Monday, April 22, 2013

Lock and Load your Will for Gun Safety

Version 0.3

Lock and Load your Will for Gun Safety

Not sure where to begin, but let me list a few obvious points:
  1. Lots of Americans die by getting shot, at least 30,000 per year.
  2. America's professional politicians are incapable of addressing the problem in any meaningful way.
  3. Gun safety is not an unsolvable problem. I think every metric shows the United States has the worst record for gun safety--but you can't even find out how bad the problem is because the statistics are actively suppressed.
Actually that leads me to start with point #3. I already knew that the US government is basically forbidden to collect various kinds of statistics about gun deaths and gun safety. So I started my research by searching the Internet for gun deaths and quickly found an apparently useful lead on Wikipedia for firearm-related deaths organized by country. The United States was not included.

Wait a minute. Tens of thousands of Americans are shot to death every year, but it isn't worth mention?

I don't think the lives of Americans are worth so little. Do you?

It's obvious the data is being censored, even on Wikipedia. Censorship is NOT a neutral point of view. Sorry Wikipedia. It's a big FAIL, at least as of the date of this writing (23 April 2013).

So I've expanded a bit on points #3 and #1, so let's hit on #2. Why are politicians unable and unwilling to do anything about gun safety? Of course I'm mostly concretely talking about the recent use of the filibuster to prevent a very slight improvement in background checks, but in general terms we have an almost total political paralysis in Washington, DC.

"It's the MONEY, Lebowski!"

In this case, the particular is mostly the money of the gun manufacturers invested with the NRA and some rightwing media. Easy to understand why. Gun manufacturers make money when everyone buys more guns.

To paraphrase the NRA itself, "The only thing that stops a bad politician with bad money is a good politician with good money."

Here is my suggestion for a source for good money: Lock and load your will. Not sure how this should be written, but I suggest that lots of people should add a paragraph to their boots-on will. If you die because of a gun, then 10% of your estate will be donated against some incumbent politician who has a favorable rating from the NRA. If you are shot by a gun that might not have been there if Congress had passed some gun safety regulation, then it should go to 20%. Probably too long for most people to write, but your will could even specify the kind of gun safety legislation that would cancel the paragraph.

Remember we're talking about 30,000 deaths per year. Those are pretty much unplanned deaths, but if some of those deaths start producing political funding for gun safety, maybe enough of the politicians will become as afraid of opposing gun safety as Americans should be afraid of the guns.


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As a blogger from before there were blogs, I've concluded what I write is of little interest to the reading public. My current approach is to treat these blogs as notes, with the maturity indicated by the version number. If reader comments show interest, I will probably add some flesh to the skeletons...