To the editor,
I like data and I like analogies. I want to address an issue, first using data.
In 2011, North Dakota banned texting and driving. In 2010, 13 percent of fatalities in car crashes were related to cell phone use.
Now, 47 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands all ban texting while driving. This does not mean that people will never do it. This does not mean that people will never die in crashes linked to texting and driving. This does, however, set the tone for our upcoming generations. Kids will grow up to know how dangerous texting and driving is, and the mindset will shift toward more safe driving practices.
Now comes the potential analogy: The ban of texting while driving should be like enforcing stricter gun laws.
After the Las Vegas massacre, I heard someone say, "Bad guys don't follow the rules, so harsher gun laws will not do anything to prevent these shootings." Maybe. But I don't think this means we should stop trying. We know that some people are crazy and want to kill other people. Guns make this easier. Automatic weapons, even more so.
Isn't the purpose of our government to keep us safe? In the United States, six of the top 10 worst mass shootings have happened since 2007. In that time frame, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, new guns entering circulation annually (and legally) has gone from just over 5 million to over 15 million. Coincidence or correlation?
It is imperative that we change with the times. Thirty years ago, there was no concern about texting and driving. There is now. Thirty years ago, there wasn't a mass shooting seemingly several times a year. There is now.
We've changed our thinking about texting and driving, I think we should also change our thinking about gun violence. Shouldn't the data on mass shootings cause us to question who/when/why/how when it comes to gun ownership?
I may like data and analogies, but I love my two children. And I'm afraid for them.