To the editor:
We need a national campaign to reduce gun deaths the way we reduced vehicle deaths. In 1965, 5.3 people died per 100 million miles driven, a total of 47,000 people dying on our roads. The rate of vehicle deaths was increasing. Then we had Ralph Nader (Unsafe At Any Speed) and MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).
The result? It cut the death rate by a factor of 5. By 2009 one-fifth as many people were dying on the road per 100 million miles even though we drove 4 times as many miles. This remarkable success did not come at the expense of denying us cars. This year vehicle deaths and gun deaths will intersect on the graph with gun deaths increasing and vehicle deaths decreasing. The figures for 2012 should be about 33,000 vehicle deaths and about 33,000 gun deaths. Both figures are for all causes of death.
Why does the NRA and 25 percent of the population who own guns oppose any effort to slow down the death rate in our classrooms and homes? The NRA needs to expand its effective Eddie Eagle program for children and stop spending millions to eliminate gun safety laws. The weapons manufacturers (supported by both political parties) spend millions to make guns more and more deadly. Remember how the car companies fought against safety features?
I'm tired of seeing Tea Party posters that say "We came without our guns....this time." I'm tired of the subtle threats of violent reprisal for speaking out against this carnage. Please, let's work together. Change the NRA mission and support Mothers Against Gun Violence. Google it. Get involved.
Dr. John Gochenouer
Southwest Minnesota State University