Right now, a lot of attention is being directed at Covid-19, also called the Coronavirus. It’s understandable, too. There’s a nasty bug floating around that may have a fairly high mortality rate, one that might be higher than the official sources indicate. Then again, there may not be. Right now, information is sketchy and unless you know the medicine side well enough, it’s easy to get confused.
Frankly, I figure it’s better to prepare for it being nasty and be wrong than the alternative.
However, some are trying to compare the concern over this to gun violence.
The United States is facing many kinds of epidemics and public health crises that require our immediate attention. Public health can be defined in broad terms as any set of circumstances that threaten the well-being of the general public and can be avoided with sensible government involvement.
When six Americans succumbed to coronavirus this past Monday, their deaths dominated the news. That was perfectly understandable, considering that the quickly spreading disease had killed some 3,000 people in other parts of the world but until then had claimed no lives in the United States.
But when at least 36 Americans died that same day amid the nation’s epidemic of gun violence, which has ended more than 6,700 lives in the U.S. this year alone, there was no national news about it. Instead, it was treated as just another Monday of gun-related deaths in America — which, strictly in statistical terms, it was.
The contrast between the reactions to the COVID-19 outbreak and Monday’s death toll from gun homicides, accidental shootings and suicides was night and day, and it unfortunately speaks to the level to which gun violence has become part of the daily American experience.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. This can be the year when Americans put their foot down by electing leaders who understand the need for greater gun safety in our country and support reasonable, responsible actions to get a handle on the problem.
This is an idiotic argument.
First, let’s understand some key differences between gun violence and a disease.
A disease is the result of a microscopic organism that has no real volition beyond its evolutionary drive to reproduce itself. It invades a host and spreads throughout the system because it has no free will to opt not to do that. It’s a tiny lifeform that has no consciousness, no ability to decide for itself what it will and won’t do.
Those who perpetrate gun violence, however, do. They make a conscious choice to use a gun for an illegal act. They have that volition to simply not commit violence. They opt, however, do commit it anyway.
Because of that, the approaches to each of these are necessarily different. You treat disease by establishing best practices like washing your hands and quarantining people if necessary because there’s not a lot of other options.
Violence, however, does. There are other options. You can reason with people, provide alternatives so they make different and better decisions. There are options that allow us to get down to the roots of crime and potentially end it.
Further, there’s another key point that’s missing, and that’s how there’s absolutely no way for an individual to use a virus or bacteria defensively. With a gun, you can, but not a virus.
That fact alone changes much of the argument and makes any attempt to equate a viral epidemic with gun violence beyond idiotic. Then again, this is someone who uses the phrase “gun safety” in an obvious call for gun control. “Smart” is probably an adjective they’re used to seeing applied to them anyway.