Letters to the Editor

In matters of safety, guns rank at bottom

If we’re going to frame the gun control discussion as a safety issue, then let’s talk about safety.

Here are the causes of death by percent of total from CDC/NHS, National Vital Statistics System:

1. Diseases of the heart 28.5

2. Malignant tumors 22.8

3. Cerebrovascular diseases 6.7

4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.1

5. Accidents (unintentional injuries) 4.4

6. Diabetes mellitus 3.0

7. Influenza and pneumonia 2.7

8. Alzheimer’s disease 2.4

9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis 1.7

10. Septicemia (blood poisoning) 1.4

11. Suicide 1.3

12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis 1.1

13. Primary hypertension and hypertensive renal disease 0.8

14. (Tied) Parkinson’s disease and homicide 0.7

DUIs kill and maim thousands annually. Tobacco related deaths and illnesses affect many more thousands. Alcohol induced liver disease and cirrhosis kill twice as many as homicides. The homicide death rate includes all forms of homicide, not only firearms, and it’s still only a small fraction of others.

Perhaps we should discuss the agenda of those who would ignore so many significant causes of death and injury and focus instead on rabble rousing. What are we not supposed to see? Just as many people die from Parkinson’s disease as from all forms of homicide, so why aren’t we hearing a national outcry to investigate and prevent Parkinson’s disease? Perhaps because it isn’t exciting? Want safety? Let’s talk about heart disease and cancer. Want notoriety? Let’s focus on something that gets people excited and ignore everything else.

Jack L. Hickman, Fairview Heights

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