Pubdate: Mon, 12 Jun 2000
Source: Tribune Review (PA)
Copyright: 2000 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: William H. Shirk


Statistics can be misleading, and one bad government idea begets

Talk show hostess Rosie O'Donnell and her marching mommy pals espouse
as fact that 13 "children" a day are killed by guns. Backed by the
Clintons, she advocates trashing the Second Amendment by instituting
gun-owner registration and licensing, and, one might predict, eventual
confiscation of firearms.

John R. Lott, a senior research scholar at Yale Law School, in
exhaustive studies of police records across the country, has shown
that less than 3 percent of Rosie's 13-a-day are actual children
younger than 10, and that 70 percent of those 13 are among 17-
to-19-year-olds involved in gang warfare, a byproduct of the
government's war on drugs.

According to various government agencies, the use of illegal drugs
results in the death of fewer than 5,000 people a year. And yet we
throw away $50 billion a year to fight the failed drug war, which
according to the Drug Enforcement Agency's own estimation, stops only
about 10 percent of the illegal drugs from hitting the streets.

Conversely, drug prohibition greatly enriches the criminal and has led
to gangs so vicious that more people are killed by drug gang violence
than by the drugs themselves. We need to realize that drug abuse will
always be with us and learn, as progressive nations such as Holland
have long known, that drug abuse can be better handled as a public
health issue than as a criminal justice issue.

Certainly, even one untimely death is tragic, but we could do far more
in reducing gun violence in our streets by ending drug prohibition,
which would virtually eliminate the inner-city drug gang, than by
harassing law-abiding gun owners with increasingly restrictive and
ineffective gun control measures.

William H. Shirk
West Mifflin
- ---
MAP posted-by: greg