The El Paso and Dayton mass shootings look like they might “succeed” where previous iterations did not in spurring the government to “do something.” While liberals are broken-record demanding an assault weapon ban (despite the last one accomplished nothing), we see some conservative outlets doing the same, and others advocating for other measures, such as “red flag laws” that would allow, via court order, someone deemed a risk to be denied access to guns.

Mass shootings are worse than a tragedy, they are a horror, especially when children get killed.

That said, while figuring out “why,” and seeking remedies that would make a difference, are legitimate endeavors, it’s also important to note that they are incredibly rare.

How rare? We are now seeing them happen more frequently, but note that since the year 2000, a total of 696 people have been killed in mass shootings. That’s 37 deaths a year, in a nation of 327 million.

By comparison, 10 people die every day from accidental drowning, a fifth of them children 14 years old and younger. That’s 100 drowning victims for every mass shooting victim.

How about we ban swimming pools? Think of all the children’s lives that will be saved!

And, by comparison, 37,000 people die every year in the US in automotive accidents. You are 1000x more likely to die in a car crash than to be killed by a mass shooter.

We take precautions when we drive. Our cars are designed to protect us, we wear safety belts, we remain alert to our surroundings, and yet, a hundred of us still get killed every day. No amount of “safe design” can fully protect us from bad actors.

Well, that’s not quite true. We could easily reduce that body count by thousands, or even tens of thousands, with one simple law: require all vehicle manufacturers to set maximum travel speed to 25 miles per hour. That would save far, far more children’s lives than an assault weapons ban (if the latter would save any at all. Two-thirds of mass shooters didn’t even use “assault weapons,” and there are many other ways to commit mass murder (Japan has suffered several arson and knife mass murders in recent years)).

Too much, too far, you say?

How about banning sports cars? Or, how about neutering them by mandating a 50 MPH regulated top speed and no more than 100 horsepower?

How’s that sound? After all, Europe’s doing something similar, and they’re supposedly smarter than us.

But, but, most sports car drivers are responsible, and don’t drive recklessly or with murderous intent, you say?

Do you get it, now?.

There are, by reasonable estimates, well north of 10 million AR-15 format rifles in the country, and perhaps as many as 50 million rifles that could be legally jiu-jitsued into the “assault weapon” category. This means that fewer than one in a million has ever been used in a mass murder. It’s a certainty that more than one sports car in a million has been involved in a vehicular death, but I don’t much call for banning Corvettes, Hellcats, Camaros, Mustangs, or any of the European exotics (not to mention the souped up “ricers” with their buzzing coffee-can exhausts that festoon certain movie franchises).

I’m sure there are a few making such demands, though. And, I’m sure none of them own or drive sports cars.

It’s really easy to say “lets ban X or restrict Y” if you’re not interested in X or Y. People who want to impose restrictions on gun access are usually not gun people. Even the “Fudds,” the people who purport to be hunters but support assault weapon bans, are (if they are actually hunters – I suspect many are liars) merely looking to do things that won’t infringe on their own rights.

How many of these infringers would be as blasé about elimination of the Fourth Amendment, so that police could search your house or car at will. For everyone’s safety, of course, and if you’re not doing anything wrong, why should you object? You can give up some rights so that bad guys are easier to lock up and lives can be saved, no?

Gun bans are a really futile and stupid gesture. They won’t stop anyone with mass-murderous intent who wouldn’t already be stopped by existing law. Such people aren’t moment-of-passion types. They seethe, they rage, they plan, for months, sometimes. The reduced availability will simply turn them to a different tool, one that might actually be worse. Moreso, many of the proposals put forth after such tragedies would not have stopped the shooter that prompted them. What does that tell you about the intent of the proposers?

But, look past them to the broader picture. If you really want to reduce deaths in our society, there are far more effective measures that can be taken. If your objection to them is the infringement of a liberty that you cherish, well, aren’t you simply being selfish?

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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