I find it particularly irritating when people make the argument, ‘X kills more people than guns, but no one tries to take X away from people.’ Invariably, those comparisons are completely ridiculous. Let’s visit a few examples of ‘X’ and see why.
It is a fact that more people are killed in automobile accidents than through gun violence, though the difference isn’t as great as you might think, especially considering the daily per capita use of cars versus the daily per capita use of guns. However, there are two important facts to consider. First, people need their cars to conduct their daily business. That just isn’t the case for guns, no matter how fond of them people are. Second, being well aware of the dangers posed by cars, we license and regulate both cars and drivers. We insist that car manufacturers continually increase safety features, both through regulation and through the free market. If you want to treat guns the same way, I would be all for it.
Swimming pools do take the lives of more children than guns do. Fair enough. However, swimming pools are also stationary objects that can be avoided. I have never once worried that someone would bring a swimming pool to my child’s school. Nor have I ever glanced suspiciously around a crowd to see if anyone was carrying a concealed swimming pool.
Yes, many people are killed by falls. Definitely exercise caution the next time you change the bulbs in your chandeliers. But rest assured, you are safe from people trying to force step ladders under your feet at the mall.
Yup, this is a huge problem that we should work to minimize. It’s not one I worry about when I’m at the movie theater though. The person next to me may be loud and obnoxious, but he’s not slipping insulin into my popcorn or trying to amputate the wrong limb.
Yes, I’ve actually heard a person make the ‘X kills more people than guns do!’ argument about cancer. Okay, you got me. Cancer does kill more people than guns. Is that supposed to mean that it’s not fair to ban guns if we’re not going to also ban cancer? Besides, doctors and scientists around the world are working day and night to cure, prevent and eliminate cancer. Are you suggesting we treat guns the same way? I’m still waiting to hear someone say, ‘instead of limiting guns, why don’t we ban old age!’
These items shouldn’t even be on this list because they kill no where near as many people as guns do, no matter what nonsensical rhetoric you hear. There have been at least two mass knifings since Newtown, and no one died in either of those cases. In contrast, there have been over five thousand gun deaths just since last December. If you can stomach checking it, Slate is keeping a running tally.