Americans are ten times more likely to die from firearms than citizens of other developed countries

Feb 5, 2016

Gun deaths are a serious public health issue in the United States and the scope of the problem is often difficult to illustrate. A new study published in The American Journal of Medicine lays out the risk in concrete terms. When compared to 22 other high-income nations, Americans are ten times more likely to be killed by a gun than their counterparts in the developed world. Specifically, gun homicide rates are 25 times higher in the U.S. and, while the overall suicide rate is on par with other high-income nations, the U.S. gun suicide rate is eight times higher.

In order to help put America’s relationship with guns into perspective, researchers from the University of Nevada-Reno and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed mortality data gathered by the World Health Organization in 2010. Investigators found that despite having similar rates of nonlethal crimes as other high-income countries, the U.S. has much higher rates of lethal violence, mostly driven by extremely higher rates of gun-related homicides.

The study reveals some stark truths about living and dying in the United States. When compared to other high-income nations, as an American you are:

• Seven times more likely to be violently killed

• Twenty-five times more likely to be violently killed with a gun

• Six times more likely to be accidentally killed with a gun

• Eight times more likely to commit suicide using a gun

• Ten times more likely to die from a firearm death overall

Homicide is the second leading cause of death for Americans 15 to 24 years of age, and the third leading cause of death among those 25 to 34 years of age.

Continue reading the entire article by clicking the name of the source below.

55 comments on “Americans are ten times more likely to die from firearms than citizens of other developed countries

  • Each year in America, about 3-4 people per 100,000 are killed by homicide using a firearm. The average in 2013 was 3.55. Wikipedia has a great comparison among nations:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

    In other high-income nations, the average is between 0-2 people per 100,000. Accidents in America are less than 1 per 100,000 people per year (closer to zero actually), and safety has steadily improved through education, technological improvements, and legislation. As stated in this article, the overall suicide rate is NOT higher in America simply because of the greater number of guns physically distributed over a given geographical area (which is an odd conjecture, in my opinion).

    This is a perfect example of probabilism without accompanying good explanations, designed to get politicians elected. Our Second Amendment limits the FEDERAL government (top level of power) from denying certain rights to individuals, but there are states and cities with very strict gun control laws. Government control in the form of rules is not the only thing to consider related to violence involving guns. Gang activity is much more impactful than the number of guns in existence (again, pointing only to the total number of guns owned is another odd conjecture in my opinion).

    As far as suicides, I’ve been staring at this quote for a while (repasted below). I can’t figure out why the rest of the world so rabidly wants to control the manner in which we commit suicide. A lot of us use electricity here, so we can’t effectively stick our heads in the oven.

    “…while the overall suicide rate is on par with other high-income nations, the U.S. gun suicide rate is eight times higher.”



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  • Lee Alderman
    Feb 5, 2016 at 9:24 am
    Each year in America, about 3-4 people per 100,000 are killed by homicide using a firearm

    Hi Lee

    Quoting the Wikipedia article you state that “accidents (from firearms) are less than 1 per 100, 000”

    The Wikipedia number is in fact 0.16 deaths per 100,000 . The equivalent figure for Canada is 0.04. So in the US, with your “steadily improving education”, you still manage to accidentally kill 4 times more people with firearms than we Canadians do. Do you feel that Canadian firearm education is superior to that in the US?

    As for suicide, the link between availability of firearms and increased suicide rates is well documented. The article notes that “dozens of studies in the U.S. indicate that less access to guns would decrease both the U.S. gun suicide rate and our overall suicide rate.” In other words, if you remove guns as a source of offing themselves, some but not all will still find a way. There are those who will plan the act for months and take extreme care to succeed. Legislation will not save them. But a significant proportion of those who take their own lives do so on the spur of the moment. A lethal weapon close at hand makes a tragic outcome far more likely.



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  • Like Lee I suspect that gun related suicide is separate issue. An argument could be made that because guns are probably a very effective way of killing yourself they may increase the success of attempts but the article seems to indicate that the suicide rate is on par with other developed nations. If so what does it matter if you use a gun or jump in front of a train. In fact if you are going to kill yourself I would hope you’d do it in a manner that would effect others as little as possible, jumping in front of a train or off a building is likely to have a greater impact on others (those on the platform, the driver etc.). We should probably consider that as a separate issue dead is dead, the method is surely irrelevant, unless guns increase the amount of suicides.

    As for gun deaths, I suspect that although the ready availability of guns is an issue, that the real problem might be a bit deeper. I think America’s issue might not be so much one of guns are available therefore guns will be used to kill people (although it is obviously a factor) rather the lack of a decent safety net.

    Here is Australia I teach at the high school in our city which has housing commission houses centered on one suburb (a mistake to my mind), this means the bulk of the low socio-economic families in the town live in this area and their kids go to my school. This has a knock on effect on the house prices in the area and the other poor kids they mix with. We have many of the issues you would expect, generational welfare dependence, high unemployment among that cohort, high illiteracy, and poor numeracy and quite a bit of drug abuse (but I not as bad as many areas in the US). These are serious problems and we struggle with them but even the toughest of of kids would be eaten alive in some American schools where kids are regularly shot in gang violence. I suspect the difference here is these kids do get social security and welfare, they don’t need to be on the streets, they don’t need to starve, if they are sick they can go to the hospital for free. They are therefore generally physically healthier, less likely to be involved in major crime and so on. We pay more tax for this in direct terms but I suspect we pay less in real terms, or that would be my argument.

    I am aware there is some social welfare in the states but it is nothing like as generous as it is in most of Europe and Australia (My sister lives in the states now and often gives the direct comparisons). I suspect that if the USA was prepared to care a little more tax, a little more for products, if it would be prepared to pay a fair minimum wage many of its problems in this regard would be dramatically reduced. US citizens should consider that the price they pay for health insurance as a tax, the price they pay for the war on drugs as a tax, the price they pay for violence and crime as a tax. You guys are paying through the nose because you don’t want to pay the real price for a peaceful society. Until this is confronted I suspect things will not improve all that much, no matter what you do with your gun laws.

    This doesn’t mean that unregulated gun culture is not an issue that needs dealing with but from the outside some of the attitudes towards things like health care are truly bizarre. I remember watching Breaking Bad the truly shocking think to me was the fact that the main characters motivation to get into selling drugs was his getting cancer and not being able to get appropriate treatment because as a school teacher (poor wages) he could not afford it (and yes I know that was made up but please listen to my point). In Australia that premise would not wash because for one school teachers get paid much more (about twice as much as they do in the states), in terms of medical treatment for the poor the audience would be thinking well why don’t you just go to the public hospital and get the same treatment you would if you were in the private system? Sure you won’t get a nice bed and a private room but all the same treatments are on offer to all. We have problems with access in terms of small remote towns having access to hospitals because the physical size of the country but anyone in a city in Australia no matter what their income or none can get medical care. Breaking Bad if set in Australia or Europe or England simply would not work, they’d need to change the motivation. The only reason it can work as a story is because everyone can believe that this is how many in your country are treated, the audience can believe that a teacher can get paid so little that they can find themselves unable to afford decent health care. I cannot tell you from outside the US how shocking this is for the rest of us. Forget the guns and start looking after your people would be my advice for what it is worth.



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  • Lee Alderman Feb 5, 2016 at 9:24 am

    I can’t figure out why the rest of the world so rabidly wants to
    control the manner in which we commit suicide.

    I haven’t noticed that. Who, exactly?

    I doubt the rest of the world take any interest at all, much less “rabidly” seek to control you. Quite the contrary I think. America’s enemies likely take delight in knowing that more Americans are killed by toddlers than by terrorists.

    This was an internal study you know.



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  • @RecklessMonkey

    I suspect the difference here is these kids do get social security and welfare, they don’t need to be on the streets, they don’t need to starve, if they are sick they can go to the hospital for free.

    This is the failure of the American Dream. This myth of equal opportunity and that any social security is communism. Throw in, “Every Player Has a Gun” and you get these stats.

    The main opposition is the NRA. They are actually small. If the Republicans and the Democrats combine to ignore the NRA, and passed gun control laws similar to Australia, America and Americans could join the rest of the civilized world. And the NRA could do Sweet FA about it. But that would take politicians not of the kind on display at the moment.

    And this morally bankrupt argument that Americans need guns to protect themselves from guns. If you carpet bomb the nation with guns, of course every bad guy is going to have guns. If you started today with gun control, it would take 30 years of hard graft and dogged determination to slowly sieve the guns out of society. Or, you could carry on as you are.

    Is there direct correlation between this stat and the state of American culture compared to the rest of the civilized world? 10 times more likely…. (insert here)



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  • john.wb: Thank you for your respectful reply (and the others, too). I saw the number of firearm accidents on the Wikipedia page, since I posted the link. The number is miniscule in both the United States and Canada, and indeed in all developed nations. I suspect the difference between the U.S. and Canada is culture and the Constitutional protection of gun rights. Thinking it’s merely the number of guns available within a finite physical space is either insanity or a political ploy (or political brainwashing – we see the argument robotically repeated even in this thread). Also, providing a probabilistic comparison of this number is simply a way of avoiding the statement “Only sixteen one-hundredths people out of 100,000 die from firearm accidents.”

    Saying Americans are four times more likely than Canadians to accidentally kill themselves with a firearm is a mathematically correct and terribly skewed way of presenting the figures. It’s done for a reason: Many people don’t read the fine print. The way you worded it is wrong in another way as well. People who make mistakes kill themselves, or they have really bad luck. “We” don’t kill them, and nor does the weapon. There is a common social interest, but this is going way too far. Here is the thesis statement of the report mentioned in this article (examine the logic of this statement):

    “Overall, our results show that the United States, which has the most firearms per capita in the world, suffers disproportionately from firearms compared with other high-income countries. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that our firearms are killing us rather than protecting us.”

    We “suffer disproportionately from firearms.” Nonsensical. This was peer-reviewed and approved? I discovered after my previous post that one of the doctors who wrote this study is the head of a local “Moms Demand Action” group on Facebook (in Nevada). I’m not sure about the rules for researchers, but my opinion is that she should at least present the numbers clearly, and she should plainly show how small the number of accidents in the United States is today. The number of homicides is also low in developed nations. Again: The United States has a different cultural history connected to guns! Of course, she wouldn’t have a cause to write about if she didn’t cry about the high number of deaths; only the number ISN’T high! I can easily show how some random thing is “500-TIMES GREATER!” than some other related thing. It’s “garbage” statistics, deliberately using probability in the wrong way. Essentially, 25 times almost nothing is still almost nothing, unless now you want to use the argument “If we can save JUST ONE PERSON…errr…sixteen-one-hundredths of a PERSON, we need to eliminate individual rights in America.” I disagree vehemently.

    Your point about suicides doesn’t seem to match the study results. About the same number of people commit suicide. The rest of your suicide argument might be correct taking other studies into account, but I’m not convinced, since an individual has to make the extremely final decision regardless of the method used. Even if the research – the increasingly politically charged research using bad statistics – supports the idea that having a gun makes it “too easy” to commit suicide, I still disagree with allowing government to monitor and control individual liberty to such a great degree.

    These numbers are extremely low, and many people in high crime rates should be able to protect themselves (one of many arguments in favor of individual rights). I can sense I’m right when someone else hides their numbers behind probabilism whenever they make an argument against the freedom to own a gun, and when they start suggesting it’s natural to want to allow an elite group of people in government to control HOW someone else decides to kill themselves. When should the government start going home to home, measuring lengths of rope, and arresting anyone who possesses more than three feet?



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  • Addendum: I’m right when the numbers are hidden and skewed; and the condescension, America-bashing, and insults begin:

    “America’s enemies likely take delight in knowing that more Americans are killed by toddlers than by terrorists…” (bad statistics, denies my statement and then makes my case for me in the span of a few words)

    “…Americans could join the rest of the civilized world.” (nice, and this also proves the previous commenter wrong)

    These statements ignore the real statistics, including the ones presented in this paper. But then so do the researchers. The thesis referenced in this article was a conclusion for which numbers were found after-the-fact to support it. So it’s not science. The thesis doesn’t make sense in terms of simple English grammar and logic. Many comments I see posted online about this issue ignore the small number of deaths, safety improvement, cultural impact, and many other important sub-topics. Instead, they focus on demanding a confiscation of the simple physical distribution of guns, like the one done in Australia in the 90’s. My argument is that the differences in America’s culture and system of government have to be taken into account. The level of crisis is being deliberately blown out of proportion to satisfy political needs.

    Yes, in America 1-2 more people per year per 100,000 are killed by firearm homicide (using any source you want). The difference is not as great as purported here, because the numbers are still miniscule. Suggesting America isn’t a civilized nation is ridiculous. Still, I appreciate honesty and directness. What is worse than this kind of overtly political response, probabilism absent of explanatory knowledge, and the snide reactions are when people actually deny they WANT an “Australia” solution when pressed and who immediately say they only want “tweaks.”



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  • Many comments I see posted online about this issue ignore the small number of deaths, safety improvement, cultural impact, and many other important sub-topics. Instead, they focus on demanding a confiscation of the simple physical distribution of guns, like the one done in Australia in the 90’s.

    Yes, I agree with most of what you say I think. I’d also point out the gun buy back in Australia was not all guns, only semi-automatic weapons (I believe automatic weapons were already banned). Many in the media have sighted Australia as an example of a country that banned all guns. You can by the way get an exemption to the semi-automatic ban if you are say a farmer, a professional shooter or a number of other exemptions. In my opinion it was a sensible approach, almost anyone can own a gun if they don’t have a criminal record, aren’t crazy and you can only buy weapons that are reasonable for sporting use, and there will be a waiting period while your background is checked. There is also sensible legislation around storing guns etc. Australia did not ban guns, just certain kinds. And while I’m sure some drug dealers and bikie gangs still possess such weapons, if found with them it is one more thing they can be charged with. What the US needs is sensible regulation and probably needs to look a little bit closer to the root causes of the gun violence that exists.

    I have several mates who go and shoot feral animals on their properties for sport, not my cup of tea, but they have had no problems buying rifles suitable for killing deer and feral pigs etc. One mate butchers and eats the deer, I can’t argue with it from an ethical point of view as I a) eat meat, and b) the animals are not native and causing damage to the environment, they need to be culled or at least have their population controlled to whatever extent we can. Neither have expressed any difficulty or concern about the legislation, you can own a gun, you can shoot recreationally, you just can’t own a gun capable of turning a deer into a pile of mince meat.



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  • Thanks! Great comments. Yes – I’m all for continuing education about safety, and for enforcing current laws within the system we have built. Many times, enforcement doesn’t occur as people cry for more legislation. Our system is not like others, and there is no need (except for a political one) to support government control to the point of making sure statistical comparisons among nations are identical. Improvement is fine, but this movement is single-minded and bizarre. The language used is often bizarre. Additional laws supported by rational criticism (taking into account the things we have both mentioned) are welcome.

    I have developed an intense dislike for a couple of things over the past few years:

    Probabilism as a fundamental description of reality, or presenting numbers to support data in deceptive ways. The key seems to be making sure good explanations accompany any data, and the data is presented in a clear way.
    Support for unnecessary and fake political barriers to progress. You can easily identify the repetitive memes, statistics using phony limitations and comparisons, “averages of averages,” the goal of using government to “save” everyone down to the person; etc. I like what the subtitle of this website champions (reason and science).



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  • @ David R Allen

    And this morally bankrupt argument that Americans need guns to protect themselves from guns. If you carpet bomb the nation with guns, of course every bad guy is going to have guns. If you started today with gun control, it would take 30 years of hard graft and dogged determination to slowly sieve the guns out of society. Or, you could carry on as you are.

    Yes, the arguments that guns are necessary to defend yourself against the state are also vapid. You’re chances against an f-16 armed with missiles or even a drone, while you are armed with with what an m-16?

    I’ve been listening to Sam Harris on this recently. I’m uncomfortable with much of what he has to say. Namely he argues that what we did here in banning certain weapons here may be unobtainable due to the large amount of weapon (I think he could be right about this). However I’m also inclined to believe his solution of rigorous training (I personally think this would be great), is equally unlikely to be accepted by the gun crazies. I cannot imagine some of the extreme libertarians considering this as anything but an invasion of their civil liberties. This seems nicely illustrated by many US citizens refusal to wear seat belts in cars or ride motor bikes without helmet on the same basis. American culture seems to have a distinct individualist element that seems to me to be almost cult-like. In Sam’s case considering the target he has on his back with Islam, I think I would say I completely agree that if I were in his shoes I’d probably arm myself as well. I don’t know if this is colouring his views on the issue but worth listening to them anyway.



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  • @Lee Alderman

    “the condescension, America-bashing, and insults begin:”

    You’re mistaking friendly, well-reasoned, informed and intelligent advice for a personal attack.

    “bad statistics, denies my statement and then makes my case for me in
    the span of a few words” and “nice, and this also proves the previous
    commenter wrong”

    Your selective use of just one statistic while attempting to justify your fetish for guns didn’t escape unnoticed.
    Your illogical conclusions above amount to wish-thinking, which is a religious habit of mind.

    American toddlers shoot someone weekly on average. In other countries toddlers lack guns and don’t shoot anyone or anything.
    “Probabilism” is preferable to the absolute certainty you crave.

    “Our system is not like others”

    No other country exhibits a national fetish for guns.

    “The level of crisis is being deliberately blown out of proportion to
    satisfy political needs.”

    Mere paranoia. It’s actually a public health issue.

    Support for unnecessary and fake political barriers to progress. You
    can easily identify the repetitive memes…the goal of using
    government to “save” everyone down to the person;

    Paranoia appears to propel the American psyche. Irrational fear of government, despite being popularly elected, exemplifies this characteristic.

    probabilism absent of explanatory knowledge…Still, I appreciate
    honesty and directness.

    Excellent.

    You’re probably 10 to 100 times safer living in a country that’s not full of armed people who frighten too easily.



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  • Len: I don’t like guns. Listen to me for one moment: My grandfather gave me a couple of his guns in the 80’s. He served in World War II. I gave my cousin one at some point, and I still have a revolver. I know I’m talking to a “brick wall,” but for one moment read what I’m telling you, Len: I’ve never fired the gun. I don’t have a fetish for guns, and yet you ignorantly assume otherwise.

    Your assumption about “fetishism” is bullshit, and you aren’t “special.” You are being programmed by other human beings, to serve their political interests. You represent many hundreds of thousands….or millions….of people. Keep posting this strange fiction if you want, but understand that you’re the one fetishizing about reality.



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  • …lol…the worst form of stereotyping of others. “You ‘Americans’ – you’re so dirty and disgusting. We have to do something about you lot.” Is that the right vernacular?



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  • When you ignore the argument made by a person and attack them based on your preconceived notion of what they represent, what should you do? I’d suggest stopping to avoid making yourself look more clueless.



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  • Thesis conclusion (again):

    “…our results show that the United States, which has the most firearms per capita in the world, suffers disproportionately from firearms compared with other high-income countries.”

    We’ll try not to “suffer from firearms” in the future in America.

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  • @Lee Alderman

    Lee, again I’ll remind you that the study cited is American and apolitical. It refers to “America’s love affair with firearms” which is a euphonious alternative to a ‘fetish.’ Dr. Grinshteyn’s case is quite compelling and therefore I agree with it. I don’t think he’s an Obama plant or some subversive trying to trash your Constitution.

    However, using your preferred source (Wiki) the US death toll from guns 46 times that of the UK. Homicides by gun are 59 times that of the UK. If twice as many citizens were killed by guns, or three times as many, that would be statistically significant.

    59 times the UK kill- rate is alarming and certainly not “miniscule” as you claim. Terrorists by comparison kill a miniscule number by any metric, and yet you correctly seek to curtail their activity.

    It’s high time you amended your constitution to afford more protection for your citizens I reckon, but you’re incorrect in thinking we (the rest of the world) are trying to do anything but to give you reasonable advice. It’s a very serious public health problem, for you not us, and Dr. Grinshteyn has analysed it for you. Politics, despite your fervent belief, have no bearing at all.

    You are being programmed by other human beings, to serve their
    political interests.

    Any evidence for that Lee?



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  • Len. Lee, Lee, Lee

    No other country exhibits a national fetish for guns.

    and its response-

    I don’t have a fetish for guns, and yet you ignorantly assume otherwise.

    followed by

    When you ignore the argument made by a person and attack them based on your preconceived notion of what they represent

    and then

    You are being programmed by other human beings, to serve their political interests. You represent many hundreds of thousands….or millions….of people.

    There is a major muddle of personal identity having some necessary interdependence with national characteristics here, all the more perplexing when Len’s very first statement is supported by simple statistics and Lee’s final statement, conflating a person with a group is unsupportable opinion.



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  • Phil: You forgot the comment stating I don’t have a gun fetish, which is more important than stereotyping an entire nation. My earlier comments don’t indicate I am unreasonable, yet I’m being treated unreasonably by a “small team” of people who are politically programmed. It’s true we have a different history and (therefore) culture, but the statistics do not support some crisis caused solely by the number of guns available. The statistics are being misrepresented for political purposes. I didn’t even question the raw numbers in the report. If you compare fractions and then take multiples thereof, you’re intentionally presenting data in a sensational way (political), but you’re going to keep doing it no matter what I say. You’re going to keep including suicides, suggest babies are shooting people every day, and other nonsense. You can’t help it.

    The statistics don’t support a crisis on the surface if you use “3.5 in 100,000” and “0.16 in 100,000.” That’s the most important fact. Proof is the fact that you continue to ignore the verbiage used in the report (and it’s not an “internal report” if you do a little research, if that even matters). You can’t explain the writing in this report, because her words make no sense. I’ve pasted them. Proof that this is political is your complete dismissal of my other comments. I’m not even suggesting an absence of laws. I simply said there are other things to consider, which a couple of people reasonably noted, but there are always a few unpaid political stooges available to bash America and Americans.

    [Again edited by moderator to bring within Terms of Use.]



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  • The areas where people would rationally be afraid to go outside at night for being shot, for example, are cities in which guns have been illegal for YEARS, like Chicago. This has nothing to do with our Constitutional limitation on the federal government or the number of guns available. The problem is organized corruption in the form of both gang activity and systemic political corruption at the city level. Every citizen could have twenty guns stacked inside their closets, and it would have a minor impact on the number of deaths. This movement to eliminate basic machine-tooling by average citizens – soon to be outdone by plastic printing with easily affordable printers – is bizarre. There is no rational way to support the logic, but tell me again how it’s “500 times more likely for a six-year old in America to kill a neighbor’s baby” or something. It’s fascinating to read.



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  • The areas where people would rationally be afraid to go outside at
    night for being shot, for example, are cities in which guns have been
    illegal for YEARS, like Chicago. This has nothing to do with our
    Constitutional limitation on the federal government or the number of
    guns available.

    So are drugs illegal but still the streets are full of them. I believe the US goes out of its way to stop drug production at source because it cannot stop it at its borders. What chance does a city have when all around it is full of guns?

    Number of guns reported stolen in 2012

    http://www.governing.com/gov-data/stolen-guns-lost-firearms-by-state-data.html



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  • Len: Since you ignored my proof I’ll remind you again that the doctor IS political. She heads up a Nevada political group that “fights guns” rather than looking at a problem scientifically and wholly. I probably can’t post her Facebook page here. She is as political as a person can be. Please cut it out, or explain how this conclusion is supported:

    “…our results show that the United States, which has the most firearms per capita in the world, suffers disproportionately from firearms compared with other high-income countries.”

    …or just explain what it means to “suffer disproportionately from FIREARMS. (?)



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  • Olgun: True. I’m not sure if we’re even trying to stop the sources today. I don’t think drugs should be illegal. We’ve been fighting that war since the 70’s.

    We’re not going to completely seal our borders, for obvious reasons. We can’t be isolationist. I think the world needs some leadership, and we’re not geographically capable of it anyway. We do need to more effectively monitor people coming in and out. We’re not going to get the “0.16” number related to firearm accidents down to Canada’s “0.04.”

    My point here is that “0.16 in 100,000” people is being irrationally portrayed as a crisis. Someone says “The United States is four times more likely to allow a toddler to shoot someone in the head, because of their fetish for guns.” No. That’s completely skewed.



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  • Lee 197021

    My earlier comments don’t indicate I am unreasonable, yet I’m being treated unreasonably by a “small team” of people who are politically programmed.

    I am suggesting that you need to not impute motives and states of mind in others if you want to defend against such imputations.

    FWIW A national fetish for guns is entirely arguable, and not from anything in the article. Gun and ammo sales ($15bn pa), dozens of magazines, and a uniquely large recreational industry based around it. Your absence from this, though, is unarguable.

    You can’t then respond with an imputation of your own…reasonably.

    You might have scored rather more if you suggested people were bound by a moral imperative, rather than a political one, which, personally, I find nonsensical.



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  • New York City actually does a better job with guns, however. So I don’t completely buy the argument that an honest city government cannot control guns to a great degree. We see where it’s done – although a mayor in New York has complained about guns being brought in, and took action of some kind a couple of years ago – and we see where it fails. I think it fails in large part because of corruption (not everyone, but it’s widespread in Chicago, for example).



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  • @ Lee

    We’re not going to get the “0.16” number related to firearm accidents
    down to Canada’s “0.04.”

    Why stop trying?

    “The United States is four times more likely to allow a toddler to
    shoot someone in the head, because of their fetish for guns.” No.
    That’s completely skewed.

    I haven’t read from the beginning of this post but are you saying there is no fetish for guns? It is surely one of the things that would suit a fetish? The way some describe the power they feel when holding one?



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  • Thanks, Phil. I understand you believe guns are “evil.” Like I have implied, I have a similar “kind of feeling” about them. My replies were perhaps made a little out of frustration, since I’m the wrong person for someone to make a point using a term like “fetish,” whether you argue it’s true or not. I DON’T have such a fetish, and I’ve admitted culture is a factor (it is). But I’m also saying my “feelings” about guns – which is the main point – don’t matter. How many guns or ammo are purchased here versus in other nations can’t be used as a measure, since that’s a subjective measure about “feelings” that ignores the history and culture. In America, a lot of people hunt and target shoot, for instance. They aren’t evil. I’m related to many of them. They’re more reasonable than me in most instances.

    I’m in favor of additional improvement, but not at the expense of sanity. There is no crisis facing Americans who want to go outside or send their kids to school related SOLELY to the sheer availability of guns (or sales, or feelings about guns….) It’s fabricated. It is perhaps intuitively appealing, but the reasoning is wrong at the most basic level. Yet there is a massive political movement supporting it, connected to the idea that government is an elite group of gods who should be trying to “save” every person. A lot of damage is done to individuals and minority groups of people when this kind of government is empowered. America used to be different specifically because the Constitution guarded against the rise of these kings. Politicians lie to remain in power.

    That’s all I’ve said here, and the standard defense of a shaky paper by someone with a conflict of interest has been unnecessary. Again, the very thesis is completely irrational. I appreciate the couple of people who avoided falling into repetitive, political language during this discussion.



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  • Olgun: I am in favor of improving, but I don’t believe in using the methodology of empowering a top-level government to implement “control” to accomplish it. Education, sane state laws and local rules, and safety measures are fine. I’ve been saying that. I have been directly affected related to other issues where government in Washington DC has tried to “save” people. They save people by removing individual choice. Sometimes, one person’s need does not equal another’s. We are different precisely because the top level of our government is not supposed to possess this kind of power, and there are very good reasons related to protecting minority rights (individual rights) to continue supporting our Constitution.

    You can argue there’s a fetish for gun if you want, but I think it’s a poor description because it doesn’t completely explain (very important word) the situation. I know people who have a fetish for hunting because it’s a tradition in their family, for example. Saying they have a “fetish” for guns is inadequate, and I think it’s done for political reasons to justify empowering the federal government.

    I’m against using statistics without good explanations (full explanations), and I’m in favor of individual choice. If we can reduce firearm accidents using technology, education, and local and state rules; I’m in favor of it. I don’t think the collection of guns by the federal government using additional laws is the right solution here (even if it works in other places), and the phony crisis being portrayed to help get politicians elected is the true evil.



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  • An analogy can be drawn with the drug issue. Politicians promise to keep people from taking a drug. It’s a hollow promise, and I shouldn’t have to give the argument. Today, we’ve proven the inadequacy of government control, and even that shouldn’t be necessary. It doesn’t work, but it shouldn’t work if you believe ultimately an individual has to be able to (or should be able to) make a decision about his own life.

    So why does it happen every couple of generations, politicians promise to “save people” by preventing them from taking a drug by removing availability – control (notice, I’m not suggesting government should fail to offer real solutions)? They get elected by fooling large numbers of the voting public who conveniently believe them. As a result, many people – a minority, but still thousands or tens of thousands – take something else more dangerous and die (fentanyl, for example, instead of heroin or pills). This happens because the real problem was never solved. Yet those statistics are not championed or even recorded. Instead, statistics are faked or misrepresented to show how the politicians did exactly what they promised. Like I’ve been saying, this is the opposite of science. A theoretical conclusion that is going to be supported no matter what is not science.

    Promising a solution based on a phony or incomplete premise for personal political gain is evil.



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  • @Lee

    I could never imagine myself thinking I would have to rise up to my government with arms here the UK Lee. It can only mean you are not voting for the right people over there.

    Your example of guns not being a fetish when involved in hunting is okay but what about those who feel they might just be missing out on something and want to explore the feeling of the fetish. The people below don’t seem to approach with any real need for a gun or they wouldn’t be so easily dissuaded.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nAfWfF4TjM



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  • Someone asked about proof of political influence earlier (and grossly unwarranted negative opinions from people in other nations). This thread stands as proof. The people who are not “programmed” with preconceived notions about guns read my comments, and they see I’m not some extremist troll who’s about to go into a fully stocked bunker. But the majority of commenters, even the polite ones, have a list of false statistics and false storylines plugged into their minds. I could have contracted a monkey to bang on the keyboard, and their responses would be exactly the same. It’s like a disease, and it’s a rejection of creative, rational thought – for purely political reasons.

    Speaking in favor of a clearly defined line at which individual choice is protected shouldn’t seem like an attack or insult. The statistics, when taken at face value, don’t support the argument about a “gun violence” crisis. I have provided the numbers more than once, and some will continue to use frequentist probabilism, averages of averages, false correlations, links to skewed data and bad explanations, and other political tricks to try and justify government control.

    There is no fear of walking into a crossfire when we leave our homes, and in the few places where it might happen the people walking into the line of fire are already “controlled” against protecting themselves. Nearly every argument being made against individual liberty related to guns is wrong for a nation that wishes to protect against government oppression and corruption. You can change a government peacefully without an ability to change a bad system of governing once you adopt poor values and allow the wrong balance of power to flourish.



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  • @Lee Alderman’s numerous posts

    Please cut it out (Len), or explain what it means to “suffer
    disproportionately from FIREARMS. (?)…statistics are faked or
    misrepresented…a list of false statistics and false storylines
    plugged into their minds.

    Ahah, but – From your own alternative source – US citizens are statistically 59 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than are UK citizens. Japanese citizens are 360 times less likely to be murdered by gunshot than American folk are. Your statistics Lee, not mine, or the bereaved mothers you so spitefully derided.

    …if she didn’t cry about the high number of deaths; only the number
    ISN’T high!

    Nonsense! “Frequentist probabilismystical” rubbish Lee.
    “There are roughly 32,000 gun deaths per year in the United States,” according to US Conservatives dot about dot com.

    372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker. Those are NOT “miniscule” numbers Lee. They’re people with family and friends, and there are tens of thousands of them annually.

    “The United States is four times more likely to allow a toddler to
    shoot someone…”

    No, you’ve “skewed” that by orders of magnitude – Fiddling the books or inventing statistics to suit your political purpose. In all other countries toddlers lack access to guns, hence such accidents seldom occur; perhaps once in a generation. However, suppose it happens once a decade, to be statistically generous to you. Using that favourable metric people are 520 times more likely to be shot by a toddler in America. More realistically however, death by toddlers is a THOUSAND times more likely in the US, not merely “four times” as your “frequentist probabilism” implies.

    The US spends more than a trillion dollars per year defending itself against terrorism, which kills a miniscule fraction of the number of people killed by ordinary gun crime. In the US between 2001 and 2011 an average of 517 people were killed annually in terror-related incidents. Removing 2001, when 9/11 occurred, from the calculation produces an annual average of just 31, a truly miniscule number.

    “…we need to eliminate individual rights in America.” I disagree
    vehemently.

    Very easily rectified. Amend the constitution, just as you did with alcohol prohibition.

    there are very good reasons related to protecting minority rights
    (individual rights)

    And yet America (uniquely amongst UN countries) deny that children deserve any rights.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._ratification_of_the_Convention_on_the_Rights_of_the_Child

    64 American school shootings in 2015. I doubt the rest of the world combined suffered as many, but it does explain why the bereaved mums you so despise are very upset.

    … for a nation that wishes to protect against government oppression
    and corruption.

    You do realize your government has drones with Hellfire missiles? You’d bring a butter knife to a gunfight? Good luck with that plan.
    59 times less likely to murdered with a gun in the UK, according to your statistics.

    Science (statistics) and reason easily defeat your facile arguments.



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  • I haven’t bother countering Lee’s assertions. (They’re not arguments) Despite Lee being soundly kicked off the football field, with rebuffs like Les Walsh and numerous others, he keeps running back on. What fascinates me about Lee, and homo sapiens in general, is that they can convince themselves with spurious unsupported assertions that their position has merit. What I can’t understand is how homo sapiens can do that. The brain should be able to sort merit from trash, and yet Lee persists and persists, repeating the same mantra over and over again, even though it has been thoroughly disposed of.

    There must be some sort of self delusion on display here. Some sort of willful blindness or confirmation bias on steroids that prevents people like Lee, and the Good’Ol boys shooting prairie dogs with military grade sniper rifles to see the stupidity of there position.

    America needs strong gun control. America needs to disarm all but the farmer and olympic shooter. America needs to join the 21st century civilized nations who scoff at this type of behaviour.



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  • I’m not so sure everyone is understanding what Lee is saying here, we may be giving him a bit of a hard time. I for one (before anyone thinks I’m defending the status quo in the US re-guns) agree with most of you that the amount of gun deaths is unacceptable and I think gun laws in the US are pitifully inadequate and the number of mass shooting is likely linked to ease of access to guns etc. I think sensible waiting times, mandated training and proper storage of weapons, restrictions on automatic and semi-automatic weapons, restrictions based on mental health and criminal record are all things US would benefit from enormously. That said – back to Lee’s comments…

    …I think Lee’s point is that compared to other deaths, car crashes, taking too much aspirin or whatever this is a smaller problem which is also receiving little or no attention. And that the guns themselves may be a focus where other factors may also be playing into the same effect. This may be just me reading into what he is saying something he is not but I don’t think so. This tread has me thinking you’re all reading a different set of posts than I am, but I could be colouring his responses in my own mind.



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  • Concur with your regulatory requirements. Australia’s laws would be a good template. No automatic, or semi automatic weapons. Double barrel shot gun is the limit. Hand guns only for registered club sports shooters. 10 shot maximum magazine. Guns held in one safe. Ammunition in another safe, in another location.

    This tread has me thinking you’re all reading a different set of posts than I am, but I could be colouring his responses in my own mind.

    The problem I find with Lee’s reasoning is that he sees no problem. Sure, there are myriad other causes of death in America. So what. How can that be an argument against taking action to limit this particular cause. Each preventable cause of death has its own solutions. It just doesn’t hold water. That Lee can’t see this problem is the issue I focused on. How can anyone think that America doesn’t have a gun problem. Hence my questioning of Lee’s rationale in coming to his position.



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  • Hi David R Allen,

    Yes we can certainly walk and chew gum at the same time. It’s possible I’m seeing his ideas a little closer to my own way of thinking on this and I therefore haven’t read him properly. I happen to think most of the problems, guns included possibly stem from poor social welfare, poor minimum wage and generations of social disadvantage. I suspect most of the gun deaths are a response in no small part to these social factors. I suspect the typical shooting will be likely to be gang related violence, stray bullets hitting civilians in those areas and violent confrontations escalating quickly to life and death due to ease of access. However given there are so many guns out there, while I support gun restrictions and regulation I suspect not much may improve unless they also tackle the social disadvantage and so forth. If I’m right then the vast majority of gun deaths would be occurring in areas of highest social disadvantage.

    The other factor is ease of access to automatic and semi-automatic weapons which make events like the pre-school shootings a more regular occurrence than they would be with better gun laws. Here I suspect Lee is possibly wrong or missing that although kids might die of other preventable diseases, seat belts etc. The thought as a parent of knowing your child’s last moments were watching their friends blown away by some nutter with a gun only to be shot themselves is something that would be even harder to cope with than say losing a child in a car accident (or at least I can only image the former being more horrific as a parent). But I just don’t think he reads to me as a gun toting NRA type. Some of the posters seem to be implying this I’m not sure if this is where he is coming from.

    Regards



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  • I concur with your thoughts on the poor social welfare ( a word which is to read with a very wide definition.) Institutionalize poverty over succeeding generations. I keep coming back to this America Dream, which in reality is a nightmare and impossible. I’ve read stats somewhere how the differential in wealth in America is way out of kilter with similar western democracies. (I’m too lazy to look it up) So I agree. The gun problem we see today, probable has a gestation period going back a hundred years, maybe more. Hollywood depictions of cowboys. Abuse of the true intention of the 2nd amendment… Probably a very long list.

    If they brought in gun control, and all of the law abiding citizens gave up their weapons, there would be a long period of around 30 years I suspect where the bad guys would still have their guns. The irrational “I have to defend myself against my own government” types would keep them. But slowly through a dedicated law enforcement sieve, you would disarm the bad guys. I doubt the American political scene has the discipline not to buckle at the first shooting of an innocent by a bad guy and repeal the whole gun control thing. Very sad really. In Australia, the issue of guns is not on anyone’s radar. And I’ve said it before. 31 years on law enforcement dealing in high level organized crime and not once did my gun leave my hostler, except to lock it away in my safe. Welcome to Australia.



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  • we all seem to linger on death by gun, but the article clearly states that suicide numers are fairly equal in developed countries, and in America a large prorportion is due to guns.. What do Japanese use to kill themselves? knives? Throwing themselves off buildings or in front of trains? Apparently Americans decide to do it diffenrently, but it´s done everywhere, nonetheless



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  • @Anti-theist preacher

    Lee Alderman is fixated on suicide too, although that wasn’t the substance of the OP.

    US citizens are 177 times more likely to die from gunshot than are the Japanese. Nearly all gun deaths in Japan are suicide.

    The subject of the OP is the disproportionate US gun death rate. “Specifically, gun homicide rates are 25 times higher in the U.S”

    From the study:

    Investigators found that despite having only half the population of the other 22 high-income nations combined, the U.S. accounted for 82% of all firearm deaths. In addition, the U.S. accounted for 90% of all women, 91% of children aged 0 to 14 years, and 92% of youth aged 15 to 24 years who were killed by firearms.



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  • 46
    bonnie says:

    Nickel Mines school shooter was seriously troubled – if guns weren’t available, would the incident still have gone down, using different weapons?

    Prairie dogs, “discovered” by the armed Lewis & Clark expedition (1804 – 1806).



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  • Phew, what a thread to digest. Some very inciteful comments by Reckless Monkey and David R Allen above on Breaking Bad and the American Dream or more correctly “nightmare” as it often seems to be. Trying to understand the American mentality has been a passion of mine for decades but it’s an infuriatingly complex problem. Rooted in the frontier mentality of yesteryear, a paranoid distrust of Federal legislation and powers, conflating things that are paid for out of taxation (socialism) with communism for little apparent reason, a corrupt and ineffective legislative system, a Republican party intent on stopping all progress even if it means closing the government down, the influence of big money on politics, lobbyists, the absurd and disgusting health care system…the list goes on.

    The majority of the people want more gun control as survey after survey shows beyond doubt. A small minority with undue influence prevent this happening due to the disfunctional government system and the insanity of the Republican party. The next election might be instrumental in creating change if the Democrats get in and also retake the Senate. We shall see but I suspect that if Hillary wins the nomination she might turn out to be unpopular enough to not achieve a significant majority and the status quo will continue unabated.



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  • Trying to understand the American mentality has been a passion of mine for decades but it’s an infuriatingly complex problem. Rooted in the frontier mentality of yesteryear, a paranoid distrust of Federal legislation and powers, conflating things that are paid for out of taxation (socialism) with communism for little apparent reason, a corrupt and ineffective legislative system, a Republican party intent on stopping all progress even if it means closing the government down, the influence of big money on politics, lobbyists, the absurd and disgusting health care system…the list goes on.

    A great list. I’ve pondered this for ages as well. Almost all of this list would be considered irrational in the rest of the civilized western world. But Americans don’t see a problem. Is it the lack of travel or information about what’s happening around the rest of the world. Is this psyche so ingrown that it has cemented itself in place. Like a religion. Irrational, unless your a believer.

    Guns. Irrational. Totally irrational.

    And when these issues are raised I get a “Hear no Evil, See no Evil” patriotic defence of the American way. “If only the rest of the world was like America.” lament. Curious. Again, a great summary list.



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  • @Arkrid Sandwich

    Yes, concur with David R Allen a good list.

    A small minority with undue influence prevent this happening due to the disfunctional government system and the insanity of the Republican party.

    Which adds to the list of difficult to fathom things – why do only a comparatively small number of Americans vote, and why do so many that do vote against their own interests?

    @David R Allen

    I was thinking about how I could summarize my position better. In short – Gun control and greater regulation is a necessary but not sufficient solution.

    I agree that it would take decades to minimize the amount of guns. What I like about the Australian situation is that we still have gun deaths associated with bikie gangs and such, but any that are pulled up with illegal guns give police one more thing to charge them with, etc. Eventually this may have a de-escalating effect with criminals. At this point we start to get into the territory of game theory etc.

    As for suicides, I suspect this is much a case that people determined to kill themselves always can, a gun in the house may increase spontaneously killing yourself. But I suspect many may hide depression and perhaps the spontaneity of suicide may be overblown (again no proof – would like to see some data). Very few I think wake up from a happy day before and then just kill themselves (I’m sure there are exceptions – eg. manic depressives) but I’m not convinced less guns may not have as much impact there as we might like.

    Regards



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  • 50
    bonnie says:

    …small number of Americans vote?

    Apathy – weather – transportation needed to register to vote, and get to polling place – some put off by strict voter ID laws – confusion over issues and candidates, thanks to three-ring-circus that is American politics.

    The above could be partly resolved with E-voting – comes with separate set of issues, naturally.

    Vote against their own interests?

    First thought, some issues on the ballot are deliberately misleading.



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  • @David R Allen
    Feb 8, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    A great list. I’ve pondered this for ages as well. Almost all of this list would be considered irrational in the rest of the civilized western world. But Americans don’t see a problem. Is it the lack of travel or information about what’s happening around the rest of the world. Is this psyche so ingrown that it has cemented itself in place. Like a religion. Irrational, unless your [SIC] a believer.

    Americans are inculcated from birth to believe that the USA is the greatest nation that has ever existed. You can hear it in the Republican debates such as that on 6th Feb where the candidates talk about “restoring” America to its rightful position as the greatest of the great. Take almost any American audience and start them off with U…S…A… and they’ll start chanting it like a mantra. If you ask most Americans what is the best country in the world they’ll say their own without any great thought. Ask the same of a Brit. There’ll be a contemplative pause and then well France has a better climate and fantastic labour laws if you’re a worker, Italy has great food, the Germans are very efficient and law abiding, Scandinavia has a high standard of living albeit everything is very expensive. It would barely occur to most Brits to think that the UK is the greatest country in the world in every respect even if it is a passably nice place to inhabit for many reasons.

    This jingoism prevents Americans from realising that in most respects their country sucks donkey bollocks. It has alarming levels of religiosity, racism, poverty, wealth inequality, health care deficiencies, the slaughter of blacks by white cops, gun crime, the largest per capita prison population of any “civilised” nation and disproportionately black at that, and far too much of their economy is for profit which almost mandates corruption by definition. Healthcare and prisons to name just two. Their obsession that “the market” means the best possible outcome is absurd. Yet the same people who decry socialism have no problem with a tax funded military and police force. It’s a cognitive dissonance unparalleled in modern society. The military is almost an icon of religious worship over there. No matter how egregious their militaristic interventions in other countries you can’t say anything bad about the troops. They stand at the right hand of their imaginary god.

    The absurdity is that in Iraq more than 50% of American casualties were killed by “friendly” fire. You were more likely to be shot or bombed by your own people than by Iraqis. But hey, the troops can do no wrong. Until this blinkered view of their own imaginary excellence is removed there is little hope of Americans joining the rest of civilised society and ridding themselves of the ills that ail them.



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  • I haven’t check in for a while. First of all, I hope Professor Dawkins is feeling better and improving quickly.

    Also, thanks to Reckless Monkey, one user who read my comments and addressed my simple opinion in detail. My opinion involved the theory presented by the paper referenced in this article, which I criticized in my comment. Reckless Monkey admitted factors other than the legal control by government over the simple physical distribution of guns over some finite geographical area is the explanation for the differences among Western nations in gun homicides. I didn’t state anything wildly supportive of guns, but two or three guys immediately noticed I didn’t strictly adhere to a very narrow view that’s been used by regressive liberals to indoctrinate the masses in other Western nations for at least a few decades (and now it’s here as well).

    What I said was the research paper’s thesis was incomprehensibly stated, and the statistics presented were not straightforward. I restated the statistics in a simple way, and I pasted the thesis conclusion. I live here, and no we don’t have to dodge bullets. The problem is being overstated, even if you argue an improvement is necessary. Saying we’re “uncivilized” (and several other equivalent comments in this thread) is so ignorant that I can’t really respond effectively in a civilized way. Instead of supporting a theory, the counter-argument in this thread is the repeated listing of stereotypical complaints against a group of people, as if I’m arguing I want more people to get shot unless I stop pointing out gang culture and other types of cultural behavior affecting firearm homicides? “Wow, you uncivilized bastard!” or “You think you can beat the United States military with your rifles?” and other things I didn’t say are not supporting explanations for an argument. “Americans” are not racists. Next, I expect to see “Hey, I never said any of that!” [Yeah you did, as a matter of fact, in advance.]

    Painting the availability of a weapon as a cause for some human behavior to the exclusion of other causes, treating an inanimate object like it’s an evil, thinking being, deliberately dismissing culture and history, personally insulting anyone who engages in refutation, and the inappropriate or exclusive application of probability (averaging of prior averages, comparing two completely different cultures, etc.) is a dishonest political ploy. Either you’re a party leader or supporter pushing a move toward a greater centralization of power, or you’re a brainwashed robot.

    I didn’t say I had a problem with continued improvement of education, safety technology, and even Constitutional rules changes. The reason I questioned federal methods of control is because I don’t believe they will be effective here, and they will and ARE in fact having the opposite effect already. Gun sales are higher than ever. Comparing statistics from other nations with completely different cultures and implying the same improvement will occur here (d.i.f.f.e.r.e.n.t. c.u.l.t.u.r.e.s) is jaw-droppingly ignorant. Here are a few of my points again, stated in different ways:

    America has a “gun culture” due to our different history, which means CULTURE should be take into account when searching for a solution. Refusing to look at anything except using an autocratic federal passage and implementation of gun-collection laws, abandonment of the Constitution, and politicized “Archie Bunker” style attacks on conservative Americans and military members – with the assumption that every american who owns a gun is a sociopathic narcissist waiting to kill another person – is the very definition of a “regressive liberal.” It’s not only wrong, but probably shares some of the same sociopathic mechanisms (maybe envy, an inability to handle acceptance, unsociable behavior, inability to either state an argument or comprehend one….I don’t know, but it should be studied….)

    Many Americans (me, for example) don’t hunt, target shoot, or even like guns. How many times have I said this, and yet fewer than half of the commenting users in this thread seem to believe me. Incredible. The others keep spewing scripted insulting sociopolitical rants, or pretending they can’t make out my comments, as if they’re too complex. Physical availability, therefore, is a correlation, but statistics related to violence, crime, accidents, and gun homicides have either been steady or declined over the past generations. Culture changes gradually through parental education and the continued growth of (good/scientific) knowledge and technology. I see complaints her about American nationalism, and the same person advocates centralized nationalism as the answer to “controlling” guns. Again, this reflects regressive liberalism, and a trend toward socialism. I believe the greatest amount of individual creativity should be encouraged in the American political system, but I know I’m losing out to ideas like the ones outlined here.

    I have one more note, about Len’s statistic implying we have a “mass shooting” on average every single day in the United States. Think about that for a second. Come on, Man. This is what two or three people in this thread are doing – spreading nonsense making people think we send our children out to school dressed in bullet-proof vests every morning (I cant believe some of the rants in this thread). A blogger (I think affiliated with the Washington Post) who decided a couple of years to “fix” the statistics problem I am referencing here. The problem is that I can remember all of the successful mass killings that have happened that fit the profile of a sociopathic, loner geek who lives in his mother’s basement and who can’t identify with girls; usually under age 30, who are taking advantage of the changes in the new age of communication since the early 1980’s. They want to go out as a “somebody,” demonstrate power they never had in life, and be famous (above all else). I can remember them, which means the political script being used here is false. They don’t happen every day. They are relatively rare. Gang shootings and drug shootings happen every day, mostly in cities where criminals have “illegal” guns. [This is essentially all I was saying, and these regressive liberals hijacked the thread.] Anyhow, this blogger REDEFINED LANGUAGE used by the FBI for statistics, which is what regressive liberals do best (redefine language, reverse logic), and also CHANGED THE GUIDELINES related to the term. “Mass shooting” and “mass killing” are conflated now by ignorant people, intentionally. To them, America is the third-world nation described by Arkrid in the post above this one to anyone who refuses to think for themselves. It’s fabricated nonsense.

    Are these kinds of killings a problem? Of course! I didn’t say they aren’t. I said collecting guns won’t solve the part of the problem related to social media/ego/attention-grabbing, lack of mental health facilities, the current destruction of our insurance system, and several other factors. It’s not merely a matter of a bunch of hillbillies who need to be controlled, and I hope a few people read this and see the idiotic nature of that suggestion. It’s not a question of how many guns someone has in their closet. What good are laws in a land where they cannot be controlled without the erasure of individual freedom? Do we need to save more than 0.16 people so we’re exactly like Canada? Do we need to use police or military control at the top level of government to achieve such an insane goal? Even if you say “Yes,” it WON’T WORK here in the long term. Intelligent people will demand a resurrection of individual creativity, and this is not the correct path. individual liberty is the path.



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  • I hold to no ideology because an ideology is an argument in absence of evidence, even though you attribute ideology to my motivation. What is a “regressive liberal”? It must have a US meaning but this is an international forum so it is lost on me. To an Australian, a Regressive Liberal would refer to the Australian equivalent of a Tea Party member of the Republican Party.

    America has a “gun culture” due to our different history, which means CULTURE should be take into account when searching for a solution.

    My comments related only to your culture argument. The “Culture Argument” is oft cited as a reason no change is possible. Culture’s always change, mostly for the better. America had a slave owning culture, which was abandoned. The culture was changed. Female genital mutilation is part of some cultures. In your argument, that should continue forever, because to stop it, would require a change in culture. Culture is changing world wide as religious influence diminishes and in some countries like Iceland where no one under 30 believes in god, that culture is almost dead.

    Australia had a culture of stealing aboriginal children from their parents and putting them in abusive christian missions to turn them into good little Europeans. Long stopped, but the victims are still many and severely damaged.

    There are thousands of examples where bad cultures have been abandoned by societies, mostly through a voluntary act by their citizens. America could abandon its gun culture. It’s not set is stone. You’ve given up your slaves. You’ve integrated your schools. Removing the culture argument and making the possession of guns a social sin, like smoking, would do more to repair America than a legislative approach.

    Social disapproval is a powerful modifier of human behaviour.



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  • Thank you for this wonderful reply. I think I gave a similar answer up there someplace way up at the top of this string, and then we (all) took a tumble in quality. I’ll reply tonight or tomorrow. I want to find the best sources to cite, and try to be as clear as possible.



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  • I believe the common mistake made in bad arguments can be traced by studying the very nature of a theory, and a theoretical model should mirror the way our minds work. I subscribe to the definitions of people like Karl Popper and Hugh Everett III. I think too many intellectuals (or faux-intellectuals) are trying to prove a statement a priori, purely for political reasons, and they are convincing uneducated people to accept these statements as fact without good explanations. They use probabilism to justify their positions. Some of the numbers are just wrong; most are true but lack good explanations (David Deutsch says good explanations need to be “hard to vary”). Even worse, they’re spreading this nonsense across the Internet in memes.

    I don’t think culture can be changed by passing laws at the top level of government unless you sacrifice freedom. This doesn’t mean it should never be done, but it should be rare. I also think the wrong attempt at control can delay progress (note the “Trump” backlash). A more local community has to accept any form of culture change. The first goal of a top-level government should be the ability to change leaders peacefully. The federal government should do more to promote science as well. What we are moving toward today is indoctrination, and the science is bad in many cases.

    America – which has a proud history of limiting the FEDERAL government – should not use the top level of authority to legislate an end result, to include every small detail related to how the public should act culturally. Collecting guns is not wrong because the world wouldn’t be a better place without violence, it’s wrong because guns don’t explain violence, as this research paper shows (if we’re allowed to discuss human behavior). The statistics are being deliberately blown out of proportion. Very few people who own guns in America are violent. The availability of some item is not the only or necessarily the greatest impactful consideration. If the explanations aren’t there, you can’t keep averaging, regressing, comparing, and dividing the numbers and expect things to change. I stated the straight numbers, and someone brought in the false “Redditor/Washington Post” figures implying we have a “mass shooting” every day on average. They changed the terminology and the FBI definition – this is regressive liberalism. If anything, islamists in the Middle East and Africa need “gun control.” Free societies do well in comparison. Arguing the number of guns available is the primary difference is insane.

    What is a regressive liberal? I’ll add some links, but regressive liberals argue for classical liberal values while their own actions express all of the faults of the most extreme right. One example is provided in the video I attached of Richard Dawkins with Bill Maher below. Another example are people who claim they are “feminists” who side with islamists rather than criticize practices like female genital mutilation. I believe regressive liberalism is an EXPLANATION for the rabid nature of the gun discussion, even though I don’t think it has to be politicized at all.

    First , here are a couple of links about regressive liberalism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regressive_left
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvvQJ_zsL1U

    I referenced an example of this, and here’s a Mashable article explaining how Reddit and the Washington Post made a conscious decision to change the FBI methodology for statistics someone in this thread used because they could not take the real average and continue to claim the problem is as large as they’ve been stating:
    http://mashable.com/2015/12/03/mass-shooting-definition/#JYfIJdy_aOqz

    Karl Popper Links
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/cr-ratio/#H2
    http://www.amazon.com/Logic-Scientific-Discovery-Routledge-Classics/dp/0415278449/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1456184440&sr=8-4&keywords=scientific+discovery
    http://www.amazon.com/Conjectures-Refutations-Scientific-Knowledge-Routledge/dp/0415285941/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1456184470&sr=1-2

    David Deutsch
    http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Infinity-Explanations-Transform-World/dp/0143121359/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1456184529&sr=1-1&keywords=beginning+of+infinity
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Fabric-Reality-Universes-Implications/dp/014027541X/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0MRBENEJ3SWP2KN3VB0W

    Hugh Everett III
    [Anything by Everett is great related to the true nature of a theory and inappropriately using probability to derive a general principle in advance based on a special case]; Here’s a letter to ET Jaynes:
    http://ucispace.lib.uci.edu/bitstream/handle/10575/1124/everett%20to%20jaynes%2011-june-1957.pdf?sequence=1



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