Daily Archives: July 20, 2014

Guns and saccharine

Drawing of a handgun with the caption "This killed 9000 Americans last year. Drawing of a pack of saccharin with the caption: This killed 4 white rats...Caption under both reads "Can you guess which one's been banned?"

Back during the Reagan administration I clipped this political cartoon out of the paper. I don’t know if it was the Elgin Daily Courier News or the Chicago Tribune (or even the Chicago Sun-Times). I taped it to the front of my desk at the school where I worked. While the message was probably lost on the moderately functioning developmentally disabled students I taught, at least the teachers who popped into my room would know I was for gun-control.

I’ve not changed. I despise guns. I truly believe that if we had better gun control (I cannot see the United States ever banning guns) we would not have the same murder rate in this country.

Unfortunately the gun control issue has become very contentious in recent years. Gun proponents call on the Second Amendment and claim that guns are not responsible for the gun deaths in the country. Those in favor of gun control point out that if the guns were not available to most of the folks who pulled the triggers the people they shot would still be alive. To me it is obvious who is right. It is clear as day to me that if we had better gun control those 20 children killed in Newtown, MA would have celebrated another birthday. The 32 college students killed at Virginia Tech would have graduated by now and the 12 people murdered during the Batman movie in Aurora, CO would still be alive and able to watch more movies.

The number of gun deaths in 2013 is reported to be 12,000 according to http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/31/president-obama-gun-control-push, however there is really no data on gun violence anymore because the Republicans blocked the CDC from researching gun violence saying they didn’t want to fund propaganda. (http://www.propublica.org/article/republicans-say-no-to-cdc-gun-violence-research)

Yes, the saccharin comparison is a bit misleading. It turns out that saccharin was never banned in the United States, although, according to http://enhs.umn.edu/current/saccharin/reghistory.html, in 1981, probably the year this cartoon ran in the paper, “The National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) listed saccharin and its salts as “anticipated human carcinogen” based on Canadian rat studies.”

Anyway, I wanted to make sure this clipping was saved and I was able to tell the story of how I came to have it in my collection of everything.