Anger, sadness, and frustration are all understandable responses to the shootings that occurred in Las Vegas, NV last night. My heartfelt sympathies do go out to all of the family and friends effected by those lost or wounded as a result of this latest tragedy.
It did not take long for my facebook feed to fill up with messages of prayer and sorrow for the victims. The warmth and coming together that social media enables sometimes gets lost in the criticism of the form. And it is worth mentioning and encouraging.
However, not too many beats after the authentic sympathies were expressed, the usual gun control/ 2nd amendment disagreements ensued.
And while I understand it and I sympathize with it, I also get frustrated by it. I agree that we can and we should do more to prevent any shooting deaths let alone mass shootings. However in proportion to other threats. To things that all of us, today, can start doing something about, too many of us do not.
On average 11.8 people die per minute from cancer. More people will die from cancer in the time it takes someone to wake up and drink their morning coffee than in Las Vegas last night. Currently about 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in America will get diagnosed with cancer. Further, one in four deaths in America come from heart disease.
While the NRA is a huge obstacle to gun control, reform/ legislation, they do not force anyone to smoke cigarettes, which according to the CDC is responsible for 480,000 deaths per year. And while smokers may choose to smoke, the 41,000 people the CDC estimates that die due to second-hand smoke, do not. I wonder how many parents who worry about gun safety for their children smoke in their homes?
Politicians who do not enact changes to gun laws do not force you to eat processed and fast food, drink to excess, not eat vegetables, and fruits, not get enough exercise, or sleep, and so on. Cancer and heart disease combined kill well over a million people a year. Dwarfing death caused from war, terrorism, and shootings combined. But I don’t see anywhere close to the same outrage. The same calls for change to positively impact exponentially significantly higher causes of death.
Sometimes I think about if there was evidence that cancer was actually a bio weapon of terrorists, we would care more and do more to find a cure. But I digress.
Is a preventative lifestyle a guarantee? While collectively deaths could come dramatically down. Individually, no. There is no guarantee. But the same things that give you a better chance to avoid cancer and heart disease, also assist with diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and a host of other ailments. Aside from increasing your chances of avoiding the number 1 and number 2 killer, you can also feel better, look younger, be more productive, potentially save huge amounts of money in medical bills, and perhaps happier.
You want to change gun law? Make it harder for someone to get automatic weapons? I’m all for that. (And exploring the mental health component.) As we know this has been and will unfortunately continue to be an ongoing struggle rife with partisanship, politicization, and too much influence in the debate afforded to a powerful lobby. It doesn’t mean we do not engage it, but it is what it is.
However, for yourself, for your family, the people you love, and that love you, please take a more active role in your health and preventing these plagues from affecting you.
Cancer and heart diseases are far more likely to effect you than a shooting and they are something you can do something about right now.