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How does the U.S. compare to other advanced countries when it comes to gun homicides and homicides generally? As usual, we are off the charts (and not in a good way). To adjust for differences in population sizes, this chart shows gun homicides (red bar) and homicides by all other means (black bar) per 100,000 people (use scale on left). The red and black bars together show the total homicide rate. “Homicide” here is defined as “unlawful death purposefully inflicted on a person by another person.” So that does not include justifiable self-defense of justifiable killing by a police officer.

The U.S. rate of gun homicides was 10 times the average rate of peer countries. And looking at total homicides, other advanced countries do not appear to be swinging nearly enough hammers or wielding enough knives to rival our total homicide rate either. The only countries that exceed our rate of homicides and gun homicides are less developed, drug cartel invested countries like Columbia, Brazil and Mexico. Surely, we do not want to set our bar that low!

For more countries (and links to original data sources), see the full spread sheet here:

We also have by far the highest rate of civilian gun ownership (see yellow bars and use scale on right). Some countries like Switzerland do have high gun ownership rates without an accompanying spike in homicide rates. Even Switzerland, however, has been moving away from widespread guns in households and instead storing guns in depots.

Of course, societal violence is a complex problem stemming from many other diverse factors — drug trafficking, income inequality, access to mental health services, violent video games, inadequate law enforcement, to name a few. And minimizing it will therefore require a multi-pronged approach. Nor am I suggesting that more guns directly cause more violence, but there is definitely a disturbingly strong correlation. No doubt we need more research and data on this topic. Ever since the late 1990s, however, the Centers for Disease (and Injury) Control and Prevention has been wary of studying gun-related issues after NRA lobbyists convinced Congress to cut the CDC's funding. Sounds like a tactic ripped straight from the tobacco industry playbook.

It's interesting to note that Japan consumes as many violent video games as America but has very low gun ownership and homicide rates. And don't forget that all other advanced countries have some form of universal healthcare so everyone has easy access to mental health services. Perhaps we have a perfect storm in America of all these factors converging together to produce a toxic stew of violence.

One thing is clear: Guns are the most effective lethal weapons (and also most impersonal). There's no such thing as a drive-by knifing. It's an eerie coincidence that on the same day of the Newtown massacre, an attacker wielding a knife at an elementary school in China injured 22 kids and one adult, but no one was killed. Perhaps the universe was trying to tell us something.

Originally posted to ConnectTheDotsUSA on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  I dig those numbers from Japan . (8+ / 0-)

    They are so small .

    Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11

    by indycam on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:31:26 PM PDT

  •  Wrong data set? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, oldpotsmuggler

    I am a bit uncertain whether the figure for gun ownership is accurate. Swiss men over 19 are required to undertake a period of national service (conscription) unless found unsuitable. Women can volunteerAfter that they retain the firearms they have been personally issued with - normally a rifle but obviously some would also have sidearms - as part of a civilian militia to be called on in times of war (presumably over access to raw materials to make cuckoo clocks)

    This permanent militia status must surely account for the high gun ownership among the population and the roughly 50% ownership (@45,000 per 100,000)

    Finland also has a similar male conscription/female volunteer military system but I am unclear whether they also are required to retain their personal firearms  but this would seem to be a reasonable assumption based on the figures.

    "Who stood against President Obama in 2012?" - The trivia question nobody can answer.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:54:37 PM PDT

  •  Great Chart! sure looks as if (7+ / 0-)

    Americans are a little out of step on gun control. I wonder what a chart that included accidental gun shootings resulting in death or hospital visit from wounds would look like with all the guns we have.

    •  Just google, or maybe CDC, people don't like (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ancblu, andalusi

      looking at those numbers. Hard to find on CDC as they mostly list top causes of accidental death, a top ten list if you will. It's all there if you want to look, I have.

      You'll never see a diary here with those statistics, doesn't fit story line.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:55:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I looked at this recently ... I believe even in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock, andalusi

        one of your diaries or comments.  Per CDC, there were about 850 or so deaths by accidental firearm discharge in 2011.  IIRC, this was less than a quarter of the deaths from falls and less than a third of the deaths from fire/smoke inhalation.

        With 300+ million firearms in this country, the death by accidental discharge rate would suggest that the overwhelming majority of firearm owners engaged in lawful activities are pretty safety conscious with these inherently dangerous objects.

        •  there are many idiotic moments also (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ancblu, andalusi

          but safe habits can keep them from becoming tragedies.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 03:36:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps the rate merely suggests that the (0+ / 0-)

          odds of your kid crawling under your bed and shooting himself with the gun you have cleverly concealed there (A place you've chosen because it's free, because nobody ever hides anything under a bed, and certainly nobody ever looks under one) are relatively low. So let's just keep on a-rolling those dice.

          How many kids in all the history of the US ever choked to death on small moving parts from a toy? How many should it have to, to warrant restrictions on the sale of toys with small moving parts?

          (OMG, I'm about to compare guns to cars ...)

          I mean, come on, all that fuss about the Pinto, and the entire death toll wouldn't make a respectable ... well I don't know what, since there's controversy over whether there were indeed several hundred Pinto fire deaths, or only a few dozen ... but in any case, it's clear that the average Pinto driver was pretty safety conscious with those inherently dangerous objects.

          Heck, how many people ever have a serious car accident? Do we really need to regulate the speed limit? I mean, with 200 million drivers on the road every darn day, the rate of accidents suggests that the overwhelming majority of automobile owners are pretty safety conscious with these inherently dangerous objects.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:00:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Poor analogy ... (0+ / 0-)

            the Pinto involved a very low-cost repair design flaw of which Ford was aware.  The company nonetheless introduced the car into the stream of commerce, placing a risk of death or injury onto unsuspecting consumers who were in the least effective position to manage a risk that a reasonable person would not expect to exist with the product. Apples and oranges, as they say.

            And regarding safe drivers ... please study the CDC data on transportation vs non-transportation deaths.  The accidental death rate between vehicles and firearms is not even close.

            But as I mentioned, a certain set here really isn't interested in data or careful analysis at all.   It reminds me exactly of climate change deniers.

            •  the epistemological flaw in comparing (0+ / 0-)

              accidents/owner rates for guns v anything at all should be obvious to anyone pretending to be thinking about these issues. no, i'm not going to explain it to you. figure it out yourself. if it takes you more than 30 or 40 seconds, consider that a warning flag.

              either way, any argument that begins with "there are lots of guns, and most of them never shoot anyone they aren't supposed to," is, simply, stupid.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 01:55:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hah. (0+ / 0-)

                Climate change deniers are just as compelling.  Keep up the brilliant analysis and argument.

                •  Always the same response from those who are (0+ / 0-)

                  too tiresome to warrant a serious dialogue.

                  Why bother with composing a brilliant argument for someone who, with respect to this particular issue at any rate, is operating from their lizard brain? You wouldn't appreciate it or enjoy it -- you'd just flick it away with some inane non sequitur.

                  To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                  by UntimelyRippd on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 02:27:03 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  But I can't remember if "Tag Teaming" made it? (0+ / 0-)

          There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

          by oldpotsmuggler on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 11:40:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •   In 2007, the United States (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock

        In 2007, the United States suffered some 15,000-19,000 accidental shootings. More than 600 of these shootings proved fatal. -----seems like alot to me

        •  One is too many, but compared to other accidents (0+ / 0-)

          and the total number of people it's pretty low. What's even better is that the rate has gone down so steadily even as ownership has gone up.

          The rate for hunting accidents, which mostly concern me, has dropped faster than the rate has dropped for just about every other cause of accident.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 03:35:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Man, where's my copy of the "GUNHO Game Board" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        when I need it. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that this particular cheap and easy "NRA Style Talking Point" is on there.

        There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

        by oldpotsmuggler on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 11:39:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  the number of accidental gun deaths (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and suicides are about 1.5x higher than homicides (i.e., they make up about 60% of gun deaths).

  •  I'm tired of the distracting excuses (7+ / 0-)

    of video games, movies and mental health. Kids (people) in Asia and Europe play violent video games and watch violent movies and I'm sure have mentally unstable people with thoughts of violence. So why don't they have comparable homicide rates?  These weak excuses are only used to mask the fact that open access to weapons of war in a psycho gun loving society is THE reason our statistics are off the charts, not movies and video games.

  •  cue the "gun enthusiasts" to show up here any (6+ / 0-)

    moment and 'splain to us why this data doesn't count

  •  Wow, whodathunkit? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    don't really know what to make of it since I can't see the graphic (hosted on a blocked site - 3 malware/trojan attacks in the past and so I blocked the domain).  
    But I will note that the other data I have seen on the subject usually puts us at the level of several (former?)soviet states and up and coming second world countries  :P
    Be nice on your way to the top for you may meet the same peoples on the way back down...
    Oh, and thank goodness we don't live in the carribean or africa, or south america, or etc., usw...

    ''The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.'' - Justice Hugo L. Black of the Supreme Court

    by geekydee on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:29:59 PM PDT

  •  Lately I Hear Things About English "Murder" Rate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    .... that "murder" is only applied to crimes where a person is convicted and jailed?

    Or is this debunked?

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:05:14 PM PDT

    •  wrong (0+ / 0-)

      Every non natural death is brought before a coroner's court who judges it natural, suicide, misadventure,homicide etc

      •  But not reported as a homicide. (0+ / 0-)

        When you look at the coroner's report numbers for English homicides, they're nearly double the homicide rate the home office puts out.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 04:34:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Also. homicides include murder and manslaughter. (0+ / 0-)

          Are you looking at only one half of the data?

          •  For starters (0+ / 0-)

            Since 1967, homicide figures for England and Wales have been adjusted to exclude any cases which do not result in conviction

            That's the Home Office numbers, which give the absurdly low 1.15/100k often thrown about.

            The "death registry" numbers, if all categories are included that the FBI would count as a homicide, come up with 2.08/100k, and that doesn't even include all the deaths that could be counted as homicides in the US.

            The coroner's office has started issuing "narrative verdicts" rather than describing deaths as homicides, leaving a whole lot of play in the numbers, making an apples-to-apples comparison of homicide rates almost impossible. If all "violent deaths of interest to the police" listed among the narrative verdicts would have been homicides in the US, the UK's rate would actually exceed ours, though this is not likely to be the case.

            The long and the short is, other countries - the UK especially - don't report their homicide rates the same as the US does, and so comparisons like this diary purports to make are essentially impossible to do honestly.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:33:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  INtersting source. (0+ / 0-)

              Your first link goes to a memorandum submitted to the Cullen enquiry in 1997 by an obvious progun person.  This is the equivalent of an amicus brief in the US.

              I perused the document,but couldn't find the statement to which you are referring in the 102 paragraphs or so.

              However, the document does state that the statistics he is referring to are used in a green  paper, which is a political document, and may or may not reflect the the usual use or definitions used by the authorities.

              Need a more substantial link - say home office definition of homicide to prove your point. Quoting the UK equivalent of Wayne La Pierre doesn't meet the test.

          •  See That's Why I Ask - I'm Not Trolling This Diary (0+ / 0-)

            I'm just looking for the info, and if the idea that the rates are measured differently is hokey, then it needs a real debunking.

            There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

            by bernardpliers on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 09:02:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  US non-gun homicide exceeds ALL homicides except (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ancblu, Robobagpiper

    3 of the countries shown in graphic.  The US non-gun homicide rate also substantially exceeds the non-gun homicide rate in all counties.  These observations are from the diary graphics.

    This strongly suggests there is something about the US and homicide beyond gun ownership needed to explain our much higher homicide rates.

    Fortunately, while the number of privately owned guns have significantly increased in the US over the past 20 years, overall homicide rates and homicides with guns have been in a strong decline.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:37:23 PM PDT

    •  That's not what the chart is saying. The red (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      bar for the US shows 3.3, and the black bar is roughly 1.5.  Together they add up to 4.8 which corresponds with what wikipedia lists as the US total intentional homicide rate.  In other words the gun homicide rate is more than double the non-gun rate in the US.  This suggests that passing meaningful gun safety laws and regulations in the US could make a HUGE dent in cutting the homicide rate here.  Look at Finland and how puny their red bar is.  That's thanks to their having strict regulation and enforcement of gun laws.  In fact, the chart shows that if we had gun laws as good as Finland's, our total homicide rate would be lower than Finland's!  Imagine that, we could be considered safer than a Nordic country if we ever managed to get our gun crazy culture under control.

      •  Miggles, let me rephrase. (4+ / 0-)

        The chart give a US non-gun homicide rate of 1.6 per 100,000 per year.  This US non-gun homicide rate not only exceeds the non-gun homicide rate for all other countries on the chart, it even exceeds almost all other countries homicide rate (gun homicide plus non-gun homicide).

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:23:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The point you are making (4+ / 0-)

          is very apt ... and completely lost on the anti-firearm zealots here this community.

          To me, the Chart illustrates a very poor correlation between per capita firearm ownership and firearm/non-firearm homicides.  We know there are other independent variables with better correlation and these tend to be related more to under-privilege and disadvantage.

          Apropos of which, it may be worth noting that of all the countries listed in the chart, only one has no national health care program.  

  •  This was gruesome: (2+ / 0-)
    "... an attacker wielding a knife at an elementary school in China injured 22 kids and one adult, but no one was killed. Perhaps the universe was trying to tell us something."
    ... but well worth noting. An editor once told me that endings are never any good so why fuss? Well, you showed him!  

    I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

    by Tortmaster on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:38:09 PM PDT

  •  Amerika has more freedumb too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, ConnectTheDotsUSA

    That's why. It is in the constution. We just abandoned the 'Well regulated Militia' part to ap[ease the gun manufacturers and klansmen.

  •  One major nitpick with this diary is that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    you claim that we have peer countries.

    Clearly you have never heard of American Exceptionalism.

    Which pretty much makes that notion moot.

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