Guns and Cars and FREEDOM

Over at Juanita Jean’s, the World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, I read:

Motor vehicle accidents used to be the leading cause of death in this country. But not in Missouri —

Firearms proved more deadly, and by a wide margin — 880 to 781 — according to the most recent federal data available. And Missouri appears to be a harbinger of things to come.

Some experts predict that for the first time in decades, firearms will kill more people nationwide this year than motor vehicles.

And the reason why traffic deaths have decreased dramatically?

Advocates credit seat belts, padded dashboards, airbags, highway median guard cables and road-edge rumble strips, among other things.

But God forbid that we talk about putting better safety mechanisms on guns! Because FREEDOM!

Reading this, I couldn’t help recalling a memorable interview with the late, irrepressible  Molly Ivins, during which she noted that the Texas legislature had successfully addressed a similar problem. Gun deaths in Texas had exceeded fatalities from automobile accidents. “But our lawmakers took care of that problem.” Molly reported.

“They raised the speed limit.”

We’re doomed.


  1. Ms. Kennedy:

    A safety on a gun is not really analogous to safety enhancements to cars and safety devices for occupants. By its very design, a gun is intended to be a lethal device, a car the exact opposite.

    Unless we can verify that the target of a gun truly deserves to be shot, every gun is potentially “unsafe.”

    What we could require, but the Republicans, the police and the authority culture steadfastly resist, is for all firearms that could be deployed against humans to carry “less lethal” ammunition.

    These rounds can and do kill people, but far less often than lead and jacketed ammunition that kills with great effectiveness. Less-lethal ammunition will dramatically bring down the death toll, but police are currently only willing to use less lethal ammunition against known unarmed populations, such as political protesters or boisterous sports crowds. I say crowd control should be performed in absence of any firearm.

    If we want to bring down firearm deaths, every cop’s duty gun should carry less lethal ammunition, and homeowners should be educated in these rounds, instead of just loading the shotgun with 00 buck. I will even go further and say that a police officer is more than amply armed with a baton and a Taser and should not have a gun. Almost all those police guns are simply not needed and kill far too many people.

    American gun shops simply have no interest in promoting or selling less-lethal firearms, so every person who seeks a device for home defense leaves the gun shop with something that is unquestionably deadly lethal, perhaps far more lethal than an informed consumer would choose if presented with less-lethal alternatives. We should explore ways to get the firearms trade to present less-lethal alternatives to consumers.

    it would be nice if America could promote more home defense solutions such as what this company offers.

    If the horrible happens, and a curious child shoots his brother with a gun, would the mother and father rather have a dead child, or a child alive at the hospital, but recovering from serious bruising?

    Oh, and in closing, perhaps you can have some influence in changing problems in the legal climate. In the gun world, it is common to argue against merely wounding an intruder or leaving an intruder alive if you’ve already fired.

    The gun owners give three common arguments in favor of killing everyone who comes in your door:

    “You’d better kill him, because if you don’t, it’s your word against his, and the cops might side with him.”

    “You’d better kill him, because if you don’t, the cops will say you really weren’t in fear, and you shouldn’t have been shooting.”

    “You’d better kill him, because if you don’t, he can sue you for everything you’ve got.”

    Against this backdrop of legal worries, very few less-lethal guns get sold.

  2. I found it interesting that our local ABC affiliate, Channel 6, did an on-the-street interview prior to the President’s speech at Ivy Tech with a protestor who began his list of reasons why he was present with the fact that Mr. Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. The sign he held called the President a Muslim.

    For six years we have heard these same people warning us to buy guns because the President was going to take over the country and confiscate all the guns. How many deaths have occurred because people who bought weapons did not know how to handle them? So far, I have heard or seen nothing to indicate that the President has done anything to warrant the paranoia.

    So now we have mounting statics that show that guns are killing more people than car accidents. But even the most benign efforts to educate and license gun buyers/owners is met with NRA-led hysteria about the rights of gun owners being in jeopardy. No mention of the lost lives, especially of children, who may be dead, injured or emotionally scarred for life as a result of irresponsible gun owners.

    Fear and/or racism is the source of all the blind willful ignorance. No matter what the facts show, there will always be people like the protestor on the street who hold tightly to their fear. He and others like him refuse to accept reality to the detriment of all of us. Texas is in a class by itself for this kind of thinking. Unfortunately, Indiana is not far behind.

  3. The loss of common sense and logic due to the individual’s misinterpretation of their FREEDOM has made the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the Constitution almost obsolete. The Texas solution to raise the speed limit to solve the problem of more gun deaths than traffic deaths, in it’s obsurdity reminded me working in an inpatient treatment center for drug addicted juvenile delinquents. They were placed by courts around the state and we only housed 12-15 teens, ages 15-17. The director was a former public health nurse and young mother of two pre-school children with no experience with teens, drugs or delinquents. Counselors were all young new college graduates with BA or MA degrees in social work in their first jobs; I was secretary/mother in residence. Being what they were; the kids all pushed the limits, disobeyed even simple rules and ignored the major rules totally. To resolve the problem the Director repeatedly changed rules; making it difficult for all counselors to know how to deal with these problems. One day the kids came to me in a group; looking very serious they explained they had held a meeting and were asking for my help. They said that the constant rule changing an no punishment for breaking the rules was confusing to them; they knew they were there to learn self control, resolve their drug problems and learn to obey laws and knew they were doing wrong. They asked me to talk to the director for them; asking her to please set a list of rules and make them follow all of them. Her response was that she was making it easier for them to obey rules by changing, rewriting or ending rules. A group of screwed up, drug addicted, juvenile delinquents begging for solid, stable controls to guide them had more sense than our elected officials today on all levels of government. Sadly, but not unexpected, the facility only lasted about 18 months. How long can this state and this country last with the current government constantly in a state of flux. How many Americans are asking – begging – for solid, stable leadership in this country? Guns, cars and freedom are not the only confused and confusing issues in this country. They need to raise their speed limit on passing legislation to move us forward rather than keeping us sitting in park.

  4. Of course the Great Oligarchy Plot will not rest on their laurels of bringing auto deaths back up to exceeding gun deaths. Their next target is limiting health insurance so the wounded and injured die more often and recover less frequently.

    Perhaps I underestimated the range if their vision. I assume that oligarchs merely wanted to enslave us. Perhaps their real goal is to eliminate us.

    They think that they have enough wealth to last forever without workers. They are not quite bright enough to see that without workers their wealth is worthless.

    Oh dear, for the human race.

  5. Molly Ivins was a national treasure. The brightest spot in a dismal Texas landscape. I still miss her.

  6. “The Texas solution to raise the speed limit to solve the problem of more gun deaths than traffic deaths, in it’s obsurdity reminded me working in an inpatient treatment center for drug addicted juvenile delinquents.”

    JoAnn, I’m pretty sure Molly Irvins was engaging in sarcasm, that Texas legislators weren’t increasing the speed limit so there would be more deaths by driving than with guns. Nonetheless, our artificially low speed limits needed to be raised. Even raising them hasn’t resulted in more driving deaths by the way.

  7. Cars are deadly weapons – particularly in the hands of those who are inexperienced and untrained.

    The NRA brags – perhaps rightly so – about their training program for responsible care and use of guns. It would be interesting to see if they’d support licensure contingent upon taking their firearms course to pass a state test – similar to the drivers’ tests required of first-time drivers. Adding an insurance requirement to cover mishaps as required for autos might be a good idea too. The NRA would make money, and everyone – including gun owners themselves – would be safer. This wouldn’t solve the problem of illegal gun sales and use, but it should increase the safety of families residing in the homes and neighborhoods of gun users.

  8. Paul; what difference does it make if Molly Ivins comment was sarcasm or a Texas reality? It sounds like a Texas solution. True or not, it reminded me of working with troubled kids who were smarter than our elected officials today. BTW; you mispelled her last name.

  9. There is an optimal level of automotive capability and arms distribution. Capitalism is based on always striving for more of each. Which results in more death and destruction by each, but very little benefit. Hardly optimum.

    I drive the highest performance car on the road today. A Prius. I don’t own any armament so am very unlikely to injure or kill accidentally.

    Which approach, mine or John Q Public’s, is closer to optimum?

  10. Molly Ivins hit the nail squarely on its head more than once and occasionally using language that I enjoy, and that I use with great fluency and frequency, but language that might cause more delicate, sensitive, and pristine souls to withdraw to their private chambers for a brief period of recovery.

    By the way, Molly was a great driver, whether speeding across the ribbon-like Interstates of Texas while balancing a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, or personally driving herself to the county jail for a DUI.

    Because I dare not offend the sensitive souls, I’m simply sharing a link to one of the myriad of Molly Ivins’ brief, pithy quotes.

  11. Barbara; not being a sensitive soul, I clicked on that site – loved it. Had no idea who Molly Ivins was so Googled her Wikipedia listing; the copied and pasted line below makes me regret missing out on her journalism career:) She was someone I would love to have known – or been able to follow her writings.

    “Ivins wrote for the Dallas Times Herald for ten years, although by 1985 the editors had moved her to the paper’s Austin bureau to reduce friction with Dallas city leaders.”

  12. Some folks get a little extreme when talking about the “freedom” to engage in some behavior. At the extreme end, are those who insist that anyone should have the right to commit suicide anytime they want. Getting practical and talking about specific situations, however, things get muddy. What about the Delta airlines flight crew that decides, mid-flight, it’s time to commit suicide? Suddenly, people back off on that “right” and begin to talk sense. In the same vein, I insist that it’s my right to carry a gun and use it as I please, but hardly know which end the bullets come through (allowed in our great state) and I have never even shot my brand new .45, but insist that I’m the Lone Ranger when I mosey into my local grocery. Time to get real about some of this stuff.

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