Letter: Statistics suggest automobiles more dangerous than guns

From: Noel Taylor


Wikipedia states,”‘Lies, damned lies, and statistics’ is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments.”

I’ve seen The Republic publish letters on the subject of guns that contain plenty of the first two, but I’ve seen less statistics. Perhaps to add to readers’ amusement, let’s look at some.

A quick browser search finds that there are more than 300 million guns in the U.S., and figures range from 10,000 to 30,000 on the number of deaths by guns each year.

Another browser search finds that there are more than 250 million vehicles in the U.S., and figures hover around 32,000 deaths each year in motor vehicle accidents.

Comparing these statistics gave me an idea, spawned by the Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership website, which notes that gun control advocates take a public health approach that focuses completely upon drawbacks to gun ownership without considering benefits.

It’s obvious from the statistics that motor vehicles are involved in a lot of death and destruction. I suggest that we respond to that fact with the same approach used by gun control advocates, starting with lobbying for the prohibition of motor vehicles from all public places, and with the ultimate goal of eliminating all motor vehicle ownership.

Surely we can achieve major public health benefits by requiring all land transportation to take place on foot or by human-powered vehicles. Just think: shopping, visits to family, ambulance runs and distribution of materials and foodstuffs would no longer put the traveling public at risk of death and dismemberment due to collisions on our streets and highways. What are we waiting for?