by Nicholas T. Loux, Ph.D. (retired)
Scarcely a day goes by when you don’t see national news detailing an ugly incident involving firearms. These stories lead uninformed citizens to think we are experiencing a national pandemic of homicides and mass murders. Worse yet, this “news” is then used by demagogues whose ultimate goal is to nullify the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Examining mortality data in the U.S. provides accurate perspective on the risks we actually face. Little of it, if any, is associated with our rights under the Second Amendment.
There were a total of 2,813,503 deaths in the U.S. in 2017. The vast majority of these were due to disease and not preventable with current medical science. More relevant to our discussion is preventable deaths. Rational U.S. policies should focus on minimizing preventable deaths.
The data shows the third leading cause of mortality that year due to accidents. Strikingly, the U.S. Center for Disease Control does not tabulate mortality due to medical mistakes. Observations from three related studies estimate U.S. deaths due to medical mistakes as a minimum of 250,000 per year and these being the third leading cause of U.S. mortality. This statistic reinforces the admonition that you should be accompanied by a “Champion” if you are seeking treatment for a serious medical condition. You are less likely to be the victim of a medical mistake if you have someone else monitoring your treatment schedule. From the table, it can be deduced that minimizing preventable deaths from medical mistakes, accidents, overdoses and suicides could reduce U.S. mortality by up to (or more than) 500,000 deaths per year.
If the media was concerned about public safety, this, and not crime, would be on the front page constantly.
Further examination of data shows the misleading but fairly common practice of adding together deaths by murder and suicide. When you add these two figures together, you can arrive at an estimate of more than 50,000 firearm-related deaths per year. It is absolutely clear that an unfortunate situation where someone decides to end their own life is a far different situation than from someone who dies in an attempted rape, mugging, robbery or home invasion.
A cynic might conclude that these figures are added together primarily for political purposes. However, further analysis for 2017 shows roughly 1/3 of these murders were committed with knives, blunt objects, fists, feet, fire, poison, etc. Based on the Total Firearms Murder data, you are approximately 23 times more likely to die from a medical mistake than from a firearm in a given year. Similarly, you are approximately 15 times more likely to die from an accident, approximately 6.5 times more likely to die from an overdose, and approximately 4.3 times more likely to die from suicide.
Accidents, overdoses and suicides are to some extent currently being addressed in our country. Preventable deaths due to medical mistakes constitute the elephant in the room and are not currently either widely known or addressed. It would be wise to insist that our legislators require statistics of this nature be compiled by government agencies involved with mortality data. The CDC, banned from doing so called “gun-control” research, has been negligent in this respect, where your chance of death is 23 times
greater than their preferred focal point.
And while virtually all media stories concerning firearms are ugly and concern crime, few if any describe the benefits associated with citizen firearm ownership. Depending on the source, estimates of
the annual rate of firearms being used for positive, defensive purposes range from 76,000 (federal National Crime Victimization Survey) 250,000 per year (IOM/CDC), to 2,000,000 per year (NRA) to 2,500,000 per year (Kleck/Kates).
For every firearm-related murder, between 25 to 250 potential
victims of crime are spared from victimhood. Where is that in unbiased “news” media?
Given that you are 49 times more likely to die from alternative preventable causes rather than from being murdered, why are so many people in our country primarily focused on eliminating our
Second Amendment rights? Allen West in 2014 led me to understand the manipulative practices of modern “progressives” and their efforts to subject citizens to government control in general and to disarm Americans in particular.
According to Colonel West, two major political philosophies existed when the Constitution was humans unless they are seriously mentally ill. The fault lies solely with the person, not the objects.
Many of the people that blame inanimate objects ironically may not believe human beings possess moral agency. They believe humans lack the capacity to know what is right or wrong, or to control themselves. These people project their fears, and their own internal disturbances, onto those around them.
They substitute the idea of human moral agency with an alternative explanation of reality. They rationalize the violent offender’s behavior on bad environment. They’ll blame poor parenting, a lack of
parents, poverty, racism, television, mass media’s influence, even computer games—anything but the written. One, adopted by the Founders, held that citizens were preeminent and government ruled
with their consent. An alternative concept held that citizens cannot be trusted to govern themselves and must be kept in line by a strong, controlling government.
The modern progressive movement is a recent incarnation of the state-control philosophy. This accounts for progressive efforts to put government in control of medicine, industry, and gun power. It also explains current efforts to weaken the Constitution and to increase the political activists in the judiciary. The Second Amendment assists citizens in maintaining self-reliance, family
safety and in resisting an overreaching government.
One recent poll found the average citizen’s greatest fear was becoming a target of a corrupt government official. My decades at a government facility lead me to agree with this position.
Dr. Loux earned his Ph.D. in Water Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and spent 24 years as a Research Chemist in the Office of Research and Development of the Environmental Protection Agency. He is passionate about the Second Amendment and seeks to preserve its longevity.
Dr. Loux provided extensive footnotes,
references and charts to back up his
claims, omitted here for space. If you want this
data, contact JPFO.org