Guns, motor vehicles and the deaths of young people

What if we treated guns like motor vehicles?

Guns, like cars, are a major cause of deaths and injuries in the United States, especially for young people. Motor vehicle crashes have been a leading source of mortality and injury in people ages 15 to 24 since at least 1950. Guns are involved in the majority of homicides and suicides, which are the second and third largest causes of death in young people. Motor vehicles and guns are, together, the source of the majority of fatalities in young people in the United States.

Yet we know so much more about deaths in young people caused by motor vehicles than guns. For nearly 20 years, Congress has prohibited the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from conducting research that “may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” And in June, the House Appropriations Committee rejected an amendment that would have permitted such gun-violence research.

While total gun fatalities have remained largely level since 2000, total deaths due to vehicles have declined. The largest drop in motor vehicle deaths, more than 25 percent, has occurred since 1980. If current trends persist, the total of motor vehicle crash deaths will soon drop below the number caused by guns.

Why have we been able to reduce the harm from motor vehicles but not from guns? First, we have worked hard to make cars safer. Seat belts, air bags and other technological changes have made car accidents less likely to result in the loss of life.

We also have increased awareness of the hazards of driving under unsafe conditions. Penalties for drunk driving have increased dramatically since 1980. Successful campaigns to reduce drinking and driving have helped to raise awareness. In addition, states have instituted new graduated driving regulations that make it harder for adolescents to obtain a license without a period of training with an adult.

In sharp contrast to our success with vehicles, FBI data show that mass shootings have increased over the past decade, school shootings continue at an alarming rate and the overall mortality rate attributable to guns shows little sign of declining since 2000.

Some argue that the problem of gun violence is lessening. Gun fatalities have in fact declined by more than 25 percent since their peak in 1993, and although mass shootings have increased in frequency, they account for only a small proportion of the gun violence problem.

Despite that, overall rates of gun injury remain higher today than they were in the 1960s, when violence rates began the climb that led to their peak in 1993. The same cannot be said about motor vehicle crashes.

Our failure to further reduce gun fatalities is surprising for several reasons. We have much better trauma care than we did in the 1960s, saving many more lives from gun injuries as well as car crashes. So, just from our sheer ability to prevent fatalities, we should have seen a reduction in gun fatalities since 1960.

We also have more police on duty today than we had earlier, and our incarceration of individuals who might perpetrate gun violence is at a far higher rate than ever before.

Finally, we have reduced rates of other major sources of mortality, such as heart disease, by encouraging behavior that reduces the risks, such as better diets and greater use of medications. Why haven’t we been able to do the same with guns?

I suggest that one factor that contributes to our failure to do more to reduce gun violence is the absence of knowledge about how to do it. We know a lot about what leads to motor vehicle crashes. Years of research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tells us about the conditions that lead to crashes, including the person using the vehicle, the road conditions when the accident occurred and the events precipitating the crash. This knowledge has led us to build better vehicles, develop better training in how to use them and pass laws against behaviors that raise the risk of fatalities.

If we examine what our law enforcement agencies tell us about gun injuries, we get a confusing picture. As a point of comparison, a recent report from the Department of Justice reviewed the state of gun injury in the U.S. It shows dramatic drops in gun deaths since 1993 across the U.S., reductions in reports of violent encounters, and overall declines in crime. All of this information is reassuring, but it doesn’t tell us why those declines occurred, why we still have the highest rates of gun injury in the developed world and why those rates are higher today than in the middle of the last century.

Buried in this same report is disturbing evidence that gun injuries, rather than fatalities, have actually risen in the last decade. This evidence is based on a survey that was started in 2000 to monitor emergency room visits for injuries in 100 hospitals across the country. These hospitals record the reason for an injury, including whether it was gun-related. In a typical year, the survey projects about 60,000 visits related to gun injury, most of which are attributable to assaults.

The Department of Justice does not make much of this inconsistency, other than to note that these visits represent a different slice of the problem. But this does not lead us to a solution. If we are to reduce gun injuries and deaths, we will need accurate and useful data about the extent of this problem, who is likely to be affected by it and the conditions that precipitated the injury, data we have had for cars for a long time. Isn’t it time we gave the Department of Justice and the CDC the mandate to figure this out?


Ronda Rousey told Bethe Correia ‘don’t cry’ after knockout

Oftentimes a rivalry will fizzle after two combatants meet inside the octagon. That’s not the case with Ronda Rousey (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) and Bethe Correia (9-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC).

After her incredible 34-second knockout of Correia in UFC 190’s main event, Rousey rubbed salt in the wound when she turned around and sent a message to Correia, who was unconscious on the mat.

RELATED: Watch highlights of Rousey’s KO victory

Rousey’s statement was inaudible in real time due to the massive uproar from the crowd at Rio de Janeiro’s HSBC Arena. Following the fight, though, she revealed to MMAjunkie exactly what was said.

“I said the exact same thing she was saying to me at weigh-ins; she was screaming in my face at weigh-ins, she was saying, ‘Don’t cry.’ So, I turned around after I knocked her out and said, ‘Don’t cry,'” Rousey said at UFC 190’s post-fight press conference.

Rousey and Correia exchanged many words in the lead-up to UFC 190. The most personal of those comments, however, was Correia’s suicide-related jab at the champion. “Rowdy” took the comments personally and vowed to defeat Correia in the most devastating fashion possible.

She did just that when a perfectly placed right hand to Correia’s temple sent the Brazilian crashing the mat face first.

“Every fight is a challenge,” Rousey said. “This one was a challenge in its own way. I think one advantage that I do have against a lot of my opponents is they don’t really know what they’re getting into when they come in there. They can watch as much footage as they want but they don’t know what it’s like until they get in there with me.”

Rousey has made it clear her intention is to continue defending her title in spectacular fashion until she decides to retire from the sport. With her third consecutive victory in less than one minute, the champion took another step toward that goal at UFC 190. Still, though, Rousey said there’s plenty more to learn.

“I’m really happy that even though the last three fights were fast, they were finished very differently and I know I made some mistakes tonight and I’m always on the quest to try to be the perfect fighter,” Rousey said. “I know that’s something you can’t really attain, but that’s a goal I’ll never reach that I can always pursue. I just feel like I’m one step closer to retiring undefeated and having a legacy. That’s my goal at this point.”

The next challenge to Rousey’s throne will come against another one of her rivals. A third contest with Miesha Tate is on the horizon after “Cupcake” earned her fourth consecutive UFC victory this past month.

Rousey defeated Tate once under the now-defunct Strikeforce banner and was also victorious in the rematch in December 2013. Although she seemingly has Tate’s number, Rousey said she believes the third bout will be the most difficult yet because Tate has spent more time in the octagon with her than anyone else.

“I think Miesha is one of my greatest challenges because she already has an idea what she’s getting in there with,” Rousey said. “I’ve improved a lot since the last time we fought but I don’t have that element of surprise that I know she’ll bring something different every time. I’m eager to see what she comes up with this time.”

Ronda Rousey is a formidable opponent and this stupid bitch just motivated Ronda even more. Not to mention it is just plain bad karma to slander someone’s family tragedies.

Ronda and karma had the last word on that one.

Retro of the day: Cat Stevens

Wild World” is a song written and recorded by English singer-songwriter Cat Stevens. It first appeared on his fourth album, Tea for the Tillerman, recorded and released in 1970.



Stevens developed a relationship with actress Patti D’Arbanville and the two were a pair throughout a period of two years or so. During that time, he wrote several songs about her, including the song “Wild World.” The song has struck many critics as being protective and caring; the artist’s expression of love includes words like “I wouldn’t want to see you sad girl, don’t be a bad girl”.[1]

The song is in the form of the singer’s words to his departing lover, inspired by the end of their romance. Stevens later recalled to Mojo: “It was one of those chord sequences that’s very common in Spanish music. I turned it around and came up with that theme–which is a recurring theme in my work–which is to do with leaving, the sadness of leaving, and the anticipation of what lies beyond.”