It never fails. Whenever I get in a discussion about shootings or guns, the anti gunner presents uninformed opinion and emotion, and present actual facts. The discussion always ends with “We are going to have to agree to disagree.”

The most recent example was on a thread about how sad it was that parents were having to buy bullet resistant backpacks for their back to school shopping. It went like this:

antigun soccer mom: I have commented, deleted, commented, deleted. As a mom to a school employee, as a mother-in-law to a school employee, as a sister to a school employee, as a sis-in-law to a school employee, as an aunt to a teacher, as an aunt to students and soon as a grandmother to students, one school shooting is one school shooting too many. 8, 10, 20…1 is too many no matter where the stupid guns come from. Whether they are bought, stolen or stolen from an unlocked car, it’s still incredibly sad, terrifying and down right wrong that parents have to consider bullet proof backpacks. It’s time for guns to go.

Me: You are correct that one death is too many. However, the times we live in are actually safer than they ever have been before. The news makes money on selling fear. I am a teacher, and a retired firemedic. I will tell you that your child’s odds of being killed in an auto accident on the way to school or after being struck by lightning are exponentially higher than their odds of being killed in a school shooting.

Unintentional injuries—such as those caused by burns, drowning, falls, poisoning and road traffic—are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the United States. Each year, among those 0 to 19 years of age, more than 12,000 people die from unintentional injuries. For children 5 to 19 years of age, the most injury deaths were due to being an occupant in a motor vehicle traffic crash.
The proportion of teens dying from firearms decreased substantially, from 27.8 per 100,000 in 1994 to 9.13.8 per 100,000 in 2017. Even among deaths by firearm, suicide was the twice as likely to be cause of death than homicide, with suicide rates for 15- to 19-year-olds reached an all-time high of 11.8 per 100,000 in 2017. School shootings are an even smaller subset, with only 12 students per year on average being killed in the past decade, meaning that school shootings are statistically invisible when compared to suicide and auto accidents.

anti gun soccer mom: and we are going to agree to disagree.

I am going to repeat a bit of a post I did on that subject:

I won’t “agree to disagree” in this conversation or in others, because “agree to disagree” is an incredibly lazy tactic. It ranks up there with “everyone is entitled to their own opinion” among the pantheon of dishonest and self-defeating statements made in lieu of actual argument. I cannot heap enough contempt on the idea of “agreeing to disagree.”

The argument could be useful, I suppose, if it meant no more than what it says – mutual recognition of a disagreement. Some arguments are intractable – issues of personal taste or the subjective importance of certain values cannot be resolved empirically. In an argument like that, once both sides have expressed themselves as clearly as possible, if there is still no agreement then there is nothing left to do but acknowledge there is a disagreement, and leave it at that.

That is not, however, the sense in which I most often hear the phrase “agree to disagree” used. What is usually meant is “we’re both equally right, both equally wrong.” Two positions, one demonstrably true and the other based on nothing more than feelings, do not share the same level of validity.

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