So, I was reading an anti-gun site (they'd love to get a link) and stumbled over the assertion that "The U.S. has the highest rate of gun deaths per 100,000."
Um, no. Nope. Un-unh. Based on all gun deaths, Wikipedia claims we're #4, and I think their data set may be limited.
Suicides account for more than half of that; since there is more than one way to punch one's own ticket, maybe we'd better leave that out (but I'll get back to it later) and just look at firearms homicides, where the States are #9 -- right ahead of Northern Ireland, which has gun laws very similar to California (ranked #1 by the Brady Center To Disarm Americans, with an 80% score). Remind me again how those "tough gun laws" supposedly "save lives?" Our rate of 7.07 per 100K puts us right at the knee of the curve; the rate trends up sharply for the top 8 and flattens out below 9.
(If you look at murder rate regardless of weapon, the U.S. comes in at #34,* meaning there are a lot of places where you're more likely to be killed without the indignity of being shot. Is it that much nicer to get strangled or clubbed to death?)
One of the things that makes me wonder about the data set for those gun-death numbers is the similarly-organized pages for homicides suicides list a lot more countries. Perhaps it is easier (and less politicized) to get the overall numbers.
When it comes to suicide, we're number 41 -- after nice, civilized countries like Japan, Sweden, France and Canada. Britons, take heart and face the mirror without fear! You're way less likely to do your ownselves in. So the high firearms-suicide rate in the U.S. simply reflects the availability of means; Japan (with historically different attitude vis a vis taking an early exit) ranks #6 in suicides per 100K, despite some of the strictest firearms laws on the planet. People who seriously intend to do themselves in will do so, one way or another. (IMO, that's a basic human right -- it's your life. I hope you won't throw it away, I'll try to talk you out of so doing, but when the State intervenes and makes laws against it, they are claiming ownership of your life. Didn't we outlaw that sort of thing over a hundred years ago?)
So the next time some anti bewails how the U.S. is sooo0 terrible-awful 'cos we haven't got the gun laws of, say, California or Japan, remind yourself that people get just as dead under draconian firearms restrictions and in many cases, deader -- or at least, with greater frequency and likelihood.
But without a gun, it's a lot harder to keep other people from killing you. Just be able to say no! The best way to do that? Have a gun. Know how to use it. Carry it.
And don't let nattering nincompoops nag you into helplessness. They don't even bother to look up the numbers they so freely bandy about.
* There's a state-by-state table for the U.S., with year-by-year rates for the previous decade. Gun-friendly Indiana rates safer than Brady high-ranker Illinois and Indiana's murder rate is trending down, while Illinois' is trending up. Ooopsie! Remind me again how those "tough gun laws" supposedly "save lives?"
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