Stephen Bundiansky wants real talk on guns:
We have made a reasonable social decision, I think, that the benefits of the automobile outweigh its harm; yet that has not prevented us from honestly acknowledging its harm and the perfectly plain fact that how roads and cars are designed and regulated have an enormous impact on death and injury, completely apart from human volition. (Per capita auto-related fatalities are today half what they were in 1950; deaths per vehicle-mile have dropped sixfold, almost entirely through technological modifications.)
Yet only when it comes to guns do people attempt, usually furiously, to deny that anything but individual responsibility matters, as I mentioned the other day. If we are ever to have a real discussion on this topic, we need to begin with the simple admission that guns like drugs, medicines, cars, power tools, ski helmets, and every other piece of technology in the universe can be built and employed in ways that are inherently safer or ways that are less safe.