Gun Violence in Perspective

Following the school shooting in Newtown, we were told repeatedly that this time our response would be different. There’s something about mass shootings that capture our attention more than the same number of people being killed in separate encounters. That the victims were children makes the situation impossible to ignore.

Over the last month we have encountered claims that the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment has changed throughout American history; that the 2nd Amendment was a mistake; that the Black Panthers influenced our current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment; that the citizen’s right to possess military style assault rifles was exactly what the founding fathers had in mind. We’ve even seen epic tirades (please watch the whole thing – I’ve never seen anything like this on “normal” TV).

Did you catch that? Over 11,000 gun murders last year in the United States. That’s over 30 murders every single day. That’s more than Newtown – every single day! But is the number accurate?

It turns out 2009 is the last year we have good data for and the numbers are consistent for that year at least.

In my efforts to find reliable and recent data on gun related deaths, I came upon a fascinating project to crowdsource the number of gun related deaths in the country on a rolling basis. Since 14 December 2012, there have been nearly 700 such deaths in the country – on track to be more than 10,000 yet again.

For the sake of comparison, Canada has averaged fewer than 200 gun homicides per year over the past decade (1/7th the US rate). In England and Wales, the figure is just over 50 (1/36th the US rate). In the US, almost as many people are gunned down in a single day as in a year in England.

And for all the military hawks out there, the total number of military fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan for all coalition troops since 2003 and 2001 respectively is 8,058. The number of people killed by al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001 was 2,977.

This is more than a mental health issue of lone gunmen. This is an epidemic.

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2 thoughts on “Gun Violence in Perspective

  1. Wowww, what a guy. Piers must have been thrilled he didn’t even need to say anything in order to make his point. Great piece Cyriac.

  2. Those who give up their freedom for security deserve neither. -Benjamin Franklin

    I’m pretty sure that becoming a police state is far from what the founding fathers wanted for this country. This is exactly what is coming- we have strict guidlines and I dare say, restrictions on how to assemble to speak out against the system. We have a political process where corporations dictate the preferences for who we are allowed to see run for office. We have a government, no matter how many times we vote against their actions, make unpopular decisions on our behalf.

    How about the trillions of dollars channelled into the war effort be redirected to internal problems breaking the cycle of lack of education in the low income urban setting. Children that get a better education tend not to join gangs. Or perhaps, invest in the citizens so that they don’t need to slave their lives away to rely on private banks to provide for their livelihood.

    The issue isn’t gun control here and if you actually looked into what Alex Jones is alluding to, you will begin to see the real battle at hand. He, unlike the corporate media, cares for your best interest.

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