I happen to be in favor of reasonable gun control to reduce firearm deaths in this country, but that is not why I am writing this letter.

I just finished reading a letter to the editor in today’s paper (“Maine Voices author exaggerates threat posed by guns,” May 26). The author’s argument seems to be that since there are nearly as many firearm deaths in Massachusetts as in Idaho, people are no more at risk from firearms in Idaho than in Massachusetts. I don’t find this argument to be persuasive.

There are many times more obese people in China than there are in the Cook Islands. This does not mean the Cook Islanders are off the hook for obesity: Fifty-six percent of adult Cook Islanders are obese, whereas only 6.2 percent of adult Chinese are obese. This apparent discrepancy is due to the fact that there are more people in China than there are in the Cook Islands; look it up.

Massachusetts’ population is nearly four times greater than Idaho’s. The fact is that the death rate from firearms in Idaho is over 4.4 times greater than it is in Massachusetts. Stated another way, in Idaho, where there is a much higher rate of gun ownership, a person is over four times as likely to be killed with a gun as that person is in Massachusetts.

If you don’t understand numbers, don’t try to use them to persuade. If you do understand numbers, don’t use them to mislead.

Bob Arledge


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