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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

How broad is your political filter?

    In the past few of weeks listening to our national discussions (and social media) on race, refugee resettlement, terrorism and gun rights  I am reminded of those pictures where you can see two things in the same picture.  The picture above is one of those pictures that is frequently used to show this.  Which did you see first?  The old woman or the young woman?  It is all a matter of perspective as both images are true.
    Life and solutions to human issues are complex and seldom have easy answers.   Running for office our politicians many times want us to believe otherwise.  The search for the right solutions require us to recognize how we filter our beliefs and broaden our filters to recognize the truths on both sides on any issue.  To do anything less gives power to demagogues.

     Overlooked issue in gun debate.



Anonymous said...

Duane, thanks for posting the link to the article about gun use in suicide. There are two really important reasons for taking gun suicides into account.

The first is the question of whether or not the absence of guns would reduce the suicide rate. It seems logical that someone momentarily despondent can kill himself/herself in an instant with a gun; without access to such a quick and "easy" method of death, that person might not go through with it or might be stopped by someone else. However, there's no data to back that up. And countries with nearly-absolute gun control have much higher suicide rates than the US. Japan has a suicide rate double the US, yet guns are essentially banned in Japan. Japanese kill themselves by hanging or poisoning; a non-trivial number choose to jump in front of trains. A similar situation exists in South Korea, which has a suicide rate almost triple the US, but essentially no guns. It's a problem worthy of study, but right now we just don't know whether decreasing the availability of guns in the US would significantly diminish the suicide rate.

The other reason it's important to consider gun suicides is that it skews death rates. If you eliminate suicides, Maryland has one of the strongest gun control laws in the country but one of the highest gun death rates - I think we're like 45th out of 50, largely due to the continuing murders in Baltimore. Conversely, the states that have the LOWEST gun deaths when you remove suicides are generally the states with MINIMAL gun controls - New Hampshire, Vermont, Wyoming, Montana,... Massachussets and Hawaii would be the only exceptions.

If we're going to have a rationale debate about these issues, we need to fairly discuss all of the issues. Thanks again for posting that.

duanestclair said...

Thanks for your comments. The points you make confirm that the issue of gun control is more complex than many may feel. The problem of guns as you point out differ greatly from rural to urban areas. The problem seems to be that guns from areas where they are more available, like low gun control states, migrate to states with stricter gun laws and more urban areas with higher homicide rates.
I have seen the National Review story that seems to be the source of your points on other countries, , but the question I have is would the rates in those countries not increase with more availability of guns?