It has 67 answers, including one from yousel, 122 followers and more than 24k hits. This question is very popular, I would guess, because it touches the heart of two passionate groups.
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- Gun enthusiasts believe responsible ownership is key to safety.
- Car enthusiasts who believe they are great drivers,
- However, many answers to this question suggest that guns are worse than cars. However, this is false.
Half of car accidents aren’t accidents, I argue. They’re reckless and negligent behavior that is akin to murder. Cars are just as dangerous as guns, I would argue.
Before we get into why I believe cars are as bad as guns let’s look at the “guns are more dangerous than cars” argument.
Why Guns are Worse Than Cars…and Why They Are Wrong?
This argument is not sound as it all depends on the circumstances. A gun is more useful/necessary if I am a police officer protecting myself against an armed attacker. The opposite applies if I’m a regular guy who commutes to work.
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Without context, you can’t argue necessity. We live in a world that both cars and guns are necessary.
This argument is also false. It’s not true. The average American car weighs in at more than 3,000 pounds and can reach speeds in excess of 85 mph. Do you need proof? In 2010, 33k people were killed in or caused by a car.
Are cars designed to kill people the same way as guns? No. They are definitely deadly, and their design capabilities make them so. A semantic argument is used to argue that a car is not lethal.
Argument #3: A car accident can cause someone to die.
It is best to consider it a lie. There are certain fatalities in vehicles that are really bad luck, such as cargo being crushed on the highway. However, the majority of fatal accidents are not preventable or blameless.
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According to data from the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, (FARS), 31% of fatal accidents were caused by alcohol in 2010. This is criminal behavior that can be easily avoided.
The big picture (about 25.000 fatal crashes that claimed 33,000 lives):
15% of fatal crashes involved a vehicle leaving the roadway, which can either cause the vehicle to crash or the driver driving off-road, then crashing.
- Around 10% of fatal accidents were caused by the driver driving too fast to meet conditions.
- Around 10% of fatal crashes were caused by drivers who either didn’t yield, or didn’t obey traffic signs (failure stop, running a light, etc.).
- About 7% of fatal accidents were caused by a driver who was acting in an “erratic or reckless manner”.
- In 2010, 500 people (2%) were killed trying to pass another vehicle, or driving on the median or shoulder to pass.
- In 2010, 273 people died (roughly 1%) because they followed too closely.
Road rage was responsible for the deaths of 178 people in 2010.
All of these fatalities could have been avoided if drivers were more careless and negligent.
- Bad weather was responsible for 1.5% of fatal accidents
- Animals were responsible for 0.5% of fatal accidents
- A tire failure was responsible for 0.4% of fatal accidents
- 2% of fatal accidents were caused by road debris, potholes, or similar obstacles
These are what I call accidents. They are random events that occur without anyone’s control. These types of random crashes are rare, as you can see by the numbers.
Most Accidents Aren’t Accidents
At least half of all crashes can be attributed to poor decision-making. These “accidents”, while not accidents, are conscious decisions to take a high-risk risk that will all lead to disaster. This makes about 16500 car deaths considered reckless. According to law, “intent is the bullet.”
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It’s assumed that you were reckless if you act intentionally. This means that cars killed 16500 people in 2010, whichever comes first.
Summarising the Math
In 2010, gun violence killed 31,000 people (see Bloomberg.com story). Half of those deaths were suicides. Let’s reduce the “gun-related death” number to around 16,000. We’ll assume that people who wish to kill themselves with guns can find another way.