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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Kids, Guns, Amish and Cars

Did you know that zero Amish children die as a result of their parents crashing the family car? On the other hand, hundreds and thousands of children in the rest of the country die in cars each and every year. Amazing. We should invest more tax dollars in studying this disturbing trend of Cars Killing Children.

Makes about as much sense as this 'research':

ATLANTA - About 1.7 million U.S. children live in homes that have loaded and unlocked guns, according to what is described as the first comprehensive survey of gun storage in homes across the country.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics, found that 2.5 percent of children live in homes with loaded and unsecured firearms. Estimates from the early 1990s had put the percentage at 10 percent. The new results suggest a decline, but that doesn't mean there's cause for celebration, said Catherine Okoro, a study author.

"That's still too many children to be put at risk," said Okoro, an epidemiologist with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There is a good deal of research out there on this topic. Basically it comes down to this: Children in homes with firearms are more likely to be injured or die by a firearm than are those who live in homes without firearms and children in homes with unlocked, loaded guns are at a higher risk still. Makes sense, right? After all, zero Amish die by drinking and then getting into a car...because they don't have cars.

The question I have is, who cares? Who cares whether kids with guns in their home are injured or die by the discharge of a firearm? Well, I do...but not in the way these 'researchers' do.

I think that, from what I've seen, the literature in this area is addressing the wrong question. The researchers are starting with an unfounded assumption that guns are bad, and so we should do everything to limit children's exposure to them. They're missing fully half the equation, however. The question is not only whether children are put at greater risk of being shot by the family gun (which isn't really even addressed in this research), but whether that (undeniable) risk outweighs potential (and largely unresearched) benefits of proximity to firearms.

Amish example. We could save hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of car-related deaths per generation if we all gave up cars. You and I know this is not going to happen because the benefits of fast and cheap transportation outweigh the guaranteed loss of life (the truth hurts, don't it). Similarly, it might appear that we could save a ton of lives (especially those of The ChildrenTM) if we outlawed guns.



Consider how many would die without automobiles. Right up front there is the kid having a soon-to-be-fatal allergic reaction to peanuts. No car...dead. Then there are all those who will die without medicine that is transported by automobile. And how about food? You get the picture.

Similarly, without guns in homes how many children will be killed by home invading scumbags in the middle of the night (or in the middle of the day, once criminals realize that the entire law-abiding country is unarmed)? That is the question that needs to be addressed.

To be fair, this is a very difficult question to address. The data are hard to compile and I would imagine that obtaining the necessary statistical power to allow a study to actually 'say' something would be quite difficult. Regardless, none of this is a valid excuse to carry out incomplete and inadequate research and tout it as though it were meaningful.

So, until you see studies addressing the right questions, don't be taken in by the media hype.


Links to the research (probably require subscription):
1) Study referenced in above article:
Prevalence of Household Firearms and Firearm-Storage Practices in the 50 States and the District of Columbia: Findings From the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2002
2) Comment on study in (1)
Storing Guns Safely in Homes With Children and Adolescents
3) Study on risk of firearm presence:
Gun Storage Practices and Risk of Youth Suicide and Unintentional Firearm Injuries


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