I’ve worked selling various products at trade shows and fairs for almost 20 years. In the US of A, I had a product that did really well at gun shows. And those shows were pretty inexpensive to get in so I could afford them when I was starting out. Like anywhere else I talked to people when I was at these shows and learned a lot of the ‘other’ side of the gun argument. There were quite a few cops and ex-cops at these shows and I got some great stories.
One particular story stuck with me that has a lot to do, I think, with a lot of comments I’ve seen with relation to some recent gun violence and also the legalization of pot(marijuana). I was working at this local fair one summer in a small town in southern Oregon.
First a little background on gun violence in the US of A…
For the years 2010 and 2011 there were about 32,000 gun deaths each year. Per https://www.thoughtco.com(which takes its data from government stats) about 60% of these are suicides. Leaves about 11,000. I’m not arguing here whether that is a lot or not compared to other places but let’s dig in a little deeper. Depending on where you, look up to 80% of these are gang related. Some places much more.
(I could not find the information but I’d love to see the stats on the suicides and how many of those were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of death. Most pharmaceuticals that are prescribed for depression and such have side effects that make those feelings worse…!)
Drugs, Crime, and Justice(Amazon link)
So, I’m working this fair in Oregon and chatting with the vendor in the next booth. As it turns out, he is a Sheriff and works as such on the weekends when they need the extra help. On the Sunday morning when we started, he mentioned that they had to deal with a gun incident the night before. I’m still not sure why I asked, but my question to him at that point was, “How many gun incidents are drug or alcohol related?” He looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “Well, all of them!” Further conversation stressed that they never had a situation involving firearms where there was an absence of drugs or alcohol.
It is very difficult to get the exact statistics on the gang stuff but drugs backed by violence is pretty much the bread and butter of inner city gang existence.
This(drugs+guns) bears out in mass shootings(which are pretty rare statistically), in that there are almost always drugs as part of the equation. In this case, almost always legal, prescribed drugs. Oops!
I still see people on social media trying to turn this around and blame the guns instead of the drugs. If you take the drugs out of the equation, guns are generally not a problem. If you take drugs out of the equation, and suicides committed by people using guns(that one can be argued, I’m sure), you are left with a couple of thousand deaths by guns a year. Which is almost the same as deaths by stabbing(https://www.infoplease.com/us/crime/murder-victims-weapons-used) and I don’t see people getting freaked out about knives. (Please note I did not break down the number of drunks and druggies doing the stabbing.)
Over the years, I’ve heard the media and a while back, one comedian mention that Australia’s gun murders have gone down by about 50% since guns were banned in 1993 or so. If you do the research, gun murders in the USA have gone down the exact same percentage for the same period of time. Gun murders are about half what they were in 1992 and the volume of gun ownership has increased by about 2 1/2 times in the same period of time.
Gun Murders 51 year low
So, why then are people getting more upset about passing laws about guns? My figuring is that curtailing the use of drugs would make a lot more difference. Maybe all the difference.
I do welcome comments. I’m willing to look at statistics that make sense.
For more on this go to Amazon.com:
Drugs, Crime, and Justice