David Frum was a special assistant to George W. Bush from 2001 to 2002. He is the author of eight books, including a new novel, "Patriots," and a post-election e-book, "Why Romney Lost." He is also a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and a CNN contributor. Here’s a short excerpt from a recent article he wrote on gun violence in America:
The basis of the whole gun debate in the United States is the belief by millions of Americans that they need a firearm in the home to protect themselves from criminals. Testifying to Congress last month, a gun advocate named Gayle Trotter presented a vivid image of how guns might be used.
"An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon, and the peace of mind that a woman has as she's facing three, four, five violent attackers, intruders in her home, with her children screaming in the background, the peace of mind that she has knowing that she has a scary-looking gun gives her more courage when she's fighting hardened, violent criminals."
Thrilling. Also wholly imaginary. Such Rambo-like defenses of home and hearth do not happen in real life, unless the home also happens to contain a meth lab. (The oft-cited statistic that gun owners draw in self-defense 2.5 million times a year is a classic of bad social science.
Incidents like these, however, do happen -- and tragically often:
"A fourteen year-old girl jumped out of the closet and shouted 'Boo' when her parents came home in the middle of the night. Taking her for an intruder, her father shot and killed her. Her last words were 'I love you, Daddy.' "
That true story, reported in the Boston Globe in 1994, appears on page 70 of the classic study "Private Guns, Public Health" by David Hemenway, director of Harvard's Injury Control Research Center. It's just one of thousands of similar incidents in the United States every year.
Hemenway again: "Between 1990 and 2000, an annual average of 320 children zero to fourteen either committed suicide with guns or were accidentally killed by guns." American children are much more likely to suffer these tragedies than children in other countries. States with more guns suffer more than states in which guns are less common.
You can read the rest of this piece on CNN.
Your Help is Needed
Gun Control is now at risk. Read The Latest Hurdle to Gun Law Reform in The New York Times. Your help is needed now.
Please contact the White House to express your support for new gun control measures. Click this link to connect.
Please like, tweet, and/or forward this to your friends and neighbors (see the e-mail link below).
Please read my previous posts on gun control: Repairing the World: The Truth About Ending Gun Violence Now (December 20); There is No God: Continuing Thoughts on Gun Control (December 27); Sabbath to Stop Gun Violence (January 3); Christina’s Letter: More Thoughts on Gun Violence (January 10); Bad News/Good News (January 24); Interfaith Call-In Event to Prevent Gun Violence (February 1); The Challenge of Reasoned Debate: Addressing the Issue of Gun Violence in America (February 7); Is Change Possible? Continuing Thoughts on Gun Control. (February 14); and Guns and Beauty Shops (February 21).
Your comments are welcome.
Rabbi Mark Sameth is the spiritual leader of Joyful Judaism: Pleasantville Community Synagogue an inclusive, progressive synagogue – with members from twenty towns, villages and cities all across Westchester and “A Hebrew School Your Kids Can Love.” Read The New York Times article. Follow Rabbi Mark on Twitter . Weekly meditation at the synagogue every Saturday morning at 9 am is open to the public; everyone – without exception - is welcome and warmly invited. OUR WEEK-LONG OPEN HOUSE ("PCS PALOOZA") RUNS MARCH 10 - 17. COME VISIT! See “Top Ten Reasons to Join PCS” - as well as service times and events - at www.ShalomPCS.com.