Did you know that guns are safe? Yup, that’s right…even though a bunch of politicians and media types would have everyone believing otherwise, don’t for a minute think that gun ownership is akin to being an irresponsible person. Quite the contrary. Truth is, not only has gun fatalities been dropping over the past several decades…but so, too, are the number of injuries occurring as a result of a firearm in the United States.
In fact, according to the National Safety Council it is actually far more dangerous to experience a fall, a poisoning, choking, drowning, dying from fire or being crushed by some mechanical means. For instance, in 2005 the death rate per 100,000 people for drowning was 1.2 people. For that same period accidental firearm fatalities occurred on 0.2 people/100,000 folks in the population. Put that in perspective, a person was five times more likely to suffer ill fate by a drowning than by perishing at the hands of a firearm.
Is there much outcry for closing down swimming pools or beaches due to their inherent nature of being dangerous? Nope. Yet, accidently use a gun out hunting and the media will have a heyday with the incident. Granted, when a hunting fatality occurs it is news and does need to be reported…but how does the typical news item read? Usually the implication of the article is constructed to foster a belief that hunting is such a dangerous and senseless sport. If only guns were not part of the equation or even better yet, part of life…this tragedy could have been avoided.
Perhaps I’ve said it before, but for the dozen or so years I worked ambulance responding to about 6,000 emergency calls I learned one thing about human nature. Simply put, accidents happen and will continue to happen with little regard for life. It doesn’t really matter if a gun is involved…quite honestly death will occur often in the strangest manners. Put people around anything with the potential for being a hazard and some folks will find a way to prove the item has deadly tendencies.
The very first emergency call I went on as a rookie will forever be a memorable one for me…a 16–year old child working under a truck doing mechanical repairs was crushed to death when the pick-up fell off the blocks. Of course the 12 year-old kid who was trying to steal pop out of a pop machine had no idea that when his buddies would shake the machine it might tip over due to the unsteady surface it rested on…and did you know a full pop machine can weigh upwards of 1/2 a ton? Yup, it killed the victim instantly just like some primitive dead-fall setup. Then what about the guy who tried to move a full-sized refrigerator down a basement stairway on an appliance cart all by himself. Sound foolish? Well, tell that to a grieving family who didn’t find the victim until several hours later…when it was too late because he was crushed.
The point I’m trying to make is accidents occur and it doesn’t really matter what piece of equipment happens to deliver the deadly blow. Guns have long been popular items to demonize because a segment of our population feels they have no legitimate function in life. Yet, the truth is hunting and guns account for a small percentage of deaths, especially when comparing the accident type to other causes of death. Simply check the facts. Of course, that truth is not convenient to report, and usually goes against what some folks would instead like to have you believe about guns.
As sportsmen, I think it’s important we know and understand the truth so as not to allow the media the opportunity to misconstrue the facts of some unfortunate incident without being challenged. The absolute truth is a participant is far more likely to get injured while cheerleading than by an accidental discharge of a firearm. Yet, cheerleading accidents must somehow be boring for the news to report. Gun accidents, on the other hand, can be sensationalized to the fullest…and in most cases they usually are.
2007 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission