Today, I was outside having a cigarette (nasty habit, by the way) and reading my cigarette pack.
According to the statistics on the package (from Health Canada), tobacco kills almost five times as many people each year in Canada as murders, alcohol, car accidents, and suicides combined!
Murders – 510
Alcohol – 1,900
Car accidents – 2,900
Suicides – 3,900
Tobacco – 45,000
Now, I’m a little suspicious of these numbers, particularly the alcohol and tobacco.
Murders, car accidents, and suicides are clearly specific, identifiable, and trackable incidents.
Alcohol might be, depending if they’re talking about alcohol-related injuries causing death or if they’re trying to lump in things like alcohol-related liver disease. I’m also not sure if both the car accidents and the alcohol-related deaths include deaths caused by drunk drivers.
Tobacco, on the other hand, may be a cause in a huge number of deaths, but it may be a little too easy to chalk up some of these deaths to the evil weed when they may have occurred anyway because of genetics or because of other aspects of a person’s lifestyle.
That said, let’s assume for the moment that these numbers are reasonably accurate.
Do you know how many people are killed each year in Canada by dogs?
That’s right. One person per year, sometimes a child but not always, loses their life because of a dog bite or attack.
Horrifying and traumatizing for the family of this person, no doubt. But no less so than for the families of those people shot or knifed to death, launched through a windshield, put to sleep by an overdose of pills, or killed by a drunk driver.
How many people do you think have been killed in Canada by “pit bull” type dogs? As always, I must add the corollary that we can never truly identify the type of dog beyond a basic generic appearance.
So how many?
ONE in the last TWENTY-FIVE years!
Now, I have no idea how many people all those other things have killed over the past twenty-five years, but if we assumed that the number of deaths has doubled between 1982 and now (a generous assumption), that’s over a MILLION people, dead from these various causes. The reality is probably more than that.
Still, we are allowed to smoke.
Still, we are allowed to drink.
Still, we are allowed to drive.
Still, we are allowed to own things with which we could kill ourselves.
Still, we are allowed to own things with which we could kill others.
Yet, we are not allowed to own “pit bulls”. The government is allowed to track me, photograph my dog, share my personal information, enter my house unannounced, confiscate my property, and publicly vilify me, making me and others like me afraid to step outside our front doors.
ONE person in TWENTY-FIVE years!
Do you really think the Ontario law was even remotely about public safety?
Or was it about looking good on TV, about getting re-elected, about personal ambition and power?
Or was it about getting around that pesky clause in the constitution prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure?
Or that other clause that keeps getting in the way, the one about being presumed innocent?
Logically, looking at all these other causes of death, any reasonable person would have to conclude that it sure as hell wasn’t about protecting lives.