In light of the Charleston church shooting:


imagesAs we grieve the loss at Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel AME Church,  a new report out from Violence Policy Center retires the Blood-Gargling NRA’s® canard that the only thing to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Instead, the report says guns are rarely used for self defense. They are, however, overwhelming used for precisely the kind of crime and bloodshed committed in Charleston and elsewhere. Every day. All the time.

Using statistics from the FBI and the National Crime Victimization Survey Data, the report says that:

  • In 2012, across the nation there were only 259 justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a firearm. That same year, there were 8,342 criminal gun homicides. In 2012, for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides. The ratio does not take into account the tens of thousands of lives ended in gun suicides or unintentional shootings that year.
  • For that same year, just 13 states reported no justifiable homicides (Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wyoming)
  • In 2012, of the 259 firearm justifiable homicides, 98.1 percent (254) of the persons shot and killed were men and 1.9 percent (five) were women.

The report is worth a read, I promise.

Published by datingjesus

Just another one of God's children.

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  1. What!!???!!!
    No justifiable homicides in Montana??? Where there’s at least two firearms for every man, woman and child in the state??? Where more than half the population legally owns firearms??? We must be slippin’.

    Wait a minute….
    How can the VPC and the WSJ look at the same data resource from the same federal agency for the same year and come up with different conclusions? WTF?

    And when you think about it…this VPC data doesn’t really do much to discount “gun free zone” claims by right-wing fanatics. The mere assertion that justifiable homicides/self-defense firearm activity occurs at very low rates doesn’t really provide much evidence to prove “gun free zone” claims are unfounded. In fact, the general increase in justifiable homicides since 2000, as reported by the WSJ, might be interpreted to support “gun free zone” claims.

    And doesn’t the perennial us versus them on gun control just distract from the true significance…the actual motivation…of this horrible crime?

    1. I think discussions related to his motive/racism AND his access to deadly means for mass murder are all appropriate, and one shouldn’t distract from the other. Without one of those two, this would not have happened. It’s a dangerous combination. Keeping guns out of the hands of hateful people is one way to show greater respect for peaceful people who more often end up as targets of hate crimes. We should address that, too, don’t you think?

      1. I agree, though this wasn’t directed at me. When a shooter says specifically that s/he wants to kill black people, you’ve got to ask why.

      2. Coates gets it:

        Roof’s crime cannot be divorced from the ideology of white supremacy which long animated his state nor from its potent symbol—the Confederate flag.

        So does Jon Stewart:

        This was racist…There’s no nuance here.

        This isn’t about guns. This is about us. This is about our failure as a people to display anything more than moral cowardice in the face of racial hatred. The political argument about guns, in this instance, empowers that moral cowardice. It provides an escape for people who don’t want to face reality…to “repeatedly look away…favor the fanciful over the plain, myth over history, the dream over the real.”

        This is about racism. period.

        1. “This isn’t about guns. This is about us.”

          Oh, it’s about guns all right: it’s a deadly combo of a violence-addicted society that has easy access to guns as a means to act out (mostly unjustified) anger, and sick hate-filled people who can get those guns and use them on the subjects of their hate. One person could not lynch 9 people at a bible-study meeting, say (although 1 person COULD bomb a church………).

        2. “the Confederate flag.”

          Someone pointed out that Germany, after the war, did NOT continue (officially, anyway) to use the swastika despite all its symbolism in Germany’s history. But SC and other states think it’s just fine to justify flying that damn flag.

        3. No argument on it being about racism. We need to acknowledge it, have deep discussions about it, and take action to address it. However, I also think we can address the two issues that came together in this case, without minimizing the other. To say it isn’t about guns, it’s about us, is not much different than saying, “guns don’t kill people, people do”. Of course people do, but guns enable more killing. It is about hatred, racism, the way society enables racism, the way society ignores racism in too many cases, and the way we heavily arm the public, including racist haters who want to do harm. To look at all of that, isn’t looking away from any one piece. Personally, I am angry about all of it because it all resulted in 9 lost lives. And, I am angry because we continue to do nothing to stop hate-filled people from doing this – from harming someone because of who they are and from using a gun to do that harm. It all matters.

          1. To say it isn’t about guns, it’s about us, is not much different than saying, “guns don’t kill people, people do”.

            I could not disagree more.

            1. I really do appreciate and agree with your point, that we can’t lose focus on addressing racism.

    1. Yeah, “so as long as people get killed by drunk drivers, unhinged gun owners get to kill people too! It’s only fair!”
      Heard the other day that the number of gun-deaths is about equal to the number of road-deaths.

        1. I saw something a while back on that, too, though can’t put my finger on it. As I recall, fatalities from car accidents were dropping and gun fatalities were rising. It’s really insane. It makes no logical sense to continue on in this way of thinking that more guns is the answer.

      1. Actual deaths related to motor vehicles and firearms according to the CDC are, as the wonks would say, statistically insignificant for 2013.

        You can query CDC Fatal Injury Reports, 1999-2013 here.

        Motor vehicle related deaths have been decreasing fairly consistently since 2007, (13.95 deaths per 100,000). 2013 totals are 33,804 actual, 10.69 per 100,000, combined per 100,000 rate 1999-2013 is 13.29.

        Firearm related deaths in general have been increasing 1999 (28,874) through 2013 (33, 636), with notable increases in 2011 (32,351) and 2013. Combined per 100,000 rate 1999-2013 is 10.38. For 2013 it’s 10.64.

        Firearm deaths related to homicide have gone up and down between 1999 and 2013. Since 2007, firearm homicides have decreased from 12,632, (4.19 per 100,000) to 11,208, (3.55 per 100,000) in 2013. Combined 1999-2013 per 100,000 death rate is 3.91.

        Firearm deaths related to suicide have been increasing consistently since 2007, (17,352, 5.76 per 100,000) to 21,175, (6.70 per 100,000), in 2013. Suicide in general has risen consistently 1999, (10.46 per 100,000), through 2013, (13.02 per 100,000).

        Unintentional deaths related to firearms have been decreasing 1999, (0.30 per 100,000) through 2013, (0.16 per 100,000).

        Legal intervention firearm deaths, the ones that get counted, have increased 1999, (0.11 per 100,000) through 2013, (0.15 per 100,000) with the biggest increase in rate during that period being in 2011, (0.04).

        1. I can’t help but think of Jon Stewart’s point regarding the “disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us, and us killing ourselves”. Gosh those numbers don’t sound insignificant to me. If deaths related to motor vehicles and firearms are insignificant, then how are number of deaths related to “terrorism” characterized? I do acknowledge the difference in that the threat could materialize into something more significant. I still do wonder how we could act with so much power to one and not the other. Imagine if another country or terrorist group killed 33,636 Americans? Suddenly, it doesn’t sound insignificant anymore. Do nothing would not be an option. It just blows my mind.

          1. Statistically speaking, as the difference between the motor vehicle related death rate and firearm related death rate amounts to just 0.05 per 100,000, those death rates are, in relation to one another, essentially the same. So what Cynical heard the other day is correct. For all practical purposes, the number of gun deaths is about equal to the number of road-deaths…”…meaning that gun-deaths have risen that far in number.”

            One hundred sixty-eight deaths in a year are certainly not insignificant, until you get into stacking bodies. Then you get into statistics. When you stand back and look at stacks of 33,000+ dead people…168 doesn’t seem like so much.

            I’m not saying the deaths are insignificant. I’m saying the difference between those two categories is insignificant.

          2. By way of illustration of statistical difference:
            In 2013, the last year of data available from the CDC, the rate of firearm related deaths in the United States was 10.64 per 100,000.

            In 2007, the last year of data available from the WHO, the rates of death amenable to healthcare in the United States was 218.8 per 100,000.

            THAT is a statistically significant difference. But yet………….

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