Over at The Washington Post, Todd Lindeman has crunched some numbers and put together an infographic organizing violence-related deaths by age.
One axis shows age, the other ranks the cause of death. If the deaths were homicides, the box is shaded brown; if they were suicides, the box is shaded blue. They're also shaded more heavily if there's a large number of deaths associated with that cause. So, for example, the leading cause of violence-related death for people ages 65 and above is suicide by firearm, and because there were more than 30,000 of those cases recorded between 1999 and 2007, it's shaded dark blue.
Here's what we can glean: The leading means of violence-related deaths are guns. For people ages 5 to 9 and 15 and above, it's the No. 1 cause. (For children ages 10 to 14, suffocation is No. 1; for children under 4, the top cause is listed as "unspecified.") Guns are also the second-highest cause of violent death among people ages 10 to 44. How can they be both first and second? Because, as mentioned above, Lindeman drew an important distinction between suicides and homicides. So while gun homicides are the leading cause of violent death for people ages 15 to 24, gun suicides are the second leading cause. For people ages 35 to 44, it's reversed. And overall, there are far more suicides than homicides. The third leading cause of violent death across most age groups is suffocation (primarily by suicide).
I hope no one uses this data for justification of gun control.
If gun violence is just replaced by other violence in places where gun control is used then nothing has been accomplished except to un-arm law abiding citizens and put them at greater risk for becoming victims of violence.
@Bagpipes100, I tend to agree with you here. If someone wants someone dead, they'll be creative about it. If a gun is available, they'll use it. If that's not available, they'll use something else. On the list, guns seem like the most effient way to go also. :)
In space, no one can hear a tree fall in the forest.
Gun control comes in many many flavours. Nobody I've ever spoken to objects to mandatory background checks when purchasing a firearm, for example.
At the end of the day, if you're happy with the current state of affairs in the US, there's of course no need to do anything. But if you're not happy, the question is: what should we do about it? If you're not happy, something has to change... so what's it going to be? I'm insisting on the question, because in the past couple of weeks, all I've heard is people speaking for or against gun control in very general terms, which is useless because more often than not they're just vomiting a well-rehearsed ideologically-based opinion. It's a waste of time.
So, Bagpipes100 and GMarsack: are you happy with the status quo regarding gun deaths in the US? If not, what do you propose specifically?
The odds of getting caught I believe are almost certain, when it comes to killing someone. So if one is going to kill someone and they know they will get caught, might as well just 'spoon' them to death, I suppose....
I Totally agree with you. I think people should use this data to have the NRA open an office in China and India. After all most deads from guns happen in the most reproductive ages between 15-34. It can be argued that no guncontrol is much better for this earth then guncontrol.
But I do admit that it is damn hard to kill those children at a school when they are in the classrooms and you only have a car. It is opportunity together with rage which kills. It would be much better for the children if there is less access to (half)automatic 'hunting' rifles. I don't think Americans are much more bloodthirsty then Europeans even after you accepted all our unwanted people in The New World. But your number of gunkillings in 1 weekend makes it very hard for us to match these numbers. It is the opportunity and no guncontrol. This said we kill just as many people as you in wars. Nowdays there are already politicians talking about an union between Europe and America, but I will be totally opposed to downgrading when it comes to guncontrol. European policies towards guncontrol have worked well and our number of deads because of this are much lower. It is because we have very few people with access to (half) automatic weapons. :)
If it was up to the NRA soon everyone would have his own drone with guided missiles to hunt deer.
It seems lately popsci has just become a propaganda machine that churns out what is relevant to what is popular at the moment.An this is also a pointless infograph just to scare people If people are going to kill there are going to use what's convenient. Just like that guy in China who cut up several kindergartners.
Though... if a person does slowly enough, no one seems to care, example fast food and pollution in the environment, .... sigh.
This is very skewed data. It does not break it down per year, it does not compare it to other forms of death such as disease or motor vehicle deaths which in comparison with this chart would look worse,In the same time period there has been over 381,039 vehicle fatalities.
So please Pop-sci continue making things look as bad as you want, your readers are not as stupid as you may think.
@ikwilgeen said "But I do admit that it is damn hard to kill those children at a school when they are in the classrooms and you only have a car."
And yet a week after the Sandy Hook incident a Chinese individual killed 16 school kids by running them over in a car.
Automatic weapons make killing people too easy. You should ban them. They have no place in a civilized society.
@suggestivesimon - I honestly do not have a solution to the problem, other than to make people not want to kill other people. My argument was just that if someone wanted to, they could use any means (as Robot pointed out) to kill someone else. I do not think the US current situtation is ideal also as long as there is one person dieing at the hands of another. :(
In space, no one can hear a tree fall in the forest.
And when my honey, cooks me that thick steak red steak with lots of mash potatoes and real butter, is it really with love for me??? Hmmmm!?!
What about the men who die from over use of viagra? Nobody would suspect the spouse for killing her hubby, while making love! Yikes!
I don't remember the country (something obscure like Belarus), but I was trying to find out how bad the US is with gun violence per gun and found that we were only slightly above the global average... that is to say that only a very small percentage of guns are used to commit a murder.... something like 1 in 3000. But this other country had outlawed guns completely (i.e. no civilian was allowed to own one) and they had more firearm homicides than the US... not per gun or per capita, but raw numbers.
Guns aren't the problem, and 'gun control' is not the solution. It is a cultural problem and a mental health problem. Legislation will only compound those problems by allowing people to say "oh, the government has it.. I can ignore it now."
It is of interest to note that all the biggest serial killers in our country's history never used a gun to kill their victims. As was said above, if you want to kill someone, you'll find a way.
Anybody ever seen a prison's display of confiscated weapons? People get murdered in prison with toothbrushes. No guns among the inmates at all, yet the murders continue, hundreds of them every year.
It would be interesting to show that infographic with all causes of premature death, such as accidents, lifestyle-choice diseases, etc. Because homicide is way down on the list. The infographic itself is interesting in that there are far more blueish squares at the top (suicide) than brownish (homicide) squares.
It seems funny to me that we as a country want to have this discussion about limiting or banning a constitutionally-specified right (firearms) in the hope that it might save a few hundred or a few thousand lives a year, while ignoring the discussion completely in regards to cigarettes and alcohol.
There are almost as many people killed each year by drunk drivers as are murdered by guns. Yet the country as a whole wants the opportunity to get drunk whenever they so choose. Somehow, the thought of banning or regulating certain lifestyles as become off-limits, simply because they are lifestyle choices. I guess gun ownership is not a lifestyle choice.
Almost half a million people each year die early due to cigarettes, including 50,000 from second-hand smoke. This includes plenty of people who were smoked around as kids, and suffered a severely shortened life because of it. That's 3 times more than homicides by any weapon. And yet nobody would dare suggest we ban any cigarette with known carcinogenic properties.
If it really is about saving the most lives, then let's go save lives. That means we're going to have to see the very people who are calling for gun control give up their sacred lifestyle cows to save lives. But after all, shouldn't they be willing to sacrifice as much as the rest of us for the sake of saving lives?
The problem with our society isn't guns, nor is it only about the violent games or the media. Those are just additional symptoms of the same sickness. The sickness is a lack of a moral core. This country's framework was devised for people who have a certain moral core, and worked fine for them for generations for that reason. We've come so far off that moral core, that no amount of laws will ever keep everyone safe from each other until we're so regulated that we might as well be in prison. But then again, prisoners still find a way to kill each other too.
Really? Will my satisfaction or lack there of be affected by a new gun ban? If X number of people per capita are murdered in the US now, and X number of people per capita are murdered after a new gun ban is enacted would I be satisfied?
No, nothing would have been accomplished. Is there any reason to believe that the number of murders per year per capita would change with new gun bans?
I have yet to see any data on that. People have posted that gun murders go down after gun bans, but that's worthless data it doesn't address total violence before and after.
Once again, we see it. ikwilgeen talks about "half automatic" weapons. Alfi2009 says that automatic weapons ought to be illegal.
Here is a tip, folks. If it is that painfully obvious that you have absolutely no clue what you are talking about, it is best to just remain silent.
Ok, automated guns are illegal. I still can buy a super big nail gun! There are lots of industrial tools that can really do a number on people.
BAM! BAM! BAM! NAILED!
You gave us no information at all. You cited some half-remembered, unsourced piece of lore. Contrary to what you believe, gun violence in the US is very very high (an easy introduction to this subject is "List of countries by firearm-related death rate" on Wikipedia and its sources).
"The sickness is a lack of a moral core."
A moral code is a variable thing. And there is no way to guarantee the same moral code for 300 million + people. I don't think morality is the problem, but even if it were (as you claim) then there is no way to fix it.
So your solution to a sky-high per capita homicide and gun death rates is to change the subject? If cigarettes/alcohol, why not heart disease? And what solutions do you propose to all of these problems?
"Automatic weapons make killing people too easy. You should ban them. They have no place in a civilized society."
You've seen too many movies. Fully automatic weapons are extremely inefficient. Most modern militaries (including the US) have converted their standard issue rifles to semi-auto only. The reason is that most soldiers will use full auto at the first opportunity and go thorough all their ammo within minutes. On semi-auto, a soldier is more likely to hit what they are shooting at. Full auto just makes a bunch of noise and while accomplishing very little.
Some soldiers are issued automatic rifles, however the primary use of these weapons is psychological. They use automatic gun fire to intimidate the enemy into taking cover so that friendly soldiers can move to a better position without being shot at.
Automatic weapons are not magical wands of death killing everything by waiving it that general direction. Banning them only demonstrates ignorance and waists efforts on solutions that don't address the underlying cause.
Once humans become cyborgs,
it will be the 'delete key', that will become their
greatest fear, bra ha ha haaaa!
a) Who said anything about a gun ban? The world isn't black and white. Modern laws don't fit in a sentence. We are talking about complex social issues and you're going straight to an extreme scenario to justify your opinion.
b) I asked you a simple question that you are either unable or unwilling to answer. All this ink and these pixels wasted on people saying "no no no" and giving nothing in return. Step up and work the problem instead of getting in the way of people trying to help. What do you suggest to fix this problem?
I shoot, and love to shoot. I don't want a gun ban, but gun acquisition and possession has to be better regulated to ensure: proper education of gun owners (!!), proper control of what guns end up on the street (working with gun manufacturers as well), a mechanism to allow people with mental health issues to be identified and a mechanism to allow high-risk gun owners to be identified. Furthermore, social safety nets have to be put into place so that people don't feel like guns are the only solution to whatever predicament they find themselves in.
Automatic weapons are highly regulated, but legal in most states.
Oooops, I back my truck over you. So sorry.
Notice I said moral core, not code. Very different things. The moral core of the US when it first came about revolved around hard work, family, mutual respect, honesty, and various forms of religious worship. That is no longer the moral core of the US. The current moral core involves selfishness, aggrandizement, doing whatever one pleases, and laziness. Particularly in the inner cities, which I spend plenty of time in, and which also happen to have the highest homicide rates.
And if there truly is no way to fix it, as you suggest, then banning guns or anything else will not fix the violence problem.
And no, you can't force people to adopt certain moral ideals. But by not respecting the constitutional principles originally developed, we have encouraged many people away from them. There is a fine line, for example, between helping someone down on their luck and making people dependent and lazy. I've seen far too many people who won't take a pay raise and won't work more hours so that they don't lose a bunch of government benefits.
If you don't understand how lazy our government has made us as a people, you're just one of the sheep, and no amount of typing here will convince you.
I'm not changing the subject, I'm just saying that people yelling loudly about saving lives by controlling guns need to take their heads out of the sand and look at all the other ways that we can save even more lives. But they don't because they are hypocritical. They want to limit others in their freedoms while not losing any of their own. As such, they'll never convince anybody and their cause won't go anywhere.
You want my solutions? It's actually really simple, but probably not one you'll agree with... get the federal government out of everything and return it to what it was meant to be, under the original intent of the Constitution. Let each state regulate its citizens as outlined under the Constitution. Let people make their choices and have their consequences. This world has never been, nor will it ever be, perfect. People will hurt and kill others. There is no way to stop that, there never has been, and there never will be. Learn to accept it.
Anyone who still believes in the delusion that every problem can be fixed (by force or legislation or coercion) needs to go seek help. History has shown repeatedly that the biggest killer of all is governments. We call ourselves an advanced species, yet we still can't seem to learn that one basic premise.
I think we should all be using phasers, and quantum torpedoes; just sayin.
Besides, I said automated, not automatic, yuck, yuck, lol.
"... there must be 50 ways to kill you lover....", oh leave leave, yea that's what I meant to type.... lol.
What's needed is not LESS guns but more DEFENSIVE weapons in mankinds arsenal to defend against those who use guns fiendishly (terrorists, mass-murders, etc).
We actually have a new defensive weapon that can make a dramatic difference in being able to stop mass-murderers without ADDING to the problems in the world as do MORE guns.
Keep in mind that the 20 kids were killed with a stolen gun from the mom of the mass-murderer. This often happens that a relative steals a family gun and then uses it for mayhem.
But new defensive weapons are NOW at our disposal including this one:
This new defensive weapon has the capability of turning things on it's rear and giving schools, theaters, etc a much better chance at a reasonable cost (compared to putting armed guards at high cost) compared to other methods.
For all the following reasons these new defensive weapons make the most sense to get more control of our schools, etc:
1) These 'defensive only' guns are designed to incapacitate bad people--not kill them. This allows schools to paralyze the offending fiends and disarm them before they do further harm.
2) The guns won't kill innocent bystanders (our children in the schools) in the CROSSFIRE. Everyone knows crossfire can kill as many innocents as the fiend(s) who sought to kill in the first place. These will prevent that. Of course there is always the potential for harm but it's dramatically lowered.
3) Disarming the fiends allows society to pick the brains of captured mass-murderers instead of being in the dark why the fiends did it and then later commit suicide as they usually do before being captured.
4) The guns -- if stolen--CANNOT be used as a mass murderer weapon by those that would steal the 'defensive' weapons--unlike typical 'offense' guns (especially large clip semi-automatics) which CAN be used against others (especially on the black market). The TASER clips (5) are not sold to the general public so once discharged cannot be used again--basically making them a disposable defensive weapon only.
5) Having trained school personnel that are familiar with guns trained to use them and having 3 or 4 of these per school would allow multiple SIMULTANEOUS defenses against an assailant and a better chance of stopping them compared to just ONE securuity personnel . Most security personnel are uniformed and are usually the FIRST target of any would be mass-murderer.
6) The costs would be lower than hiring a full-time security personnel and the response by properly trained and equipped school personnel would be FASTER than the local police responses and Swat teams.
7) The implementation of a nationwide program utilizing these defensive weapons would provide a substantial check on fiends thinking of committing mass-murders. And this not only includes at our schools--but at theaters, stadiums, churches, etc.
8) These also would be a deterrence to terrorists because if they are everywhere then they know they can be stopped just like the good Americans who stopped the terrorists on flight 91.
Violence is still deeply imbedded in human nature/DNA, or whatever you want to call it. Until that changes, guns won't be disappearing anytime soon. Three hundred years from now, we will probably still have guns, but they will be called something else and probably won't fire bullets anymore. Violence has been a part of humans for thousands of years, and I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon.
As for the best solution to prevent the average person from killing someone...well I'm not qualified to provide a good answer for that so I honestly don't know. But one thing's for sure, you don't need a military grade assault rifle to defend yourself in your own home, and that of course is just my opinion. If and when the country I live in becomes a place like it was 2000 years ago, then I suppose having a military grade assault rifle would be justified. It would be nice to live in a world where you don't need weapons to defend yourselves from other humans, but we don't live in a world like that yet, maybe some day.