U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- How big a problem is violence in the USA? We have answers, but the answers are not easy to explain. It is difficult to compare a violent act that occurs millions of times a year with ones that happen once every few months. Here is the US data for 2017. It surprised me, and it might surprise you. How do we improve one area without making another area worse?
- On average, a violent crime was committed every 25 seconds.
- A firearm was used in legal self-defense every 31 seconds.
- A firearm was used to stop sexual assault every 2.7 minutes.
- One individual was killed in a mass murder on average every 4 days.
- A child under 13 years old was killed in a firearms related accident every 5 days.
- Someone was murdered at school with a firearm every 52 days.
- There were no mass murders on school grounds in 2017.
I bet you had to read that last point again. There were no mass murders on school grounds in 2017. I was surprised as well, and our surprise tells us something really important.
Given all the news we've seen, I assumed that the media would inform us about basic facts, and also put those facts into perspective.
You might assume that too, and then we'd both be wrong.
The media operates with two competing tensions. First, we will change the channel if there is no exciting news. We also change the channel when we see that the media is are making up exaggerations to make things look exciting. The media compromises on their degree of sensational reporting to balance between those two factors. The media gets their maximum number of eyeballs when the same number of people turn away out of boredom as turn away out of offended disbelief. Now that is an interesting perspective on the news.
That tension means the media has a huge incentive to spin the news. Their bias towards sensationalism is inherent in their product. We have to find the facts for ourselves. We have to do our own work to fit those facts into perspective.
Perspective is vitally important when we're dealing with something as emotional as violence. How do we store guns safely while we keep guns available for self-defense? With millions of self-defense events a year, would gun control make us safer or put us at a greater risk from criminals? How many more sexual assaults should we allow with gun-control? Should the relatively infrequent school shooting drive our social policy?
That is where perspective becomes vital. Sure, you're welcome to your own opinion, but only an informed opinion will save lives.
About Rob Morse
The original article is here. Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob is an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.