RANGER AGAINST WAR: Weapons Guide for the Perplexed <

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Weapons Guide for the Perplexed

_______________________________


Due to the spectacular shooting sprees over the last decade or so, much attention is being paid to deaths caused by firearms, but little attention is given to the much larger number of deaths which occur annually in vehicular homicides (In Sharp Reversal, Highway Deaths Rise):

Road deaths in the USA rose 5.3% last year to 34,080, the first year-over-year increase in traffic fatalities since 2005, according to preliminary estimates today from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The fatality rate — which is number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled — is projected to rise to 1.16 from 1.10. ... Crash fatalities were up for every quarter of 2012 compared with 2011, the NHTSA says.

The deaths caused by the 2,000 pound bullets known as "automobiles" are every bit as gruesome as those caused by guns, but we accept them as the cost of the privilege of living and driving in a free society. The majority of these deaths are caused by people misusing the "weapon" -- high on alcohol or drugs -- but still, we do not think of curtailing the right to drive beyond state licensing tests and drunk driving suspensions. 

The good liberals who wish to characterize gun owners as "nuts" call this comparison invalid, but both activities involve the possibility of non-consensual death at the hands of an out of control tool user. In both cases, the victims are often unaware of the act which will become an imminent threat to their life or well-being.  In both cases, astute licensure of the user and control over the form of the weapon could reduce deaths, yet we seem disinterested altering our driving habits. If reduction of the loss of life due to violence is the goal, why not focus on any weapon of mass destruction?

Some constructive suggestions to help reduce the number of traffic fatalities:


--Limit the horsepower of vehicles. In Europe cars do just fine at even higher speed limits than in the States at considerably lower average horsepowers (70-100 bhp compared to the U.S. which tends to 180-250.)

--Require all drivers to undergo Defensive Driving courses before they can get a drivers license.

--Disallow certain groups of mentally ill people from driving. Perhaps the same groups who would be disallowed firearms would also be disallowed driving licenses.

--Ban cell phones and texting while driving (duh?)

--Lower speed limits, which saves gas and lives

The aggression of a time-pressed society plays itself out in the phenomena of road rage, or worse, the mesmerized tailgating which is a part of daily-driving. People drive offensively to hopefully gain a few minutes in arrival time, risking their lives as well as mine. Both guns and cars are tools which can mete out death, whether intentional or due to inattention.

Why are traffic deaths accepted as the price of life in a free society while gun deaths are demonized? The damage wrought upon the individual is commensurate in either activity, and often just as indiscriminate.

Labels: , , , , ,

10 Comments:

Blogger FDChief said...

Because 1) Western industrial civilization is pretty much founded on the internal combustion engine and 2) humans are tremendously good at ignoring common household dangers while inflating spectacular and unusual ones.

The percapita losses to the U.S. public from firearms are probably several orders of magnitude below those of, say, U.S. infantry privates in WW2. Why didn't we do something about that? Well, the troops kinda needed those firearms to do their jobs.

On the other hand, outside a pretty damn small group no U.S. civilian needs a firearm to do their job. Firearms are a toy, a luxury, a security blanket, or a hobby. There's no particular reason not to limit the sorts of luxuries or toys or hobbies people have; we do all the time. You can't just breed tigers or build full-scale model rockets in your yard. The potential for harm outweights the individual enjoyment.

Autos, OTOH, ARE relatively "necessary", and we accept that there will be a statistical level of mayhem from their use. Just as with the firearms, there are restrictions on their use; you can't take your monster truck or your drag rail out on Main Street, or drive 205 on I-95. But just as with knives and fists, there are "normal" or "typical" daily uses for these objects that justify their presence and offset the deaths and injuries they cause.

Firearms? Not so much. If we were honest we'd argue that my enjoyment of my firearm is worth the death of your kid or your friend. But we know that argument won't fly.

I know this is something of a hobbyhorse of yours, jim, but I really think you can rest for a bit. The U.S. Congress won't even consider doing anything about restricting access to firearms - ANY firearms - regardless of the minimal imposition. So while the public "debate" may re-occur everytime some nutter goes postal nothing will change; your side won.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 1:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief,
My side didn't win anything.Can rights be won or lost.
i really don't care if we outlaw guns if we do it within a constitutional frame work.
Change the 2nd amendment if we don't like it, but don't legislate meaningless laws based on emotion.
Now for cars. I do think that you misunderstand my devotion to reality , as i percieve it.
WE ALL KNOW SOMEONE killed by a car, but how many of us know some one killed by a gun?? I mean personally.
Also i've been a gunman all my life, trained and refined by the US Army, and the greatewst threat to my life is crazy, aggressive and distracted or drunk drivers.
Contrary to what u say the roads are filled with monster trucks here in the south. Even 18 wheelers sre being driven aggressively and in a criminal manner and the state police NEVER ticket for this offense UNLESS an accident occurs.
I get what u say about guns, and i agree whole heartedly. Indeed the 4th amend is gasping for air and is just about dead. The fed is following a policy re; email, cell fone etc `that would be more appropriate in a despotic regime.
Bu`t what do i know about that and how can i protest that crap?
If we admit the trend then we must ask-WHY DID MY DAD KILL NAZIS?
Why did we have a COLD WAR?
Thanks for commenting.
jim

Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 6:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

Per, "Autos, OTOH, ARE relatively 'necessary'", while that may be so, we do not make sensible restrictions upon their form or usage such as the limited hp suggestion.

I am surprised that, having lived in Ft. Bragg, you have forgotten the monster truck contingent, no? In the South, these vehicles most assuredly make their way down main street and the interstates (often with a rifle racked behind the driver's seat.)

Why is the civilian ownership of 5 mpg Hummers not sanctioned, as surely that is a strategic threat to the depletion of our petroleun reserves. This hubris is characterized by the mother of an early Iraq soldier casualty who drove her H2 berobed in red-white and blue in a perverted sort of homage to her son (as in, "take that, you desert oli-drilling countries!")

We live as though in a bad Monty Python film.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 1:04:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

Per, "Autos, OTOH, ARE relatively 'necessary'", while that may be so, we do not make sensible restrictions upon their form or usage such as the limited hp suggestion.

I am surprised that, having lived in Ft. Bragg, you have forgotten the monster truck contingent, no? In the South, these vehicles most assuredly make their way down main street and the interstates (often with a rifle racked behind the driver's seat.)

Why is the civilian ownership of 5 mpg Hummers not sanctioned, as surely that is a strategic threat to the depletion of our petroleun reserves. This hubris is characterized by the mother of an early Iraq soldier casualty who drove her H2 berobed in red-white and blue in a perverted sort of homage to her son (as in, "take that, you desert oli-drilling countries!")

We live as though in a bad Monty Python film.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 1:04:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

Well, as a "good" liberal I would contend it's a problem with stunted thinking. Mass Shooting and Gun Deaths and Vehicular Deaths are not an either/or proposition.

I'd hope we could deal with both, but lamentably we can't deal with either...

However, I would point out that Autos are used far more frequently (in terms of actual time on road and *uses*) than Guns

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 12:48:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Gene,
Your cmts are correct.
We accept death in all forms , but only bitch about it when it keeps getting slapped in our faces during a news cycle.
Cars don't kill people- people kill people.
My vehicle did not come with a safety lock as req'd of a gun when newly purchased.
jim
jim

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 5:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Gene,
Your cmts are correct.
We accept death in all forms , but only bitch about it when it keeps getting slapped in our faces during a news cycle.
Cars don't kill people- people kill people.
My vehicle did not come with a safety lock as req'd of a gun when newly purchased.
jim
jim

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 5:44:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a retired LEO who had to deal with numerous motor vehicle crashes ranging from minor to multi vehicle/deaths & injuries, rarely were any the outcome of due diligence & adherence to the various laws/regs.

Another true test of a person's character (other than giving him/her power) is to put them in control of a motor vehicle.

Careful, it's a jungle out there.

Carl.

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 10:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the US gun debate rages on I have come to believe US citizens are the most fearful people on the planet.
I've lived 40 yrs as a civilian in Europe, Asia and Australia without ever once feeling any need to carry ANY kind of weapon on my daily travels.
Sure I boxed as a kid and can defend myself to an extent but I never had to fight my way out of trouble.
Even growing up in Derry under an atrocious British occupying army, carrying a gun never even occurred to me.

I have read hundreds/thousands of comments from US gun "enthusiasts" listing the vast multitude of reasons that they need weapons to defend themselves, their houses/families/plasma tv's etc, etc.

It's all motivated by fear of the highly unlikely.

How many times has the average US gun owner actually been in a situation in USA where they had to discharge their firearm to protect themselves?

I remember an article Ranger wrote a few years ago describing a road trip travelling between states. To the best of my knowledge he highlighted the different state laws regarding his sidearm. I think his weapon was illegal in 1 state and he had to keep it in his car.

I wonder has Ranger ever really had to fire his sidearm to protect himself in US? Will he ever have to?

Gearoid
Free Derry

Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 1:21:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Gearoid,
I do not carry a wepon on my person, but i do have one in my car.
I have a fear of being cornered in motel rooms without a possible avenue of escape. Hence i like having a hand gun in my baggage.
I believe that the best way to survive is by practicing situational awareness.
I would never use my weapon unless a loss of life were possible.
No i've never used my hand gun on anything but rattle snakes and water moccasins and i hope i never do. I have used a rifle for my country.
Thanks for writing , and i think that your comments are spot on.
Guns are not a hobby- they are a disease.
jim

Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 2:31:00 PM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home