Today on Meet the Press I watched a Republican (Rick Scott, FL) and a Democrat (Julián Castro, TX) offer useless solutions to the gun problem. Rick Scott deemed it a mental health problem while Julián Castro called for modestly tightening up gun registration laws. Scott's approach is no solution at all while Castro's is at least a move in the right direction, but neither will significantly reduce our high gun death rate because the real problem is too many guns and too lax gun regulations.
Here's a table of guns per capita and the gun homicide rate for North American and European countries. The United States is an extreme outlier. We have at least three times as many guns per capita as any other country, and our homicide rate is at least four times greater:
Looking at those numbers I couldn't really see a strong correlation between guns and homicides but was surprised to find that it's r=0.87 - a very strong correlation.
But if you remove the USA as a massive outlier, you get r=0.27 - a very weak correlation.
Before I posted I did a scatterplot on the data just to see if it looked like there was strong correlation, though I didn't expect one other than the one datapoint for the US. I figured it would take large differences in the number of guns per capita (like the one between the US and Europe) to reveal a strong correlation given other factors, such as gun regulations and culture.
What did you do to extract the numbers into your analysis tool?
Bad Solutions Moving Forward, Good Solutions Stalled
Guns are moving into the classroom. Anyone who understands that guns increase rather than lessen danger knows this is a bad move. It's only a matter of time before a teacher or staff member carries out a shooting, perhaps a mass shooting, maybe an accidental shooting. Brief excerpt:
quote:Among the most extreme and divisive options, some school districts have chosen to arm staff members, putting guns in the hands of teachers to protect schools from guns in the hands of students.
A pistol in the waistband of a teacher, who will wear an outer shirt to hide the weapon at school.
AbE: Does that look like a safe way to carry a gun? Does that gun look very effective against an assault weapon with a 50 round magazine?
Before classes had started, Nathaniel Berhow, a student at Saugus High School, walked into a quad area and removed a .45-caliber pistol from his backpack. He shot five students, killing two, then critically shot himself. He's in the hospital. It was his 16th birthday. It is not known where he got the gun at this time.
The people shot have no one to blame but themselves. This is Texas, after all. They should have all been carrying and exercising hypervigilence (a la New Cat's Eye's claim of hypervigilence to the point where no one could ever shoot him unawares) so that this Dodge could never sneak up on them. Sure, they might have shot up a few cars filled with innocent people that appeared suspicious, but that's the price we pay for living in a free society.
There is one other possibility: take away the guns. No guns, no shootings.
What we know about gun violence isn't much because federally funded research pretty much dried up after the Dicky Amendment passed in 1996: "None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control." Since any research produced could be used to "advocate or promote gun control," gun research pretty much died at that point.
But we do know more than nothing, and the September/October issue of Discover Magazine ran the article The Science of Gun Violence. I wish I could link to it, but I couldn't find a publicly available link, and at this moment their login server appears to be down, so I can't even log in to find it, but I'll summarize and/or quote a few things from it.
There's a growing desire among researchers, particularly epidemiologists, social scientists and statisticians for filling in a missing piece in the gun violence discussion. They believe science can make contributions that could reduce gun injuries and fatalities.
One scientist was quoted saying:
quote:"We haven't been investing as a country in research in this area in the same way that we have in motor vehicle accidents, for instance, where for [more than] 35 years we've had an entire agency devoted to that, collecting fantastic data. The result has been that motor vehicle accidents are [a] quarter fo what they were at the time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was started."
Given that motor vehicle deaths are roughly the same as firearm deaths, there should be a National Gun Safety Administration. In terms of research the US spends $63/fatality for gun deaths and $1000/fatality for motor vehicle deaths. That's quite a disparity.
About suicide the article says that 60% of gun deaths are suicide, which we already knew, but it also says something that is undoubtedly true and that has been said here but been disputed: suicide is often an impulsive spur-of-the-moment act, and guns are far more effective as a means of suicide than any other method. Only 13% of suicide attempts succeed, unless the method was a gun, in which case the success rate is 90%. The majority of people who make a failed suicide attempt rarely make a second attempt.
Swiss soldiers take their guns home, and when the Swiss halved the size of their army in the early 2000's it caused a corresponding drop in suicides by soldiers. When Israel instituted a policy requiring soldiers to leave their guns on base when they went home on leave there was a 40% drop in suicides among soldiers. Gun availability combined with gun lethality contributes greatly to suicide rates.
Only 10% of gun fatalities are women, but they're far more likely to be killed by an intimate partner.
The U.S. has a gun homicide rate 25 times higher than in other high-income countries. Interestingly, the U.S. homicide rate by other means is also significantly higher, 2.7 times.
Handguns cause more fatalities than any other type of firearm.
"I was so surprised because I did not know that so many in the church were armed," Isabel Arreola said, telling the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that she was sitting near the gunman, had never seen him before and that he "made her uncomfortable."
Maybe there is something about churches and religion that attracts these deranged people. As Percy will point out, however---the common denominator is that they all have firearms, even after being cited for illegal possession of the same years ago.
Edited by Thugpreacha, : No reason given.
Edited by Thugpreacha, : No reason given.
Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain " ~"We, humans, are engaged in an ongoing war of ideologies. I see it in this microcosm of EvC Forum just as I see it in the governments and attitudes of people throughout the world. Take your pick: Oppression or Seduction . "~Thugpreacha
You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo
“As the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so the denial of God is the height of foolishness.” ? R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith
Every gun incident prompts a number of people to purchase guns for self defense, never mind that they're not interested in immersing themselves in the gun culture of training and practice and gun safety. While making a person more unsafe immediately after the initial purchase, the passage of time makes the gun increasingly unsafe. As I've described before, the passage of time introduces the possibilities of carelessness, recklessness, depression, suicidal thoughts, homicidal thoughts, mental illness and age accompanied by mental and physical decline.
Surface appearances can be deceiving, but given what he's done we know that this mans appearance really tells us all we need to know. He is too elderly and cognitively diminished to have possession of a gun.
Licensing that requires periodic renewal, say every five years just like for a driver's license, would have caught this man's problems years ago. Gun licensing should be required in all 50 states and all territories. Uniformity by placing the licensing requirement at the federal level would be best.