NEWS FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org
For release: October 30, 2000
For additional information:
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
Fatality fumble: Football kills as
many students as school shootings
WASHINGTON, DC -- High school football killed as many students
last year as did guns -- which means politicians should either stop
using school shootings as an excuse to attack the Second Amendment or
start passing "football control" laws, the Libertarian Party said
"According to the latest statistics, a football is as deadly as
a gun," said Steve Dasbach, the party's national director. "So why do
first downs continue to be exalted while the Second Amendment continues
to be vilified?"
A new study from the National School Safety Center (NSSC)
reported that there were 15 "school-associated deaths" caused by
violent crime -- including guns -- during the 1999-2000 school year.
That number is unchanged from the 1998-1999 school year, when
15 students were killed by guns, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
There have been zero student gun deaths so far during this
By comparison, 15 high school football players died during
regular season and playoff games in 1999, according to the National
Federation of State High School Associations.
Another 11 athletes have died in high school games and
practices since late August of this year -- and that number is expected
to rise during playoffs. In addition, another 29 players this year have
suffered "catastrophic injuries" on the field, leaving them paralyzed
or seriously disabled.
These numbers have Libertarians wondering: Given the carnage on
our nation's high school football fields, why the outcry about guns --
and the utter silence about football fatalities?
"When 15 students are tragically killed by guns during a school
year, every politician and anti-gun lobbying group expresses practiced
outrage, and immediately demands new laws that infringe on the Second
Amendment," said Dasbach. "But when 15 students are tragically killed
by football, the silence is deafening.
"If the preventable death of any young person is a tragedy --
and it is -- then why wasn't there a Million Mom March demanding an end
to high school football? Why no calls from Bill Clinton for
'reasonable' football control laws? Why no saturation media coverage as
dead football players are carried off the field in stretchers? Why no
class-action lawsuits against Spaulding for manufacturing cheap
Saturday Night Special footballs?
"Could it be that politicians get more yardage attacking guns
than attacking football?"
This "outrage gap" is especially puzzling, said Dasbach,
because the Constitution doesn't guarantee an explicit right to "keep
and bear" footballs.
"Football is nothing more than entertainment and sport. Guns
are a Constitutionally protected civil right," he said. "While every
new gun-control law triggers a fight about the scope of the Second
Amendment, football has no such protection.
"If he wanted to, President Clinton could lobby for an absolute
ban on high school football, in order to save the lives of 15 young
people every year. The fact that he doesn't, and the fact that groups
like Handgun Control, Inc. don't demand such legislation, reveals that
their real motive is not to save lives, but to advance an anti-gun
Of course, Libertarians wouldn't support a ban on football any
more than they support a ban on guns, said Dasbach.
"Protecting the lives of young people who play high school
football is the job of parents, school officials, and coaches, not
politicians," he said. "And protecting the Second Amendment is the job
of every American, since so many politicians have fumbled their duty to
defend the fundamental human rights -- including the right to keep and
bear arms -- guaranteed in the Constitution."