August 07, 2019

Horse 2580 - Guns And Cars: Not Morally Equivalent. Not Equivalent In Result.

The fact that 30 innocent people had their lives terminated by two murderers earlier this week ought to be enough to sadden most thinking, feeling people. Not only were those 30 souls lost because of the deliberate actions of expletive deleted knaves but their families will have to live with the consequences of that, for the rest of their lives.
And yet because the heart of the American people is so dulled and so very very stupid, they accept this as a necessary price to pay for their so-called 'freedom'. Furthermore, they will cite the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms as scripture and claim it as their God given right, as if handed down by God on high instead of as an amendment to a faulty Constitution that was argued out by six dozen sweaty men in a room in Philadelphia.

Often you'll see the justification for this special kind of insanity as being necessary to bring down a tyrannical government, as if a collection of people with small arms could even hope to bring down a professional fighting force with mechanised power and air delivered ordnance. It is a stupid argument and anyone making it is equal stupid.
But rather than address the problem which causes not quite 40,000 people each year and every year to lose their lives, either through suicide or homicide, excuses of violent video games, drugs, mental illness, or even not enough prayer in schools, are put forward, as though they are the root cause; notwithstanding the fact that other countries have these things and address them with public policy.
No, the deliberate destruction of people's lives with guns is a particularly American disease and the whole country is suffering a both a mental and a spiritual disorder; which ironically is caused by a lack of philos and where selfishness and a desire to feel powerful stands front and centre upon the stage.

But this week, I discovered a new kind of cancer which has eaten into peoples' brains. That cancer is the whatabouism of Guns versus Cars, as though that somehow makes it all right.
The argument is that Cars kill more people than guns do and if you took away the guns, that murderers would just find other ways to kill people.

The first problem that I have with this is that it assumes that the rule of law is simply not worth bothering about. If that were true, then I would agree. My immediate suggestion is to deregulate motor cars entirely.
Get rid of speed limits, road rules, licencing, alcohol and drug testing, and all of the design regulations surrounding all active and passive safety including seat belts, lights, airbags and crumple zones.

And then fall back on the fact that anything which can be used as a weapon is nominally covered under the Second Amendment in the right to bear arms, as the language of the amendment doesn't specify what an arm is; which in the context of the late 17th century when the Bill of Rights Act 1688 was passed, and the late 18th century when the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1792, nominally covered things like swords, clubs, pistols and muskets. Those people couldn't have foreseen assault rifles or automatic weapons. It also means that motor cars which are driven into people deliberately and even the three planes which were flown into the World Trade Center and The Pentagon on 11th September 2001, because they were being used as weapons, were technically covered under the Second Amendment. Let that sink in.

Quite frankly I think that trying to force the equivalence of guns and motor cars is morally bankrupt but seeing as we've already crossed this metaphorical bridge and driven into 30 people as though we were performing some thought experiment like the Trolley Problem, let's look at the actual effectiveness of the two in killing people in the real world.

In 2018, there were:

15,000,000,000 bullets sold in the United States.
I am going to assume that all of them were used as a consumable item.
39,758 people who died due to firearms, either because of suicide or homicide.
This gives us: 2.650 deaths per million uses.
If those bullets are being stockpiled then that's going to lower the denominator and increase the number of deaths per use figures but I am trying to be as generous as possible.

In 2018, there were also:
3,220,000,000,000 miles driven by motor vehicles in the United States. If we assume that 1 mile is a use.
40,389 people who died due to motor accident.
This gives us: 0.125 deaths per million uses.

There is obviously an order of magnitude of difference here.

If you've already made the moral leap to suggest that gun usage and motor car usage are morally equivalent, then you don't have the right to complain that I've just made the comparison of the effectiveness of use at killing people. If you want to draw that equivalent, then reducing everything to cold statistics ought to satisfy you.

The bottom line here is that the function of a gun and a motor car are totally different. I think that William Wirt Winchester, who was the treasurer of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company summed it up best.

"If a gun is not used to kill people, it is nothing more than a stick. It fails at its only purpose."
- William Wirt Winchester

The prime purpose of a motor vehicle however, is to get from one place to another. The number of deliberate deaths caused by motor vehicle use is tiny. It is so small that neither the CDC or the NTHSA have reliable figures.
If you want to draw the equivalence of gun deaths and motor car deaths, then I am going to immediately discount whatever argument you posit because it is nonsense.

No comments: