Another Word On Gun Violence

~ By Robin Avery ~

Thank you Mr. Tagard for taking the time to respond to my article. This is a debate we need to have. Thanks to the editors at Prime Time for Senior’s, allowing us to have this discussion.

Mr. Tagard starts out making an assumption that I’m “anti-gun,” and in so doing he steps in the proverbial cow pie. I own shotguns, rifles and handguns. I took gun safety courses starting at the age of 9, and was hunting at the age of 12. I’ve hunted bear, deer, squirrel, pheasant, rabbit, fox, duck, and geese. I don’t hunt anymore, but still keep guns in my house. It’s a logical fallacy, a red herring, to make the claim that reasonable attempts to curb gun violence are pushed by gun haters who wish to take away all guns from gun owners   Show your work. Show our readership evidence to support your assertion that the government is taking guns away from law abiding citizens, or any proposed laws for doing so.

The statement that “there is no gun violence” is ridiculous. Mr. Tagard says there is violence with guns, but not gun violence. I fail to see the distinction.  He states with no supporting data that, “If the numbers are crunched, the use of guns is rather small when compared to other tools.” The facts are that guns were used in 11,078 homicides in the U.S. in 2010, and in 68% of all homicides. On average, 33 gun homicides were committed each day for the years 2005-2010. A woman is killed every five hours by a gun in domestic violence situations. It’s easy to Google this data.

The claim that “Trying to keep anything out of the hands of a child is a fruitless task.You cannot child-proof a gun,” makes me ask where Mr. Tagart gets his information? My firsthand experience as a parent, is that I could keep things out of reach of my children when they were young, and under lock and key as they grew older. There are very effective gun locks that child-proof a gun.

As to the assertion that, “The schools are given the task of rearing our children.” Please cite reliable sources from licensed clinical social workers that this is true. There is a fast and loose use of fact, logic and reason in my friend’s rebuttal.

Look, let’s simply focus on the innocent children who become victims. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • The U.S. firearms fatality rate among children under 15 years old is nearly 12 times higher than in 25 other industrialized countries combined, a stunning lapse of core government responsibility.
  • About 3,000 children and teens die from gun injuries every year. (That exceeds one Sandy Hook Massacre every three days.)
  • A child or teen dies or is injured every 30 minutes from guns.

In the early 1990’s, when gun violence and gun deaths surged, pediatricians became involved. They were losing lives they had brought into the world. Pediatricians will tell you that prevention is the core of their work. In 2010, gun-related injuries accounted for 6,570 deaths of children 1 to 24 years of age. To those fatality numbers, add the 20,000 children rushed to emergency rooms with gun injuries every year. Gun violence is endemic, and to ignore the facts is simply unacceptable. Pediatricians began to address the protection of children from gun-related causes alongside the prevention of other types of injuries, poisonings, child abuse, lead toxicity, and infectious diseases. They started treating it as a public health issue with positive results.

Other first world countries have come together to address the issue of gun violence in meaningful ways. Gun owners, families, educators, medical professionals, religious leaders, teachers, city and state officials, and young people have come together in meaningful and creative ways to improve the safety of their homes, the commons, and society.

Violence should not be tolerated by a civilized society. Parental teaching must emphasis limiting children’s viewing of violent material on TV and video games. A model behavior from our elected officials, religious leaders, parents and educators should be to celebrate and honor peaceful behavior and mediation as a means of problem solving. Guns should be limited and the assault weapons ban should be reinstituted nationwide. Instead of increasing the number of guns in public places, as was recently suggested by the National Rifle Association, we need to set a goal of reducing the number of guns in our homes and communities. Magazine capacity should be limited. This reduction can be accomplished through licensure and certification of gun owners and purchasers, and tighter consumer-safety regulations. State restrictions that prevent health officials from discussing gun safety with their patients, like we’ve seen in Florida for instance, should be reversed. Finally, let’s dedicate more funding to treat people who are identified as being at high risk for committing violent acts.

We will honor our children, our families, our communities and contribute to our quality of life as a society when, through reasonable laws and public policy, we prevent the loss of these precious lives. We will honor those who have had the gift of life stolen from them.
I do agree that respect is a valuable character trait. But if there are human beings that have no respect for another person’s life (and I know there are), I pray to God they don’t have access to a gun.

Robin Avery is a Gerontologist, Consultant, Developer and Operator of assisted living communities, with a Master’s Degree from The Naropa University. He can be reached at

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