Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gun Violence - Vehicle Violence

I don't know how you feel about guns... and I realize it's a very divisive issue.

I know how I feel about guns. I grew up in a gun-totin' household and was enjoying plinking with .22s while my age was still in the single digits. My dad wasn't much of a hunter, but he loved guns. He became a life member of the NRA. I'm not much of a hunter, but I love guns... I became a life member of the NRA.  (The proximity of guns also led to familiarity with guns... at an early age I was aware of their great potential for destruction, and the importance of handling them with respect and caution.)

I have no problem with stable-minded, law-abiding citizens owning and using guns. (I would support enhanced background checks, and I would welcome some way for private citizens to make sure they're selling a gun to a good guy; right now it's essentially impossible to do so, unless the buyer is already well-known to you.)

Much is made of the thousands of gun-related deaths. And indeed, it's a horrible tragedy when a criminal and/or deranged individual victimizes innocents, using a gun. (I cried for the first time in several years, the night after that punk shot a bunch of first-graders in Newtown. That hit very close to home for me, since I have a beloved granchild living under my roof. Mackie is that same age.)

But if we're interested in honesty and objectivity... maybe when we're looking at gun violence, we should consider separately:
- Suicide by gun
- Gun violence associated with other criminal activity
- Accidental shootings

Any untimely death of a human being is tragic... but in my mind, it's particularly tragic when the decedent is an innocent victim. (And that can't be said of adults who deliberately commit suicide, or "gang bangers" who succumb to violence wrought by their turf or drug wars.)

The vast majority of guns that are owned and secured by law-abiding citizens are never used in a crime. And in fact, it could be argued that they deter crime - ask any criminal if he would rather victimize somebody who's armed, or unarmed.

It would be interesting to objectively compare the number of innocent bystanders who fall victim to stranger gun violence, with innocent bystanders who fall victim to stranger inattentiveness behind the wheel.

Here is an interesting website about distracted driving.

According to their numbers, 416,000 people are injured annually in crashes involving distracted drivers. And 3092 people were killed in crashes involving distracted driving in 2010.

Obviously many of those distracted drivers become victims themselves... but far too many of the victims are innocents, who just had the misfortune of being in the path of destruction.

Would you somehow feel better if your child was killed by somebody who's texting-while-driving, instead of a crazy/criminal with a gun? Perhaps we've become more comfortable than we should be, surrounded by irresponsible motorists.

(This is an ongoing pet peeve of mine. Probably because I regularly see people endangering others with their distracted driving! Someday if I'm killed or maimed by a distracted driver, this will be evidence that I was concerned about the problem, but felt powerless to stem the tide.)


Clancy Anderson said...

With the recent weather, drivers are getting worse, distracted or not. I actually reached out and touched a vehicle the other day as he passed me.

I have been videoing parts of my commute lately. Partly to figure out my camera but also to capture some close encounters.

Bikeboy said...

Clancy, I watched one of your videos that you posted on the YouTube. Interesting stuff.

I got an "action cam" awhile back, and have played around with it a little bit. I have some nice footage from my Coeur d'Alene adventure. Also have used it on a motorcycle adventure or two. So far, at least, I haven't done any shooting of the commutes, but now and then I wish I was.

It would be great to have some graphic evidence of aggressive anti-bicycle driving, gross inattentiveness, etc. A picture is worth a thousand words! (It would be REALLY nice to have two cameras - one facing rearward, the other forward.)