11 Responses

  1. Among the worst (4th) in raw numbers, yes, the United States has to take time to pause. Per 100K, the rate of Gun violence>Homicides>Overall homicide rate = 9.1 (14th of 32). (The Wikipedia source is not specific on this number.) An interesting pair of graphs pertaining to this issue can be found here at the ‘*’ in the notes below.
    These numbers do not include the numbers of deaths due to American gun violence World-wide which just might take it to #1, contributing – in my opinion – to the higher rates in the U.S. We notice that in the Bush 41 & 43 years, years of protracted wars, violence was on the upswing. During Clinton 42′s years, there was a dramatic drop in the rates, perhaps the lowest in 20-25 years … or more. Obama’s numbers are inconclusive, based upon availability.
    Jails and prisoners are other interesting data. American jails rank 5th according to NationMaster. The U.S. leads in incarcerations by as bunch.(See ‘**’ below)
    We wonder how much of the prison culture is affecting what happens in ‘civilisation.’ My biggest concern is the way drugs are marketed, legally and illegally, by many who aren’t in jail and should be and many who are in jail and shouldn’t be. Beyond this, death by homicide is about 15th on the list of ways to die in the U.S., representing about 3.5% of the whole. The bulk of 1 through 14 is related to “personal” tastes, resulting in a whole range of medical issues to which the afflicted succumb. The remainder fall due to accidents, among which we might say that over 30,000 people are stricken due to vehicular accidents.*** But, where is the outcry or national moratorium on illness or the auto industries? Another 96.5% of the almost 480 thousand deaths is not that important?

    * link to en.wikipedia.org
    ** link to en.wikipedia.org
    *** link to cdc.gov
    link to cdc.gov

    • Maybe your points are too subtle for me, or maybe there’s more subtlety in your post than might first appear from its dispassionate, almost scientific tone.

      Are you saying that all the hoopla about intentional (and less frequent accidental) deaths by firearms “needs to be put in perspective,” and presumably diluted and toned down by diversion into hoopla about McBurger Deaths and those incidents when a “car goes out of control” and stuff like that?

    • According to our classical liberal ideology, we form societies for the sake of security while maintaining as much of our freedom as we can. So it matters to the citizens of a country that so many of them die at the hands of other citizens, not because they were trying to drive from one place to another, but because they wanted to kill them. The question is, what does this mean about our relationship to and obligations to one another?

  2. Yes, the US “only” has about 9,999 thousand firearm homicides a year. But it has 35,000 firearm deaths, after adding in suicides and accidents. As the Children’s Defense Fund pointed out a few years ago, that’s about 1.25 million people since MLK was murdered.

    Also, the figures for Mexico here are vastly deflated. As always, question statistics.

  3. So a comparison of US vehicular deaths- with vehicles a very well-regulated commodity, both in safety of equipment and licensure and the deaths related to the relatively un-regulated firearms ownership scheme in the US is equivalent, how? Remembering the ‘good ol’ days’, before seat belts, adequate brakes, various other safety equipment (required by law), the highways were a lot more brutal than today, relative to vehicles, drivers and miles travelled. Perhaps some sort of similar restrictions- licensing, safer equipment, more involved training, education and rigorous application of those rules of law might produce a similar reduction in the carnage that we so readily accept as ‘the price of freedom’. When impaired, drunken and drugged driving became a cause noted by its effects on innocent bystanders, the legal and social weight brought to bear changed the situation. Firearms ownership and chemical use are generally a voluntary choice, both have their social aspects and positive points. However, both have serious and deadly implications when abused or misused. Banning guns in the US is not feasible, but redefining just what a ‘well-regulated militia’ is, and what arms are to be kept and borne may go a long way to changing the currently tragic and on-going scenario.

  4. 200 and counting.

    That is the death toll that is the result of guns that were disseminated in conjunction with the Fast and Furious program administered by the ATF to supply guns to Mexican criminal organizations in hopes of tracing them for eventual prosecution of illegal gun trafficking networks.

    Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales indicated the Mexican government had not been previously notified nor would they have approved the Fast and Furious operation.

    On April 17, 2012 the critically-acclaimed book “Fast and Furious: Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and its Shameless Cover-Up” by Katie Pavlich was published.

    On September 19, 2012 the United States Department of Justice Inspector General’s Report on that operation was issued and cited “management failures” of 18 Department of Justice and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms officials administering that ill-fated program. Eric Holder does not dispute the findings but distances himself from the failures associated with that program cited in the voluminous report.

    Firearms-related homicides are a product of serious failures of the Obama administration.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Obama and Holder are hoping that the public focuses on Newtown and Obama’s vague preachings about the need for gun control – and that the public forgets about the failings of Fast and Furious.

    The sad result of Newtown is not unique. Remember the 1966 University of Texas Tower rampage by ex-Marine Charles Whitman, the 1984 McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro by James Huberty, the Luby’s Restaurant killings in Texas in early 1990s, the Columbine High School tragedy in 1999 and the latest major double-digit homicide tragedy being Virginia Tech only a few years ago.

    I doubt if anyone is directly to blame for the actions of Adam Lanza, other than possibly Mr. Lanza himself, assuming he was sane – which is highly questionable.

    On the other hand, Operation Fast and Furious is something that the Obama Administration and U.S. Congress should take a strong look at for assessing blame and imposing accountability. Obama and Holder owe our nation and Mexico an apology over the lack of executive oversight that contributed to what has occurred.

    • There is not the slightest evidence tying either Holder or Obama to the rogue gun-walking program. The report you cite explicitly exonerates them.

      Spare us your phony concern about gun deaths.

  5. We should FOCUS the debate on GUNS. Don’t allow NRA to distract you. “The Polluter pays” would be the best slogan to counter gun-crazed individuals without touching the 2d amendment. At the end of the day, when I choose to drive, I have to buy INSURANCE. Part of the premium goes to cover the cost of uninsured people who cause accidents. Same principle is valid for gun owners, who need to obtain a license and pay for the damages that they, as a collective cause, without changing the second amendment. This is a very feasible approach and will hurt the NRA.

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