Friday, January 14, 2011

Congress Safer Than We Are

Some in Congress, like Republican Pete King, are poised to pass legislation further restricting the liberties of the people. The excuse for this additional violation of their oaths to uphold the Constitution is that they do not feel "safe" after the horrid shootings in Tuscon that seriously wounded Congressman Gabrielle Giffords and killed five Americans.

If Rep. King feels that he cannot be safe without casting aside his oath of office and setting up unconstitutional federal restrictions on speech and firearms, then the honorable thing to do would be to resign so that some braver soul might serve. I don't expect that much, but at the very least the pretext which King uses to disregard his oath should be a rational fear rather than an irrational one. The stats show that the average congressman and senator is in no more danger of criminal violence than the average American.

I can't think of another congressperson to be shot in the last decade. Can you? Yet the stats show that in a typical year about 50,000 Americans (52K in 2000)are deliberately shot by guns and survive. Add to that about 18,000 homicides per year. That is 68,000 violent acts each year for the past decade, or 680,000 total. Divide by the population of the country (300 million) by that figure, and you get one incident for every 441.17 Americans. That's quite close to the 435 members of congress, of whom one has been a victim of this kind of violence in that same time span. Perhaps a fairer number would be 535, since I can't recall any Senators falling prey in the last decade either.

The rights of 300 million people should not be cast aside due to the actions of one insane person. More especially since members of Congress are in no greater danger than most of the rest of us.


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