SJ said...

@Ann,


Can you break that down so we can see which of those are innocent victims and which are criminals killing each other? I would assume that murders by firearm include more criminal on criminal murders than other sorts of murders. Am I wrong about that? It seems to me that children are more likely to be murdered by family members in the home in a child abuse situation that is less likely to involve guns.


It's kind of hard to answer that using the data at hand.

The WISQARS is, more or less, a compendium of coronor's reports and physician statements.

It contains cause/means of death, and whether the death was accidental, intentional, or suicidal. (However, the intentional portion of "Firearms" contains "Police Action"...)

It doesn't contain much about the relationship of the killer to the killed, nor the status.

I've occasionally looked into the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports. However, those don't classify victim by previous-criminal-behavior. They do classify victim and offender by Race, Sex, Age and Relationship.

However, those records typically contain ~4000 murders for which the the age/sex/race of the person who committed murder are unknown.

I saw an article (possibly on Insty) this week which claimed that in one urban enclave, more than 70% of murder victims had criminal histories. But it's kind of unclear.

Were they one-time offenders, or regular offenders? Petty or grand?

I can't think, off-hand, of any good resource on that question.

Al&Bea said...

I suggest you read Charles Krauthammer's column today on Newtown. http://www.humanevents.com/2012/12/20/krauthammer-the-roots-of-mass-murder/

LoafingOaf said...

Pretty amusing that Instapundit's review of the NRA press conference was: "I DIDN’T SEE THE PRESS CONFERENCE, but reader Theo X. Rojo writes: 'I’m very proud of my membership in the NRA as a ‘Life Member.’ I thought Mr. LaPierre hit it out of the park today.'"

Thus InstaPundit can tell his readers that the NRA hit it out of park without actually knowing what was said. You didn't have to take out time to watch the press conference because you can read the speech on the NRA's web site (it was just a speech - no questions from the press). You're telling me InstaPundit didn't skim it?

Well, the NRA blames movies, video games, and music, calling the entertainment industry pornographers for filthy trash like the movie American Psycho. Wait, American Psycho is a pretty interesting satire not a work of violent pornography with no redeeming value. And last I checked, America's pop cultural outputs spread across the entire globe, so why doesn't it have the same effects on other countries?

The NRA's idea is to have armed guards in every school. Wait, we didn't need to have armed guards in schools when I was a kid. But America suddenly needs poorly trained security guards and teachers packing pistols around children learning their ABCs? Becaese it's more important that people who have a fetish for playing with military style weapons to be able to indulge themselves? Instapundit could've played with military style weapons had he ever actually joined the military, but he declined.

The NRA says if we protect our money in banks with armed guards, why not our kids in school? My bank branch doesn't have an armed guard. What they do is let potential bank robbers know that banks will hand out money if you give the teller a note, thus reducing the number of bank robbers who are armed. Then the FBI hunts them down. The banks DO NOT want shoot outs in their branches.

The NRA says we don't put enough criminals in prison. But wait, America puts more people in prison than any other country.

I believe the best way to reduce gun violence is ending the War on Drugs. But the Second Amendment does allow for restrictions on guns (who can have them and what sort of weapons they can have). The NRA has an extremist interpretation of the Second Amendment and they oppose virtually any and all laws that can make it more difficult for mental cases to have easy access to military style weaponry.

The world did not end today like some predicted. Except it may have ended for the NRA. At least in terms of their ability to buy and threaten our legislators to the extent they did in the past.

Bruce Hayden said...

Oaf - yes, theoretically, limitations can be placed on the 2nd Amdt., but it is going to be hard for the level of scrutiny to be too much lower for this Constitutionally enumerated right than for the unenumerated right of privacy, and, hence, sex, contraceptives, and abortions.

The problem though, is what restrictions would be reasonable? Banning AR type scary looking guns? Not likely - they constitute maybe half the rifles sold, and are the closest thing to the type of weapons that our military utilize, without crossing the automatic fire boundary. (Remember the Miller decision? Limited the 2nd Amdt. essentially to weapons that our military utilizes because of the militia clause).

One of the things that makes the AR platform so attractive to so many millions of America as their first choice of a rifle is its modularity. Everything except for the receiver (the part with the serial number) can be swapped out by a large number of gun owners, taking minutes to switch barrel length, calibers, etc. And a working receiver was manufactured using ink jet type manufacturing technology, and then successfully tested a couple of months ago.

Larger magazines? Apparently fairly easy to convert a smaller capacity magazine to a larger capacity one in many garages - just add an extension and a different spring. Besides, tens of millions, if not more, "large" capacity magazines out there in private hands.

A ban on semiautomatic handguns is also Constitutionally suspect and unlikely to work for similar reasons. Revolvers today are either Saturday night specials or specialty weapons.

The genie is really out of the bottle for most of the gun control measures that I have seen debated over the last week or so. They are unlikely to pass Constitutional muster and even if they did, are unlikely to be effective.

Which really leaves some sort of cosmetic legislation, banning guns with features that really don't provide much functionality to most American gunowners, like bayonet mounts, flash suppressors, silencers, etc., which might pass Constitutional muster, but would not affect very many guns or gun owners.