I have been blogging here for a while now, and hopefully, my blogs have been helpful and thought-provoking for most people. They have certainly been well-received, so I am very grateful to my readers.
However, when you have such a platform, every now and again you feel that you should use it to allow your voice to join some of the more controversial debates. I won’t become a ranting lunatic overnight, but today I feel that I must address this question, more to understand the issues from the commenters than to preach.
Ever since the horrific Dunblane massacre of sixteen children at a school in Scotland in 1996, the ban on personal use of handguns and tighter regulation on all sorts of weapons in the UK has reduced our “gun crime” death rate per 100,000 people to 0.23. This is one of the lowest rates in the world, and we are lucky that our kids are that little bit safer as they grow up and explore the wider world.
When I look at the U.S statistic of 10.54 deaths per 100,000 (2014), I can’t help but think that some of those would have been prevented had firearms not been more freely available. Two-thirds of those deaths were suicides…. Surely pulling the trigger is much easier than staring over the edge of a bridge or clumsily tying your own noose. Why make it easy for people who obviously need help?
When you look at some of the other ratios (all from Wikipedia, per 100,000 people), a pattern emerges with the statistics. With traffic fatalities, the UK is at 2.9, the U.S. is at 10.6. Infant mortality is at 4.68 for the UK and 5.87 for the U.S. New cancer rates are at 283 for the UK and 318 for the U.S. For almost any number that you look at, there is no number that varies by more than a factor of four.
The gun-related crime figure varies by a factor of forty. Forty.
When I read about the huge issues that have faced President Obama in his campaign against gun crime, I simply don’t understand how people can ignore these statistics. I am sure that there are even more persuasive statistics out there, but just this comparison is enough for me.
This is not about politics, it is simple common sense, but the roadblocks in Obama’s way on this topic have been incomprehensible for many external observers.
Would the gun crime really be worse if 99% fewer people had guns? How hard would it be to lock up the 1% and throw away the key? With the modern observation capabilities of the security services, think how many more Americans would be alive if the number were reduced to 0.23 per 100,000?
I don’t understand, but I would like to understand better. I would welcome your views, but please keep the discussion constructive.