The Media vs The Second Amendment | Let’s Put Gun Violence Into Perspective

If we listen to the major media outlets in the United States, we are led down a winding road of sensationalized news, manipulation and wrong thinking. The Second Amendment is considered outdated hogwash and law abiding gun owners are considered unthinking Neanderthals, who are willing to let everyone else in the country be shot and killed to save their selfish desire to own a firearm. But there is a larger context here that we are missing. Are we all being brainwashed to believe agenda of whatever news outlet we are listening to? Or can we still consider facts outside of news bytes and sound clips?

Background of Gun Owners Rights in the United States

The Second Amendment of the Constitution and, specifically, gun owners rights have been a hot topic in the news since the tragic and senseless school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut December 2012.

The Second Amendment was adopted into the Constitution of the United States of America, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, on December 15, 1791. The significance and importance of the right to bear arms was fully realized by the citizens of the new nation who still remembered the tyranny of the monarchies they had left behind and the abuse they suffered at their hands. At that time there was no standing military, in part due to public opposition and in part due to lack of funds. Citizens considered it a civic duty to participate in the militia and the duty was usually voluntary and unpaid.

The Wikipedia article on the Second Amendment lists the following as reasons the citizens wanted to have the right to own their own guns:

  • deterring tyrannical government;
  • repelling invasion;
  • suppressing insurrection;
  • facilitating a natural right of self-defense;
  • participating in law enforcement;
  • enabling the people to organize a militia system.

All very valid points and worthy of consideration.

 

 The Changing Attitude About Gun Ownership In The United States

These days the public discourse has changed. We live in relative safety compared to the early settlers. There have been no foreign invasions by other nations in recent memory, unless you count the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, which wasn’t perpetrated by a foreign government, but by a faction of terrorist extremists. Likewise there have been no obvious, national attempts to take guns from the public. The only regional example in recent history would be hurricane Katrina where the national guard burst into law abiding citizens homes, took their guns and left, often while attacking or beating them (presumably for having a gun in their home to begin with).

Most Preventable Deaths That happen Each Year Have Nothing To Do With Firearms

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 32,885 people died in traffic crashes in 2010 in the United States, including an estimated 10,228 people who died in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths. Although, obviously, driving while intoxicated is a crime in all states, the incidence of it causing death is still much more significant than is homicide in the United States, let alone homicide by gun. Yet there is no public outcry in the United States for the restriction of the manufacture or sale of any automobile anywhere in the world.

The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM)  study of preventable medical errors estimated as many as 98,000 people die every year at a cost of $29 billion. If the Centers for Disease Control were to include preventable medical errors as a category, these conclusions would make it the sixth leading cause of death in America. Yet, no one rushes to outlaw Doctors, surgery or medications.

In fact, for the past several decades, the big pharmaceutical companies have repeatedly manipulated and finessed research so they could release medications by prescription,  knowing that they were far less safe than their research reported.

Prescription drugs taken as prescribed in hospitals are the fourth leading cause of death in the US and Canada, after cancer, heart disease and strokes. They cause about 106,000 deaths a year and over two million serious injuries in the US. One out of four admissions to internal medicine in Canadian hospitals is related to prescription drugs, of which 70% are preventable.  And yet there is no public outcry to shut down the manufacture and sale of these deadly drugs that are legal and prescribed by doctors.

Table 1: Estimated Annual Mortality and Economic Cost of Medical Intervention
Condition Deaths Cost Author
Adverse Drug Reactions 106,000 $12 billion Lazarou, Suh
Medical error 98,000 $2 billion IOM
Bedsores 115,000 $55 billion Xakellis, Barczak
Infection 88,000 $5 billion Weinstein, MMWR
Malnutrition 108,800 ———– Nurses Coalition
Outpatients 199,000 $77 billion Starfield, Weingart
Unnecessary Procedures 37,136 $122 billion HCUP
Surgery-Related 32,000 $9 billion AHRQ
Total 783,936 $282 billion

 

As you can see, this estimated 783,936 medical related deaths dwarfs the estimated 9,484 gun related homicides in 2008 and 9203 gun related homicides in 2009. But the sensationalizing by the media, the public hyper-awareness, and the horrific and unnecessary nature of these crimes, leads people to conclude that these very few and very random acts of violence are prevalent and are a very dangerous threat to all citizens and children everywhere.

When Citizens Have Rights Taken Away They Needlessly Suffer

The Daily Unconstitutional brings to you many reports of unnecessary, gross and brutal incidence of violence that police and law enforcement officers have intentionally inflicted on law abiding citizens. Is it reasonable to allow law enforcement officers to beat and brutalize citizens? If they have committed a crime, is it not reasonable to expect that a reasonable protocol be followed?

Consider, for instance, the wrong-door invasion of police in Detroit who showed up in a tank with SWAT gear on and invaded the wrong home, but continued ransacking it even after they realized it was the wrong home. After shooting the family dog and handcuffing children and adults alike to the tank next to their dead pet, they realized their mistake but continued to rifle through their home.

Put Gun Violence Into Perspective Instead of Making Ineffective Laws

Consider the case of Robert Leone, who, after committing no crime, did not pull over when the police officer following him turned on his lights. For this he was beaten severely by several different officers and taken to the hospital with the warning not to tell the medical staff that he had been beaten. But he did, so he was removed from the hospital and beaten again, then subsequently returned to the hospital. This scenario repeated itself three times, and he now has physical issues that don’t respond to treatment due to the brutal beating he received at the hands of the law enforcement officers that are sworn to protect the public. 

Should the populace of the United States of America, in which citizens purportedly live with more freedom and rights than anywhere else in the world, have their rights trampled on and their protection stripped from them because of mass hysteria flamed by the media and politicians?

Should the government agencies that are supposed to be by us and for us take our rights from us while they keep theirs? After all, it is highly unlikely that the President, law enforcement or any other government entity would not be protected by guns, either by carrying them themselves or by others carrying them. this is not

Let’s Place Responsibility Where It Really Lies

Those who perpetrate evil acts are the only people responsible for those evil acts. It is no only misplaced onto the wrong people, but also onto inanimate objects. Should we all be victimized because of the few who seek to harm innocent victims in our society? Or should we change our social expectations from the false notion that we are currently handling crime effectively and taking appropriate action to deter and punish criminal behavior? Perhaps we should wisely reevaluate the current, ineffective steps that are being taken in an attempt to control and  isolate crime and criminals from the general population rather than just confusing the issue with superfluousness and inconsistently enforced laws.

Would we not be far better off to more strictly regulate murderous behavior and less strictly regulate the tools that a criminal might use in that behavior? Doesn’t each tool have a possible good alternative use? Currently, many law enforcement officials carry guns to protect themselves and the public from criminal behavior. Although many people do not realize it, there are literally still many people in the United States who depend on guns to kill game and thereby feed their families. Many people who do not earn enough money from their meager wages to go to the grocery store and purchase all of the food they need, will be deprived of food we were to ban guns in this nation.  Would we not be depriving them and their children of food? During the 2008 economic collapse, many people in rural and economically depressed areas needed to depend on these tools like never before in their lives. Is it not wrong headed to think that they should not be allowed to provide for themselves.

Let’s not go down a path of wrong thinking from, public hysteria, to misplacing responsibility, to punishing all of society for the actions of a few when we have much bigger foes to face in society. The backwardness of the criminal justice system and the deliberate negligence of the medical and pharmaceutical industries to name only a  few.

 

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