You Do The Math - Death By Gun vs Hammer
I've seen all sorts of pro-gun statistics going around lately on the internet, in a reaction to all the anti-gun stuff in politics and talk shows. Here's an example:
I wasn't too sure I could believe this because 10 years ago when I compiled a list of ways that people die in the US, and the quantity of each type, I remembered that guns killed about 11,000 while hammers weren't listed.
A quick search at www.fbi.gov show murder statistics by weapon. It's very enlightening. Turns out that the above statistic includes ALL rifles and ALL blunt instruments. Since assault rifles only account for a subset of "rifles", then the above photo makes assault rifles seem worse than they really are.
Here are the FBI stats for homicide in 2010:
total firearms 8,775
hand guns 6,009
other guns 96
knives (cutting instruments) 1,704
blunt objects (hammers, clubs, etc) 540
personal weapons (fists, feet, etc) 745
other weapon (not stated) 874
See 2006 through 2010 here: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl08.xls
One problem... there are almost 2,000 gun murders where the gun was unspecified. That leaves the door open for assault rifles. However, judging by the fact that handguns are used in 6,009 out of 8,775 murders, they are less expensive and really easy to conceal compared to an AR-15 that is a yard long, I would have to make an educated guess that hand guns also account for 2/3 of those 2,000 unspecified guns.
That leaves 667, of which half are probably shot guns and the other half are rifles. So, no more than 333 (added to the 358) are rifle murders. This adds up to 692. Compare that to murders carried out by fists and feet: 745.
It's very clear that America does not have an assault rifle problem, but a murder problem.
If we don't know what percentage of these rifles are assault rifles, how about measuring the hype that comes from the press about mass slayings in general? There were 12 killed at the Batman movie, 26 killed at Sandyhook Elementary School, and 2 killed at the food court in Portland Oregon. Forty that I know of, probably less than 50 total were killed in 2012 in these publicized mass slayings. Compare that to the leading causes of death in the US in 2010:
Of the top 15 causes, only 2 are not an illness:
In a normal year, you are 1,000 times more likely to kill yourself on purpose than be killed by an AR-15 in a mass slaying. Accidentally, you are 3,000 times more likely to die.
In the top 8 ways to die accidentally, firearms accounted for 570 out of 126,100 in 2010:
This chart leaves 13,130 accidental deaths unspecified. It omits categories for bleeding and from head trauma. How many of those 13 thousand are from hammers?
Obviously, the photo with the AR-15 is misleading, because we all know that gangs use the AK-47, hand guns, the Uzi assault rifle, etc. Why? The AR-15 is too big and too cumbersome to shoot from the open window of a moving ricer (like the Honda Accord or a Subaru WR-X turbo).
Here are total gun deaths in 2008:
Notice that suicides are over 18,000 while murders are 33% less. And cops only killed 328, so don't get all anti-cop on me. But, I digress. The point is that there are 12,000 gun murders to account for. How many of those are from assault rifles? How many of those are in self defense? If you don't watch Fox News you will rarely if ever hear about these "murders".
The one you may have heard about is the trigger-happy housewife. She was with her two kids hiding in the crawl space when an intruder not only broke into her home, but decided to climb down into the crawl space to get his next victims. Fortunately, she shot him 5 times in the face, and lived to tell her story.
In Joe Biden's words, "if it will save just one life", I think we should keep guns legal.
What we are missing so far are murders without guns:
murder by firearms: 12,179
total murders: 16,465
violent crimes: 1,394,461
Two points here. A fourth of all murders were not by firearm. Maybe hammers account for some of that fourth (4,286). Also, there were well over 100 times more violent crimes (forcible rape, aggravated assault, etc.) than gun murders. That seems like good news, in a way. Unarmed women and seniors may be able to defend themselves with a little training and/or a simple weapon like a walking stick or a pencil to the eye.
Heck, looks like you are more likely to die on the bus or in an airplane crash than by an AR-15 in a mass slaying. And we all know how safe flying is!
Automobile deaths far outpace airline deaths.
Just being a pedestrian has more deaths per mile walked than deaths pr mile driven. It's actually safer to drive than walk.
deaths from collisions between vehicles: 13,900
deaths from collisions with pedestrians: 5,400
If Americans drive 10,000 miles a year, compare that to walking a mile (20 minutes), 3 days a week. That's 52 times 3 = 156 miles.
13,900 deaths / (310,000,000 Americans * 10,000 miles) = .00000000448 deaths per mile driven
5,400 deaths / (310,000,000 Americans * 156 miles) = .000000111 deaths per mile walked
You are 25 times more likely to be killed as a pedestrian than as a car driver. That's only if Americans walk 3 miles a week in traffic. That's a big IF. New Yorkers probably don't walk that much in the road. Most of us don't walk any.
Occupational deaths are similar to non-occupational, where accidents outweigh murders by a 5.6 to 1 ratio.
And of these murders, a fifth were not by firearms, since 401 were from guns while 105 were from other implements, such as knives and hammers. Interestingly, 402 accidental deaths were from being struck by an object (263 falling objects and 36 flying objects). Some of these could be hammers, but the point is, there was 1 more death by accidentally flying/falling objects than by intentional gun murder.
**** added Memorial Day, 2013 ****
I wish I had FBI stats to back up the following, but I've read a few web sites over the years about the 50 or 60 children killed each year when BACKED over in their own driveway, or the 110 backed over overall. Now it seems to be over 200, according to this USA Today article:
It's such a big problem, even what's his name on RockCenter ( NBC?) did a 5 or 10 minute investigative report on the stats, and interviewed a woman who backed over her daughter at the bank.
Now, if the "liberal press" is willing to expose a problem that ANNUALLY kills TEN times as many kids as were killed ONE TIME at Sandyhook Elementary, then you know darn well it's a big problem.
200 children killed ANNUALLY when backed over by a car, truck, SUV or van
20 children killed once at Sandyhook Elementary
And another thing... why is it that the bank in Moore, Oklahoma had a tornado-proof vault to protect cash and their workers, but the elementary schools did not have a small basement for the kids? Don't dare tell me it would get wet and icky, NBC. It's really because the stupid teacher's union sucks all the damn money.
**** end of added section ****
* almost as many kids are killed by cars in reverse gear as Americans are killed by assault rifles
* hammers don't account for more murders than guns, but probably more than the AR-15
* you are 3 times more likely to commit suicide (by any means) than be murdered by a gun
* accidents account for almost 4 times as many deaths as all gun deaths combined (murder, suicide, accident, cops)
* accidents pale in comparison to illness!!
So, eat healthy, exercise, look both ways, and be careful not to kill yourself, either accidentally or on purpose.