Sugar and Spice. Snakes and Snails. Kabblammo!

Let’s ease back into this Childish Man blog with something kind and supple. How about GUNS. (I intend to avoid the tired Second Amendment vs. Gun Violence discussion and hope your comments will do the same.)

A few weeks ago I began looking for a movement, an effort, something to which I could dedicate my energy and help “make the world a better place” not only for myself but especially for my kids. Nothing gets me emotionally bothered quite like framing an otherwise out-of-mind issue in a way that seems to threaten children. “Is your attic infested with Brown Recluse spiders? Your kids may be in danger!” Next thing I know I’m climbing up there with a flamethrower.

So my mind listed for me some choices that included collecting belly button lintsquirrel taxidermy, sous-vide cooking (sous-vide from the French meaning “eat raw food out of a Ziploc”), and gun control. I see now that this was a set-up from the beginning.

At this point I had little more than an opinion that guns are basically dangerous.  Clearly I needed to be more self-righteous before stroking a check to the Brady Campaign, marching a downtown street with a painted placard, or yelling obscenities from the balcony of a legislative chamber of my choosing.

As I often do, I began my research with some YouTube demagoguery. I watched videos of NRA hit man Wayne LaPierre. And then some tear-jerking clips of moms talking about their gun-murdered children. After a day shifting between rage and uncontrollable sobbing, followed by a few hours of bad whiskey sleep, it was time to sober up with some concrete numbers.

Before I continue, I must admit to being under a self-imposed news blackout for most of my SAHD (stay-at-home dad) days. With my battering ram of an 8-year old son who needs constant attention and a 5-year old daughter that is frequently in or recovering from yet another surgery (something I will get to in future posts), I don’t feel like spending my remaining time on news from Crimea or even from a few miles away.

Keeping in mind my blissful ignorance about gun statistics, and my general awareness of the emotional sensitivity that dominates the gun issue – the sadness of gun control advocates, the Obama-fueled paranoia of gun show retailers, and the mutual contempt that both sides seem to have for each other – I expected the statistics would blow away the competition in a manner of speaking.  Or at the very least that gun death numbers, when compared to other causes of death in children, and the relative sizes of the associated campaigns to save lives in those areas, would be fairly equal. To my surprise, they aren’t even close.

I’m not going into the numbers because, unfortunately, it isn’t terribly interesting.  I will let you visit the CDC WISQARS database and search the numbers on your own (and see the dreadfully formatted summary table below.  Sorry.  Click on it for a larger image). It is my conclusion, and perhaps it should’ve been all along had I cared to look, that if I am truly concerned about the safety of my kids I should be far and away more concerned about car safety, suffocation, fires, and drowning than about guns. Mind you, I’m not suggesting that any parent worry about or fear cars let alone anything else, rather that a healthy concern represent the risk. Unfortunately I don’t see passionate pleas from a Million Moms nor dollars flowing through lobbyists and political campaigns concerning the kids who die from burns or from drowning, things that kill children in greater numbers than all circumstances involving guns combined – intentional, unintentional, or suicide.

10LCID_All_Deaths_By_Age_Group_2010-a

For the record, I don’t like guns. I don’t own any. And I don’t want any. In my life and  in my community, no matter how often gun rights advocates tell me otherwise, they are unnecessary. I feel sorry for the victims of gun violence and their parents, families, and friends. But I also feel sorry for people who live in a shadow of fear of their fellow man, a shadow so dark that they spend hundreds if not thousands of their dollars on weapons, and even more lobbying for expanded “freedoms” to take guns into more places, like churches, bars, and airports.   The fear conjured by both sides is, to me, unjustified.

I have recently become a fan of Dr. Aaron Carroll, a pediatrician and health policy researcher at Indiana University School of Medicine. He summarizes what I said beautifully, though it only touches briefly on violence, and I recommend at the very least that you see the video below about risks and our fears about them. In fact, I recommend that you subscribe to his HealthCare Triage videos as well as to his articles on the WordPress blog (www.theincidentaleconomist.com). I’ve found some great stuff here to help me temper my little crusades about washing hands (anti-bacterial soap) and even drinking milk.

Thanks for reading!

CM

NRA Chief Quits, Finds New Passion

Wayne LaPierreIn a shocking letter received by the newsroom at thechildishman.com on Wednesday, the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre announced he was stepping down from his post, effective immediately. “I’ve been with the NRA a long time,” he wrote. “But, well, this is just too damn easy. I mean, we outspend the gun control advocates over at the Brady Campaign a gazillion times over. I’m just spit-balling, of course. And, honestly, what else is left to do? Americans own about 200 million guns, privately. That’s about one gun per American aged 20 to 80.”

At times, in the letter, LaPierre even taunts gun control advocates. “We gotta voucher muthafuckas! That’s right. Some aristo-crackers about 225 years ago wrote that we could have guns, as many as we want. And can you believe lawmakers and judges have not only continued to uphold this interpretation of the vague language in the Second Amendment, but they’ve actually started letting us walk around with guns hidden under our coats? I mean, that whole concealed weapons thing started as a joke. ‘There’s no fucking way they’re gonna let us carry firearms shoved in the back of our pants,’ we said to each other when the idea came up at a happy hour. ‘But I’d be pretty jacked to walk down the street knowing I was locked and loaded in front of all my piss-ant neighbors who were none the wiser,’ I added. ‘I guess there’s no harm in trying.’ Un-fucking-believable!

Third Amendment“But I admit,” he continues, “that my heart just isn’t in it anymore. So it is with great excitement that I announce my new endeavor – the Third Amendment Foundation (TAF). For too long the Second Amendment has stolen too much thunder and taken too much glory. My brothers and sisters, no more! There is a threat, right here in your town, that is virtually hidden. And that threat is the government’s infringement of your right to not have military servicemen quartered in your home. Oh but that doesn’t happen! you say. Wrong! Let me tell you a true story.

“Just a few months ago. I was living happily in my home and a nice, fit twenty-three year old blond woman friend who shall remain nameless, was living not far away in her home. Her husband was serving in Iraq or some other fucking place. And since she was lonely I often kept her company. Well, lo and behold, this guy comes back from overseas and now he’s, like, living there and shit! But wait a second, I thought as I do on occasion. This guy is an active member of the military. And she says she doesn’t want him there any more. She wants me! This isn’t right.

“So I pulled out the Constitution and actually started to read the Amendments. Wow. I should’ve read it before because there was some really good stuff in there, though I hoped there wasn’t much more since my head was starting to ache. Luckily, there it was, this poor bastard Third Amendment languishing between the gun-loving Second and the you-can’t-touch-my-shit-without-a-warrant Fourth. And that was it for me. I knew I had to do this. For my friend. And, oh yeah, for all those other fuckers out there.”

LaPierre makes it clear in his letter that he is not “quitting to spend more time with my family. Honestly. Doesn’t everyone know that just means the guy is banging his secretary or neighbor? Something I’m absolutely not doing.”

LaPierre ends the letter with a hand-scribbled post-script: “Oh, and sorry about that few days of silence over the weekend. Our servers were being all slow and crap, so I kinda took one of the AR-15s hanging on my office wall and tried to correct the situation. A few hundred times. And then again with my grenade launcher and flamethrower.”