Saturday, October 10, 2015

Our National Gun Deaths - America's Bloodiest And Least Successful War

"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?

7 comments:

  1. That's just disturbing. I'm a veteran. I'm a gun-owner. I'm an expat for quite some time, and I've gotten an outside view on the subject.

    The most enthusiastic defenders of the second amendment are probably those least disturbed by the growing dictatorship, or at least most likely to see how it can be turned to their advantage.

    The most enthusiastic defenders of private gun ownership probably don't see any problem with the growing dictatorship.

    The most enthusiastic defenders of private gun ownership probably don't see any problem with the growing dictatorship.

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

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    1. Wow, sorry for that triple repeat of the enthusiasm bit, my computer and your blog don't play well together. Please feel free to edit it down....

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    2. Thanks for commenting! I think in the end it will be actual gun-owners who defeat the lock the NRA has on our politics. I have a limited understanding of the subject, and I'm not completely certain what good, Constitutionally-solid and effective gun control would look like. I'm doing what I can, but people like you will lead this thing.

      By the way, citizen veterans are also going to help us figure out what kinds of military actions work and what don't.

      Your country needs you! I am fucking serious.

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    3. Exactly! It isn't actual threats they care about but some fantasy. I think most of them are lost in the hope that they can experience Read Dawn for real -- they've never grown past 16. These are the same people who go on and on about their love of some Platonic ideal of "America!" but have nothing but condemnation for the actual country.

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    4. Frank, I feel like we're Jane Goodall here.

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  2. One thing to remember about Red Dawn is that it isn't just a fantasy; there's a faith-based group of community organizers that have been succeeding at it for decades. The difference is, the American Taliban still value comfort more than their ideals, but if this changes, the rest of us could be in trouble; some quick research I did years ago says that the American Revolution never enjoyed the support of more than about 40% of the population.

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