Letters to the Editor

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SHOOTING: Media should put it into perspective

Letter by Seth Eisenberg, Federal Way on July 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm with 13 Comments »
July 23, 2012 2:43 pm

The graphic on Saturday’s page A22 (TNT, 7-21) entitled “U.S. mass shootings since 1999” painted a grim picture of gun violence, and will undoubtedly foster (intentionally or otherwise) the anti-gun agenda of the Brady Campaign from which the graphic originated. My heart goes out to the families of all of the victims. This was indeed a senseless tragedy.

But those statistics are misleading.

Perhaps a better graphic would have been to overlay the mass shootings (which totaled 207 for those 14 years) with the number of people killed by drunk drivers during a 14-year period from 1997-2010. Readers might be shocked to learn that 569,300 people were killed in the U.S. during that similar time period, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To put it another way, that’s almost three times the population of Tacoma.

While the staggering difference between these statistics is no consolation for the surviving families, it helps put into perspective the scope of the tragedy. The problem is that so many people succumb to drunk driving each year it no longer makes the news. All of these deaths — regardless of their cause — are senseless. However, the media has an obligation to keep events in perspective.

No doubt this massacre will stir up more anti-gun sentiment and provide rationalization for why guns are so evil. Maybe it’s time to put as much energy and news coverage into dealing with our drunk driving epidemic, which is a significantly bigger problem.

Leave a comment Comments → 13
  1. Seth – you are mixing apples with oranges but…since you went there….

    DUI convictions should lead to much higher penalties including the loss of driving privileges, steep fines and jail time.

    AND

    Gun control measures for so-called assault weapons should be imposed and enforced.

  2. And….unless a drunk driver has planned and intentionally carried out a plot inspired by “Death Race 2000″ and INTENTIONALLY killing and maiming as many people as he can – your attempt to lessen the horror of this tragic event by comparing it to highway deaths is absurd and more than a little insulting to the families of those who were killed.

  3. Fibonacci says:

    So Seth, I guess you are saying we should not do anything about deaths by firearms until after we have zero deaths from drunk drivers? How does that even make sense. They are BOTH tragic.

  4. bobcat1a says:

    Seth, how many of those drunk driving fatalities were intentional and mass?

  5. Drunk driving laws in this state are a joke. A cop once told me if I wanted to kill someone, just drink a beer, run them over, drink a few more beers and your out of jail in less than 2 years, if you go to jail at all.

  6. averageJose says:

    Good points Seth.

  7. Fibonacci says:

    jrdndd
    How are the laws a joke? All I keep hearing is that a DUI can cost up to $10000. Also, I still don’t see what DUI’s have to do with guns. It is the same argument smokers use when they point to people being overweight—two different and unrelated things.

  8. penumbrage says:

    bB – First, thanks for the ‘so-called assault weapons’ line. It’s rare these days for someone with a liberal slant to acknowledge the Brady/Clinton co-opting of the term assault rifle. (but they wouldn’t have passed the ‘Scary Looking Rifles That Function Exactly The Same As Your Grandfather’s Hunting Rifle Ban’, now could they?)
    Second, would you really be better off if your family were killed by someone who got drunk, sat behind a wheel and said ‘I don’t care who I kill tonight.’ instead of by someone who became despondent, picked up a gun and said ‘I don’t care who I kill tonight.’?

  9. normajean says:

    Agree with Fibonacci. Why is it that a teen can so easily obtain a gun. I am all for extreme gun control. They have it in Canada & on a per capita basis there are fewer incidents of violence. We are not talking DUI’s but are talking about guns – need to stay on topic here

  10. MyBandito says:

    Guns don’t kill people. People with guns kill people.

  11. LeePHill says:

    “the anti-gun agenda of the Brady Campaign”

    Remember when Jim Brady was a good old Republican?

  12. Remember when Obama was a good old demokrat? What’s he done about gun laws lately?

  13. mcgintey says:

    Sure mass killings aren’t an every-day occurance. but what about all the drive-by, murder suicides, gang rival shootings. Those numbers are horrendous. We have to reverse this stupid love of guns in a “civilized” country. We are the laighing stock of the world.

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