Will Durst compared apples to oranges when discussing guns

Published 12:00 pm Monday, June 27, 2016

I was disappointed to read Will Durst’s ill-informed editorial “A bit of common sense on guns.” Its dearth of factual information is also disappointing. He did do a very good job of comparing apples to oranges.

He stated “as Holland is to tulips, the U.S. is to gun deaths.” This is simply not true. According to an NPR article published Dec. 7 2015, which looked at gun deaths in multiple countries in the Americas, the United States ranked 13th out of 20 countries in gun deaths.

A quick internet search reveals that on a worldwide basis the United States is number 103 in per capita homicide rates compared to the rest of the world. That is below the median and the average.

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He likened the use of an assault rifle to hunt with to a person cutting butter with a chain saw. This is just as absurd as the rest of his article. This past March I was hunting wild hogs in Centerville, Texas, with an AR-15 assault rifle and a 30-round magazine. I was in an open field and a wild hog charged me. I started shooting when the animal was about 70 yards away and fired 12 shots. The 12th shot blew out its shoulder and dropped the hog. When we cleaned it I found five entrance wounds. While five out of 12 shots may not be the best marksmanship, I would’ve been up a creek without an assault rifle.

Research reveals that 869 people were murdered in mass shootings in the last 50 years (USA) or an average of less than 18 per year. Indeed you are 2.6 times more likely to die of a lightning strike than in a mass shooting. Another quick internet search reveals that over 1,700 children died from child abuse in the United States in 2008.

A series of stabbings, cleaver and hammer attacks in China in March 2010 left 25 dead and 115 injured. No guns were involved.

Penultimately his mention of the HK MG4s is also an error. The Heckler and Kock website lists this gun as a .223 not a .45. It is a fully automatic weapon made after 1986 and not available to private citizens. He also said that the .45-caliber had a range of a half-mile but the bullet drop at that distance is about 233 feet. It would seem that Mr. Durst is a much better shot than I am.

There is no question that mass shootings are horrific. Unfortunately the media glorification of these shootings seems to perpetuate them. Ill-informed and erroneous editorials like that of Mr. Durst don’t do a thing to help solve the problem.

Philip Loria