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  • Writer's pictureKurt Loati

What's In a Number?

Stats can invoke joy, or fear, or a sense of angst among people. Often times, stats are used to sway people toward a perspective and make it seem as if a person has all the answers. Our elected officials tend to use stats a lot. It's an effective way for them to tax you more, to take away something you enjoy, or to sway the general public into something they wouldn’t usually agree with. Democrats and Republicans both use this tactic. Here in Vermont, the vast majority of our lawmakers happen to be Democrats.


So far our lawmakers have used statistical numbers to tell you which tobacco products you can and can't use, which heating system you need to install in your house, coming soon, which car you can and can't register, and now which firearms you are and aren't allowed to own.


There’s a recent legislative op ed in the News and Citizen addressing H.582. The quote states;   "It troubles me deeply that in 2023 there were over 600 mass shootings in the U.S. and children around the state have to practice “live shooter” drills. It is clear, from the responses I’ve received, that there are concerns about the approach the bill takes by focusing on semiautomatic assault weapons."


Wait … what? There were over 600 mass shootings in the U.S. last year? How could we have missed this?  What actually defines a mass shooting? According to Britannica.com and the FBI;  Mass shooting, as defined by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): an event in which one or more individuals are “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” If you continue to scroll on that same web page it tells you that the number of mass shootings in the U.S. in 2023 was 14. Not 600. Why is this number so dramatically different? Is there an agenda that needs to be pushed? 


I'm not some crazed gun nut, I just want honest information from the people who were elected with our best interests at heart.  Whipping the general population into a frenzy with false stats is not what these people were elected to do. I, like many Vermonters, want to make sure our kids can go to school without fear, that we can walk down the street without fear. I think we need to focus more on criminals than focusing on the people that already obey the laws. 


Let's not forget, there are 647,464 residents in Vermont and only 181 lawmakers. Let's make sure that all conversations are heard, not just the ones that fit a particular agenda.  And let’s stand firm in demanding real and honest information from our elected officials.

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