It’s the Guns

Taking after the rant by Cenk Uygur

The Young Turks, 2/15/2017

Young TurksThere have been 7 school shootings in the USA in the first 45 days of 2018, including the Parkland shooting on February 14.* The USA is averaging a school shooting every week! In the USA there were 270,000,000 guns and 90 mass shooters from 1966-2012 (NY Times) The closest to the US is Yemen, which the USA beats by a country mile.


Americans have 4.4% of global population, but own 42% of the world’s guns (NY Times) In spite of NRA claims, more guns do not make us safer (USA—101 guns per capita)


From 1966-2012, 31% of mass shooters worldwide were American (2015, Lankford, U AL) Adjusted for population, only Yemen has a higher mass shooting rate than the USA (even before war broke out). Is it a coincidence that the two countries with the highest gun ownership per capita also have the highest mass shooting rate?


Gun homicides in the USA (2009) are 33 per million population (NY Times) This far exceeds Canada (5 per million) and Britain (0.7 per million), the next highest among developed countries. This also corresponds with the difference in gun ownership (Canada—30.8 guns per capita; Britain—6.2 guns per capita)


Could racial/cultural diversity/lack of social cohesion lead to gun violence in the USA? In the USA, the overwhelming majority of homicides of whites are committed by whites; the overwhelming majority of homicides of blacks are committed by blacks; etc. “Among European countries, there is little association between immigration or other diversity metrics and the rates of gun murders or mass shootings” (NY Times)


Could it be the violent video games inspiring mass shootings? “Americans are no more likely to play video games than people in any other developed country” (NY Times). This also applies to American movies, which are circulated worldwide.


GunPenisCould it be mental health? “If mental health made the difference, then data would show that Americans had more mental health problems than do people in other countries with fewer mass shootings. But the … rate of severe mental disorders [in the United States] are all in line with those of other wealthy countries.” (NY Times). It should also be pointed out that 98% of mass shootings are carried out by males, yet the mental illness rate of males v. females in the US tilts more toward females than males—but with males tending more to externalize their illness. Gun access makes this lethal. In fact, other countries simply don’t arm the mentally ill.


Could it be a higher US crime rate than other countries? “The United States is not more prone to crime than other developed countries. … Rather, in data that has since been repeatedly confirmed, … American crime is simply more lethal. A New Yorker is just as likely to be robbed as a Londoner, for instance, but the New Yorker is 54 times more likely to be killed in the process” (1999, Zimring, Hawkins, U Cal.). In fact, other countries simply don’t allow so many people to own guns.


“More gun ownership corresponds with more gun murders across virtually every axis: among developed countries, among American states, among American towns and cities and when controlling for crime rates. And gun control legislation tends to reduce gun murders, according to a recent analysis of 130 studies from 10 countries.” (NY Times)


But people will do crime anyway, right? We make things illegal to try to deter them. It doesn’t work every time, but generally, it does. Otherwise, we wouldn’t make murder illegal; we wouldn’t make robbery or rape illegal. Why would we make it so much easier to kill more people, more rapidly, with easy access to guns?


Parkland“In 2013, American gun-related deaths included 21,175 suicides, 11,208 homicides and 505 deaths caused by an accidental discharge. That same year in Japan, a country with one-third America’s population, guns were involved in only 13 deaths.” (NY Times) So, 32,888 gun deaths in the US vs. (adjusted for population) 39 in Japan? “This means that an American is about 300 times more likely to die by gun homicide or accident than a Japanese person. America’s gun ownership rate is 150 times as high as Japan’s.” (NY Times)


Every other country on earth gets it. Do we really have to keep telling people in the USA that 2+2=4? More guns = more gun murders and more mass shootings.

Of course, IT’S THE GUNS!

*Cenk Uygur claimed 14 “school shootings,” a statistic promoted by the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, since the beginning of the year through the middle of February. But that number included suicides and accidental gun discharges. Only seven were intentional shootings that occurred during normal school hours. I might have included the suicides and accidental gun discharges if this piece were deriding the firing of easily obtained weapons on school grounds, but I would prefer to use a stricter definition of “school shooting.” The number is still too high.

Posted in Psychology, Rant

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