During a CCTV televised discussion, an anti-gun agitator rebutted my statement that the United States had a lower firearm homicide rate than international averages (here is one of my favorite charts that proves the point and shows zero correlation between gun availability and gun homicides). His snarky remark (and I closely paraphrase) was “That’s easy when you compare us to places like Somalia!”
Actually, the worst nations don’t report their homicide rates. If they did, the United States would look even better than it does now.
His belabored point was that in “industrialized” countries with allegedly civil societies (sans guns), life is oh so much better. Someone should tell all the Swedish rape victims.
But his challenge required some investigation. Here is what we can see from international data, which incidentally is not always of great quality or cross-border compatibility (click any chart to enlarge it).
Firearm Homicides: The United States does have a high firearm homicide rate compared to other industrialized countries. But since firearms are used to prevent crime as well as commit crime, we have to look further. We already know that when tough laws (like California’s 10-20-Life) target thugs, the firearm homicide rate plunges.
Being industrialized does not take away crime. Cultural factors guide misbehavior. American street gangs – the ones responsible for most violence and most murder – use the best tools they can, namely handguns. Swedish men use other tools for other crimes. Englishmen don’t mind beating you bloody while robbing you.
The goal then has nothing to do with guns, and everything to do with controlling criminal intent. Cure the disease and the symptoms go away as well.