The following guest commentary comes to us by way of Douglas Cutler Jr.:
As we continue the process of healing after the tragedy in Newtown, it has become apparent that there are those in positions of leadership who will stop at nothing to pin the blame for this atrocity on people whose only crime is exercising their Constitutionally-recognized right to keep and bear arms.
Being a husband and a father to five children, I cannot begin to grasp the grief that the mothers and fathers of the fallen young ones must be enduring. Since Newtown, I’ve hugged our kids a little longer, a little tighter, and said, “I love you” a little bit more. I pray my wife and I never have to experience such heartbreak.
While I am mystified at the notion of someone killing children, I am equally bewildered that some people, including the media and “leaders” at all levels of government, turn to gun owners and accuse us of bearing responsibility for crimes like this. In the wake of these terrible yet very rare occasions when multiple people are murdered by someone wielding a semi-auto rifle, we hear that these firearms are too dangerous, too deadly for your average person to own and use.
The aftermath of Sandy Hook is no different.
Is it because of the body count? Let’s examine some data provided to us by official, respected sources.
According to the FBI’s website, fbi.gov, there were a total of 12,664 murders in 2011, the most recent year with complete statistics. Of that number, 8,583 were committed by criminals with firearms. Of those gun-related murders, a total of 323 people were murdered by someone using a rifle, any rifle, including semi-autos. Three hundred and twenty-three.
Also according to fbi.gov (actually, it’s on the very same graph), 496 people were murdered with hammers and clubs. Even more interesting is the number 726. That’s the number of people murdered with either hands or feet. Yes, hands and feet. More than twice as many people are murdered every year with hands and feet than are murdered by someone with a rifle.
I’m a person with hands and feet and I also own a hammer. In fact, being in the construction industry, I know lots of people with hammers and they carry them all the time on their person or in their vehicles. If semi-autos (a subset of rifles in general) are so deadly, why do twice as many people die from hammers? Why has no one ever suggested that hammers be controlled or limited in some way?
Moving on, the CDC website reports that an average of 3,533 people die every year by drowning. Another 347 die in boating accidents. Not only does this mean more people die every year while boating, but it shows that ten times as many people die by drowning than are murdered by rifle fire. Nobody ever calls for pools to be banned. No one cares if you own a pool, how big it is, or if you have a need for one. We never hear anyone say, “nobody needs anything more than a kiddie pool.” Yet the numbers don’t lie: ten times as many people drown than are killed by rifles.
We’re not done yet. MADD’s website claims that 9,878 people died at the hands of drunk drivers in 2011. That’s more than all of the gun-related murders put together and 30 times more than are killed with rifles. I could say that no one has ever called to ban alcohol, but as we all know that would be untrue. It was banned once and I think we know how that turned out.
It is telling that the raw data shows how incredibly rare it is in our country to be killed by someone using a rifle, any rifle at all, including semi-autos. If only boats, pools, and beer had such a record of safety.
None of those items are Constitutionally-protected, but the ownership of firearms most certainly is, and while we all should understand that the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with hunting and everything to do with being free and safe, our Connecticut Constitution is even more blunt:
“Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”
No deer. No clay pigeons. No target shooting. No ambiguity.
Even if the statistics we went over were all reversed and rifles accounted for more deaths than hammers, hands, feet, boats, pools, and alcohol, the simple fact remains that in a free society citizens have a right to protect themselves with firearms suitable for defense.
I don’t hunt, so telling me I can only have a hunting rifle does me no good.
As Americans, we have the birthright of freedom, paid for in blood many times over. Our founding fathers knew just how dangerous this world could be, so they made sure it was understood that every individual would have the opportunity to choose to be armed or not.
I’m sure if they heard that some people didn’t like guns their response would be, “Don’t buy one.”
Isn’t that what separates America from the rest of the world, the freedom to choose? After all, “the freedom to choose” is what gives us the mother of all body counts, 1.2 million abortion deaths per year and each and every one was perfectly legal.