Why Do Gun Deaths Matter More Than Road Deaths?

The Daily Mail got me started, with their headline: “A mass shooting happens every FIVE days in America which led on, in turn to this analysis by one of the “tighter gun control” journalists at the “Daily Beast”.

We always get a similar flare up from the gun control lobby whenever there is yet another slaughter on the American street, but I was surprised to find the casualty rate this high. What, I wondered, was the current rate of US Road Deaths and to my even greater surprise I found that they’ve just about reached perfect parity, which is, I believe an historical first.

Now the question is, how should we put that?

For the first time ever, “Americans are killing as many people with guns as they kill on the roads” represents it as bad news for supporters of the 2nd Amendment. On the other hand: “American Road Deaths have fallen as low as American Gun Deaths” makes it a good news story for both.

In fact, truth is a good news story for both. Deaths from both causes have declined in the past decade, quite dramatically. But Road kills are down more dramatically than executions.

Both are currently killing nearly 90 Americans every day. 32,000 every year.

Consider the furore which began with 9-11 and continues to this day; the massive surveillance and legal infrastructure imposed around the world in an attempt to prevent another similar scale attack. Consider the – largely successful – attacks on liberty, free speech, free movement and privacy which have so dramatically changed all our lives since that evil day; not to mention two wars, one of which is internationally recognised as illegal and which have, between them, caused the deaths of vastly more civilians than the event which sponsored them.

If that colossal and sustained response is considered a rational reaction to the loss of 2600 innocent Americans, two rather large elephants appear in the room.

On the one hand, anyone who regards the reaction to 9-11 as rational and proportionate, can hardly complain when some citizens want to do something about the vastly greater American civilian death toll caused – often as deliberately as the 9-11 perpetrators – by their fellow citizens.

And, on the other hand, anyone who regards tighter gun control as the rational response to gun crime needs to address the question of why they make so little fuss about the – currently similar but historically much MUCH worse – CARnage on the roads.

Where, in other words, is the “Campaign to control Cars”?

Actually, I first answered that question in my chapter covering the War on Drugs. But an obvious further distinction has occurred to me which answers the question as to why gun death cause more anger and reaction than road deaths. Gun deaths are mostly deliberate. Road deaths are mostly accidental. But that doesn’t make it rational to prioritise one over the other. Not only that, but I would bet that every thousand dollars spent on Road death reduction would save more lives than a similar sum spent on gun death reduction.

What the gun control lobby have to accept, however, is that the principles involved in upholding the 2nd Amendment matter at least as much to supporters of gun ownership as do the massive convenience and freedom of movement (which even the wave of post 9-11 Authoritarianism hasn’t significantly dented) matter to car owners and users.

In each case, it is clearly the consensus of the supporters of their particular lethal prediliction that the benefits outweigh the costs.

But there is a further complication. The costs of both lethal behaviours are borne by society as a whole. And in terms of sheer numbers, there are clearly far more beneficiaries, and therefore, supporters of road transport than there are supporters of gun ownership. Even citizens who never drive clearly benefit from road transport; if only as a result of the food and material distribution network which keeps us all fed and clothed. So we can easily argue that support for our deadly motor transport system is, near as dammit, a true consensus. Only a few percent would be prepared to argue for dramatic reductions in the “right to drive”


if you haven’t already, download and install “Collusion” into your browser now. Assuming that is, that your browser is Firefox. The rest of you must, I’m afraid, continue to live in blissful ignorance. At least spend a few minutes on this site to see what you could be learning about what the “owners” are already learning about you…


Crucified by vigilantes of the internet: MoS proves that innocent young man was falsely branded a thief on the world’s biggest websites | Mail Online

ah yes, file this one under “Old Media, terrified of loss of power, prestige and profit, continues fight to Rubbish Internet”. They ignore the hundred stories about the benefits of social networking or youtube or whatever (criminals identified by their own postings, families reunited, lives saved etc etc) and zero in on the one about a negative consequence.

They do this at least once a week. The internet is forcing porn down our throats! The internet is damaging our brains! The internet is causing the loss of social skills! Using the internet makes you unfit! The internet contains lies!

“The entire episode has proven how social media such as Facebook and Twitter constitute something of a Wild West when it comes to laws of defamation, where anonymous users can accuse innocent people of crimes without any proof, in a spiralling nightmare of libel and slander.”

This “huge” story was so important they assigned two whole reporters to covering it. Presumably the tabloid tossers believe we’ll be unaware of the massive damage their own activities have wreaked on innocent citizens. Presumably they’ll hope we ignore the fact that, 24 hours after that court hearing, that video is no longer accessible and that if you go looking for the story all you will now find are confirmations that he wasn’t guilty. Indeed, I hadn’t heard the initial story at all, so the only impression I’ve come away with is favourable.

Contrast that with the rare occasions the victim has been able to force an apology from the Daily Mail and how little prominence that apology then receives in their own putrid little corner of the social psyche.

Be all of which as it may, there is also an interesting Trusted Surveillance angle. The first is that merely declaring the video as having been created/posted on 13 Nov (2 days after he landed in Japan) shouldn’t have been enough to clear his name (so he was lucky the taxi driver backed him up) Obviously the court and its advisers are ignorant of how easy it is to spoof ALL the timestamps on a video and, in any case, the mere fact that it was posted on Nov 13 doesn’t, even without spoofing, prove that the event didnt’ take place a couple of days earlier.

TS videos will be timestamped by reference to an immutable audit trail which makes it impossible to spoof the creation time. And any Taxi displaying a notice declaring that it is running TS is far less likely to be the subject of such attempted rip-offs in the first place (which is another reason insurance costs will gradually fall).

Crucified by vigilantes of the internet: MoS proves that innocent young man was falsely branded a thief on the world's biggest websites | Mail Online.