How many “gun deaths” are we willing to tolerate?

Scott Adams (you know him as the guy who does Dilbert) offered what he considers to be ” first opinion you have ever heard on the topic of gun ownership in the United States. “

I am willing to accept up to 20,000 gun deaths per year in the United States in order to preserve the 2nd Amendment right to own firearms.

Why does he consider this the first opinion? Because in his formulation, anyone who doesn’t consider both the pluses and minuses of a particular course of action before offering their viewpoint is giving a “half-pinion.” If all you care about is the benefits, you’re not considering the costs. If all you care about is the costs, then you’re not considering the benefits. If you don’t address both, your “opinion” is not actually an opinion at all. It’s just you bloviating.

Let me preface all of this by saying that I like listening to Scott. I enjoy his Periscope talks, which I listen to as podcasts. He makes things easier to understand and he makes a lot of what’s going on in the world less infuriating. Moving on…

So, what’s my opinion? My considered opinion is I’m willing to tolerate 325 million “gun deaths” in order to preserve the 2nd Amendment. I don’t care if every last one of the rest of you go out and blow your own brains out. I’m not trading in my AR for a Walmart gift card.

Now let’s discuss his “opinion” that “gun deaths” need to fall by about half in order for him to be satisfied that the 2nd Amendment is worth retaining.

Just for the sake of argument, I’m going to use only CDC WISQARS data. We understand that what the CDC calls “homicide” does not track with the official FBI data on total murder and non-negligent homicides, but the FBI doesn’t track suicides, so we’re stuck with these numbers. You can check these numbers directly on the CDC database yourself if you’d like.

WISQARS Death by Firearm 2017

Legal Intervention553

What would be the easiest way to “cut ‘gun deaths’ in half?

Eliminate all firearm suicides.

I have a plan. Exit Bags

Instead of letting white men 35 and over (49.2% of all suicides, 58.7% of all firearm suicides) shoot themselves, let’s hand out helium or nitrogen cylinders, tubing, and a head bag to everyone. Hold a great big campaign. Make up some rhyme that encourages potential suicides to suck some inert gas rather than use a gun. Maybe do some PSAs with crime scene cleanup crews who discuss the mess and evidence of the agony of those who shoot themselves while contrasting that with the ease of cleanup and the total quick exit provided by inert gas.

Scott Adams says he’s a master of persuasion. Maybe he could join in the effort by helping persuade people that suicide by gun is so last year. All the cool kids are sucking helium.

Of course, suicides would skyrocket, but no one gives a shit about that. No one cares about the person who kills themselves, especially not those who cry crocodile tears over their dead bodies while using their blood to lubricate the slippery slope of gun control.

If all you care about are how many people die due to gunshot wound, then the solution is easy. If you actually give a shit about people, it’s a little harder.

Maybe, Scott Adams, you should consider giving a shit about people and not just about numbers in a chart.

One response to “How many “gun deaths” are we willing to tolerate?

  1. Even with the suicide rate we’re better off with the second amendment than without.

    Cambodia didn’t have a 2nd amendment and Pol Pot managed a century of our gun death rate in just five years.

    I’ve mentioned him fairly often on my blog: