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Article published January 23, 2013
Guns least deadly
James H. Matson Butler
Like most of the nation, I was — and am — shocked and saddened by the massacre at Newtown, Conn. I am equally shocked that so many people are using that horrible incident to promote their own agendas. A total of 12,000 people a year are killed by guns, but if you want to address this country’s worst killers, guns are the last place we should look. Alcohol is legal and well regulated. It is also responsible for 75,000 deaths a year. That’s six times more than guns, but it’s not an issue. After all, people like drinking. Also, it’s incredibly profitable, from the makers to the bars to the state stores to the jackpot made by existing drunken-driving laws. We can barely complain about that, can we? Obesity has been a long-standing problem; it kills 300,000 people a year. Imagine, so much of this country’s population dies every year because of overeating. Our response to that is to take it out on the kids. School lunches are so bland that many students just carry their own lunches now, while the grown-ups lament the loss of the Twinkie and the Ho Ho. People don’t care about obesity because they would have to do something on their own, and that’s very unpopular, especially among obese people. Tobacco still is our number one killer, taking 443,000 people a year. Instead of being made illegal, the cost of cigarettes has been raised through the roof. That doesn’t solve anything, but a way was figured out to make a lot more money. Americans would be crazy to attack such a cash cow as tobacco, so we don’t.