"More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history." This startling quote appears in a New York Times essay by Nicholas Kristof. He goes on to write that every six months gun deaths in America take the same number of lives as were killed in the last 25 years from terrorist attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
Martin Grandjean's blog digs into Kristof's numbers - with links to factchecking sources - and puts them into a chart.
Our domestic firearm deaths are tragic beyond any war we've ever fought. They are tragic beyond all the wars we've fought stacked on top of each other.
Conservatives argue that this is the price we pay for freedom. Widespread gun ownership protects ordinary citizens from government tyranny. But the beauty of Kristof's quote is that it allows us to check these assertions.
Since 1968, has gun ownership actually protected us from having our rights taken away by our government?
Has it prevented widespread erosion of our civil liberties since that year?
Has it prevented widespread government spying on ordinary people?
Has it prevented the government from imprisoning a large portion of the population for nonviolent offenses in a war on drugs no one thinks is useful or necessary?
Has it prevented or checked the militarization of police forces? Has it prevented abuses and wrongful deaths?
Has it kept your government transparent and responsive? Do you know what your government is doing here and overseas? Can you control it?
Has it prevented government property seizures by abuse of eminent domain?
Has it prevented a tiny sliver of extremely wealthy people from dominating the political system so that it is unresponsive to ordinary people?
Since 1968, people have been dying all over this country in what conservatives say is an attempt to keep the US from becoming a police state.
Did it work?
Or are all these deaths the casualties in one more failed war?
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