Monday, April 04, 2005

Statistics in Context

Sorry for this late post. I was writing a post at lunch today sitting in my office. I got up to get a soda, and when I came back it was gone, into the ether, hit the ole bit bucket, and I'm not sure why. Teach me not to save early and often. Here is a post on a different subject and I'll try to redo today's post for tomorrow.

The Brady Bunch and other gun grabbers like to beat us gunnies over the head with statistics. One of their favorites is how many people are killed per year by guns. Around half of that number are suicides. Each year this number hovers around 15,000--sometimes more, sometimes less. That's a lot of people and each one represents despair and madness most of us will never feel. I've known people who have checked out early as I call it. I don't understand it, but I know survivors of suicide victims are sensitive about what happened. I will only be looking at statistics, so bear with me.

Gun grabbers blame guns for suicides and beat us up with their facts and figures. We've all heard them so don't make me go to the Brady Campaign's site. All right, you made me do it, here are their statistics, but these have no context. Let's look at another interesting set of statistics shall we.

The World Health Organization (WHO), a United Nations organization, is hardly a gun-friendly organization. They have suicide prevention programs and they keep statistics. Their information is based on most recent data and not all countries reported each year. Still, they have data that gun grabbers won't like.

Since America is a very gun friendly country, you'd think we would have an extremely high suicide rate--after all, anti-gunnie propaganda would have you believe a gun is the only way to shuffle off the mortal coil prematurely. The United State's suicide rate was 17.1 per 100,000 people for males and 4.0 per 100,000 for women in 2000. Note: from here on in all statistics will be "per 100,000," because I'm tired of typing zeros.

Japan is very unfriendly to gun ownership. Basically, there are a small handful of privately owned guns of all types in Japan and these are heavily regulated. Japan's suicide rate was 35.2 for males and 13.4 for females in 2000. That is, twice as many men in Japan kill themselves than in America and more than three times as many women commit the ultimate act. And, they do it without guns. Of course, Japan had a tradition of ritual suicide so we better take a look at another gun-fearing country.

Let's visit Belgium. While this tiny country was legendary gunmaker John Moses Browning's home for awhile, it's not known for widespread gun ownership. Its 1996 suicide rate was 31.2 for males and 11.4 for women. Not much different from Japan's.

Michael Moore in Bowling for Columbine told us how much more peaceful Canada is than the United States even though many people there own guns. Its suicide rate is 18.4 for men and 5.2 for women. That's not much higher than in the United States, but higher is higher.

You can refer to more figures if you want. To me, suicidal thought causes suicide not guns. I've read gun-grabber propaganda that says that having a gun nearby can cause a depressed person to commit suicide impulsively. There may be a modicum of truth to the statement, but one can impulsively commit suicide while standing on a subway platform waiting for a train, or looking out a window in a high-rise building, or walking over a bridge, or using a knife.

So, next time a gun-grabber starts spewing statistics like an unruly fire hydrant, remind them that America is a gun-loving country, but guns don't cause suicide and here's the facts.

Someone at work, knowing my interests, told me he saw these statistics on a liberal site. He reads a lot of liberal sites and was not sure where he saw it. If I owe someone a hat-tip, let me know.

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