Perhaps, in our public debate about guns, we should talk less about “control” and more about “management.” If we thought about gun violence as a health issue, the way we do about cigarettes and alcohol, we might find we can agree upon a treatment. Certainly caring for victims of gun violence in hospital emergency rooms raises medical premiums for everyone. That economic fact should provide an incentive for all of us.
Before we begin to solve any problem, however, it’s good to have data. Asking Congress to create sound policies begins with knowing something about the causes and trends surrounding the problem. Unfortunately, not much information exists about gun violence and there’s a reason why.
For a start, some agencies of government have been barred from collecting data. For example, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency is “not allowed to enter gun ownership information into computers.” (“What Does Gun Violence Have to Do with Science?” by Michael Halpern, Catalyst, Spring 2013 pg. 13.) Gun lobbyists have argued successfully against collecting it. They contend doing so would be an invasion of personal privacy.
Having little data means people can state their beliefs as facts and the debate will endlessly continue. In the meantime, between 1973-2012, 4 million cases of gun violence occurred without much review. In that same time period, 2,068 people were affected by cholera, diphtheria, polio and rabies in this country. That’s a paltry number compared to those subjected to gun violence. Yet, during those 39 years, these diseases warranted 486 studies. In the same time frame, the Institute funded 3 on gun violence. (Ibid pg. 13)
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty certain we’re not taking good aim at our gun problem. Maybe some folks don’t want us to.
(Courtesy of craftingtheeye.blogspot.com)