[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
65°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 22
1865 - Discoverer Ramon Perea and partner sell Pico Canyon oil claim to Edward Beale & Robert Baker for $300 [story]


Out of Left Field | Commentary by Charlie Vignola
| Sunday, Feb 3, 2013

charlievignolaI really thought I’d written my last gun column for a while.  I’d penned quite a few since Sandy Hook, with the same outcome: If you agreed with me that there is still some progress to be made in terms of new gun legislation, then I was just preaching to the choir. If you disagreed with me, then no amount of cajoling or evidence would ever convince you otherwise.

And then I saw two recent statistics, one from the Centers for Disease Control and one from the FBI, and I realized I wasn’t quite done with the subject matter.  If data mean anything to you, you should give the subject a second thought, as well.

According to the CDC, in 2011 there were 31,163 gun-related deaths in America. That number includes all deaths caused by a firearm, including murders, suicides, accidental deaths and justifiable homicides committed either by peace officers or by private citizens.

Now here’s the kicker. According to the FBI, just how many of those gun-related deaths were the result of justifiable homicide – meaning it was an incident in which either a peace officer or a private citizen used a gun in self-defense against a felon during the commission of a crime?  Ready for this number?  201.

What conclusion can we draw from these statistics? Not airy-fairy liberal opinions, mind you, but hard-core numbers from the CDC and the FBI?

The numbers show guns were used for their primary stated purpose, i.e., self-defense, less than 1 percent of the time.  More than 99 percent of the time, firearms in America were used for everything but self-defense.

Even if you’re a gun aficionado, those numbers should come as a bit of a shock to you.  And if you’re immune to the statistics, what you’re implicitly saying is, “Yeah, I don’t really care about those numbers.  The Constitution says I have the right to a gun, so I’m gonna have one to defend myself – even though 30,962 Americans were needlessly killed so that 201 felons could be justifiably put down.”

This is where you start to get into really sticky moral quandaries in terms of the trade-offs we make in our society.  If 155 innocent people have to die for every one person to legitimately defends himself with a gun, does society consider it a fair trade-off?  To put it in an equally valid but more queasy way, is it worth sacrificing one person’s life if doing so could potentially save 155 lives?

Pollsters never frame their questions this way, and I’m sure the NRA would cry foul if they did. But seriously, how could they argue with that logic?  This is not a paranoid fantasy but the reality of gun violence in modern America.

The only real fantasy is what gun rights advocate Gayle Trotter spun in her Senate testimony last week when she gave a hypothetical example about a young mother trying to protect her babies from a gang of violent felons attacking her home.  Trotter explained such a scenario was the reason assault weapons should remain legal, because such a “scary-looking gun gives (a young mother) more courage when she’s fighting hardened violent criminals.”

Conservatives are fond of accusing liberals of not living in the real world. But do those same conservatives believe this colorful scenario is reason enough for civilians to have access to military-grade weapons?

Gayle Trotter’s story is like a lurid scene out of a Hollywood exploitation movie such as “Death Wish” rather than anything you’d encounter in real life. You’re literally more likely to be struck by lightning than ever to face a situation like the one she describes.

This is the great irony of modern gun politics: On the off-chance they’ll have to protect themselves against the apocalyptic fantasies of roving bands of criminals or battle a tyrannical government, gun advocates demand we protect a status quo that cruelly takes the lives of tens of thousands of Americans every year.

The NRA and its ilk truly believe this annual blood sacrifice is a perfectly rational price for a society to pay for its peace of mind, as illusory as it might be.  The ancient Incas felt the same way about their blood sacrifices to please their gods and protect their harvests, but eventually their societies outgrew such irrational beliefs.

For the smart-ass conservatives who think all a liberal has to do is be victimized to become a gun zealot, I offer a counter-proposal. All a conservative gun owner has to do is accidentally kill a loved one with his gun or be paralyzed for life by a stray bullet to turn him into a born-again gun control advocate.

Theoretical bloodshed is one thing, but when that bloodshed hits close to home, as it did with the families of Sandy Hook – and the families of the other 1,501 Americans killed by guns in the weeks since Sandy Hook – it stops being theory and becomes a cold, stark reality.

And so we circle back to the beginning. Yes, I realize that again, none of this has changed a single mind. If you’re in favor of common-sense gun legislation, then you’re terrified by those statistics from the CDC and the FBI because they confirm every fear you’ve had about how firearms are actually used in America.

And if you’re a gun advocate, you could care less about those statistics – because you’re entitled to have as many guns and as much ammo as you can afford, and by God, you’re gonna have ‘em. Reality be damned.

 

Charlie Vignola describes himself as a former College Republican turned liberal Democrat.  A resident of the Santa Clarita Valley since 1999, he works in the motion picture industry and loves his wife and kids.

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

5 Comments

  1. Gail says:

    Only law abiding citizens obey the law. Criminals do not obey or care about the law, that’s why we call them criminals. Bloodshed has hit close to my home. A family member was murdered in her own home. If she had a gun maybe she would be here today and her children would still have their Mother. When my home was broken into late one night all I had to do was take aim and yell get out or I’ll shoot and the man ran, it took the police 25 minutes to arrive. What would have happened if I didn’t have a gun? What will you do when/if your home is invaded? Call 911 wait and hope they get there in time, good luck with that! You can use your butter knife to protect yourself and the family you love and I’ll use my gun to protect mine… and you guessed it I am smart-ass conservative that’s smart enough to know that criminals do not obey the law.

  2. johntate90210 says:

    Gail, you’re a perfect example of somebody that rushes to post something without even reading the article. Only one out of 155 gun deaths was justifiable!

    As for your relative, it’s extremely doubtful she could’ve defended herself with a gun. Because of having children, she’d have had it unloaded and locked away. Totally useless. If it wasn’t locked up, well, it’s much more likely one kid would’ve killed another.

    As for you scaring off a burglar, a water pistol would’ve worked just as well. He probably never even saw the gun. He just knew somebody was awake and it was easier to go elsewhere.

    As for criminals not obeying the law, just pull all the ammo off the market immediately and the problem will pretty much dry up within a decade. Any that creep onto the black market will be so high priced that no criminal could afford them because, you know, they obviously have little money or they wouldn’t be stealing.

    • Mike says:

      Rather than fighting and arguing to remove the rights of free men, did you ever consider moving (or maybe just visiting) someplace that already has their freedoms diminished to the level you seek to see how you like it there? America is for free men. If you don’t like it, leave.

    • Gail says:

      johntate You are a perfect example of someone that assumes he knows how criminals think.You assume the man broke in to rob me, unless it was you how do you know why he broke in? You sir have NO idea why he broke in. I have NO idea why he broke in, but because I have a gun to protect myself I didn’t have to find out why he broke in. The man that broke into my home SAW the gun. I was not asleep in a dark house, the lights were on, the TV was on and he broke a window behind the sofa I was sitting on and came inside my home knowing I was up. Wise up, people don’t always break into dark homes and they aren’t always there to take your money or your stuff. Sometimes they are there to kill or hurt you. You need to ask yourself.. what would I do, how will I protect myself if this happens to me. You can have your water pistol and I’ll keep my gun loaded at all times.

  3. Mike says:

    201 incidents where deadly force was used by a good guy. How many lives did a gun save, just by being made present, without a single shot fired? What a stupid argument.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Every year, more Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to weaken and become more likely to break. You mgiht not know that you have this “silent” disease until your bones are so weak that a sudden strain, bump, or fall causes your wrist to break or your hip to fracture.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Instead of rushing forward to implement a new formula by July 1, ample time should be given to study what has been proposed, and already identified flaws in the formula should be changed.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Traffic is one of the most common concerns raised by residents throughout Southern California. Here in the city of Santa Clarita, we utilize a sophisticated, extensive, state-of-the-art Intelligent Transportation System to manage traffic circulation on our streets, to keep you safe.
Monday, Apr 16, 2018
The best way to fight kidney disease is to find it before trouble starts. But if you’ve already been diagnosed, Medicare can help you make informed decisions about your care.
Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
In 2016, California voters went to the polls and made it clear they wanted elected state officials to spend more money on school construction and passed Proposition 51 to invest $9 billion to upgrade aging buildings, build new schools where needed and build Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities to support better CTE programs.
Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018
Despite voter approval of construction funds in 2016, school districts are struggling to explain to their communities why the state is refusing to release the majority of the money.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The California Enterprise Development Authority will hold a Teleconference Meeting, Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
May 24: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference Meeting
The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Board of Director's Regular Meeting will take place Friday, May 25, at 11:30 a.m.
May 25: Sanitation District Regular Meeting
The Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA) presented scholarship awards on Monday totaling $2,250 to three high school graduating seniors who are majoring in art in the SCV community.
Local Graduating Seniors Awarded with Art Scholarships
1865 - Discoverer Ramon Perea and partner sell Pico Canyon oil claim to Edward Beale & Robert Baker for $300 [story]
Santa Clarita Valley condominiums that changed owners during April 2018 yielded a median price of $410,000, which set a record high and for the first time broke the $400,000 benchmark, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday.
SCV Condo Median Prices at Record High as April Sales Jump
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold special and regular meetings at City Hall on Tuesday, May 22, starting at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.
May 22: Santa Clarita City Council Special, Regular Meetings
“Fresh Meat,” a play by CSUN graduate student Karen Casady set to open next month as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, is the tale of a dalliance with cannibals and furries, and what happens when one small algorithm goes awry.
CSUN Grad Student Play About Cannibalism Set for Fringe Festival
The Santa Clarita Community College District’s Board of Trustees will hold its next business meeting at College of the Canyons’ Valencia campus on Wednesday, May 23, starting at 3 p.m.
May 23: COC Board of Trustees Business Meeting
With the goal of contributing to coral reef research, California State University, Northridge biology alumna Jessica L. Bergman has submitted her graduate thesis project, “Behavior of Brooded Coral Larvae in Response to Elevated pCO2,” to the National Science Foundation East Asia Pacific Summer Institute.
CSUN Grad Adds to Research on Acidification of Coral Larvae
College of the Canyons brought home three All-American designations and set a new school record during the two-day California Community College Athletic Association Track & Field State Championships hosted by Bakersfield College May 18-19.
Cougars Earn Three All-American Nods at CCCAA State Championships
College of the Canyons had 13 players recognized with All-Western State Conference East Division honors including sophomore slugger Calvin Estrada who was named Player of the Year, and sophomore southpaw Jacob Lopez who tossed a season worthy of Pitcher of the Year Honors.
Thirteen Cougars Named All-WSC; Lopez, Estrada Take Top Honors
College of the Canyons all-conference soccer goalkeeper Jordan Burrow will transfer to Ottawa University in the fall after committing to continue her playing career as a member of the Braves.
Canyons Goalkeeper Jordan Burrow Signs With Ottawa University
The Lancaster JetHawks are excited to announce that Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar will appear at The Hangar in the festivities for the 2018 California League All-Star Game, to be presented by the city of Lancaster on Tuesday, June 19.
Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar Added to JetHawks’ All-Star Game Festivities
Michel Moore, the Los Angeles Police Department's First Assistant Chief and a Santa Clarita resident, is one of three finalists in the search for a new LAPD chief.
Santa Clarita Resident Michel Moore in Running for LAPD Chief
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce a donation to the Margaret Herrick Library and the Academy Film Archive from George Stevens, Jr., the award-winning filmmaker and founder of the American Film Institute.
AFI Founder George Stevens Jr. Donates Archive to AMPAS
The LA County Arts Commission and the Homeless Initiative Second Dwelling Units Pilot Program recently announced the winners of the Yes to ADU Design Competition, which invited artists, architects and engineers to submit concept designs for Accessory Dwelling Units — also known as “granny flats” or ADUs — as possible solutions to LA County’s homelessness crisis.
County Yes to ADU Design Winners Offer Homelessness Solutions
The Santa Clarita City Council hosted a dedication ceremony on Friday morning to celebrate a public art addition to one of the city’s busiest trails: the Santa Clarita Cycling Bear by local artist Frank Rock.
Santa Clarita Cycling Bear Dedicated During National Bike Week
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of May 21-27, 2018.
‘Mayans MC,’ ‘Missing Time,’ ‘Unbound’ Now Filming in Santa Clarita
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan reminds eligible voters that the registration deadline to vote in the June 5 Statewide Primary Election is Monday night at 11:59 p.m.
Monday Last Day to Register to Vote in June Primary
The California Retail Survey, which compares retail sales activity for each of California’s 58 counties and 482 cities, ranked the city of Santa Clarita 22nd in retail sales in its most recent report.
Santa Clarita Ranks No. 22 in California Retail Survey
A bipartisan coalition of 39 state and territory Attorneys-General including California AG Xavier Becerra Monday urged Congress to combat the opioid epidemic by passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2.0 and the Comprehensive Addiction Reform, Education and Safety (CARES) Act.
State AG’s Press Congress to Fight Opioid Epidemic
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, or SCV Water, and Los Angeles County Waterworks District #36 have released their Annual Water Quality Report for 2018.
SCV Water Releases Annual Water Quality Report
The JetHawks allowed 10 extra-base hits, and 19 hits overall, in a 12-2 rubber-game loss to the Inland Empire 66ers on Sunday afternoon at San Manuel Stadium.
JetHawks Lose Rubber Game in 66ers Rout
The JetHawks issued a season-high 11 walks, allowed three unearned runs and saw their season-long five-game win streak end in a 9-6 loss to the Inland Empire 66ers on Saturday night at San Manuel Stadium.
Free Passes Spell End of JetHawks Win Streak
Reid Humphreys helped the JetHawks escape a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning and pitched a perfect ninth to secure a 5-3 win over the Inland Empire 66ers on Friday night at San Manuel Stadium.
JetHawks Hold On to Take Opener 5-3 at I.E.
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, May 22, starting at 9:30 a.m.
May 22: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has released its crime information and public safety report for Newhall (Zone 6) for crimes reported from April 30-May 13.
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft, Assault, Burglary in Newhall
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man suspected of stealing a bicycle in Canyon Country Wednesday, station officials reported Friday.
Deputies Arrest Suspected Bike Thief in Canyon Country
1978 - St. Francis Dam site becomes a State Landmark [story]
1946 - Cher, great-granddaughter of Placerita Canyon homesteader Frank Walker, born in El Centro, Calif. [story]
1851 - San Fernando-San Francisquito-Eliz. Lake Roads become public highways [story]
The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center 2nd Career Center presents, "Finding your Inner Skills and On-the-Job Training Opportunities for Seniors," Wednesday, May 23, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., in Rooms A1 and A2.
May 23: Senior Center Presentation to Discuss Re-Entering Workforce
The Summer Trolley offers service from several premier hotel properties to Six Flags Magic Mountain and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Westfield Valencia Town Center and Old Town Newhall.
Summer Trolley to Magic Mountain Now Running
The Polka Dot Road Show, a mercantile and art fair, will take place Saturday, May 19, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita.
May 19: Polka Dot Road Show
Stewart Liff, former chief of the U.S. Veterans Benefits Administration’s Human Resources Division, will be presenting, 'Navigating the VA System,' at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.
June 6: Navigating the VA System
The city of Santa Clarita is in line to receive $8.9 million from Caltrans toward the $28.2 million cost of building a new Metrolink station at Vista Canyon Ranch, the mixed-use development project that's under construction at Lost Canyon Road in Canyon Country. The new station will replace the Via Princessa Metrolink platform.
State Kicking in $8.9 Mil. for New Metrolink Station at Vista Canyon Ranch