Monday, October 24, 2011

Guns are Good for Health

There are 700,000 physicians in the U.S., and these physicians cause 120,000 accidental deaths per year. That’s an accidental death rate of .171 per physician.

Now on the other hand, there are 80 million gun owners in the U.S. and perhaps 1500 accidental gun deaths per year. That’s an accidental death rate of .0000188 per gun owner.

Therefore, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners! In fact, I’d recommend if you aren’t really sick, that you should go to the Temple Gun Club Range and shoot or just stay in bed with your gun. That is a whole lot surer way to recovery than going to a doctor—unless of course, he happens to be a gun owner too.

While I thought that story was funny, there is actually a serious side to the assertion that guns are good public health policy. Oh, the anti-gun movement will convey an impression that firearms in the home are a leading cause of accidental death and injury. In fact, Centers for Disease Control statistics indicate firearms are pretty far down on the list! Deaths and injuries from swimming pools and falls from ladders are a lot more common. There is well-documented evidence too, to show that firearms in the home and carried concealed amount to net health benefits. The National Crime Victimization Survey by the Census Bureau indicates that a minimum of 65,000 crimes are stopped or prevented annually by armed citizens, usually without a shot fired. Thirteen other studies estimate far more crimes are actually thwarted by citizens with their own firearms. Based on that evidence, I think every law abiding gun-owner deserves a break on his life and health insurance simply for owning a gun—more if it’s loaded and you’re packing!

Seriously, to ignore the data—to focus only on the many fewer deaths caused by firearms, accidental or criminal, is like the physician mentioning only undesirable side effects of a drug that occur, but ignoring the good effects for most people. Imagine how the drug commercials would change—no more dancing through the tulips with clear nasal passages. Instead you’d have a version of Scrooge watching his own funeral procession. Disease would become the acceptable norm, and you couldn’t accept the “risk” of being healthy. If that kind of perverse thinking sounds too familiar, it is because politicians actually use it all the time.

General George S. Patton said, “The lowest form of life on earth is a politician. The lowest form of a politician is a liberal.” (Actually, he said liberal Democrat, but I’m being as nonpartisan as I can). Anyway, I do agree the lowest form of a politician is a liberal. A liberal is someone who holds you up at gunpoint, without giving you the courtesy of letting you know he’s doing it. You see the liberal politician doesn’t show you his firearm, but it’s there: in back of every legal mandate or property seizure; in every tax and every coercive move by the government to take from you what’s yours, including future opportunities and potential—all ostensibly for the good of others, but mainly for the good of the political class in the interest of keeping power. When a liberal politician talks about gun control, it isn’t about guns but about control. Because he knows the Second Amendment is in place in case he ignores the others. To paraphrase Scripture, ‘If you would spoil a strongman’s house, you must first bind up the strongman.’

Remember the two young lunatics at Columbine? They broke at least 20 different gun laws that might have landed them in prison for decades, even before the shootings. Liberals will tell you though that we should have passed more laws rather than enforce the ones we’ve got. Their “logic” so-called is that guns cause crime, and laws—that is, words on a paper alone, prevent crime. Yeah, just like pencils cause misspelled words! Like a recipe on the kitchen counter will bake your cake.

The majority of Swiss households contain a fully automatic rifle with ammunition. Firearms are available to nearly every resident of Switzerland, yet the violent crime rate is low. In this country, crime rates are actually lower for regions, such as the Rocky Mountains and North Carolina, and for population groups, such as older males, where gun ownership rates are highest. Concealed carry laws in Texas did not result in shoot-outs at every 4-way stop sign. Of more than 163,000 licensees in Texas in 2002, only three were even arrested in connection with a homicide in a two-year period. Alligator attacks are more common in Florida than crimes committed by citizens licensed to carry concealed weapons. Liberals denounce the gun culture, as if it is a culture of violence when in fact, it is the culture of responsibility and self-reliance and safety. A culture of violence exists alright, but it has more to do with dysfunctional families, drugs and warped media images and the secular pop-culture, than it has to do with Charlton Heston raising his musket high over his head at an NRA Convention.


Wesley Allen Riddle is a retired military officer with degrees and honors from West Point and Oxford. Widely published in the academic and opinion press, he serves as State Director of the Republican Freedom Coalition (RFC). His newly released book, Horse Sense for the New Millennium is available on-line at and from fine bookstores everywhere. Email:

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