Perspective on Violence in the USA

NRA-ILA; Crime
Crime

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.


Slow Facts

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.

  • 15 thoughts on “Perspective on Violence in the USA

    1. Preventing suicides requires pro-active steps (preventions), such as education, media campaigns, treatment, community support. AND a gun owner’s responsibility to secure their weapons. It is apparent that our society has failed to address this issue. Keep ignoring this and the government will do it for us. Dwest’s comment is spot on about over 21,000 deaths per year are the result of guns. However, this person’s comment of : “…..they technically don’t count…” is a thoughtless and heartless comment.

    2. “Figures don’t lie, but Liars figure”
      I always question when a Politician throws out numbers. They usually state numbers that would make
      humans extinct.

    3. 5.4 million car crashes per year.
      30,296 of those (a super tiny 1 in 175) killed nearly 33 thousand souls.
      276 million cars in the USA. That’s 1 death per 8,364 automobiles. Many millions more people than cars.

      33,636 firearm-related deaths, 21 thousand of which were suicides involving just that one person and no one else! So they technically don’t count. That leaves 12,461 actual gun-related deaths.
      Estimates suggest 357 million firearms in the United States, many millions more than there are people! However, the statistics are 1 death per 28,649 firearms, way way lower than for automobiles.

      Based on these facts the math reveals that automobiles are over 60% more deadly than firearms! We don’t have a gun-related violence problem in this country…

    4. The statistic “a child under 13 is killed in a firearms related accident every 5 days” doesn’t seem compatible with other data I have regarding either child gun deaths or accidental shootings. Where did those data originate?

    5. Guns Kill people NO People KILL people. How many are killed in car crashes? How many are Killed by DRUNK drivers? How many die from drug OVERDOSE (ODs) Way more than PEOPLE using a FIREARM.

    6. Fun with statistics. It is estimated there are 330 million (or more) Americans, that there are an estimated 300 million firearms in circulation in the US, and that about 30,000 deaths are attributed to firearms annually. Question: Why are so few gun deaths? If a gun is inherently dangerous why so few? Here’s another, where are the centers of violent crime in the US? Even more, can we determine who commits these crimes? Has the practice of policing concentrated or directed its efforts at the places and people most likely to offend? Could the crimes have been avoided with a more precise police presence? Could repeat offenders have been avoided if sentencing reflected the violence of the original crime? Could we have the crime free country we want if personal responsibility was reapplied to criminal law?

    7. Please provide the source for the statistics presented. … Separately, the statement: “One individual was killed in a mass murder on average every four days.”, does not seem to make sense. Does not “mass murder” by definition mean more than one death ? And, isn’t the problem with so many “mass murder” statistics the definition of how many were “murdered” to qualify as a “mass killing” ?

      1. Sisu, it’s taking the total annual number and dividing it by the number of days in the year, and if you want to be technical, on leap years, one should divide by 366. His stats appear to come from the FBI and the CDC. I have seen similar stats by those agencies, though they show them as total annual counts. His presenting them as he did is just another way to look at the same data.

    8. 30,000 + deaths yearly resulting mainly from suicide, accidental shootings, etc. That said, it is a gun owner’s responsibility to properly secure their weapons, and be held accountable and responsible. Furthermore, there is an exponential number of deaths and injury compared to other develop countries. The government does need to oversee and spank those who do not follow current laws and proposed laws.

      1. Yeah, and I’m still waiting for Hillary to go to prison. Go sell crazy somewhere else, we’re full up around here.

      2. TGWD, the government no longer prosecutes suicide attempts. How do you suggest the government “spank” them for their illegal use of firearms? What about the other 50% of suicide by other means, what laws should we enact or prosecute them under?

        Your other blather about other countries has been proven false repeatedly, but honesty and facts are not used by those wanting to eliminate our rights.

        1. Under the proposed GCP, there will be a number of ways to encourage compliance. First the certified letter stating that said gun owner is out of compliance with a certain law. Non-compliance after a set number of letters sent out? That is simple: Garnishment of wages, lien on property owned, freezing assets. Not a tap on the door for quite some time. Everyone is safe.

      3. First, we own guns, not weapons. Next, with all those guns in the hands of so many it appears that the vast majority of owners have been very responsible. As to accountability, to whom are we to be accountable? Government? Society? Since we have this civil right to be armed I suggest only to ourselves. We need to remember that people comply with our generally accepted rules of society because we want to. We agree every day to go along with the program. Finally, I fail to see why the inevitable comparison to other countries is always presented as if America is being graded by a superior authority. But, if you want to go down that road, look to old Mother England for some fun facts on violent crime. You might not be shot by their disarmed population, but you just might bleed none the less. You are correct in commenting on government’s role in all this. It does need to enforce law and return to civil protection as opposed to political correctness. For an example of government gone berserk turn to Cook County Illinois where bonds for felony crimes by repeat offenders has been set as low as 5 dollars in the last two weeks. Just a little bit of heaven in the People’s Republic of Illinois.

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