Archive for December 19th, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Got a Problem? Have it Banned!

There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000, notes Wikipedia. The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides, it says.

In 2008, 12,000 Americans were killed with guns, according to Business Insider, and according to a Violence Policy Center which was apparently published in 2011, more than 30,000 Americans die in gun suicides, homicides, and unintentional shootings.

In 2010, 3,648 human lives were lost in Germany – then the lowest number to date in a year (at least since 1953, the yearof the first statistic). No, people here weren’t shot by guns. They were road-traffic casualties. There are efforts to bring these numbers down further. But as long as these efforts don’t succeed, one has to conclude that more than 3,000 deaths in traffic accidents are apparently deemed an acceptable number.

Stop laughing. Driving a tractor is serious business.

Stop laughing. Driving a tractor is serious business.

One of my classmates died in a car-related accident. One childhood friend died in a car crash years after leaving school.

I’m not suggesting that America shouldn’t have tighter gun control. I have no clear-cut opinion about gun control in America – it’s not my business. But I can relate to both sides of the argument – to those who want tighter legislation (especially if they lost loved ones), and to those who oppose such changes.

What I dislike is the finger-pointing here in Germany: look at those ludicrous Americans! A right to bear arms! They are completely nuts!

It may depend on what matters to you. Most Germans find a life without a car inconceivable, and especially when they live outside the public-transport networks, they have a number of practical reasons for that. But even within Bremen, most people I know own or co-own a car.

Frequently, I have reason to fear cars – I’m going by bicycle, whenever I can. But don’t want to see cars banned, or car-related taxes be increased. Rather, I’d sometimes wish that car drivers were more considerate. Obviously, that’s mostly a matter of attitude, not of legislation.

I dislike bans and restrictions. We have too many of them already, and they always seem to come with “convincing” reasons. When people place more hope on politics for achieving restrictions, than for achieving a freer society, something seems to be wrong with our concept of politics.

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