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Letter: Newtown killings were not a one-time thing

Everyone acknowledges that the killings at Newtown are tragic. For the time being, many folks are talking about action to reduce or eliminate such events in the future. But life will sooner or later draw our immediate attention from keeping this important issue in the forefront of discussion, planning and action.

Several news organizations have been daily posting a running tally of all those killed by guns in the United States since that terrible day – just to remind us that this is not a one-time thing.

I urge the Monitor and all your publications begin a similar practice. A better statistic would be to show all those shot and all those killed as separate indicators of how pervasive this plague on our society actually is. Please continue this for at least 12 months.

MICHAEL WARNING

Wilmot

Michael - I like you idea of publishing statistics. For example; A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 0.5% of households had members who had used a gun for defense during a situation in which they thought someone "almost certainly would have been killed" if they "had not used a gun for protection." Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 162,000 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all "military service, police work, or work as a security guard."[12] * Based on survey data from the U.S. Department of Justice, roughly 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in the United States during 2008. These include simple/aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, rapes, and murders.[13] [14] [15] Of these, about 436,000 or 8% were committed by offenders visibly armed with a gun.[16] * Based on survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology,[17] U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year.[18] * A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 3.5% of households had members who had used a gun "for self-protection or for the protection of property at home, work, or elsewhere." Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 1,029,615 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all "military service, police work, or work as a security guard."[19] * A 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.[20] * A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the U.S. found:[21] • 34% had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim" • 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they "knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun" • 69% personally knew other criminals who had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim"[22

Add to this: lets also start publishing all instances, without exception, of firearms preventing crimes. Do you want to be fair and tell a complete story, or is this all about your agenda?

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