San Jose Mercury News Editorial: Oscar Pistorius incident reaffirms — more guns mean more deaths and injuries

2013-02-25T07:00:00Z San Jose Mercury News Editorial: Oscar Pistorius incident reaffirms — more guns mean more deaths and injuries
February 25, 2013 7:00 am

We don’t know whether Oscar Pistorius meant to kill his girlfriend last week in his South Africa home or just shot at what he thought was a burglar in his bathroom, as he claims. But if he hadn’t had a gun handy, 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp would almost surely be alive today.

The gun industry has tried to suppress gun-safety research, but there’s plenty of evidence that having a gun at home makes you and your loved ones far more likely to be injured or killed by one. This incident is a perfect illustration.

At best, the Olympian panicked and fired through a closed door without taking a second to see if Steenkamp was still in bed. And if he meant to kill her — well, he could have plotted poison or hired a hit man, but it would have been a lot more complicated.

Occasionally, people successfully defend themselves with guns. But experts like David Hemenway, director of Harvard’s Injury Control Research Center, say most reports of self-defense fall apart under scrutiny. They turn out to be road rage incidents, or arguments that have escalated.

More than 30,000 people die from gun violence every year in the United States. That doesn’t mean we should ban firearms, but it does mean we need to see the facts clearly.

Suicides, accidental deaths and many homicides are preventable. This country needs a forceful public health strategy like the ones that have reduced deaths from car accidents and smoking to address the epidemic of gun violence.

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. Responsibleone
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    Responsibleone - February 27, 2013 9:01 am
    Their article is just as stupid as "large spoons make people fat!"
  2. outoftowner
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    outoftowner - February 26, 2013 7:24 am
    If somebody had not made those fancy legs for Pestorius, he would not have been able to walk over and pick up a gun and fire it through the door.

    See that, editorial board. I can make up really stupid stuff and present it as fact just as well as you can.
  3. Colonel Kurtz
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    Colonel Kurtz - February 25, 2013 9:13 pm

    journalism will only truly understand the meaning of the 2nd ammendment when it is gone and they see their 1st ammendment go with it. All we have to do is look at history to see this..... sadly, we fail to remember history and we are always doomed to repeat it.
  4. Colonel Kurtz
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    Colonel Kurtz - February 25, 2013 9:11 pm
    shhh..... don't let the facts get in the way of a good story (sarcasm)!
  5. Colonel Kurtz
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    Colonel Kurtz - February 25, 2013 9:10 pm
    one, this can easily be shot down.... Chicago has "more" gun lawas but has the "most" gun crimes.

    two, this happened in a foreign country. This is America, quit comparing us to what we are not nor what we should model ourselves after.

    Three, quit using the term "facts" when all you do is take pieces of "facts" and present them as the total truth.....
  6. horsesnake95
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    horsesnake95 - February 25, 2013 7:11 pm
    Why don't we look at the fact that he may have supposedly bashed her skull in with a cricket bat before he shot her? Guess we don't want that little fact known because then it doesn't make a gun look so evil.
  7. observer123
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    observer123 - February 25, 2013 5:31 pm
    The point is that she obviously should have been packing when she got up to go to the bathroom because there is no way he would have shot her had she gone into the bathroom with a gun. Secondly, they should have had armed guards in each room of the house that could have started a gun battle with Pistorius and shot both of them. Clearly it is the victims fault that she was not packing heat while she was in the bathroom.
  8. AM
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    AM - February 25, 2013 11:08 am
    If he hadn't had a gun available he would have stabbed her to death, or beaten her with a ball bat or thrown her... the list is endless. Stupid people do stupid things with any means available. Look at some the ignorant things you see penned in this very paper from the editorial board.
  9. Usually Disappointed
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    Usually Disappointed - February 25, 2013 10:24 am
    Gun violence is "epidemic" at 30,000 deaths per year? What a putz.
    Actually, more people die accidentally just in their home from drug overdose, falls, and fire.
    Among children, suffocation and drowning are the top two..
    Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  10. annieoakley
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    annieoakley - February 25, 2013 10:02 am
    Agree with you there normalnews.
  11. annieoakley
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    annieoakley - February 25, 2013 10:01 am
    I wonder what the stats are regarding gun violence in places like Kentucky and Arizona where they have open carry. I certainly don't think the numbers are as bad there as they are in places like Chicago.

    On another note, I am wondering how often the pantagraph or other lefty papers are going to continue comparing the United States to foreign nations?

    The pantagraph use to be a good news source, but since they were bought out by the lefty rag it has turned into another brain washing giant of the worst kind.
  12. NormalNews
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    NormalNews - February 25, 2013 9:05 am
    Another unsigned piece of gun-grabbing garbage from the supposed defenders of freedom, the liberal group-thinking American press. "This incident is a perfect illustration..." of an editorial board's jump to illogical conclusions based on their predisposition that big government is the savior of us all. What will the Pantagraph editorial board print when government goes after the first amendment?
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