All of this talk about gun control, but a lesser known argument we are missing, which is a much grander and fatal problem — swimming pools. How many more children have to die before we stand up and take action? I have had enough with the forgotten deaths at the hands of 3 to 12 feet of vicious, life-sucking water. The lives of our young ones are at stake, and we have no dog in this fight. I might as well step in to intervene.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released numbers for 2007-09 showing an average of 390 children under 14 years old die each year in a swimming pool. And these pools are used for recreation. Pools cannot help you protect your property or your family. Pools help you to cool off or provide a place for you to lie out and work on a tan (which that in itself is not healthy when overdone).
So is it all worth it? Are 390 children taken prematurely from loving families enough for us to take action yet? Children are three, count that, three times more likely to die from a swimming pool than being shot to death. The Huffington Post reported that 119 children, 12 years old or younger, were shot to death in 2011.
Clearly banning pools is not a viable idea, so let’s stop using death totals to hammer home our points. If it’s only large death tolls that spur any action to create bans, then so long swimming pools.
We shouldn’t be placing all the blame on guns. There are much bigger contributors to the problem. There is a problem with the conversation between the news media and the masses. Journalism has gone from a watchful protector to a mess-maker. They have sensationalized mass-murders with 24/7, non-stop coverage. Most of us know the names of the killers off the top of our heads, but do we know the victims names? Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner told The View that a 24-hour news cycle coupled with a celebrity-driven culture has prompted the explosion of mass-shooting cases. Instead of ending their lives privately, they decide to go out with a bang, where everyone will remember their name. As Dr. Welner says, it “makes them larger than life.” Here is an idea: let’s not talk about the killer. Let’s not mention death totals. Let’s not interview traumatized children (I’m looking at you CNN). We cannot keep promoting copycat killings.
Not to mention the emotional reaction from the masses. Instead of critically thinking, most of us have been crying government. Please help us Barack, come save us from all of the evil that exists in the world. Well it cannot be done. We will never eradicate the evils from the world. They will always exist.
I am not against a few provisions that could provide some sort of cessation to the rising number of shootings. Don’t get me wrong, I lean very far anti-death, but where do we draw the line? We don’t need the government to be our nannies, and we are missing some of the bigger issues. There are so many factors that go into a tragedy like Newtown or Columbine. Government regulation will not curtail the availability of assault weapons to criminals. There will always be a black market for them, which is simple economics. They didn’t care about the law in the first place and they certainly won’t give a damn about new gun laws. If we really want to save the children, I’m all for a swimming pool ban, maybe a McDonald’s ban while we are at it. As social critic Albert Jay Nock would say, “If a spoonful of prussic acid will kill you, a bottleful is just what you need to do you a great deal of good.”
Brian is a junior in Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.