Saturday, December 15, 2012

If not now, when? And if not gun control, then what?

Once again, the world is reeling in the aftermath of a horrific, senseless shooting spree. While it never gets easier (and I pray we never become inured to such things), this time is even harder than usual: 20 young children dead. Little children.

How will their parents survive?

Immediately, the social networks were abuzz. I read three messages, in various forms:

  • We need to do something about gun control.
  • Gun control is not the answer; I want to be armed when the bad guys come for me.
  • Now is not the time to address the politics/laws. 
One picture was posted and re-posted by those who favoured greater control over guns.

While the print is too small for me to read where those numbers came from or how recent they are, it was immediately clear to me that the raw numbers misrepresent the statistics and therefore undermine the rhetoric. 

Percentage of population is a better metric, as it acknowledges the vast population of the United States, compared to other countries. 

In fact, this Wikipedia page (which includes citations) gives different statistics. 
Death rates per 100,000 population
Source: Wikipedia
So Canada is not so noble or safe as we might believe. A closer look at the Canadian statistics shows some horrifically high rates in some of our provinces and territories.
Source: RCMP
Why isn't someone looking at the causes and cures for this?

Still, I ask my American friends and family, doesn't it make sense to do SOMETHING about these massacres? Wouldn't it be great to cut the number of fatalities in half? If not gun control, then what?

And if not now, in the heat of the heartbreak, then when?

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