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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Violent Death in the USA

So, OK, I want to understand this.
According to a Guardian UK report , there were 12,996 murders in the USA in 2010, and of these two thirds (8,775) were by firearms (67.5%).
As in many western countries, the suicide rate is higher than the homicide rate. The latest data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reported by The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention < > indicates that 36,909 suicide deaths were reported in the U.S. in 2009, an increase of 2.4 percent over the previous year. Suicide rates in the US have been increasing since 2000. Fifty-two percent of suicides are with a firearm, accounting for about 19,000 deaths.
So, there are somewhere in the region of 27,775 deaths per annum from Firearms. That seems like a lot of death. I guess it means there will be an impact on somewhere in the region of 277,750 grieving family and friends (at a conservative estimate). And being traumatic, the grief will go on for a number of years, and maybe down generations. And, of course, repeated next year and the year after...
So why does the USA continue to have laws which allow the purchase of firearms, especially semi-automatics which seem to have been involved in the latest shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Of course the National Rifleman's Association and Lobby go on claiming that "guns don't kill people, people kill people'. But at least in suicide prevention, we know that 'reducing access to means' - that is getting rid of access to guns - has a profound and long-lasting impact on rates of suicide. In Australia, after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, the Howard government attempted to rid the country of guns - especially semi-automatics. We in Australia have not had a massacre since. Suicide rates demonstrate that guns (while still available in gun clubs and rural areas) as a cause of suicide has been markedly reduced.
When will the US ever learn?

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