Debate Magazine

The Human Cost of Gun Violence

Posted on the 28 September 2012 by Mikeb302000
op-ed in the New York Times
Every day 80 Americans die from gunshots and an additional 120 are wounded, according to a 2006 article in The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Those 80 Americans left their homes in the morning and went to work, or to school, or to a movie, or for a walk in their own neighborhood, and never returned. Whether they were dead on arrival or died later on in the hospital, 80 people’s normal day ended on a slab in the morgue, and there’s nothing any of us can do to get those people back.
Gun advocates say that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The truth, though, is that people with guns kill people, often very efficiently, as we saw so clearly and so often this summer. And while there can be no argument that the right to bear arms is written into the Constitution, we cannot keep pretending that this right is somehow without limit, even as we place reasonable limits on arguably more valuable rights like the freedom of speech and due process.
So I have a request for proponents of unlimited access to guns. Spend some time in a trauma center and see the victims of gun violence — the lucky survivors — as they come in bloody and terrified. Understand that our country’s blind embrace of gun rights made this violent tableau possible, and that it’s playing out each day in hospitals and morgues all over the country.
I know the gun-rights fanatics will immediately point out that among the 80 a day, half are suicides. They always say this as if it makes a difference to our gun availability argument. It doesn't.
This well written article about the cost of gun violence is just the tip of the iceberg. There are the traumatized onlookers, the orphaned children and the bereaved parents.  There's all the lost potential of whatever good these 80 people a day might have done in their lives.  You can't add it all up.
And you know what the gun rights crowd says?  "Don't inconvenience me even a little.  I won't stand for it."
What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

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