To the Editor:
Tyson Arnold's prominent guest opinion on your opinion page about the dangers of our "pill culture" as opposed to our "gun culture" was curiously noble in its attempt to direct attention from one awful scourge to another. But his blaring error in stating the number of gun-related deaths in the U.S. compared to drug deaths discredits his premise to a significant degree.
He states there are 9,000 gun deaths annually in the U.S. compared to his estimation of 25,000 drug deaths. I don't know where he got the number for gun deaths, but even a rudimentary Google search, with various sources, shows that the number of gun deaths in the U.S. far exceeds 9,000. I found three different sources, all of which come up with numbers ranging from 30,000 (Slate, the on-line magazine) to 32,300 (annual average as computed by the University of Pennsylvania's Firearms and Injury Center).
The truth is that many people believe the number of gun deaths in the U.S. is likely to exceed the number of deaths by automobile accidents by 2015, partly as a result of safer cars and less driving in general. But who would have thought more people would be killed in the U.S. by guns than by automobile accidents?
People who would lash out at these numbers and me by suggesting I'm just a rabid anti-gun advocate would be wise to re-consider. I own a firearm and I was a member of the NRA at the tender age of 11. I'm no knee-jerk gun-hater but I do question the need of any hunter or target shooter for a 100-round magazine on a semi-automatic assault weapon.
As our nation enters into yet another debate about gun control I feel it's important that the correct numbers about gun deaths be used as part of this important discussion. Pills and drugs are certainly a concern, but it's clear that guns are also contributing, arguably to a greater degree, to the decline of our national culture.