Yesterday, two incidents a world apart happened. Both happened at schools. Both involved a deranged individual bent on destroying very young, innocent lives. The number of students involved were nearly identical. One incident in China, the other in the United States. In China, 22 children injured, 9 seriously but no one died. In the United States, 21 children injured, 20 of them died. The difference here. the destructive power of a Machete verses a gun. The disparity here is only part of the picture here. People kill people and usually by the hand of another person. That has been true since the dawn of Man and will never change. We are animals, violent ones. Our intelligence only allows us to invent new and imaginative ways to kill one another so making it easy to kill on a large scale basis is not necessary.
In 2010, another attack at a school in China left 20 people dead, over 50 wounded. (apparently the article referenced is incorrect. other reports states 20 children injured resulting in 3 deaths) This prompted China to post security guards at school. This fact undoubtedly contributed to the prevention of deaths during yesterday's attack. Here in the US, there has been 31? (a lot of stories have been written with several numbers reported...) school shootings starting with Columbine in 1999 that has led to increased security which has to be graded as ineffective at best.
Carelessness is also an undeniable trait we Humans possess which means accidental deaths far outnumber all other causes. Unlike a person's intent to do harm, accidents can be prevented or reduced. What really amazes me is the lengths we go thru to prevent one type of accident but ignore other types.
Last year, over 32,000 people died on our nations highways. Although 32,000 deaths is hardly anything to be proud of, the last time the numbers were that low was 1949. Despite having 4X more drivers, driving 5X more miles, we have still improved and have done so several different ways. This year we will challenge getting below one death per 100 million passenger miles traveled. In 1949 the rate was over 6 deaths.
In the early 2000's, 84% of single car accidents that involved a fatality was a roll over accidents with SUVs claiming the large majority. They were top heavy, popular and easy to mishandle. It was a problem. Vehicle stability control (VSC in a Prius but known by several other similar names) was added to nearly all SUVs resulting in regular passenger cars (most of which not equipped with the VSC) taking the lead in rollover deaths. The effectiveness of VSC probably means it will be the next thing required on all cars certified for use on the highways. Luckily, many manufacturers have taken the initiative to add that to several models.
Every week, 50 children are backed over 70% of the time by a close family member resulting in over 100 deaths annually. The typical age of these children are 12-23 months. Back up cameras, once only seen in high end or "techy" cars will become much more commonplace and more lives will be saved.
The list goes on and on. Accidents happen, we determine why and we take (usually very expensive) steps to prevent them. When it comes to children, we spare no expense, but...
How would you react if you lived in an area where 2-10 children died every year going to or from school? Is this not an accident that can be prevented? In WA, it is prevented thru 20 mph school zones, traffic cameras and huge fines. WA averages a single death of a child in a school zone every other year. The entire state averages 10-15 pedestrian deaths of children 14 and under with more than half those deaths attributed to back overs. A great statistic? ya maybe but still something the state is currently working on to continuously reduce that number and why?? because its our children right?
I live in an area where 2-10 children either kill another child or themselves with their parents gun EVERY year. How would you feel if your 3 year old Son shot your 7 year old daughter with your gun?
How do you start a conversation with your daughter who just witnessed a 3 year old boy shooting himself?
How much will it cost a school district where an 8 year old girl was shot when the backpack of a nine year old containing a gun accidentally discharged when it hit the floor?
These incidents all happened within ONE WEEK in March of 2012. In most states, there is no requirement for training in the handling or the safe storage of guns. 1.7 million children in the US today have access to unsecured firearms. When is the last time we took real steps creating real penalties and accountability for the estimated 250 million firearms in the United States?
People will kill people. That is our nature and nothing will change that. One way or another, we will find a way to kill, but what about accidents? Every year, 500 children die in gun accidents. That is 5X more than back over incidents. So lets forget about that and concentrate on what we can prevent.
Things to consider; Requiring every gun owner to carry a license that must be renewed on an ongoing basis.
Require all weapons to be sold with trigger locks
Require all gun owners to attend regular safety classes where submitting a "secure gun storage" plan would be required.
We will never be able to take guns out of the hands of the citizenry due to the Bill of Rights but one thing we cannot lose sight of is that their are no "rights." These are privileges that are earned and can be lost if that "right" is abused.
Some further statistics sent to me. I cant help but feel that if the public were more aware of these statistics that more would be done BY THE PUBLIC before lawmakers had a chance to legislate anything.
Between 2006 and 2010, 561 children age 12 and under were killed by firearms, according to the FBI’s most recent Uniform Crime Reports. The numbers each year are consistent: 120 in 2006; 115 in 2007; 116 in 2008, 114 in 2009 and 96 in 2010. The FBI’s count does not include gun-related child deaths that authorities have ruled accidental.So about 100 or so children under age 12 are murdered by guns and tracked by the FBI but the stat that says more than the 5 year period referenced above are killed in accidents every year seems to get less attention?
Can these accidents be reduced? The appalling number of children THREE YEARS OLD or younger involved should be clue enough.
A Springville, Utah, police officer had a non-service gun in his home that officials said did not have external safeties. His 2-year-old son found the gun and shot himself on Sept. 11.
Yet there was no gunman on the loose when Julio Segura-McIntosh died in Tacoma, Wash. The 3-year-old accidentally shot himself in the head while playing with a gun he found inside a car.Why are so many babies having access to loaded firearms? Most of the country has heard of the plight of the Carlisle family referenced above where their 3 year old shot and killed their 7 year old daughter.
It is apparent that gun owners are simply too lax. Mandatory annual licensing and classes should be required. Maybe constant reminders of what can happen will lessen the chances of very preventable tragedies like these from continuing to occur.