Cumberland Times-News

September 20, 2013

It would be easier to dodge a claw hammer than a bullet

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— In Fred Paugh’s letter to the editor “Army has never referred to these weapons as assault rifles” (Sept. 18 Times-News), he states, “According to many sources, there were more people killed with claw hammers last year than were killed by AR-15s.”

I have heard that claim often and finally decided to look it up for myself. FBI Expanded Homicide Data Table 8 lists murder victims by weapon, 2007-2011.

Hammers are not listed separately but are included in the “blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.)” category. Comparing all blunt objects to only rifles, more murders were committed using blunt objects 2007-2011.

Comparing all blunt objects to “total firearms,” or to only “handguns,” or to only “firearms, type not stated” shows a completely different picture.

Murders by all “blunt objects” couldn’t touch those categories. Year 2011 for example: blunt objects, 496; firearms, type not stated, 1,587; handguns, 6,220; total firearms, 8,583.

Mr. Paugh is correct in proudly stating that our soldiers are defending these United States. However the term “assault weapon” is in no way disparaging to any soldier.

I believe it’s accurate to say that all those people killed whether at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, the Navy Yard in Washington, and on and on, have been assaulted to death.

If the gunmen/murderers had assaulted them with a claw hammer, club, tire iron or other blunt object; maybe at least some of them would have survived. I’d rather try to outrun a blunt object than a bullet.

Camille Spurr

Oakland