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CHAR MASON, St. Paul
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Putting the chance of death in perspective (“Life’s tenuous nature: The bookies put it all in perspective,” Letter of the Day, Sept. 19) can be meaningful only if done by age group.
The chance of dying of something over a lifetime is 100 percent. I would suggest the annual report of “cause of death by age group,” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for a more tragic perspective.
Deaths due to homicide make the top four by age 4, and are in the top two during the teens and 20s. Suicide reaches the top four in the group aged 10-14 and remains in the top 10 through age 64. The number of homicides due to gunfire vary a bit from year to year but are usually greater than 70 percent of the total.
Suicides by gunshot are usually 50 percent of the total.
The writer may have wished to give some reassurance along with perspective that there is a 1 in 312 chance of being killed by gunfire. In regions of the country with high per capita gun ownership, this ratio can be 1 in 150. The Journal of Military Medicine published a report recently of the deaths per 100,000 of military personnel in the Iraq theater. It calculates to about 1 in 250.
We can all prevent (delay) cardiovascular disease by well-known health recommendations. How do we alter the chance of death by gunfire? I have perspective, and I am not reassured.
JERRY NOLLER, Anoka
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Republican plan may be bad for Republicans
In 1936, Republican presidential candidate Alf Landon ran against Franklin Roosevelt, and his campaign was focused almost entirely on repealing Social Security, which he claimed was “corrupt, unconstitutional, hostile to business and mired in waste and inefficiency.” Does any of this sound familiar? Landon lost the election, with eight electoral votes to FDR’s 523. Before the 1936 election cycle, Republicans had 25 senators and 103 seats in the House. After the election, they had 16 senators and 88 congressmen. They would not regain a majority in the House for more than 40 years.
Fast-forward to 2013; House Republicans are threatening to shut down the government rather than allow access to affordable health care through Obamacare. Let’s hope that history repeats itself.
Stephen Kriz, Maple Grove
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.