The Bigger Picture

Since the devastating Newtown, CT shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school I have seen so many posts from my Facebook friends either about gun control or the right to bear arms.  Each side is really passionate about this issue and I am kind of on both sides of it.  I grew-up in a house that had guns and my dad hunted and never were our guns used to harm people.  I never felt unsafe in my house and my dad hid the guns well enough that I never knew where they were, but I knew that there were some in the house (I’m sure that my younger brother knew where they were).  I am also a carnivore and love to eat meat.  I truly believe that someone hunting and killing their own meat by use of a gun is more humane than how most of us get our meat in the store.  On the other side, I had two friends that committed suicide by using a gun.  I also see in the media about these mass shootings and it makes me want tougher gun control laws.  I do not own a gun nor have any desire to own one or have one in my house.  Trying to figure out where my thoughts stood on the issue I felt like I needed to do more research.  What I have been learning has completely steered me in a new direction.  

Looking into gun statistics I came across this: 

Two years ago (2010), 30,470 people died from homicides or suicides using firearms, according to data compiled by the CDC. Guns were the most common means of homicides and suicides, the latter of which accounted for nearly two-thirds of the deaths. Suicide by firearm was the leading cause of violence-related injury deaths in 2010, followed by homicides with firearms, the CDC reported. Together, they made up 57 percent of violent deaths.

Gun-related fatalities are on pace to surpass deaths from automobile collisions by 2015, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.

What I found interesting about this statistic, which I had also read elsewhere, was that two thirds of the deaths were suicides.  That means that about 10,500 were homicides.  When reading or watching the media one would think that this number is much higher.  Don’t get me wrong, that is a high number and if guns weren’t so accessible in this country it would probably be lower.  But the other side of me thinks that if someone wants to commit suicide they are going to find a way to do so even if there are no guns.  The other interesting part that this article touched on and that is also in The Independent, is that gun fatalities should be expected to exceed car fatalities by 2015, which is just a couple of years away.  This news is a little shocking because you always hear, “you are more likely to die in a car accident than…”

While looking into death statistics I discovered that the number one killer in America is from heart related issues.  Over half a million Americans die from heart related issues each year!  Doesn’t that number scare you?  It scared me and it is so much higher than gun related deaths.  Heart disease is more likely to kill you if you are older, but it is still mostly in the top five causes of death in younger people.  The World Health Organization states: 

Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity, raised blood pressure, diabetes and raised lipids.

When I read this I understood it to say that the leading cause of death is caused from an unhealthy lifestyle.  This includes the lack of eating real food and not exercising.  If heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US why are not more people passionate about this?  I know that obesity in America is being addressed and there are many media programs out there that highlight the problems, but I don’t think that enough is being done.  Just like the NRA, I think that the fast food corporations and drug companies have enough money to be able to keep this issue not as prevalent.  When a mass shooting happens many people are killed at one instant and that makes it shocking and media worthy.  When people die from heart disease it isn’t newsworthy because it most likely took a long time to get to that point, there is not a “direct” perpetrator (like a shooter) that can immediately be blamed, and most people will say that they (the victims) did it to themselves.  

I know that to do my part for myself and my kids we try to eat healthy and exercise.  I know that I could do better, but I know that I am doing so much better than a lot of people in this country.    I can also help spread the word about this and hope that this issue gets more attention.  If you also looked at the death statistics, cancer is the second leading cause of death and I also think that there is a correlation with having cancer and living an unhealthy life.  

In conclusion, do I think that people should be able to own guns?  I do think that they should, but I think that there definitely needs to be better gun control laws.  Since I am not real familiar with the laws now and what they should be I can’t offer any advice.  I also do not think that certain guns should even be legal.  Who needs a semi-automatic rifle?  Do I think that there are bigger issues that need to be addressed in comparison to gun control laws, absolutely!  I also think that more and more people will be made more aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle.  Like I mentioned to a friend, imagine if the government spent all of the time and money going after Mansanto like they did Lance Armstrong.  Imagine the changes that could happen, but instead they have to prosecute an athlete (who, most likely did cheat).  Monsanto is genetically modifying our food and that is not as important as an athlete who dopes.  

Okay, that is my little rant.  Crystal, I hope that you enjoyed it since you are my one reader 🙂



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