We should study gun violence


From: Bruce Montplaisir

It kind of bothers me that there have been more people killed by guns in this country since 1968 than have been killed in all the wars we have been involved in since the French and Indian War back in the 1750s. It is not that I am antigun; I’ve had and used guns all my life.

My dad had an old .22 that he used for executing the cull cow that was going to become dinner fare for the family of 12 kids plus our parents. We used to sell all the fat steers to those city people because they paid more for them. We also used to pound the cull cow steaks with a regular claw hammer until you could see through them. That is, until one day when we didn’t have a suitable cull cow and the freezer was empty. Reluctantly my dad had us butcher a fat steer for our own table. After that we never ate another cull cow.

As a boy I used that same old .22 to hunt gophers, rats and birds. When I squeezed the trigger a gopher, rat or bird dropped. It really spoiled the cowboy shows for me. It didn’t make any sense that those quick-draw sharp shooters couldn’t hit the other guy with a single shot, especially when they were shooting from a position braced against a rock or a tree. Getting an expert marksman badge in the Army was routine shooting for most of the guys in our family.

Recently one of my brothers in law told me there wasn’t any difference between a .22 and an AR-15. I’m no gun expert but I understand the AR-15 is modeled after the M-16. My guess is that anyone who has retrieved a game animal shot by a .22 and retrieved a body shot by an M-16 can tell you they aren’t the same. The animal shot with the .22 will have a hole in it, maybe a hole that goes all the way through. When you retrieve the body shot by the M-16 there is a hole in the front but often the body is a lot lighter than you expect because a large part of it is left lying on the ground. A coroner that does a lot of forensics on bullet wounds could tell if that is consistent with his findings. I suspect your chances of surviving a wound from a .22 are a lot greater than your chances if shot by an AR-15.

Another thing, when we hunted snow geese in North Dakota we had to have a plug in our gun so it would only fire three shots. I don’t know how many shots are in each clip of an AR-15 or how many clips you are allowed to have in your possession when hunting the game the gun is designed to kill, but it seems like a lot.

It is interesting to see who steps up in a firefight, and who folds. Most people do fight. If a man lived for 30 days he probably learned to be scared/cautious enough to survive to go home in the passenger section of the airplane.

There are Congressmen who say they just don’t know enough about the gun issues to make good decisions. That is probably true because of the Dickey Amendment of 1996 that is used to keep any study related to gun violence from being funded by the Centers for Disease Control.

A couple decades ago we had a state senator who wanted the student transportation formula so complicated nobody could understand it. That formula used thousands of pieces of data from every school district in the state to figure out the money to be allocated to each district. The formula used a multivariable stepwise backward regression analysis and only the state had a computer large enough to run the program. As the program narrowed those thousands of pieces of data down to half a dozen that actually determined how much transportation funding each district got most superintendents didn’t need to understand the formula. It was the same half dozen pieces of data in every district every year.

Collect enough gun data and analyze it right and answers start popping out. There are people who want to tell us what the answers are without actually collecting and analyzing the data. The NRA would probably support any solution that calls for more guns sales.

There are people who want us to believe taking a realistic look at the data relative to gun deaths will lead to the confiscation of 300 million privately-owned guns. These are the same people who say felons should not be allowed to have guns but don’t want the sale of guns at gun shows or between private individuals recorded even though that is a pretty simple way for a felon or a person guilty of domestic abuse to purchase a gun.

It would not surprise me to find that a comprehensive study of gun deaths will show that everyone has some good ideas and everyone has some bad ideas and that a reasonable path forward for a situation that varies from community to community across our land is possible.

By the way, if you like your chances with the lottery keep in mind that if you live in the United States you have a 1 in 315 chance of dying from gun violence.


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