Scientific studies won’t find path to peace

It certainly seems like a good idea that you couldn’t argue against. That is, using public money to research the causes of gun violence and its effect on our communities.

After all, wouldn’t it be nice if we could, through studies and surveys and research, discover the scientific causes of gun violence and thus, stop it? Make some changes that would cause everyone to be good.

Except we would argue, we’re looking for a solution where it doesn’t exist. This is expecting too much from science, and not enough from people.

But first, let’s back up to a press release sent out Wednesday that said Hawaii’s Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa had joined more than 100 of her colleagues to urge Congressional leaders to strip language from the fiscal year 2018 federal spending bills that prevent the U.S. Center for Disease Control from using public money to research the causes of gun violence and its effect on our communities.

“Five years ago today, Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut and opened fire, killing 20 children and six adults. Since then, Americans have struggled to make sense of gun violence in San Bernadino, Orlando, Las Vegas, and too many neighborhoods that claim an average of 34,000 lives a year, far and away the highest number in the developed world,” Hanabus said in the release. “Law enforcement, public health officials, scientists, and community members continue to collaborate on a peaceful path forward. Members of Congress do not often agree on how best to reduce America’s unacceptable amount of gun violence, but I would hope that we all agree that our policies and decision making should be rooted in sound scientific research.”

She continued, in the release: “For the last 20 years, House appropriators have included language from the late Congressman Jay Dickey that essentially stopped the U.S. Centers for Disease Control from using federal funds to study the causes of gun violence and its effects on public health, the same type of research conducted to help develop policies that reduce domestic violence, motor vehicle injuries and address other public safety issues.

“Congressman Dickey changed his position before he passed, and I urge my colleagues to strip this language from the FY18 House Appropriations bill. We cannot continue moving on from mass shootings without taking action. We must develop evidence-based solutions that will help stop gun violence while maintaining the rights of law abiding gun owners.”

We certainly do not want to dismiss any efforts to end gun violence. If such a solution can be found in science, by all means find it. But you won’t. You’re looking for a solution in the wrong place. You could spend millions of dollars and years of research to try and determine why a person kills another. You will not find a definite, science-based answer, one common theme yielded by scientific study. That is wishful thinking. It does not take a rocket scientist to look at the world in which we live and see while there is much that is good, that there is much love, kindness and compassion, there is also much that is wrong. There is much hate and anger and hostility. If you want science to tell you why we have hate, it can’t.

Science will not program people to be kind. It will not teach people to love. It will not find a gene that can be altered to eliminate hate.

We wish scientific research could find a path to peace. We wish science could help humanity be better.

The end of violence is possible to find. But you don’t need to spend millions of dollars and years trying to figure it out. It must begin with each of us, and how we treat each other, how we act, what we say, and what we do.

What would happen if this country’s leaders just asked people to do as the Bible says, and love thy neighbor? They would probably be voted out of office. Far too simple, some say. There must be more to it. Ending violence is far more complicated than being a nice, loving person. Naive thinking. A Pollyanna approach. That won’t end violence or lead to a kinder, gentler world.

Sadly, that approach has proven itself right.

8 Comments
  1. Pete Antonson December 14, 2017 1:21 pm Reply

    What we have here is another effort at elevating so called “common sense” (in reality: a lifetime collection of biases) above the work of those snooty experts who wasted their time and money going to college!

    Common sense tells us that we humans are too itty bitty to affect climate change and shouldn’t waste money trying. Science has a nearly unopposed consensus that will not only repair the damage, it will improve the health of all.

    Common sense tells the person with chronic laryngitis with aphonia to sip tea with honey. A Speech Pathologist addresses the harmful environment created in the throat and the effects of anxiety and tension on 32 muscles of the larynx.

    The alternative to the proposed “evidence based solution” is an opinion based solution. That opinion will be based on whether you’re in the tribe that likes guns or the tribe that doesn’t. True naiveté is going tribal and letting opinion rule the day because that only works on the 50-50 laws of chance!


  2. Rick Sanchez December 14, 2017 4:09 pm Reply

    The fallacy with the writer’s argument is that it fails to offer reasons why science won’t work.

    Simply saying something won’t work just for argument’s sake is weak and does not offer clear solutions to a quandary.

    “The end of violence is possible to find. But you don’t need to spend millions of dollars and years trying to figure it out. It must begin with each of us, and how we treat each other, how we act, what we say, and what we do.”

    In the paragraph above, the writer suggests millions of dollars are being spent to “figure it out,” but does not offer any evidence to suggest that millions of dollars are being spent.

    How are we as readers able to take what this writer says at face value when the person writing a statement could or could not be a reliable source? That fact alone gives the writer zero authority to make statements which could dissuade an opposing voice or convince and validate another’s.

    “What would happen if this country’s leaders just asked people to do as the Bible says, and love thy neighbor? They would probably be voted out of office. Far too simple, some say. There must be more to it.”

    This is clear speculation without, again, any evidence — an opinion from a faceless writer hiding behind the screen and the authoritative voice of this newspaper.

    “Ending violence is far more complicated than being a nice, loving person. Naive thinking. A Pollyanna approach. That won’t end violence or lead to a kinder, gentler world.”

    What is the solution? Raising another question to invalidate an argument you provide zero evidence for validates nothing. The writer offers nothing to readers, but fake news and propaganda.

    Here are some scientific facts provided by: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts

    1) America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 times as many as Germany.

    America far and away leads other developed countries when it comes to gun-related homicides. Why? Extensive reviews of the research by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center suggest the answer is pretty simple: The US is an outlier on gun violence because it has way more guns than other developed nations.

    2) America has 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world.

    3) There have been more than 1,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook.

    In December 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 20 children, six adults, and himself. Since then, there have been at least 1,518 mass shootings, with at least 1,715 people killed and 6,089 wounded as of October 2017.

    The counts come via the Gun Violence Archive, which has hosted a database that tracks mass shootings since 2013. But since some shootings go unreported, the database is likely missing some, as well as the details of some of the events.

    The tracker uses a fairly broad definition of “mass shooting”: It includes not just shootings in which four or more people were murdered, but shootings in which four or more people were shot at all (excluding the shooter).

    Even under this broad definition, it’s worth noting that mass shootings make up a tiny portion of America’s firearm deaths, which totaled more than 33,000 in 2014.

    4) On average, there is more than one mass shooting for each day in America

    Whenever a mass shooting occurs, supporters of gun rights often argue that it’s inappropriate to bring up political debates about gun control in the aftermath of a tragedy. For example, former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a strong supporter of gun rights, criticized former President Barack Obama for “trying to score cheap political points” when Obama mentioned gun control after a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

    But if this argument is followed to its logical end, then it will never be the right time to discuss mass shootings, as Christopher Ingraham pointed out at the Washington Post. Under the broader definition of mass shootings, America has nearly one mass shooting a day. So if lawmakers are forced to wait for a time when there isn’t a mass shooting to talk gun control, they could find themselves waiting for a very long time.

    Without science, one cannot find a solution to gun violence.

    But with the help of science and statistics, lawmakers can create regulations the curb gun violence in the nation and in the United States.

    One such example is the nation of Japan.

    From http://www.businessinsider.com/gun-control-how-japan-has-almost-completely-eliminated-gun-deaths-2017-10: “If Japanese people want to own a gun, they must attend an all-day class, pass a written test, and achieve at least 95% accuracy during a shooting-range test. Then they have to pass a mental-health evaluation, which takes place at a hospital, and pass a background check, in which the government digs into their criminal record and interviews friends and family. They can only buy shotguns and air rifles — no handguns — and every three years they must retake the class and initial exam.

    “Japan has also embraced the idea that fewer guns in circulation will result in fewer deaths. Each prefecture — which ranges in size from half a million people to 12 million, in Tokyo — can operate a maximum of three gun shops; new magazines can only be purchased by trading in empty ones; and when gun owners die, their relatives must surrender the deceased member’s firearms.”

    Writer, whomever you are, I appreciate that you took time to write this article. However, please take the time to offer your readers the scientific evidence to validate your argument.

    Mahalo.


  3. Sunrise_blue December 14, 2017 8:37 pm Reply

    What is the crime rate on Kaua’i? Will limiting possession of guns reduce the crime done? Culture has many avenues that displays tendencies to violence. Tv, Hawaii Five 0 new series has a lot of violence on that show, every Friday nights. Can they increase the price of TVs instead? Maybe. I’d say religion in our culture has its say on the topic of violence. It says to do good to your neighbor, and not steal from them. Or do not kill. The religion preaches peace and not war. The solutuon may be all of it. Start with science, what works. Don’t sell guns to anyone not aquainted with it. Still people get their hands on guns and use it to kill innocent lives. What now? More laws.


  4. Sunrise_blue December 14, 2017 9:05 pm Reply

    There is also the argument of watching too much pornography which leads to more rape or violence. But how can they relate these two statistics together to prove it? Science. Ethnic studies may be of use. How many people live in poverty and desire more goods? A lot. Where is the figures coming from? Low income people or rich families. As it pertains to rape and violence? You’ll have to do your own research. Figure it out yourselves. I’m not being paid for this, so what for. Your local politics should do this study and find out.


  5. Sunrise_blue December 14, 2017 10:01 pm Reply

    What is NY’s crime rate? As in the Yankees. Anyone know this number. (%)


  6. Sunrise_blue December 14, 2017 10:16 pm Reply

    Crime rate for NY in 2017, is 3.91 murders per 100k. So that is a percentage. PER CAPITA or people.


  7. Sunrise_blue December 14, 2017 10:29 pm Reply

    Capita= “for each person.” Latin


  8. Sunrise_blue December 14, 2017 10:40 pm Reply

    As you can see, per capita on Kaua’i is for each person. A percentage.

    What?

    What is it? Something per 1000s or 100s.


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