There were about 100 people killed yesterday traveling across roads in America; that is what annual statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) demonstrate. As a result, do we need traffic reform?
The numbers below represent lives that were snuffed out due to traffic fatalities in the past three years, according to NHTSA:
- 2018: 36,750 deaths … avg. 100.68 fatalities per day
- 2017: 37,133 deaths … avg. 101.73 fatalities per day
- 2016: 37,806 … avg. 103.57 fatalities per day
What is the culprit, automobiles or drivers?
Our laws place responsibility with the driver, as it should be (unless there is a mechanical flaw with the vehicle).
When a man driving a Dodge pickup truck killed seven people riding motorcycles in Maine a few months ago, no one argued for “pickup control,” or reform making it more difficult to buy a Dodge 2500 due to its’ design and ability to wreak havoc and destruction.
The responsibility was placed with the negligent driver.
The same can be said for the driver of a charter bus carrying a church youth group. The bus left the roadway, killing two and injuring 13 others. No one called for vigorous “charter bus legislation.”
At this time we have confirmed two fatalities related to this charter bus crash. Our condolences go out to the families of those involved in this crash. We will provide further information as we are able. pic.twitter.com/sijgTQyRON
— CSP Public Affairs (@CSP_News) June 24, 2019
An automobile is a deadly weapon when it is in the hands of a negligent operator. Moreover, vehicles are intentionally used in felony assaults far more frequently than most citizens will ever realize. Yet “automobile reform” is not part of the public conversation.
Political opportunists demanding reform
By now you probably know where I am going with this information. Every time there is a mass shooting, political activists and too many politicians demand reform. Unfortunately, they are opportunists placing the blame on a “thing” (firearm) rather than looking at the true root cause, which is the distorted mind and rotten heart of the individual. That is where the focus should be! So why is our culture churning out mass murderers? It’s a complex question with many facets. I’ve co-authored a book, Jurisdiction: A Cop and a Pastor Talk About Life, which offers in depth analysis and investigation.
The arguments of the anti-gun lobby play on the emotional turmoil caused by these heinous mass murders, and more gun reform – however it’s played out – will not be the answer. It never is!
People are dying … right now
In the time it will take to write this article, there will be more people killed in traffic fatalities than the last two mass-murder-bloodbaths combined—El Paso and Dayton. I apologize for what appears to be an insensitive statement, but nevertheless, it is reality. My heart grieves for the people slaughtered by these killers, yet I also grieved every time I investigated a traffic fatality that never made headline news.
Defensive handgun use
If all gun sales were halted tomorrow, it would not fix the problem. Current estimates indicate there are more firearms in circulation than actual people.
Furthermore, the anti-gun crowd refuses to acknowledge the number of people annually defended by gun ownership. It is a phenomenal number.
An unpublished Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study confirms Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck’s findings of more than two million defensive handgun uses (DGUs) per year.
Since the early 1990s, Kleck has maintained that there is a minimum of 760,000 DGUs annually. However, that is his low estimate. Kleck and research partner Marc Gertz have contended the actual number is closer to 2.5 million, reported Breitbart.
Kleck reaffirmed his numbers on February 17, 2015, explaining that while plenty of naysayers have criticized his findings, none have been able to offer empirical evidence to counter them.
“Privilege” vs. “Right”
Driving an automobile is a “privilege” not a right. Owning a firearm is a constitutional “right” afforded to American citizens under the Second Amendment. A constitutional “right” has much greater authority than a “privilege,” yet you’d never know it after hearing certain political leaders hoping to erode every letter of the U.S. Constitution that does not agree with their ideology, including the First Amendment, but that is another topic for discussion.
Background checks will not discern human depravity
I whole-heartedly endorse background checks for prospective gun owners. The purpose is to ensure violent criminals and those determined to be mentally unstable cannot purchase a firearm. That is good!
But a society that thinks stricter gun laws will solve the problems created by mass murderers do not understand the depth of human depravity. Quite frankly, it is because of evil found in people that I will always have a firearm loaded by my bedside and another carried with me when I travel about.
Consequently, I believe more “good people” with guns is far better than turning those same people into criminals due to well intentioned, yet misguided laws. These actions are strictly symbolic, they do not deter or stop malevolence any more than signs stating, “Drug Free Zone” inhibit the use of narcotics.
What’s more, how many of the 2 million defensive handgun uses annually could have resulted in death had the weapon not been made available to a victim of crime?
Working as a plainclothes undercover cop I’ve had to pull a firearm to defend myself against would-be predators in high crime areas on three occasions. Each incident was completely unrelated to the criminal case I was involved in at the time. I was simply an unwelcomed target in each instance; once for potential carjacking, the other two crimes involved armed gang bangers doing what they do—threaten and intimidate good citizens.
Furthermore, I’ve armed myself a handful of times around my home when I perceived potential danger to be nearby. As a private citizen, I do not want to lose that right!
Out of business
So if our country wants to put Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, etc. out of business, perhaps we should do the same with Ford, Chevy, and Dodge, because far more people die due to automobiles than firearms.
– Jim McNeff
Jim worked in military and civilian law enforcement for thirty-one years. While in the USAF he flew as a crewmember aboard the National Emergency Airborne Command Post—a presidential support detail. Following his military service, he served for twenty-eight years with the Fountain Valley Police Department in Orange County, California where he retired as a lieutenant. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Southwest University and graduated from the prestigious Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute as well as the IACP course, Leadership in Police Organizations.