First off, his article is not an exemplary piece of fact-informed opinion. In comparing US violence statistics with other developed nations, Dave makes the following unsupported assumption:
Did you try to Google that first, Dave? It's easy to find the statistics on gun ownership, gun-related homicides, total homicides and population. If you subtract all the gun homicides from total homicides, the US homicide rate is still 3.5 times that of Germany and 5 times that of Japan. Of course, with guns involved, the relative rates are even more dramatic, but the point stands - Dave made an uninformed assumption about the violent natures of different cultures that is completely wrong. Rates of violent crime in the United States are much higher than in other developed nations for reasons that go beyond differences in gun laws.Are Germany, Britain, and Japan any less violent than America? Is the rate of depression any less? I don't think so. And yet Germany's gun murders are only 200 to 300 a year while Japan comes in at around 50 and Britain at 20.
In the article, Jason Joyce adds a comment that links to another article about a recent spike in gun violence in Chicago, including the tragic shooting death of a 6 year-old girl. In the article, this is mentioned:
Police say gangs are to blame for much of the violence, including Aliyah's killing.
I think that this is an extremely important issue to consider, and it's one that Dave did not mention in either of his two articles on gun violence and policies to deal with it. While gang violence did not cause the death of Trayvon Martin, it is arguably a much larger problem, statistically speaking, than the occasional trigger-happy neighborhood watch captain. If one wants to start citing statistics about gun deaths at the national scale and recommending policy paths, then one should start by recognizing national-scale problems, not hinging an argument on anecdotal and emotionally-charged tragedies that can be considered statistical outliers.
Regarding gun-related suicides and the implication of high rates of clinical depression - this is definitely another major issue to tackle, but I think Dave jumps to conclusions in using gun-suicides as evidence to support a blanket gun ban, which we suspect is what he wanted already anyway, independent of suicide considerations. Regarding suicides, I'd first ask why so many people are driven to depression, and whether the best place to invest our political capital is a policy that merely denies suicidal people access to guns without addressing the underlying problem of their depression. With such a policy (if it were to work as intended, which is highly debatable), we'd still be left with a lot of near-suicidal people who are still gravely depressed. Of course, Dave might also support measures to address widespread depression, but I don't think that it's in good taste to trot out these bad situations gone worse (gun suicides) as support for your anti-gun argument. The point should be to reduce undesired deaths, not eliminate guns, and I think it's important to keep one's eye on the ball, so to speak.
So why is this in the Comments on Isthmus section of TDPF? As a fairly new resident of Madison (<5 yrs), I was at first somewhat impressed with Mayor Dave, and was interested to see that he would be contributing to Isthmus after leaving office. However, I've been disappointed in the content that's been written. Dave - you seem to have a lot to say about national issues that you have no more control over than the average non-ex-mayor citizen, and on those issues you tend to follow the Democratic party line pretty faithfully. When your "Idea of the Week" is basically just a repetition of something that we could read from Paul Krugman (e.g. on economics, the stimulus) or from any of a number of anti-gun activists at the national scale (in regard to the more recent articles), then what are you really offering, other than filler content, for Isthmus readers? When you comment on city and local issues (which you often do, I recognize that), you can really offer unique insight and draw on experience that vanishingly few other people have. Anyone can repeat the national talking points, and we can get the national talking points from a number of excellent writers from nationally-syndicated sources. Why not skip national politics in your column altogether?