12 Children a Day by Kevin O
12 Children a
Let's Get Real
by Kevin O'Brien
a day die from gun violence" is one of the most used and misused phrases
the anti-self-defense criminal-enabling community has ever bellowed. This figure
screams at us from every news story about guns, every anti-gun
group, and a growing number of politicians from the President on down. But
is this figure true or just more propaganda in the fight against guns? The
sad fact is it’s true—if you
count gang members, suicides, and people shot by
cops—because, as usual, the Devil is in the details.
number is 11.5. This is derived from taking the total number of gun deaths
for 1997, (the latest year that figures are available) and dividing by 365.
But a closer look at the details reveals many things that are left out of
the debate about children and
guns. Many experts have spent a lot of time and resources
trying to fit the numbers to suit their views. Some have tried to be impartial
while others have used questionable methods to get results they want. To
try and sort them out would take a good deal of time and space.
want to focus on here is the REALITY behind the misued, overused, and blatantly
abused phrase "12 children a day die from gun violence".
So let's take the year where the anti-self-defense, anti-gun statistics abusers
have grabbed this number, and let's get real today.
at current trends in crime and accidents shows that crime is dropping steadily
since reaching an all time high in the early 90’s. Accidental gun deaths and
all unintended gun accidents are also at the lowest
levels in decades. With this in mind, a closer look at age groups and the
leading causes of death in those
groups shows how the 12 children a day statement
breaks down. There are a lot of statistics here, these are necessary in
order to show how anti-gun groups manipulate the figures to come up with the
12 children a day figure.
for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) and the National Center for Injury
Prevention and Control, (NCIPC) compile data from the National Center for
Health Statistics (NCHS) and break
this down into age groups. The CDC breaks this
into groups for ages 1, 1-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-24--and 10-year groups thereafter,
while the NCIPC uses 0-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24--in 5-year groups. (This
differentiation in age grouping can cause minor differences in the numbers
where the age groups overlap.)
carefully the information provided from these sources, a few facts stand
out readily for anyone who can add and count.
1) A toddler has more to
fear from a backyard pool than
from a gun.
age group 1-4 the leading cause of death is a group called "Unintentional
Injury and adverse effects".
This group includes motor vehicle accidents, drowning,
fire, and gun deaths and accidents. (Unintentional injury and adverse effects
is also the leading cause of death for all groups until age 35.) In 1997 there
were 657 traffic deaths followed by 456 drowning deaths, 354 deaths by fire
and burns 142 deaths by suffocation. Firearm deaths total 20 or 1% of the
2005 unintentional deaths for
1997. The Fourth leading cause of death for 1-4 year
olds is homicide. Of the 375 murders in 1997, 53 or 14.1% were committed with
guns. It is also interesting to note that:
2) Even with homicides, a
child is 5 times more likely to
die by fire than at the hands of someone with a gun.
Of course, fire extinguishers
are a good thing for putting out fires just like guns serve a purpose for
3) A child
has a greater chance of dying on the way home from daycare than from a gun.
The age group 5-9 continues the
trend with Unintentional Injury leading the list.
Motor vehicle accidents have risen to 808, drownings have dropped to 234,
fires and burns are at 178. Gun
deaths are 28 or 1.8% of the 1534 deaths for 1997.
Homicides are the fourth leading cause of death for 5-9 year olds with a total
of 174. Of these 77 or 44.3% were committed with firearms. Car crashes kill
8 times more children than guns. Of those crashes 62% of the deaths involve
unrestrained children ages 0-14.
Drunk drivers cause 39% of fatal crashes and of those
involving children 60% are riding with the drunk driver.
3) A 10-14
year old still has a greater chance of dying riding to and from soccer practice
than from a gun.
continues with Unintentional Injury deaths totaling 1837. Motor vehicle accidents
are 57% of the total with 1056, followed by drowning at 215, fires and burns
account for 5.4% or 99, and firearm deaths are 94 or 5.1%. Suicide now becomes
a troubling fact in this age category--as the third leading cause of death at
303. Of these suicides,
suffocation is the most common at 154 or 50.8%, and firearms are used in
126 suicides or 41.6%. Poison is third at 14, or 4.6%. Homicide is the fourth
cause of death with a total of 283
deaths. Firearms are the most used accounting for
73.5% or 208. It is in this age group that a lot of disturbing trends start
which explode in 15-19 year olds.
Until now, cars and drowning have been the most deadly
for children. Crime and suicide now become a greater threat as children become
Nonetheless, the fact of the
matter is clear:
faces a greater threat from a car than from a gun.
Without homicide, suicide
and legal intervention a car is almost 20 times more deadly than a gun. Even
with homicide, suicide, and legal intervention deaths, a car is 4 times
50% More children drown than
die from firearms and more
die in fires.
The American Heritage
Dictionary defines a child as
"someone between birth and puberty". Looking at a total of 606 gun-related
deaths for children 14 and under could give an idea of how dangerous guns
are. Take away homicides and suicides and the figure falls to 142. Compare
that to 2681 motor vehicle deaths,
965 drowning deaths and 684 deaths by fire.
This gives a better idea of the
real danger of guns to children. But let’s not forget
that even this number is too high. We all need to do everything we can to
make sure those accidents and
other misuses of firearms don’t happen at all.
year old age group is troubling. For this group I am using the NCICP figures
as they have figures for 15-19 year olds compared to 15-24 for the CDC. Unintentional
Injury deaths rise to a total of 6603. Of this, motor vehicle accidents
are 5,228 or 79%, drowning deaths are 372 or 5.6 %, firearm deaths are 164
or 2.5%. Homicide is the second leading cause of death with a staggering total
of 2,618. Of this the firearms total is 2233 or 85%. Suicide is third with
1802 total deaths. Firearms
account for 1135 deaths or 63%, suffocation is 527 or
29%. The 15-24 age group is the only group that has higher homicide rates
than for suicides.
numbers for homicide are some revealing facts. The Department of Justice's
Juvenile Offenders and Victims
1999 National Report shows that 85% of all counties
in the United States had no juvenile murders in 1997, 8% had one, 7% had
2 or more and 25% of all juvenile murders happened in just 5 counties. The
cities in these counties in order of murders are Los
Angeles, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Detroit. These cities make up
only 9% of the total U.S. population. All of these cities have some of the
strictest gun-control laws
in the country. 50% percent of murder victims are between
15 and 17. Males make up 71%. Blacks make up 50% of victims. Other juveniles
and young adults murder most juveniles. 45% are murdered by an acquaintance;
family members murder 40%. Half of all arrests are people under 21.
90% of gangs use guns in their crimes.
It is clear that a large
portion of gun deaths
involve inner-city gangs.
Those poor, poor children.
These "poor children"
are already into puberty and do not meet the definition of "child"
according to the dictionary mentioned above. But set aside dictionary
definitions for a moment and let's look to the harsh realities of gangs in
America. If a 15 year old rapes, murders, commits armed robbery, steals,
and behaves in other ways unbecoming to the human race including various
assorted crimes which involve the criminal misuse of a firearm, and if he/she
can be tried as an adult for said heinous crimes, where is the logic in calling
such a person a "child"?
a disturbing fact among young people. The suicide rates for the ages of 15-19
has risen 11% from 1980-1997.The
rate for 10-14 year olds has risen 109%. From 1980-1996,
the rate for African-American youth ages 15-19 has risen 105%. Among 15-19
year olds, firearm-related suicides have accounted for 62% of the increase.
Though guns tend to make a suicide
attempt successful, there are many ways for a person to
take their own life. And sadly few ways to stop someone who has made up their
mind to do so. This is a very
complicated problem that deserves more space than what
Let's just end the suicide
topic this way: suicides don't count in a rational debate about the criminal
misuse of guns; someone committed to ending their own life will do it (a fact
verified by any mental health professional worth his salt), and the fact that a
gun is used in a pre-meditated suicide is irrelevant to the topic of gun
control. Japan's gun laws are RESTRICTIVE, and they have more suicides
than America. People who want death will have it, period.
look at these numbers is needed in order to make sense of how the homicide
and suicide rates impact the statement "12 children a day die by gun
violence". With the 0-14 age
group having 606 gun related deaths there are 1.7 children
killed each day. Take away homicide and suicide, then accidents are .39 per
day. Compare this number to 7.3 a day for motor vehicle accidents, and 2.8
for drowning. Add the numbers for
15-19 year olds and the number jumps to 11.5. Homicides
add 6.1 per day followed by suicides at 3.1 per day. Unintentional and undetermined
(61) add .6 per day, for a total of 11.5 in 1997. 15 teens a day died
from motor vehicle accidents in 1998 for a total of 5606. Subtract the
gang-related homicides and pre-meditated suicides and the figure doesn't begin
to approach the inflated number put forth by such calculating liars as President
Clinton or Sarah Brady.
Overall, the crime rate in
the United States is falling.
Juvenile crime rates are
falling also. Accidental gun deaths are the lowest
they have been in decades. Suicide rates are also slowly falling. If the trend
continues then the 11.5 figure will fall also, but that figure, as proven above,
is ABUSED. In 1993, the rates for all of
these areas were some of the highest on record. The CDC, to compare the United
States against the rest of the industrialized world, used this same year’s
record. The results are questionable now--with our falling rates--but that
does not stop the gun control groups. "The U.S. has X times this and Y
times this countries level
of gun violence" they love to say. But while our levels are falling,
those countries that have outlawed the private ownership of guns have seen
their levels rapidly rise.
The loss of life however it
happens is a tragedy--even
in the case of the gang members shooting gang members. Each of these statistics
represents a life, a family that has suffered. I
know. My nephew was murdered with a gun in 1998. But to blindly rush to quick,
easy solutions that have been
proven NON-solutions is another tragedy. For in looking at the numbers over the
years there is one other
time that crime levels were as high as they were in the early 1990’s.
That was in the late 20’s and early 30’s when the United States banned
alcohol, and we all know how successful that was.
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