worl-wide Gun Deaths: US Stands Out

Visualizing gun deaths – Comparing the U.S. to rest of the world

How does the US stack up against other countries when it comes to homicides involving guns? The screen below, which uses findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, illustrates the difference in firearm homicide rates between the US and other high-income countries. Adjusting for differences in population size, rates of homicides from guns were 6.6 times larger in the US than in Portugal, the country with one of the highest rates in Western Europe.
http://www.humanosphere.org/science/2014/03/visualizing-gun-deaths-comparing-the-u-s-to-rest-of-the-world/

This is a complicated issue. Gun control advocates commonly like to over simplify and paint it as something that can be fixed by getting guns off the streets, like it’s somehow the fault of the guns themselves. But there are complex and difficult cultural and socioeconomic factors at play as well. Removing the guns (if you could somehow, magically, do so) would, of course, lower the number of gun related deaths, but it wouldn’t fix any of the underlying problems those deaths are ultimately just symptoms of.

We’ve rehashed this issue ad infinitum and no amount of grousing about getting guns off the streets is going to matter until the cult of the gun is detached from the concept of individual freedom we Americans cherish. What we can do is pressure our representatives into at first enforcing the laws already on the books e.g. closing loopholes in the law that allow felons to buy guns from legitimate owners and purchasing them at gun shows. Everyone’s appalled and frightened by these nuts who slaughter the innocents but shy away from contacting and pressuring the people who can really make a difference, namely those in the position to change, or enforce the laws. And I’m not including the families and friends of the victims BTW. Many have made valiant efforts to make changes despite the harassment and adverse publicity drummed up by the naysayers. The American public doesn’t see the disconnect here. The lawmakers who refuse to buck the gun lobby for whatever reason are the ones who should have the lion’s share of the blame and if the ballot box is the only way to get their attention, then so be it. Personally I’m fed up with politicians who use the “gun rights” issue to drum up votes. This last election everyone scrambled to show themselves with the “proper firearm” for their area, even members of my own party just had to be seen with some type of weapon to show the voters that they won’t take their guns away because gun ownership equates to individual rights. Unfortunately, that’s what bought many of the neocons their seats in state and national legislatures.
Cap’t Jack

In case you’re wondering, Jack, I’m not pro-gun. I’m not anti-gun either though. I’m largely indifferent toward guns and the laws governing their procurement and ownership. I’m also rather disgusted with the people on both sides of the issue as both like to use over-simplifications, slippery slopes, and fear mongering to push their own, particular agenda.

It might help if Americans could disabuse themselves of the notion that owning a gun makes them or their families safer. A family having a gun in the house for protection is like someone wearing a device to protect them from being struck by lightning–that has a 1% chance of malfunctioning and shocking them or a family member to death. Because a gun in the house is about 22 times more likely to cause an unjustified death than to be used in self-defense
…And most “self-defense” cases are rather questionable…“not guilty” doesn’t equal proof that a shooting was necessary or justified, especially in a “stand your ground” state.
Some studies:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-guns-in-home-increase-suicide-homicide-risk/
http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2014/01/111286/access-guns-increases-risk-suicide-homicide
http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/20/guns-in-home-increase-suicide-homicide-risk/
http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/01/guns-home-double-homicide-risk-and-triple-suicide-risk-study-finds
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/01/21/gun-ownership-tied-to-three-fold-increase-in-suicide-risk/
http://nyagv.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Accidental-Shootings-NYAGV.pdf
…And those are just the first few studies that came up on Google.
You know what’s really hard to find on Google? Examples where a private citizen actually used a gun to save a life. And most of the “examples” that do come up are from–how should I put this?–rather questionable sites. (Yes, I know it actually has happened once or twice throughout history–allegedly.)
That being said, I have no problem with certain people being armed–for instance, trained uniformed cops or security personnel, or people like Sam Harris or Salman Rushdie who actually run a significant risk of being attacked by homicidal maniacs. In those cases, the risk of not being armed may actually outweigh the risk of having a gun in the house.

You’re beating a dead horse, dude. Well, maybe more like pounding mush and bits of bone into the floorboards.
EDIT
Typo. Christ it’s hard to type with a touchpad.

You're beating a dead horse, dude. Well, maybe more like pounding mush and bits of bone into the floorboards. EDIT Typo. Christ it's hard to type with a touchpad.
You make it sound like a bad thing. ;)

This brings up bad memories of an argument I had over at the About.com agnosticism/atheism forums a while back about the efficacy of the Assault Weapons Ban that was in effect between 1994 and 2004. The first year that the ban went into effect, rendering it much more difficult to obtain high capacity clips and ammo, the number of fatalities from mass shooting dropped drastically. That statistical “anomaly” stayed pretty much constant until the year the ban ended and then it suddenly jumped way back up. Keep in mind, the number of mass shooting incidents did not drop during this period (I believe it actually increased), just the number of fatalities.
The response I got to citing this data was “correlation does not equal causation, idiot”. Which seemed a bit disingenuous and desperate to me. It may not be iron-clad proof beyond a shadow of a doubt, but I wondered what kind of evidence they would accept for the efficacy of any policy?
Should I quit abusing the corpse of that poor horse now?

This is a complicated issue. Gun control advocates commonly like to over simplify and paint it as something that can be fixed by getting guns off the streets, like it's somehow the fault of the guns themselves. But there are complex and difficult cultural and socioeconomic factors at play as well. Removing the guns (if you could somehow, magically, do so) would, of course, lower the number of gun related deaths, but it wouldn't fix any of the underlying problems those deaths are ultimately just symptoms of.
Anti-gun control advocates also simplify the issue and act as if the free and easy access to guns makes no difference. Statistics show otherwise. Lois

True. Read my second post in this thread.

pssst, good to see you back in the neighborhood DM.

In case you’re wondering, Jack, I’m not pro-gun. I’m not anti-gun either though. I’m largely indifferent toward guns and the laws governing their procurement and ownership. I’m also rather disgusted with the people on both sides of the issue as both like to use over-simplifications, slippery slopes, and fear mongering to push their own, particular agenda.
Yeah DM, but that pretty much goes with issues that touch on the political, especially personal rights. My interest here is that I AM a gun owner and have been since I was a teenager, born into it, and I used to hunt and now target shoot only. As I've mentioned here many times, most of my weapons are 18th and 19th black powder guns but I own a couple of shotguns too. What I've seen over the years however is an increasing "need" for the NRA to become purely political and join the neocon ranks with this paranoid idea that the "monolithic government" was going to strip them of their rights. This is where the fear mongering and slippery slope arguments are used by the likes of Wayne LaPierre and his ilk. He portends to speak for gun owners when the majority WANT the gun regulations not only kept in place, but enforced and not blocked by local, state and national politicians. We don't need new gun laws; keep what we have and close the loopholes as I've stated before. But I'm still for banning fully automatic, military weapons. Despite what the proponents say, they're not utilitarian. Cap't Jack