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Guns don't kill people, hoodies kill people

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Isn't it rather an odd world where carrying a gun is always blameless -- but an unarmed person wearing a particular piece of clothing, look out.

Geraldo Rivera has apologized for his comments about hoodies (Riversa suggested that Trayvon Martin, the 17 year old recently killed in Florida, shared half the blame for wearing a hoodie), but the fact that that he fixes on clothing worn by the victim rather than the weapon carried by his killer illustrates how the Conservative mind works. Guns can never be the problem, so something else must be the problem, in the same way that big oil can never be a problem so climate change must be a hoax. The conclusion is true by definition, so any evidence that challenges it must be false.

In the wake of 9/11, one of my associates was offered secret service protection. Not the full bore presidential level detail, but one or two officers that would accompany him in public at all times. He rejected it when he discovered that all the protection could really do is limit the number of shots an assailant could fire and maybe kill or capture him. If a trained, armed and alert secret service officer who is only thinking about protecting the life of their protectee can't provide absolute security then I am pretty sure that the average bozo packing heat can't do much to protect themselves either.

The problem with guns is not simply that they provide a way in which one person can kill another, but that they make it possible to do so in an instant. Killing someone with a knife is hard. Suffocation even harder. Gunshots, a simple flick of the finger.

It is possible that Zimmerman or Martin might have been killed if neither one was armed, but it is much less likely that would have happened, just as it is much less likely that a domestic dispute will result in murder if no gun is present:

A 1997 study that examined the risk factors for violent death for women in the home found that when there were one or more guns in the home, the risk of suicide among women increased nearly five times and the risk of homicide increased more than three times. The increased risk of homicide associated with firearms was attributable to homicides at the hands of a spouse, intimate acquaintance, or close relative.
An analysis of female domestic homicides (a woman murdered by a spouse, intimate acquaintance, or close relative) showed that prior domestic violence in the household made a woman 14.6 times more likely, and having one or more guns in the home made a woman 7.2 times more likely, to be the victim of such a homicide.
Having a gun in the home makes it three times more likely that you or someone you care about will be murdered by a family member or intimate partner.

A firearm in the home may be a key factor in the escalation of nonfatal spousal abuse to homicide. In a study of family and intimate assaults for the city of Atlanta, Georgia, in 1984, firearm-associated family and intimate assaults were 12 times more likely to result in death than non-firearm associated assaults between family and intimates.

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