Guns: Let’s Look at Some Numbers

Guns: Let’s Look at Some Numbers


I had a nice weekend. The weather was lovely here and you can see in this post two photos I took in the last couple days; the light was particularly beautiful and cast some remarkably blue shadows. But some numbers I read cast a blue shadow of another kind.

An article by UpWorthy confirmed Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s statistics when he articulated three facts I think need to be heard. I cut them directly off of his original post for you to ponder below.

(I had planned to share these this morning, before I even knew President Obama was to address the nation last night about the recent shootings in California. So I’ll just add that I appreciated his comments very much, especially since our next door neighbors are Muslims.)

Here are Neil Degrasse Tyson’s three concise sets of paired facts:

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I am not claiming I know the answer to this horrible state of affairs, and I do not want to debate solutions here. But can we stop acting like we don’t have a problem? Can “both sides” agree to that as a first step, please?


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  1. ChristineMM 8 years ago

    This weekend I did some research on gun violence statistics and I found a lot of misleading information. Some gun violence statistics are intentional lies. Quick example: the federal government defines a mass shooting as 4 people hit by a bullet. Some websites are claiming one person hit by a bullet is a mass shooting. Wrong!

    Also it is not 4 dead by a bullet is 4 hit by bullet (injured) if you have 40 people hit by a bullet and one death some websites are reporting it as 41 gun deaths which is a lie .

    Anyway regarding San Bernardino there were bombs on site. Which were defused before they exploded. The media teports the couple also had a bomb making operation in their garage that had many visitors working through the middle of the night. Only discussing the guns is only telling part of the story.

    The police also stopped the couple before they went on to the rest of their plans for the day to do more violence with guns and bombs. Why is no one discussing the bombs?

    They reported the bombs were made with materials that anyone of us can purchase in a store such as A hardware store or Walmart. The directions for bomb making our free online. Damage can be done with legally obtained materials even if using a bomb is illegal. Laws do not always save lives.

    The San Bernardino terrorism incident was done in a gun free zone. Guns were already illegal there that law did not stop the terrorism incident. Why do you and other people keep talking about laws as if that can stop the criminal use of guns to commit violent and murderous acts?

    Suicide is illegal in the United States of America and yet suicide happens every day with a gun or other methods. Laws do not stop suicide.

    Last night President Obama said we should have a (new) law to make assault weapons illegal. They are already illegal since 1994 per a federal law. Why is this being lied about–to insinuate that assault weapons are legal right now? Also illegal due to that 1994 law are certain high numbers of ammunition rounds which others in the media are calling to be made illegal. They are already illegal!

    I was hoping that you were going to blog about the neighbor who watched the suspicious activity of middle of the night visitors to the garage with the lights on. She says she was afraid to report this to anyone lest she be accused of being racist or politically incorrect. We are told if we see something suspicious we should Report it to the police. The neighbor did not do it. Her choice caused the death of these people. I would like to hear your thoughts about that topic of the fear of judgment by our fellow citizens.

    Are people (like you) avoiding discussing radical Islamic terrorism and jihad because it is a complex topic or one that they do not understand?

    • Author
      Polly Castor 8 years ago

      I am not an expert on jihad nor gun control. I know both are complicated topics and misinformation is rampant. These statistics I share here have been carefully vetted and I am just asking readers to consider them objectively and ask themselves if that is okay. And because the numbers include suicide does not indicate to me we have less of a problem that needs to be addressed from every angle. I am speaking here more about our culture than either laws or fundamental extremism. How to change a culture is no simple matter, but I feel it must start with a unified understanding that it is needed. That is what I am trying to encourage with this simple post.

  2. Joe Herring 8 years ago

    Polly, I stand with you. I think there’s something fishy about an argument that says: laws can’t solve the entire
    problem ,therefore we don’t need any new laws. For good reason, we as a people speak reverently about our
    Constitution. But the Constitution was made for citizens, not citizens for the Constitution. In a mood of solemn
    paranoia, we have been absolutizing the 2nd Amendment. There are qualifications to every one of the Amendments.
    That’s the essence of Constitutional Law. At the very least we need a functional Congress. I hope it’s realistic
    to think that the great majority of gun owners are capable of disenthralling themselves from the NRA, and
    leading us all in changing a culture. Joe

    • Author
      Polly Castor 8 years ago

      Thank you. Just as people applaud Muslims who take practical steps against jihad, we would appreciate gun owners helping make sure these numbers neither repeat themselves nor escalate. Excuses and defensive behavior change nothing. We do need hope!

  3. Mary Jo Beebe 8 years ago

    Can any serious person look at the numbers you’ve provided, be aware of the horror that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary, the mass shooting of a Bible Study group in a Charleston Baptist Church, this latest mass shooting of 14 people murdered and 21 wounded at a San Bernardino holiday party, and all the other mass shootings this year and other years and not determine the United States has a problem? Surely we can agree we have a very, very serious problem.

    I’ve lived in the United States for decades–so I’m very aware of a culture that was free of the focus on the necessity to have an arsenal of guns in your home. People bought them for various reasons–hunting, target practice–but didn’t feel it necessary to carry them around for “protection,” except for reasons of survival in the wild or in rural districts to protect their livestock or their property and family in cases where there was no police force.

    And we certainly didn’t think citizens needed to purchase military weaponry with the sole purpose of killing people efficiently!!

    We were not engulfed with the fear of terrorist acts. Yes, people shot other people. Criminals shot people for various reasons. However, ordinary people didn’t purchase military weaponry and plot shooting as many innocent people or children as they could with assault rifles for whatever insane reasons.

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