“Close to one-quarter of teenagers and young adults treated for assault injuries in a Michigan emergency room reported owning or carrying a gun.”
That’s from a Reuters report Monday on a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. "I think the surprise, if there is any here, is the numbers really are quite high," Dr. Robert Sege of the Boston Medical Center told Reuters. "We need to have a general sense that it's not okay for teenagers and young people to be walking around armed."
Not until halfway through the piece, after sadly noting that “Congress remains divided on issues of gun control,” does Reuters tell us that the study was based on a survey of 689 assault victims from a single (yes, one) ER, and wait until you find out where said ER is located: Flint, Michigan, winner of the “most violent city in America” award three years running. To put that in context, Flint is the only U.S. city more violent than Detroit.
Contrary to the good Doctor’s suggestion, the study does not prove that firearm possession rates are “quite high” among young adults. If anything, it proves that firearm possession rates are “quite high” among young adults being treated for assault injuries -- which is clearly a different question. Breaking news: Most people in traffic accidents possess drivers licenses! A majority of people who fall from roofs own ladders! Many people involved in violent confrontations own tools of violence!
Further, if less than a quarter of those surveyed possess a firearm, then guns are clearly not the chief contributor to assault. Simply put, violence is the result of the darker side of human nature, and only a symptom of the real diseases: family breakdown, failing schools, gangs, drug trafficking, etc.
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