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In wealthy nations of the Western world, U.S. leads, by far, in gun homicides

REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
A body is covered with a sheet in the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday night.

I’m pretty fed up with the vaguely religious notion of “American exceptionalism.” When we say this, do we mean “exceptional” as in “very good?” or “exceptional” as in there are rules for this that apply to others but not to us because we are the “exception” to those rules (because why)?

Anyway, among the rich, Western industrialized nations of the world, we are some kind of exceptional in the category of most likely to die by gunshot wound. And we are exceptional by a very large margin. That probably doesn’t surprise you, but the folks at the Upshot Blog of the New York Times have nailed it down and expressed it in a very powerful way.

They took a list of all the wealthy industrial nations that keep statistics on death by gun violence. (We are not the richest, by the way, as measured by GDP per capita, but on this list we are third behind Luxembourg and Norway). Then, since some of them are so much bigger than others, they took the number of annual deaths by gunshot wound and adjusted it for population, so the comparison is of per capita deaths by gun homicide.

Here, the good ol’ USA is exceptional. Very. We are not just first, we are first by a mile.

In the good ol’ USA, on an average day, 27 people die by gunshot homicide. (That means they are excluding suicides or accidental shootings, but including all the victims of a mass shootings).

That is by far the most of any rich nation that keeps such statistics. But, of course, we have the biggest population of any of the rich industrial nations (only China and India have bigger populations, and they are not rich).

So, to make the comparison more reasonable and fair, the Upshot piece adjusted the gun death rates of the other rich Western industrial nations to the number of deaths that would occur if they had a population as large as ours. On that basis, the second- and third-highest-ranking rich industrial Western nations in per capita homicides are Canada and not-so-rich Greece, both of which clock in at just under five homicides a day.

Just under five, compared to our 27, and after adjusting for the difference in population size. And those are the second- and third-highest numbers on the list.

Iceland and Norway, with an average gun homicide rate of less than one a day (even after the adjustment for population) are the lowest on the list.

Japan is even lower, much lower, but wasn’t on the graphic because it was limited to Western nations, although Japan has a larger population than most of the countries on the Upshot graphic. Nonetheless, on a gun homicides per capita basis, the United States is more than 300 times higher than Japan.  

To dramatize the gap in per capita gun deaths even more, the authors tried to find another cause of death that was of similar size, in each country, to deaths caused by shooting. In the United States, the rate was about equal to deaths in car accidents. In New Zealand it was equivalent to dying by falling off a ladder. In Japan it was equivalent to death by getting hit by lightning. 

Comments (60)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/02/2017 - 02:15 pm.


    Too many people believe that the numbers refer to someone else, not to them.
    THEY KNOW that they are safer owning a gun.

  2. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/02/2017 - 03:21 pm.


    Is this news to anyone?

  3. Submitted by Patrick Tice on 10/02/2017 - 03:40 pm.


    Stocks in firearms companies are heading up, since these mass shootings mean rational people will once again bring pressure for gun control and gun nuts will flock to the nearest dealer to add to their arsenals.

  4. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/02/2017 - 04:58 pm.

    Get Ready To Hear From The NRA

    Right after the worst mass murder in US history we all know congress will do nothing with gun control. We all know the NRA has congress right where they want them, more concerned about their source of campaign dollars, from the NRA, than they are about doing anything to make America safer. The NRA even rates politicians as to how NRA friendly they are. The NRA’s mantra is “It’s not the guns fault. That is true, but it is a grossly over simplified juvenile word game they play. If the misguided individual didn’t have access to the gun they wouldn’t be able to carry off their horrific acts of mass murders or even a single murder. There is one thing the NRA doesn’t talk about. Along with gun ownership goes responsibility to use it safely. NOT EVERYONE IS CAPABLE OF BEING RESPONSIBLE, as every mass murderer proves. In a day or so the NRA will be pressured to come out and make a statement. The NRA will come out with their dumbed down mantra “It’s not the guns fault” and then try to raise people’s fears so they will run to their nearest gun shop and get one, without the faintest idea on how to use one. If congress looks like they are going to make any move at all toward gun control the avid gun users will be convinced the government is coming to take your guns away – with absolutely no evidence of that. We’ve seen this charade before.

    • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 10/03/2017 - 08:46 am.

      It’s Not the NRA

      The NRA is always the boogeyman, right? Do you even know what they promote?
      The tragedies of these crazy mass murders always gets headlines and punditry like NRA bashing but the constant killing in many urban areas, with some of the strictest gun control laws, are never a thought. These rants on the NRA are so hollow, it’s scary. But more people are killed elsewhere on any given weekend with zero mention. No matter how strict you make gun control, those who want guns will get them.
      To say how crazy it is to think gun ownership should not be allowed is just look at our own state when concealed carry was up for enactment. Many Democrats and their supporters howled that it would be the Wild Wild West. And there has been no change and some people feel even more safe now.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/03/2017 - 09:28 am.

        Some facts

        First, there are proportionately more gun deaths in American rural areas than urban ones.
        And it would be more accurate to say that it’s not ONLY the NRA — the NRA is a very active (and well funded) lobbyist against any form of gun control.
        Gun control will not eliminate fire arm deaths, but will reduce it significantly. As an example, Australia (with a ‘wild west’ culture similar to ours) enacted strict gun control after a mass shooting. It cut the number of gun deaths in half.

      • Submitted by ian wade on 10/03/2017 - 12:53 pm.

        I know what the NRA used to promote.

        Back when I was a member, they were an organization that promoted hunting, firearm safety and marksmanship skills. Since then, they’ve become a radical organization that won’t discuss ANY legislation no matter how benign. In fact, the subject of gun legislation has become THE go-to boogieman as a vehicle to foster the notion that any policy is the first step to confiscation.
        As for concealed carry, I can assure you that, since enactment, there are just as many people that feel unsafe. For the record, I’m an owner of multiple forearms and I’ve never felt the need to pack my Glock in order to venture out.

      • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/03/2017 - 03:37 pm.

        I know exactly what the NRA promotes – Fear!

        They work for the gun manufacturers to promote fear which drives sales. It is as simple as that. It happens after every mass murder. Then the NRA donates funds for politician’s campaigns and if the politicians don’t fall for their fear tactics they pull the funding. Why else would they rate politicians? They have their phony “It not the guns fault” mantra. I don’t subscribe to your I’m giveing up attitude of if people want guns they will get them. There is no proof that the public being armed adds anything to the general populations safety. Along with gun ownership goes responsibility and not all are capable of responsibility. You can’t go to a gun range 1 or 2 times after a purchase and be proficient with a gun. It is the NRA fear game that drives the gun sales plain and simple.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/04/2017 - 10:07 am.

        Yes it’s the NRA

        The NRA promotes three major and extremely toxic false claims: 1) Guns are perfectly safe, as safe as a pencil when handled properly. 2) Someone somewhere wants to take ALL guns away from EVERYONE in the United States. 3) The Second Amendment guarantees individual gun ownership which and that guarantee renders even the most innocuous and elementary gun controls unconstitutional.

        These toxic claims have dumped millions of lethal assault weapons into out population which is using those weapons to kill some of the highest rates in the world.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/04/2017 - 07:52 pm.

        What they promote?

        Firearm and ammunition manufacturer’s stock prices. They are after all the defacto lobbying arm of those groups.

  5. Submitted by Solly Johnson on 10/02/2017 - 05:56 pm.

    We receive the standard comments of “thoughts and prayers” after every mass shooting. Some of the victims’ families of mass shooting over the past decades probably would have appreciated legislative action banning assault rifles and large clips; however, many elected officials simply are concerned about their donations from the weapons industry.

  6. Submitted by Roy Everson on 10/02/2017 - 08:08 pm.

    Gun nuts need to pick up the slack

    Two dozen people a day die to “defend” the 2nd Amendment as it is interpreted by the courts. When has a gun nut ever died to defend his crappy ideals?

  7. Submitted by Tim Smith on 10/02/2017 - 08:15 pm.

    Not the time

    For a shame America first article without any thought or acknowledgement of those who died in Vegas, their loved ones and those clinging to life. God Bless, lets discuss another time.The class thing to do.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/03/2017 - 09:11 am.

      It’s Never “Time,” is it?

      That’s a very convenient hook, isn’t it: It’s “not the time.”

      The trouble is, it’s never the “time.” So far this year, there have been 273 mass shootings (four or more victims) in the US. That’s very close to one every day.

      When will it be “time?”

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/03/2017 - 08:13 pm.

      An extremely weak excuse for not talking about gun control

      San Bernardino, Orlando, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Republican ball game, Congresswoman Giffords. Take your pick, when is it time to talk about it? Remember congress has a very short memory. By next week they won’t have the time to talk about gun control because it will be time to talk about less meaningful things like what stupid thing did the President say or do today. If the politicians talk about gun control they lose their NRA campaign money. That is the real reason there is never time to talk about it. The best thing we can do for those killed in Las Vegas and those wounded is talk about gun control as our tribute to them.

  8. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/02/2017 - 09:18 pm.

    Considering that this was posted the next day after Las Vegas mass shooting, it is obvious that an idea being pushed is that of gun control (if only we didn’t have so many automatic guns, we would not be having so many dead people killed by them). Leaving aside the morality of talking about this the next day after shooting when practically nothing is known, it is also a faulty logic.

    First of all, according to Mother Jones, about 800 people died in mass shootings in the last 35 years. That amounts to fewer than 25 people per year or less than 0.1 person per day, which is negligible compared to actual 27 persons per day who die from guns. In other words, mass shootings kill relatively very few people so writing about gun control in conjunction with mass shootings doesn’t make sense.

    Second, there is no correlation between gun ownership, strictness of gun laws, and murder rate, so again, implying that if only we emulate those countries, we would have the same result is illogical.

    And finally, it may be helpful to know where most of America’s murders take place:,

    By the way, this worst mass shooting in American modern history (59 deaths) is still not close to the one that took place in peaceful Norway (77 deaths)…

    And America is exceptional in the first meaning, as in “very good” one: the only country in the world that is wealthy, free, and powerful – isn’t that exceptional?

    • Submitted by ian wade on 10/03/2017 - 12:56 pm.

      So, when IS the time?

      Did you ever hear anyone say “now is not the time” to speak about the dangers of driving drunk after someone was killed by a drunken driver? Me neither…

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/03/2017 - 09:30 pm.

        Wrong analogy. Did you ever hear about the need to ban or restrict driving in general after drunk driving accidents?

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/04/2017 - 09:28 am.

          Well . . .

          Laws were passed tor restrict access to alcohol by minors, and to lower the permissible blood alcohol limits to reduce drunk driving. Penalties for drunk driving have also been enhanced.

          Let’s look at this another way: When have you ever heard of anyone stocking up on hooch so he could load himself up and go on a drunk driving rampage?

          • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/04/2017 - 09:39 pm.

            “Laws were passed to restrict access to alcohol by minors, and to lower the permissible blood alcohol limits to reduce drunk driving. Penalties for drunk driving have also been enhanced.” Correct but you still can drink and drive so long as your alcohol level is lower than 0.08. In Europe the permitted level is much lower and in many cases zero and penalties are stiff. Should we do the same?

            “Let’s look at this another way: When have you ever heard of anyone stocking up on hooch so he could load himself up and go on a drunk driving rampage?” People drive their vehicles through crowds to kill as many as possible – no alcohol needed…

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/03/2017 - 08:25 pm.

      Sorry to those killed or wounded in Las Vegas

      You have reduced to nothing but a meaningless statistic according to Mother Jones and its readers.

      Yes we know the NRA has a mantra of “It’s not the guns fault” They are right. But if you outlaw the high capacity weapons the imbalanced individuals’ won’t have access to weapons that are only meant for high capacity killing. They are not hunting or recreational weapons.

      Forget not talking about now because if you remember from past history it is never time to talk about. Lets talk about it as a tribute to the innocent that were killed or wounded.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/04/2017 - 09:40 pm.

        I am not the one who keeps statistics of “mass-shootings” with the goal to shame politicians to adopt more restrictive gun laws (Mother Jones is a left leaning site).

        As I pointed out, if we outlaw “the high capacity weapons,” we will be able to prevent a portion of mass shootings and mass shootings, as I said, constitute a very tiny portion of all homicides. I would still support this measure, as I said, just because I do not see a valid reason to have them but let’s not pretend that it has anything to do with the total homicide rate. I would trade banning this weapons and background check with no exceptions for nationwide “open or concealed carry” for trained people.

  9. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/03/2017 - 08:22 am.

    “Now is not the time”Hey,

    “Now is not the time”

    Hey, but did I miss when the time it was OK to talk about guns and gun access after the Pulse nightclub shooting, Sandy Hook Elementary, Virginia Tech, Dylan Roof, Aurora movie theater..etc., etc.. ?? Was it after the funerals ? Was it a year and a day later ?

    Please enlighten me.

    Why is not the time to at least talk about those incidents of the past decade ??

    The desired effect of those who say “now is not the time” is “never”..

  10. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/03/2017 - 01:11 pm.


    After 9/11, did anyone say it “wasn’t the time to talk about politics”? How about after San Bernardino? The Boston marathon bombers?

    I guess if it’s a native born white guy that does the shooting, we can’t talk about it. But if it’s one of those Muslim guys….

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/03/2017 - 01:51 pm.

      “The Time”

      Don’t you remember all those Republicans saying “Now is not the time to talk about Benghazi, and politicize this tragic event?”

      Neither do I, but I was checking in case I missed it.

  11. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 10/03/2017 - 02:59 pm.

    This older white guy could do what he did in Las Vegas because he had the tools to do it.

    He could not have done it without those specific tools. We have to control the ownership of those tools.

    He killed almost 60 people and wounded almost 600 more with war-zone semi-automatic weapons that he upgraded to automatic weapons. He was not a marksman: he scatter-shot at a crowd of 22,000 from more than 400 yards away, with the knowledge that he could hit more people from a certain altitude. I haaven’t shot a handgun in about fifty years, and even I could have done that carnage. it didn’t take any skill, just possession of the tools.

    Not a dumb guy. Not crazy, either. Unless you call someone absolutely obsessed with guns a fairly crazy guy. And it was the TOOLS that let him slay so many humans who were strangers to him. He did that because he could.

    We need to restrict ownership of any semi-automatic or automatic firearm. In other words, we need to make it illegal for anyone to have guns whose sole purpose is to kill human beings in huge numbers in a short period of time.

    And nobody is going to shame me into accepting that I should keep my mouth shut about the urgent need to control ownership of war-zone weaponry because “we have to grieve.” Nope. I will grieve for my country, my gun-violent and gun-obsessed country, in the only effective way, which is to work ever harder–and immediately, and loudly–for strict gun control.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/03/2017 - 09:30 pm.

      “Not a dumb guy. Not crazy, either. Unless you call someone absolutely obsessed with guns a fairly crazy guy. And it was the TOOLS that let him slay so many humans who were strangers to him. He did that because he could.” According to his brother, he never was obsessed with guns. On the other hand, killing people just because “you could,” without ideological reason, is crazy. But why don’t we all admit that we have no idea why he did it and speculating on the reasons now is not a good idea..And why does it matter that he is white?

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/04/2017 - 08:27 am.

        If the reporting available can be believed, this nut went on a spending spree for the express purpose of comitting this act. He wasn’t a collector, competitor or hobbyist that woke up and decided to kill innocent people. None of them are.

        Aquiring a number of firearms over a lifetime of collecting is not alarming in any way…racking up >$30k purchasing the same type and caliber rifle over the span of a few months should have alerted his family.

        But when it comes to the 2nd amendment, facts become victims of defenistration in the hands of committed statists.

        • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 10/04/2017 - 11:49 am.

          Curtis,What this killer


          What this killer bought were people-killers, not hunting rifles. He also spent a lot of money (not all recently–check that out!) on accessories that would turn the “legal” semi-automatic weapons into the equivalent of the currently illegal automatic weapons.

          He did not seem to be a devotee of rifle ranges or training classes in weaponry. He just got stuff he could point in a general direction and pull the trigger once and kill many hundreds of human beings. We seem not to be talking sharpshooter or sniper in this incident. Just an older guy who pointed his fiercely damaging modified weapons.

          I repeat: We must ban the tools that permit such a slaughter. That means a total and firm ban on automatic weapons, a firm renewed ban (we had one once, post-the Reagan assassination attempt) on semi-automatic weapons, a firm ban on all accessories that convert semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons, do solid background checks, continue to ban gun silencers, etc. We don’t have to continue to undo regulations like letting mentally ill people have guns.

          If we can save 58 lives and nearly 600 wounded by preventing ONE instance of gun-obsessed violence with machine guns like this week’s in Las Vegas, it’s worth it. There will still be gun killings because that’s what guns are for. But we can limit the carnage bit by bit.

      • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 10/04/2017 - 11:36 am.

        Someone who spends a lot of money–and I mean, a lot of money here–buying guns, over a long period of time (news reoprts show that the Las Vegas killer did NOT buy all his guns in the last few months by any means), is obsessed with guns.

        How else would you explain it, Ilya?

        We can argue about whether gun collectors, as collectors, aren’t also obsessed with guns, by definition.

        I note with specificity that this killer was an older white male because that’s a specific demographic set. Our culture would have piled on if the killer had had any apparent religious or ideological or “other” racial identity. Or, been young man, much less a woman. A retired middle-class white guy with three or four homes? He doesn’t fit the profile, does he?

        White people like you and me have to start recognizing our racial identity, because it matters. It involves an assumed superiority, a “natural” privilege in America that is currently being challenged by our rapidly changing population.

        • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/04/2017 - 09:41 pm.

          Buying a lot of guns doesn’t equal being obsessed with them – if they are bought for specific purpose of killing people. If anything, I would call it obsession with murder…

          “I note with specificity that this killer was an older white male because that’s a specific demographic set.” Would you object to identifying a killer as “a young black man?” I saw multiple objections to characterizing a suspect this way in the past.

          “White people like you and me have to start recognizing our racial identity, because it matters. It involves an assumed superiority, a “natural” privilege in America…” Can you please explain what you mean?

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/05/2017 - 09:13 pm.


            “Buying a lot of guns doesn’t equal being obsessed with them”
            Seems that folks that collect stamps aren’t interested in stamp collecting anymore than folks that collect coins are interested in coin collecting, or folks that have Viking paraphernalia and tickets to all home games aren’t interested in the vikings! Fair comparison?

            • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/07/2017 - 02:39 pm.

              Buying and collecting are two different things. Contractors are buying a lot of nails – are they obsessed with them? Car dealers are buying a lot of cars – are they obsessed with cars? This guy was never collecting guns – he was buying them to kill people.

  12. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/03/2017 - 09:31 pm.

    It’s usually not a good idea to make decisions for emotional reasons… It’s also not a good idea to do it for political reason. So how about responding to my specific points which show that talking about gun restrictions now is illogical… By the way, I don’t think that people need to own automatic weapons; we just need to understand that it will have a negligible effect on homicide rates…

  13. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/04/2017 - 07:14 am.

    I hope everyone takes a minute to read this. It’s from the Washington post, so, although the author is white, even people who find that disturbing can believe it is true.

    The question that needs to be answered is “Why are all these people going crazy?” Those that murder in the name of religion excepted, these men do not have any ideological group motivating them. They are always loners, slowly boiling and carefully planning revenge….for what?

    We must look at ourselves and the society we have created. Something is very wrong.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/04/2017 - 10:14 am.

      No society is free of problems

      Some societies are more problematic than others but what OUR society has, that others do not, is millions of assault weapons. The idea that the problem is the society not the guns, is simply daft. Regardless of society’s ills the fact is that without the weaponry, these massacres wouldn’t be happening.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/04/2017 - 10:43 am.

        Well, it seems you have it all figured out, Paul.

        Maybe you can explain why we don’t hear about people suddenly mowing crowds of people down, for no reason, in Sudan, or Somalia, or Columbia, or Yemen, or Ukraine, or Mexico for that matter, despite being awash in real machine guns; genuine, select fire assault weapons; RPG’s and grenades? Where are the market place slaughters?

        People in those places kill for the reasons people always kill: power and money. There is no mystery.

        But only in “progressive”, Western democracies do you see kids showing up to their schools to kill other students and ready to die while doing it; lone men popping up from no where to execute methodically planned massacres, and all for no articuable reason.

        Please share your expertise, Paul.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/04/2017 - 12:10 pm.


          People are getting mowed down all the time in Yemen and Somalia, those countries are in the midst of civil wars. Maybe YOU don’t hear about it but I do. You may as well ask why we don’t hear about people getting mowed down in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria, or Pakistan. Your asking me to solve a mystery that doesn’t exist, your making a false and bizarre claim that people don’t get killed in countries that are at war despite being heavily armed, or at least if they do killed we don’t hear about it.

          The killings being carried out in the countries you mention is being done by military combatants. I don’t think I have to explain the difference between military combatants and civilian individuals who commit mass murder, it’s an obvious distinction.

          As for why? That’s an interesting question but not one that I’ve claimed to answer. My point is that by and large the “why” is irrelevant. “Why” is rabbit hole I’m not going jump into. No matter why killers in America commit the mass killings they commit, the fact is they could not commit those killings without the weapons they posses, and the US is unique in allowing civilian ownership of those weapons. We’re never going to stop these massacres by figuring “why”, but we can stop them by taking away the “how”.

          • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/04/2017 - 03:08 pm.

            Paul, I’m going to ignore the first couple of paragraphs to give you a chance to re-read my comment. You may want to edit your bizarre response.

            Instead, let me respond to this:

            “As for why? That’s an interesting question but not one that I’ve claimed to answer. My point is that by and large the “why” is irrelevant.”

            “Why” is the topic of my comment. You said our society doesn’t have anything to answer for; without guns, we wouldn’t have madmen killing crowds of innocent people for no reason.

            I gave you several instances where copious quantities of military hardware are in the hands of civilians, and yet they are not spontaneously slaughtering each other. Their kids are not murdering their parents, teachers and schoolmates.

            Yeah, there is killing going on…but why? Wealth and control; universally understood motivations.

            But why does it happen here? These killers are not starving, they are not even poor. They are educated and healthy; this one was wealthy. Why the bloodbath? Because people are going nuts, they want revenge for something they can’t explain.

            The point is this; if the mere availability of firearms causes people to suddenly, for no reason, plan and execute mass killings it would be happening many places, but it’s not. It’s happening exclusively in toxic, “progressive” Western societies.

            We need to have *that* discussion.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/04/2017 - 10:40 pm.

              You can ignore inconvenient truths if you want

              But when you argue that someone is claiming that mere availability of weapons makes people violent your creating an alternate reality. No one claims that firearms cause people to become suddenly violent for no reason. Some of us are simply pointing out the fact that violent people in the US, regardless of the reasons for their violence, are able to commit mass murder at unprecedented rates because they have assault weapons.

              A single violent person with a knife simply cannot kill 58 people and wound 400 more in 15 minutes at a distance of 400 yards.

              Violent people are not unique to liberal democracies, nor are the motivations for violent behavior completely different than any other countries. Difference in types of violence in different regions of the world are not uncommon, acid attacks are more common in some regions that others, etc. Those may be interesting areas of study for sociologists and others, but such studies won’t prevent these mass murders. Killers in other countries want to kill more people, they just can’t because they don’t have the weaponry. There are school attacks in China for instance, We actually have data on this: Since 1995 there have been 21 attacks on schools in China. The total fatalities thus far amount to 59. The highest fatality count in any single attack was 12 and in 11 of the 21 attacks there were no fatalities at all. In the last two years alone there have been a series of attacks in China yielding 25 fatalities. How is it that one guy can walk into one school in the United States and kill more children in 20 minutes than multiple attackers over course of two years in China? The attackers in China are using everything from cans of gasoline to meat cleavers but what they DON’T have is assault weapons.

              • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/05/2017 - 08:56 am.

                China…China.Well there you


                Well there you have it. Just institute a totalitarian government that decides what needs are appropriate for people, and mass murders with firearms will stop….because no one but the government will have any.

                But wait!

                No one has guns in France, but one single violent person killed 89 people…with a truck.

                What to do, Paul?

                • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/05/2017 - 12:11 pm.

                  Again with the trucks?

                  Nearly 300 people have been killed in the US by this year in 145 attacks by individuals with assault weapons. Do I really need to explain the difference between ISIS inspired terrorist attacks in France and individual whacko’s with assault weapons in the US again? These comparisons are facile. Even in France more people were killed with assault weapons than cars (130).

                  • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/05/2017 - 01:28 pm.

                    “Do I really need to explain the difference between ISIS inspired terrorist attacks in France and individual whacko’s with assault weapons in the US again?”

                    Since I have not seen you do it at all, yes, you do need to explain your opinion.

                    “Even in France [with a complete and total ban], more people were killed with assault weapons than cars (130).”

                    FTFY. Thanks for acknowledging my point.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/06/2017 - 11:18 am.


                      That 140 would be a VAST improvement on our numbers , methinks your point is not so strong as you think it is…

            • Submitted by Bill Willy on 10/05/2017 - 10:20 am.

              Sometimes more actually does mean more

              “The point is this; if the mere availability of firearms causes people to suddenly, for no reason, plan and execute mass killings it would be happening many places, but it’s not. It’s happening exclusively in toxic, ‘progressive’ Western societies.”

              Toxic progressive societies? Really. Which societies are those? I don’t know what your definition of “progressive” is, or if you make a distinction between toxic and non-toxic progressive societies, but if you’re talking about societies in countries that have decided to implement things that are generally considered “progressive” . . . things like universal health care, strong “social programs,” heavily subsidized higher education, aggressive alternative energy efforts, etc. — countries/societies like those found in western Europe and Scandinavia — it’d be interesting to know what it is that makes you think those are the places where all those guns are and all those gun-related killings are being done, “exclusively.”

              Or are you saying America is a toxic progressive society? If so, that’s an odd thing to say, seeing as how America has been dominated by the “conservative agenda” for most of the past 40 years. But if you think we’re living in a toxic progressive society, it would be interesting to know what your vision of a non-toxic America is and what kind of detoxification you think it would it take for America to get there. (But that’s a different topic.)

              And while there’s no doubt “people are going nuts and trying to get revenge for something they can’t explain” (great way of putting that, by the way), that’s nothing new: People have been doing that ever since people appeared on the planet, long before gun powder was invented. But when it comes to people going nuts and killing people with guns, as most of the research being done on the issue seems to say, the simple, obvious, common sense idea that the more guns you have, the more gun trouble you get, is proving true.

              There’s a new (October 2nd) article on the Vox site that paints a pretty good picture of the general gun violence and mass shootings situation you might find interesting. Here are a few excerpts:

              America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 times as many as Germany.

              Homicides by firearm per 1 million people:

              Australia: 1.4

              New Zealand: 1.6

              Germany: 1.9

              Austria: 2.2

              Denmark: 2.7

              Netherlands: 3.3

              Sweden: 4.4

              Finland: 4.5

              Ireland: 4.8

              Canada: 5.1

              Luxembourg: 6.2

              Belgium: 6.8

              Switzerland: 7.7

              United States: 29.7

              America far and away leads other developed countries when it comes to gun-related homicides. Why? Extensive reviews of the research by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center suggest the answer is pretty simple: The US is an outlier on gun violence because it has way more guns than other developed nations.

              America has 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world.

              There have been more than 1,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook . . . Since then, there have been at least 1,518 mass shootings, with at least 1,715 people killed and 6,089 wounded.

              On average, there is more than one mass shooting for each day in America

              States with more guns have more gun deaths

              In states with more guns, more police officers are also killed on duty

              It’s not just the US: Developed countries with more guns also have more gun deaths

              States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths

              When economist Richard Florida took a look at gun deaths and other social indicators, he found that higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness didn’t correlate with more gun deaths. But he did find one telling correlation: States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.

              This is backed by other research: A 2016 review of 130 studies in 10 countries, published in Epidemiologic Reviews, found that new legal restrictions on owning and purchasing guns tended to be followed by a drop in gun violence — a strong indicator that restricting access to guns can save lives.


              But, of course, when it comes to that “tighter gun control laws lead to fewer gun-related deaths” stuff, as anyone affiliated with the NRA, every (non-toxic?) conservative Republican in Congress and a strong 10 to 30 percent of the American public will tell us — loudly, all day long — that’s just plain fake news, stupid thinking and, above all, unconstitutional!

              • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 10/05/2017 - 11:53 am.

                Couple things in response.

                First, with no malice intended, I reject studies conducted by partisan internet media.

                But you say; “America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 times as many as Germany.”

                Canada not only has a tiny population compared with the US, but that population is spread out into a vast area. I’d bet that the vast majority of homicides occur within the few large metro areas in Canada that are most affected by toxic progressivism.

                Up until very recently, Germany was a country with a population that shared cultural and racial homogeneity.

                Now, toxic progressivism has begun to take in huge numbers of people that were raised within a completely different set of rules. Violence is rising…give them 5 years and let’s look again.

                And what is toxic progressivism? It is progressive government pushing social agendas on an unwilling population. Destroying tradition, families, community, shared morality and sense of place. It is turning science and logic inside out.

                It is turning a stable, healthy society into a hall of mirrors fun house.

                • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/09/2017 - 07:46 pm.

                  Couple other things:

                  Can you define partisan media? Not, you don’t like the result, i.e. its got to be partisan. The homicides are per populous, Means all things are more or less equal. “Toxic progressivism” could you supply some background from a non-“partisan internet media”? Could you define “progressive government pushing social agendas” and define how they are evil, but, conservative governments pushing social agendas are not?
                  From this perspective, seems the conservative agenda is: “turning a stable, healthy society into a hall of mirrors” house of horrors! Return to back alley abortions, return women to 2nd class citizens, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, Make America a fascist empire where, gays etc. need go back in the closet for fear of retribution, return to fettered pollution of the air and the waterways, corporate profits are more important than are kids health. Destroy the first amendment and make sure we get Christian/Evangelical religion as a leadership role in America, make it the required religion” after all this is a conservative christian country! Yep, nothing better than having those white hoods and burning crosses out on folks front lawns to stop: that “progressive government social agenda”! Last time I checked that agenda was all men/women are created equal.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/04/2017 - 09:41 pm.

        Many more people are killed by means other than guns than by rifles and shotguns And my guess is that if handguns were not available, most of people killed by handguns were killed by other means (that is what happens in countries where there are fewer guns, like in Russia). On the other hand, more people are killed in car accidents; are cars the problems? Also, if there are “millions“of assault weapons in America but just hundreds mass killings using them take place, doesn’t it mean that the problem is in people, not weapons?

        • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 10/05/2017 - 10:39 am.

          Of course car deaths are a problem

          There have been many, many, many laws passed to decrease the number of deaths by automobile. Driver licensing, speed limits, air bags, seat belts, DUI, child safety seats, motorcycle helmets. etc. They have worked – death rate per vehicle mile driven is at a historical low. We continue to look at new laws and technologies (side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, autonomous vehicles) to reduce the rate even further.

          I await the laws we will pass to reduce gun deaths using auto safety laws as a guideline.

          • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/05/2017 - 09:45 pm.

            And there have been many laws passed to decrease the number of people killed by guns… Many may not work as intended though because gun violence is more a social problem than technical, unlike automobile safety.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/04/2017 - 10:41 am.

    I have to take issue with this basis of this article.

    The data here is not really being presented clearly. Typically you would present something like gun fatalities in terms of deaths per 100,000, you don’t try to re-work that by claiming to have calculated what a rate would be if other countries had the same population. Just work out the rates and give us a graph. In addition, the comparison among similarly “wealthy” countries is arbitrary unless you can explain why wealth would influence the level of violence. The most “violent” country in the world for instance according to some data is Scotland for instance, what role does the nations GDP play in that? Likewise with suicide, the United State ranks around 48th in terms of suicide rates, Finland and Belgium both have higher rates, for instance. So sure, more of our suicides are committed with guns, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have higher rates of suicide because of guns.

    Other countries have fewer guns but higher homicide, suicide, and violent crime rates. You can arrange countries by GDP if you want, but you have to explain why you think GDP is a better predictor of gun violence than the number of guns, which no one is doing here. Put another way, are we claiming that if the US was as poor as Bolivia, we’d have more or less gun violence? In other words you can cherry pick correlations but no correlation equals causation whether it’s GDP or something else.

    One observation that is absolutely clear and incontrovertible, is the fact that the US has far and away more mass killings than any other country that’s not fighting a war on it’s own soil. Almost all of those mass killings are being carried out with assault weapons, and in most cases those massacres simply could not have occurred in the absence of assault weapons.

    So we need to keep our eye on the ball here. Sure, it would be nice have a better society with less hatred and better mental health services etc. etc. But these massacres are about the weapons, every other country on the planet has it’s share of hatred and crazy people, what they DON’T have is millions of assault weapons floating around.

  15. Submitted by John Billings on 10/06/2017 - 07:43 pm.

    Change of heart on the 2nd Amendment

    I have always supported the citizens’ right to “keep and bear arms”, per the Second Amendment to our Constitution. After I was gang assaulted in Jacksonville, FL, I myself legally carried a 9 mm handgun and knew how to use it. However, the recent massacre in Las Vegas, NV (and that in Orlando, FL, and in Newtown, CT) have made me reexamine my position with regards to gun ownership.

    The USA has more than one firearm per person, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. That is over 300M guns. It is no surprise, then, that the USA has 3.6 homicides by gun, which compares very poorly to other high-income nations’ fractions of 1.0 gun killing (all per 100,000 population).
    We really awash in guns, and also in the blood of the victims of gun violence.

    As for “shall not be abridged”: the Second Amendment has already been abridged. It is illegal to carry a machine gun or a bomb. Perhaps it is time to add rifles and handguns to that list.
    John Billings

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/08/2017 - 09:12 pm.

      I totally agree – “the Second Amendment has already been abridged,” so I do not see the problem with regulating firearm sales in general. However, when you implied that the reason there are so many homicides by guns in America is the number of guns, I disagree. Please read my first post in this thread.

  16. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/06/2017 - 09:37 pm.

    Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

    The mass murderer of the individuals in Las Vegas reportedly modified his assault rifles with a “bump stock” that allowed easy conversion of this “semi-automatic” weapon into a more lethal fully automatic weapon. Not that it was so difficult before. But what purpose does such a weapon have, even as a “semi-automatic” one? I’m not going to argue with people who think these weapons, whether they be technically defined as “semi-automatic” or “fully automatic”, should be available to anyone who wants to buy them. An AR-15 has only one purpose: to kill human beings. I don’t even care that no gun manufacturer or the NRA actually caused the deaths of any of these innocent people in Las Vegas.

    Exhibit A in my argument is the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, 15 United States Code sections 7901-7903. NRA’s Wayne Lapierre reportedly called this piece of legislation passed in 2005 as “…the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years into law.” No wonder, as it grants immunity from liability to any to gun manufacturer from any of these mass shootings using their products, even though they are essentially designed for just such purposes. It passed overwhelmingly by a Republican Senate and Congress.

    Why would gun manufacturers or the NRA value such immunity from lawsuits (not just liability)? Exxon-Mobil did not cause Captain Joseph Hazelwood, captain of the Exxon-Valdez, to be drunk on the night of the epic oil spill on prince William Sound. Nevertheless, Exxon ended up paying billions of dollars in compensation to the victims of this oil spill. Should these gun manufacturers, these merchants of the instruments of murder and death, get off any easier?

    But it’s too soon to talk about legislation that might do something about gun violence. Until the next time. Then it’s “Rinse, wash, repeat”.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/08/2017 - 09:12 pm.

      “Exxon-Mobil did not cause Captain Joseph Hazelwood, captain of the Exxon-Valdez, to be drunk on the night of the epic oil spill on prince William Sound. Nevertheless, Exxon ended up paying billions of dollars in compensation to the victims of this oil spill. Should these gun manufacturers, these merchants of the instruments of murder and death, get off any easier?” There is no parallel between these cases. Tanker captain was an employee of Exxon AND he violated the law when he was drunk – how is it similar to gun manufacturers?

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/09/2017 - 11:37 am.

        Public nuisance

        Exxon was liable for having simply been the owner of a tanker that spilled oil. There’s a doctrine called “strict liability” that imposes the legal burden on the owner of extremely dangerous objects, like oil tankers, to make sure they strictly comply with all safety regulations. Capt. Hazelwood was actually not at fault, despite Exxon’s attempt to blame him. He had left command of the tanker in charge of his third mate. He was not qualified and according to the NTSB was also careless in failing to operate certain safety devices that would have avoided the reef which the tanker collided with.

        Another example is the tobacco industry. For years, cigarette companies avoided liability by arguing that there was no proof that cigarette smoking caused cancer. Eventually it came out that their own researchers were telling the management of these firms that it did and they covered up that information. The cigarette companies were held liable for billions in a tsunami of lawsuits some of them for fraud.

        The Gun manufacturers and sellers are potentially liable under similar theories. Perhaps the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act is itself a basis for linking the gun manufacturers and sellers to these deaths. The very law that immunizes them from liability is a type of admission that one of the expected, if not intended, consequences of the use of their products for their intended purposes is mass murder. The lawsuits that were brought before the Act was passed in 2005 did not succeed in pinning liability on any firm under various theories. But the law was developing and sooner or later some survivor or heir of a murder victim would succeed in pinning the liability on some manufacturer or seller. Maybe this mass murder in Vegas will prompt some victim of their family to try to overturn the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act as unconstitutional. Stranger things have happened.

        • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 10/09/2017 - 09:48 pm.

          “Exxon was liable for having simply been the owner of a tanker that spilled oil. There’s a doctrine called “strict liability” that imposes the legal burden on the owner of extremely dangerous objects, like oil tankers, to make sure they strictly comply with all safety regulations.” Yes, of course, except gun manufacturers are not the owner of the guns sold in stores and they do comply with all the legal safety regulations.

          “The cigarette companies were held liable for billions in a tsunami of lawsuits some of them for fraud.” I always said that the lawsuits against tobacco companies were ridiculous – they were selling legal product and it is not their business whether it was dangerous or not – no one forced people to smoke. On this basis all liquor manufacturers are liable for millions of people suffering from alcoholism or alcohol related illnesses and all car manufacturers are liable for every single car death or injury – they sure know that driving is dangerous… Let alone that car may be a tool of mass murder…

  17. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/06/2017 - 09:45 pm.

    Bump stocks

    By the way, bump stocks are probably not protected by the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. I predict the manufacturers of these bump stocks will be overwhelmed by the lawsuits that emanate from this Las Vegan tragedy. By the time any legislation banning these poorly conceived devices reaches any of Congress’s pitiful committees, the “bump stock” will already have become history.

  18. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/09/2017 - 04:41 pm.

    Still waiting:

    For all those so called patriotic gun totters to “Join the Militia!” The 2nd Amendment dosen’t say, to threaten and intimidate anyone and everyone that I am frightened of, and to stand my ground and become judge, jury, and executioner if they scare me a little to much!

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