Cardow, The Ottawa Citizen

Where Does Safety Begin?

Friday, October 11, 2013
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Safety begins in the home. In a New York Times article, children shot accidentally — usually by other children — are the unanticipated casualties of firearm accessibility in homes. These stories are heart-wrenching and happen more frequently than reported. How is it that firearm deaths are one of the top three causes of death of American children? Today, as you are reading this, seven children will die and many more will be injured by guns. Guns are usually bought for protection, but a gun is 22 times more likely to endanger or kill family members (usually women and children) than intruders.

In 2004, 1,804 children and teenagers were murdered in gun homicides, 846 committed suicide with guns, and 143 died in unintentional shootings. A total of 2,852 young people were killed by firearms in the U.S., one every three hours.

Typical story: A 2-year-old boy used a stool to retrieve a gun case in the home, opened the case to remove the small caliber semi-automatic gun that had a round chambered and a fully loaded magazine, and shot himself in the upper right chest.

According to Karen Brock from the Violence Policy Center, “Children can’t legally buy handguns, children can’t legally possess handguns – yet they are killing each other with handguns. The reason: children still have easy access to handguns because of the lax practices of an unregulated gun industry and the mistaken idea that a handgun in the home offers protection, when in reality it is far more likely to result in horrific consequences.”

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Facts are clear that a home with a gun is a very dangerous place for a woman to be; A woman living in such a home is nearly three times more likely to be murdered than a woman living in a gun-free home. It’s too easy for an abuser, even one with a domestic violence conviction, to get his hands on a gun. Approximately 4,000 American females are murdered each year. Seventeen times as many Latina women are murdered by males they knew rather than by strangers. In states with higher levels of household gun ownership, there are higher rates of female homicide victims.

A study from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that among high-income nations, the United States has the highest rate of female homicide victimization. David Hemenway, PhD, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and lead author of the study, said: “The difference in female homicide victimization rates between the U.S. and other industrialized nations is very large and is closely tied to levels of gun ownership. The relationship cannot be explained by differences in urbanization or income inequality.”

Fact: Americans have the most guns, statistically more than one per person. With approximately 30,000 gun deaths annually we are clearly not doing a good job of protecting our families and communities.

Many of these important issues will be discussed at a town hall forum Safety in Homes, Schools and Communities on Thursday, October 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Faulkner Gallery of the main public library. For more information contact or call (805) 564-6804.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Safety does indeed begin at home. How is that guns initiate violence by merely being present? Properly stored, properly handled, correctly operated, guns are fine. If a 2 year old gets hold of a fire arm and discharges it, that is not "gun violence", it is malpractice on the part of an irresponsible owner. If the child cuts himself with a butcher knife, is that "butcher knife violence", or inattentive parents? Rather obvious. Guns are not violent, but can used to commit violence. Ill reasoned articles do little to educate, and more to increase ignorance. The appropriate way to report this and similar stories would have been to address the circumstances that lead each child to access a firearm that was unsafely stored, then use these stories to educate.

kramkenamez (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2013 at 5:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I would like to see a debate between Ms. Wellen and any of the following groups. Many people tend to stereotype gun owners, but these three groups dispel that myth. (Jews) (Women) (Gays)

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2013 at 5:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Thurs evening dialogue at the Faulkner should prove interesting, just as Ms. Wellen's summary of the NYTimes article about how our gun-obsessed society has created a situation where "a gun is 22 times more likely to endanger or kill family members (usually women and children) than intruders." BC, you often display webrefs like those above, but they're meaningless: no one disputes that there are plenty of safety-conscious gun-owners who are extraordinarily careful, etc., in handling and storing their weapons. In a society with over 310 million humans the small percentage of gun-crazies etc. form too great a number and we get the startling stats in the Times article Wellen refers to.
While BC worries about stereo-typing gun owners, karkenamez can't understand the Times article writing "Ill reasoned articles do little to educate, and more to increase ignorance." Try rereading Wellen's piece, then the NYTimes piece.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2013 at 5:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes DrDan, I am repetitive, but as long as people who clearly have social-engineering biases say/write what they do, I will present my side of the story. That is the beauty of living in a country where free exchange of ideas is allowed.

What I failed to point out is that all of this overlooks the fact that our society is becoming so violent that we have the need to pass more laws. Oh wait, someone will throw a bunch of links saying that I'm wrong, crime is going down, yet they support more "sensible" (the favorite word of the anti-gun crowd) gun laws. Which is it? Also, the argument about how easily guns of mass destruction fails to address the fact that at any time during our lives (and I know you are older than I am, and I'm 52) the capability for someone to walk into a school and kills lots of people has always been there.

It's the danger of True Believers who want their Utopian society without thinking it through long-range--like when a few weeks ago I raised a question about making downtown an all-bike zone. I asked how those not capable of riding bikes are supposed to get around, and neither you, nor anybody else, had an answer. So far, same situation here.

Intractable devotion to one's political agenda without considering any mitigating facts is not a good thing.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2013 at 6:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

By the way Sealion, you make some good points, but remember this is a public forum, so clean up the language a bit because otherwise they will delete your post. (Yes, I do know that "niggardly" has nothing to do with race, but it's another word you posted that we could do without, and again, I'd hate to see your good points get deleted on the basis of violating terms of service as well as common sense good taste).

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2013 at 6:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sealion: I agree with what you're saying. As an "old school" liberal who truly wants to live in a society of people who get along (per the Dream of the 1960's) I share your feelings exactly. For what it's worth, I think Scandinavian culture comes the closest to a gender-enlightened society where men and women are more or less equal, and actually seem to LIKE each other. Don't even get me started on the hypocrisy of academia. As far as what to say or not to say, we are playing by the rules of the moderators of this blog but I WILL say that for all of the four-letter words that fly out of my mouth there are a few words that even I avoid because I don't like them, and the reference to female anatomy you used is one of them, and as I said before, you don't need to use such invectives to make the points you made, which I think are excellent points.

I also feel that good manners dictate that when in mixed company, it's best to keep it clean, but as far as IDEAS are concerned, everything--sex, politics and religion is not only fair game, but SHOULD be discussed because such dialogue is the only way--as the saying goes--that "iron sharpens iron".

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 5:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I forgot to mention, that while I often find myself at odds with the political views of The Independent, I think that for that last year or so they have been fair in their moderation of the blogs. Before that, there was a lot of censoring, but I think they are fair (at least in my experience) with their enforcement of the rules. Of course, if they decide to delete this post, all bets are off.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 5:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Sea Lion roars! Oceans make up 70% of the earth's surface, and humans cannot live underwater. Just saying.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 7:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Sealion scents sex bias all right. Feminists have been selling totally bogus "statistics" for decades, under the mighty shield of PC. Seven out of five women will be raped in their lifetimes, etc. Since feminist bogosity has a bearing in this debate, see, if inclined: (shrill distortions enshrined ad nauseam)

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 8:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

gee, Bill, since you wanna get into it...
You wrote, "Oh wait, someone will throw a bunch of links saying that I'm wrong, crime is going down, yet they support more "sensible" (the favorite word of the anti-gun crowd) gun laws." ... [then you ended] "Intractable devotion to one's political agenda without considering any mitigating facts is not a good thing."
Who is intractable here? The NYTimes frontpage article Wellen refers to shows us how terrible gun damage has been especially to women and children. Your three posts are meaningless, and you are intractable in your hatred to social-engineering schemes. Devotion to your own pro-gun agenda, eh? As noted, you always say the same thing and yes, I'll defend to the death your right to say it, and then mine to show your gun-lovin' agenda, dude.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 11:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@BC, I don't always agree with you, but at least you're civil. I can't say that about a lot of other commenters (too many @Indy if you ask me).

Regarding stereotyping ... "the hypocrisy of academia" isn't a broad generalization?

Heal thyself physician!

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 1:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

couldn't agree more with "the hypocrisy of academia", although it may be a broad generalization, but I oughta know how accurate that statement is: pretty accurate. Ivory tower academic 'theologians' need to come down into the trenches, teach in urban public school classrooms for ten years. Yeah, Bill, I took a bit of an exception to your post "as long as people who clearly have social-engineering biases say/write what they do" -- didn't seem too civil. Since I'm not a physician, EB, can't heal myself, dang!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 3:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"feminist bigots blatantly scapegoating heterosexual white males as the new 'N's". It seems you take their views too seriously. White heterosexual males are still running the show. Playing the victim to 'lame stream media' puts you in the same can of nuts as Sarah Palin.

spacey (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 3:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Can one actually agree with both the author and the majority of comments?
Kram makes great points, but it's not the article that is ill reasoned. It is the gun owners who are irresponsible. Not all, but those who do not follow the rules of responsible ownership. What are those rules? Does the government need to step in and make a list? They way this country suffers from gun violence (way more than terrorism, which we spend way too much on) apparently so. Still can't figure out where all the hatred for females is coming from that one guy, must be old and crusty from the sea salt, misses the good 'ol days of being able to speak his mind 'cause you know we have cages for that type of spew now. Probly same cage we put the feminist bigots in. Obama signed that into law, you know, the one that takes away our freedom.

spacey (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 4:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

" Your three posts are meaningless. " -DrDan- (I disagree)

"and you are intractable in your hatred to social-engineering schemes." -DrDan- (You are correct!)

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 6:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Heal thyself physician!

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 1:21 p.m.

"DrDan" is a doctor, no? Only HE can heal me. There IS a doctor in the house.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 6:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

People focus on ONE issue, in this case guns, while missing the big picture.

Human nature determines that there will always be foolish people who reproduce, vote, drive cars, and own guns. Gun deaths, drunk driving deaths, terrorism, (actual odds of getting killed by one in America about 1 out of 100,000) getting hit by a train, or babies mistaking detergent pods for candy. (Yes, one grandmother wants the detergent companies to label individual pods--maybe child custodians should lock the cabinets where these products are stored?)

Hiding behind "the children" is a tried-and-true way of garnering sympathy for a cause, but since we're talking about children, I feel that since California is so obsessed with spaying and neutering non-humans, maybe--given the amount of people who aren't smart enough to lock up their drugs, chemicals, and weapons, such humans should be rendered infertile. If you don't have enough common sense to secure firearms from your kids, you shouldn't be allowed to have either of these.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2013 at 8:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As one woman told me "If people who want to have kids had to undergo the same criteria as people who want to adopt kids 90% of the people would be sterilized". I agree.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2013 at 3:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

That article about Asma and Bashar is all conjecture, other than citing their educational accomplishments. Is there any indication that Asma is happy in her situation now? or that she feels trapped and has to go along to stay alive in that brutal family. In remarkable hypocrisy or irony, she once recorded a video about the terrible things done to Palestinians by the Israelis, when what Assad is doing is a thousand times worse. Does she still believe what she said in that video - if so her life must be a living hell. How am I to judge if that is the truth - I cannot with the evidence I have, and that cited article provided nothing that would change that.

There are evil and good people of both genders, and it is very simplistic to broad-brush either group. I have personally witnessed the destruction caused by mental sickness in both men and women, and have also seen the healing by both genders.

The article quoted by A-T, is remarkable in that the summary is "Feminists have been selling totally bogus "statistics" for decades", when on reading the article it is the women themselves who debunked the bogus statistics. So why vilify all women as Sealion does, when the majority of women in that article debunked the claims of a few.

One of the worst social norms that people practice in this supposed advanced society is to trash the group by the actions of a few. I could ridicule those conservative men who have the most stupid ideas about female anatomy and assign that stupidity to all men - but that would in effect be stupid and narrow-minded.

There is a lot I do not like that has been done by many in both genders - however, since free speech is allowed in this country, I will not twist myself into a pretzel of hatred of those I dislike, knowing that on average most men and women have more good in them than bad, and appreciate the good. I feel very sorry for Sealion - I would hate to live in his head, but he is free to rant and rave about his pet dislikes - I will just read them and move on. Nothing he says can change anybody's mind - people decide for themselves.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2013 at 6:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Guessing that the Sealion spawned lil female pups that revolted against the male domination they were indoctrinated with. Married to a feminist? Raised by a feminist? Undercover CIA agent who infiltrated feminism HQ? What's next on their agenda, pray tell? Distract many articles dealing with gun violence lately? (psst, next response ought to be good, right?)

spacey (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2013 at 1:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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