In the debate over gun control, those who favor such policies have a tendency to list of individual instances of a firearm being misused, then claim that the common denominator in all of these instances is the gun itself.
The idea here is to paint guns as the problem and that by removing them from private hands–whether the author means in totality or only in some limited manner is irrelevant–can we put an end to such things.
I have mistakenly knocked on a stranger’s door. I have answered the door for a stranger asking for directions. I have mistakenly driven up the wrong driveway. Strangers turn around in my driveway all the time. I have tried to open the door of a car that looked like mine, but wasn’t. I have had someone mistakenly try to open my car door . And never did it occur to me that I might be shot for these actions, or even worse, that I might shoot someone else.
The common denominator is the guns. Gun ownership is a significant predictor of higher gun homicide rates. In an American Journal of Public Health study, for each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9%. Having a gun in the home, regardless of storage practice, type of gun or number of firearms, was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide.
First, that study has so many holes in it that it’s not even funny. Even so, a 0.9 percent increase in the homicide rate isn’t exactly an appreciable increase in the risk, so even if the study were accurate, it’s not like people who have a firearm are at some grave risk.
But what bothers me the most is the idea that guns are the common denominator. They might be a common denominator, but they’re far from the only one.
What else is there?
People are also a common denominator, and they’re the common denominator over more than just so-called gun crime.
While the author notes shooting deaths, he ignores a lot of other things.
For example, the 15-year-old boy who was stabbed to death in Philadelphia didn’t make the cut for some reason.
Nor did the stabbing death of a 33-year-old doctor in Las Vegas, allegedly killed by her enraged husband.
What about the 32-year-old mother of four in Gainesville, Florida who was also stabbed to death?
And lest you think that knife control will curb these, we have the story of a 65-year-old man beaten to death in Huntington Beach, California.
It’s very easy to pretend that the common denominator in a problem is one thing when you cherry-pick your examples, which is all the author did.
He’s not the first to do so, of course. He didn’t come up with this argument. He won’t be the last to use it, either.
Guns are not the common denominator in homicides, despite what some want to pretend. Guns are only a common denominator in gun homicides, which is about as obvious as a statement comes.
The common denominator in all homicides is that people carry them out.
The gun control crowd hates the phrase, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” yet that’s precisely what this shows.