Letter: Armed and Dangerous
To the Editor:
Anthony Stimson thinks that if more people carried guns, we would all be safer (“More Guns Equal More Safety,” Dec. 19). I disagree. The U.S. averages 30,000 gun deaths per year. This is about 85 deaths each day. Approximately 9,000 people are intentionally killed by guns; the rest are accidents or suicide. No other country comes anywhere close to this, not even Afghanistan, where there is a shooting war going on.
What is Stimson’s solution? Fewer gun laws, more people carrying guns. Would that work? Could we discern what might happen if more people carried guns and someone started shooting? I can cite two examples why this won’t work: When Gabby Giffords was shot by a man using a legally purchased pistol with a 30-round clip, that gun was wrestled from him by people still alive when he exhausted his clip and tried to reload. At that point, a gun-carrying man ran up with his gun drawn and aimed it at the heroic person now holding the empty gun. Only the hysterical shrieking of the people still wrestling with the gunman prevented the wrong person from being shot.
This past August outside the Empire State Building, a man shot and killed a former co-worker. Police quickly arrived and a firefight ensued. Nine bystanders were wounded — three by direct hits and the rest by fragments of shattered bullets. All the injured bystanders were wounded by police gunfire. The police are trained in the use of firearms, which presumably includes learning about the hazards of firing a pistol in a crowd. Now imagine that many of the bystanders, not extensively trained, if at all, were carrying handguns and joined in. Would they know who to shoot at?
Can such possible future carnage even be calculated?