28 October 2009

Say what?

I have to admit being taken aback when I see someone arguing that you can be pro-life and pro-gun at the same time.

Well, I guess you need the guns to kill abortion doctors.

There is a serious problem with this position, but I don't expect that someone who is stupid enough to believe one can be pro-life and pro-gun would comprehend the disconnect.

First off, up to a point, the foetus is a speculative life. The foetus can miscarry. That seems a simple enough concept to grasp. Up until birth, there is the possibility that the foetus can miscarry. Modern technology has reduced the level of infant mortality, but birth also isn't a guarantee that a child will live.

On the other hand, those who have been born sacrifice their "innocence".

We can put a face on a foetus, but we make gun violence victims into statistics.

I know I sounded callous in my Bart Stupak post, but that is the type of disconnect I see in people who are pro-life and pro-gun. Even more disconcerting, is that Stupak's family suffered from gun violence.

People like Nicole Dufresne, BJ Stupak, Melanie Hain, and others are the real face of gun violence in America, not the overestimated and anecdotal DGUs the gun cretin crowd cite.

Another problem is that the assertion that guns are the only effective method implies that only deadly force is effective for self-defence. That deadly force is the only effective means of self-defence in of itself should be enough to make it ridiculous to assert that one is "pro-life".

Once people start rationalizing the deliberate taking of life, they are on a slippery slope. Before they know it, they are in a situation of having to destroy a village in order to save it, are in a plane over Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Could a person in an ICBM launch control center or on a submarine, ready and willing to turn the keys that would launch the missiles carrying nuclear warheads aimed to kill over 100 million people in half an hour, possibly be considered “pro-life”? If so, then it may be futile to seek limits to the killing in which one is willing to engage.

Personally, the lack of gun control impacts society in such a way, that one cannot possibly call themselves pro-life and pro-gun.

The problem is that more than 12,000 homicides by gun were reported in the United States in 2005. But the number who are wounded and survive gunshot assaults is much greater — nearly 53,000 were treated in emergency rooms in 2006, the same federal database shows.

A report in the journal Spinal Cord a decade ago estimated the direct lifetime charges for every shooting victim at $600,000, or nearly $800,000 in today's dollars. Some estimates put the indirect costs, including lost wages and productivity, at double that amount.

In a 1999 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Cook and his colleagues concluded that gunshot injuries in the United States in 1994 produced $2.3 billion in lifetime medical costs. Taxpayers footed half of that through Medicaid, Medicare, workers' compensation and other programs.

In a follow-up book, "Gun Violence: The Real Costs," published in 2000, Cook and Jens Ludwig estimated that gun violence costs the nation $100 billion a year, with medical costs only a small part of that.

This is just the financial cost, but there are other societal costs to gun violence in harm to families and destruction of neighbourhoods.

As I keep saying "Pro-life" society would work to make sure that basic needs would be assured, including a nutritious diet, sanitary water, decent shelter from the elements, a safe environment, and humane medical care. Programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, public housing and food stamps are assertions that satisfying these basic human needs should not be determined by one’s ability to pay. Structural violence in society occurs when people’s basic needs go unfulfilled because they are too poor to purchase goods or services.

Of course, this is an effort to take seriously the possibility of a “pro-life” philosophy and to examine what that might entail other than opposition to abortion. Of course, another possibility is that antiabortion people are not really interested in developing a “pro-life” philosophy but rather are just using the “pro-life” label because it will enhance their political effectiveness. Labeling oneself as “pro-life” is a form of self-aggrandizement, in part because it casts aspersions on one’s adversaries, implying that these opponents are “anti-life.” It is very unlikely that anyone would willingly seek or accept the label of “anti-life.” In that respect, the situation may be similar to those created by the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy and the National Right to Work Committee; who would volunteer to be the advocate of an “insane nuclear policy” or oppose the right of people to work?

But, why try to hide the fact, that this may not be a "pro-life" position, but one that is far more insidious.