Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Say Goodbye To Baseball Bats

I know the title has some of you thinking about the meaning behind the statement but it really is very simple. I have decided to take the advice of the President and will start doing anything I can to save lives. After all, “if it saves one life, it’s worth it.” And so begins the campaign to ban baseball bats or, at the very least, require a background check in order to purchase one. It only makes sense to start looking at sources of unregulated weapons (especially if they’re black and scary looking) to ban or control first before going after other items (themselves innocuous) used in crimes.

Essentially, a criminal can walk into any sporting goods store, Wal-Mart, or thrift shop and buy a weapon without showing any form of idea, without filling out any forms, and without a background check having been completed. Even children can buy bats at numerous retailers, even the tactical black models. How long are we going to sit on the sidelines quietly and wait for these kids to recreate the meeting scene from “The Untouchables”. This unregulated market needs to stopped and only professional athletes paid to play this sport and certified trainers should have access to these items with such deadly potential.

Of course, this is only the first of many initiatives. Knives are also an unregulated weapon which children and the mentally unstable have easy access to and the same can be said for household cleaners, fast food, and power tools. All of these things have been the cause of death on countless occasions. Also, while tobacco, alcohol, cars, and prescriptions are regulated to a certain degree, they are still prevalent aspects of daily life which also cause a substantial amount of deaths every year. Ban them all and save thousands of lives. Maybe tens or hundreds of thousands of lives.

I know what you’re asking, but why would I chose to go after baseball bats and not guns? Well, they simply aren’t as big of a concern. Contrary to the rhetoric being bandied about recently, those statistics are trending in the right direction and, therefore, should not be our first priority. After all, at least you have to pass a background check to legally buy a firearm. But why take my word for it…

As was reported by the U.S. Department of Justice and Pew Research Center, gun crime statistics continue to steadily decline while gun ownership, especially in recent years, has experienced a sharp rise. According to DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. gun-related homicides dropped 39 percent over the course of 18 years, from 18,253 during 1993, to 11,101 in 2011. During the same period, non-fatal firearm crimes decreased even more, a whopping 69 percent. The majority of those declines in both categories occurred during the first 10 years of that time frame. Firearm homicides declined from 1993 to 1999, rose through 2006, and then declined again through 2011. Non-fatal firearm violence declined from 1993 through 2004, then fluctuated in the mid-to-late 2000s.

Additionally, Pew researchers observed that the huge amount of attention devoted to gun violence incidents in the media has caused most Americans to be unaware that gun crime is strikingly down” from 20 years ago. In fact, gun-related homicides in the late 2000s were “equal to those not seen since the early 1960s.” Yet their survey found that 56 percent believed gun-related crime is higher, 26 percent believed it stayed about the same, and 6 percent didn’t know. Only 12 percent of those polled thought it was lower.

In the end, if you really want to save a life, turn in your baseball bat and buy a gun.