My friend, Leonard Nolt, wrote a great response to the gun violence discussion on my wife Kathleen’s facebook wall the other day. I wanted to share his thoughts with a (slightly) larger audience.
These are several of his main points:
(1) Studies support the idea that contrary to the notion that we need guns in order to protect ourselves, “the very presence of a weapon incites violence.” When armed people face danger the first thing they think of is using their weapon. Yet we still insist that we must have the “right” to “protect” ourselves—even when such “protection” actually puts us in much more danger. “Having a gun to protect yourself is a lot like having a rattlesnake loose in your home. If an intruder knows the snake is there, he might think twice before breaking in, but the snake is still much more likely to kill or injure a family member, friend, or welcomed visitor.”
(2) Even though the common truism is repeated over and over, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” in actual reality guns do kill people. “I’ve worked in hospital emergency departments for over 40 years and I’ve seen numerous victims of guns—that is, children too young to be aware of the danger, playing with guns that went off, and that their grieving parents later insisted were unloaded and locked out of reach. I can count on less than half the fingers of one hand the number of times in 40 years I’ve had patients who were shot in self-defense by a gun owning civilian. Two to be exact.”
(3) Guns make suicide attempts way, way more like to succeed. “Only 5% of all suicide attempts are successful, but when firearms are used 55% of suicide attempts are successful. And those who survive a self-inflicted gunshot wound are often permanently disabled.”