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Op Ed

The Seattle Times - Video-game industry not to blame for gun violence.
Just like any other form of entertainment, there are a vast number of video-game choices. Donít throw the whole industry under the bus because of a few games that happen to be violent. And even with those games, there is no proof that violent video games lead to violent acts.

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115. Re: Op Ed Mar 20, 2013, 23:40 Beamer
Prez wrote on Mar 20, 2013, 22:52:
Sarcasm and pointless stat-posting aside, I view it as strictly a public good vs. individual liberties thing. Numbers and stats in issues like this can be made to dance a jig, and the same set of data can be deftly skewed to support either side with a little clever spinning. Thus, I tend to ignore numbers. Personally, I honestly don't care if banning guns in a city would seem to have the effect of lowering crime overall in that city. What concerns me most is if such a move would make me and my family safer. Call me self-centered, but lower overall crime rates is no consolation if the removal of my ability to defend myself cause myself or my family to be made victims when one of the criminals who happily ignore such rules crosses paths with me. As a side note, driving a nice car and working nights by myself in a high crime area of a high crime city makes me a prime target for violent crime, so it's not like I'm just sitting in fear in my nice house in suburbia fearing a random home invasion.

With that in mind, while the answer to Chicago's extremely high violent crime rate is obviously not so easily solved as allowing unrestricted ownership, I am more concerned that, regardless of what is fueling it or what long-term solutions may ultimately bring it under control, in the short term the high violent crime rate, extreme level of illegal gun ownership, and the lack of the ability to defend oneself from an armed attacker/attackers makes for a very dangerous mix and renders Chicago a scary, dangerous place to be avoided at all costs to my mind.

Another reason numbers aren't useful is because of what they don't show. For example, it's very easy to find numbers showing how many accidental shootings and suicides happen in the US because gun ownership is so prevalent since something bad actually happened. Meanwhile, the American Rifle Association estimates that in around 95% of cases where a firearm was used to protect oneself or others, the weapon was never fired. How can something of that nature, where a crisis situation was defused peacefully, be even close to accurately tracked? I myself witnessed this exact occurrence in a Memphis, TN Schnucks parking lot in 2006, where a crazed knife-wielding assailant chased a woman out of the store but was subdued before he could stab her by an arm citizen pointing his gun at him an ordering him to drop the knife and get on the ground (Incidentally this was the catalyst for me getting my permit to carry and I've done so ever since). Aside from a brief story on the news, the case was forgotten. I've read countless similar accounts from around the US. It's hard for me to consider numbers that leave out at least half of the story when trying to make heads or tales of an issue.

In the end, while it won't endear me to any of the extreme anti-gun control lobbies in America (or my ultra-conservative wife and father-in-law for that matter), I have to say that this proud gun owner and carrier was on board with almost all of the initiatives concerning new gun regulation highlighted by VP Biden following the Newton CT shootings. Regardless of who you are, who in their right minds could be against universal background checks to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of spouse abusers, felons, and the mentally ill? Who could honestly be against closing the obvious loopholes such people routinely use at the many gun shows around the country every year, or stiffer penalties for people who acquire weapons for those who fail the checks for whatever reason? The 'slippery slope' argument doesn't apply here - these are obvious and overdue regualtions that may end up preventing another mentally unstable monster like Holmes or Adam Lanza getting a hold of weapons that they have no business touching. I think the term "pick your battles" applies well here - this particular war is one conservatives shouldn't wage.

Nice post. I tried to post the numbers to pretty much prove they aren't useful.
Except it revealed Hawaii. I imagine it's very difficult to get guns in Hawaii. Makes sense, I mean, it's difficult to get anything not made in Hawaii in Hawaii. I should see if I could find per capita gun ownership there. Of course, it's not wholly meaningful, numbers may not "lie" but they don't tell the whole story. Maybe surfing makes people less likely to shoot. Who knows?

But the rabid anti-gun-control people constantly ignore that we've been down this road. We made automatic rifles very hard to get and tracked them. And, as a result, automatic rifle crime dropped dramatically. We then flat-out banned any automatic rifles not grandfathered in. Automatic rifle crime dropped again.

No one wants to take all the guns. People want to take the most deadly guns. No one thinks this will magically stop gun crime. But there's hope it will reduce gun fetishes, of which our society is certainly fond of, and make the leap from "I want to inflict damage" to "hey, the smart way to do that is with a gun!" less common.
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