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Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:34 AM

"The solution to gun violence is clear"

The solution to gun violence is clear

By Fareed Zakaria at the WP

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-12-19/opinions/35929057_1_gun-violence-gun-ownership-tough-gun-laws

"SNIP.................................................


The U.S. gun homicide rate is 30 times that of France or Australia, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, and 12 times higher than the average for other developed countries.

So what explains this difference? If psychology is the main cause, we should have 12 times as many psychologically disturbed people. But we don’t. The United States could do better, but we take mental disorders seriously and invest more in this area than do many peer countries.

Is America’s popular culture the cause? This is highly unlikely, as largely the same culture exists in other rich countries. Youth in England and Wales, for example, are exposed to virtually identical cultural influences as in the United States. Yet the rate of gun homicide there is a tiny fraction of ours. The Japanese are at the cutting edge of the world of video games. Yet their gun homicide rate is close to zero! Why? Britain has tough gun laws. Japan has perhaps the tightest regulation of guns in the industrialized world.

The data in social science are rarely this clear. They strongly suggest that we have so much more gun violence than other countries because we have far more permissive laws than others regarding the sale and possession of guns. With 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States has 50 percent of the guns.

...............................................SNIP"

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:38 AM

1. Occam's Razor

The simplest solution is the best and most correct. Everything else, from mental health to whining about video games, is a convoluted argument that doesn't address the root cause. Get rid of the fucking guns.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:59 AM

2. "Get rid of the fucking guns."

The sooner we acknowledge the impossibility of these kinds of "solutions", the sooner we can get on with realistic problem solving..

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:00 AM

3. People who commit traditional violent crime appear to be different than mass murderers.

 

Proposals that would ban guns under the belief guns create crime ignore the latest government report.

"Gun Control Legislation” by CRS (Nov 14, 2012) reports

- from 1994 to 2007, firearm number increased from 192 million to 294 million.

- from 1994 to 2007, Firearms-Related Murder Rate decreased from 6.6 to 3.9.

Until that report is refuted, laws to prevent mass-murder should focus on the person and not banning the firearm.

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Response to jody (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:03 AM

6. "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc"

after, therefore, because of it.

But it's almost never true.

your "report" that must be refuted is linking two items and two items only as if nothing else matters.

From 1994 to 2007 the number of men, aged 25 to 50, decreased... and prison populations boomed, which very well might be a better linkage to the murder rate dropping than gun sales.

i.e. Baby boomers got old(er) and moved out of the range of people likely to commit murder...

In addition, what I've heard calls for here at DU and in the press are:

1) Close loopholes in gun shows and online ordering
2) ban certain weapons (Assault rifles, if we can define them)
3) ban large capacity clips

Only one of those items is likely to have any effect on the overall murder rate with firearms (number 1), and even that is speculative. OTOH, those three items together might (and only might) prevent 2 or 3 mass shootings a year.

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Response to jody (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:08 PM

13. one statistic?

here's another one-

He noted that other modern industrialized countries like the U.K., Sweden and Germany witness fewer than 50 gun homicides every year, compared to the roughly 10,000 people killed here.

http://www.salon.com/2012/12/14/the_nra_is_the_enabler_of_mass_murderers/

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:04 AM

4. Well.......

"The United States could do better, but we take mental disorders seriously and invest more in this area than do many peer countries".



Like fucking who??

You ought to try finding a shrink while Medicare is your only form of payment.


Really.

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Response to cliffordu (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:11 AM

8. Zakaria isn't a big fan of acknowledging shortcomings in our medical industry.

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:09 AM

5. But the total homicide rate is about 3x that of those countries.

Our non-gun homicide rate is a high as their TOTAL homicide rate.

So unless we're going to presume that by removing all guns from private hands would result in the gun homicide rate plunging to zero and the non-gun homicide rate staying flat, we're looking at the problem going beyond guns.

You want an immediate and sustained drop in both gun and non-gun violence? Legalize recreational drugs.

Between getting a new Assault Weapons Ban passed and getting marijuana off the all of the CSA Schedule lists, I'd take the latter.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:10 AM

7. This presumes something that's not in evidence

to wit, that a majority of current gun murders would still be murder without guns (my guess is that they wouldn't, that most current firearms homicides would, absent firearms, either not happen or not go beyond assault).

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 09:14 AM

9. It's an unprovable assumption regardless

However, we have 16,000 homicides a year. Most of them are singles, so about 15,500 times a year an American decides to kill somebody and acts to make that happen. In France and the UK, it would, proportionally, be about 5,350

Even if a minority of the 10,600 murders decide to use "something else" and the majority decide to limit themselves to grievous injury, then you still would have 5,350 naturally non-gun homicides and 5,299 or gun-homicides-turned-non-gun-homicides. Or, about twice the rate of those countries.

Which points to something fundamentally wrong with our country.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #9)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 09:39 AM

10. You're ignoring the issue of lethality and conviction.

How many gun homicides are spur-of-the-moment? Availability of a lethal means has been proven to affect suicide rates; what about homicides?

The root cause, and solution, to very different kinds of murder is going to be very different as well. If you're looking at a bunch of instant-gratification kills that wouldn't have happened absent a readily available firearm, that's a whole lot different than a man who's been plotting to poison his wife for the last decade.

In the former, you have to admit not having the weapon around would be more likely to change the outcome. You have to, because we know it's true in the majority of suicide attempts (edited to add of the spur-of-the-moment variety (more than half).

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Response to Robb (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 09:54 AM

11. No, I'm not really.

But the fact is that a huge chunk of homicides are the result of inter-gang warfare over drugs and other things, and another large chunk is domestic. Gangs aren't likely to do much less killing; it's part of business. Raw capitalism at its finest.

And most domestic situations are men killing women. Men already it all over women in terms of strength and aggressiveness (generally speaking), so again we have not much of a change if the abusive men are forced to use clubs and knives instead of guns in a domestic situation.



I'd rather not say that it's okay to have a War on Drugs and all the attendant bullshit we have to deal with just as long as the gangs aren't killing each other, and I'd rather not say it's okay to have a serious domestic abuse problem just as long as husbands aren't killing their wives.

I keep thinking that our pandering politicians on this issue are choosing to wage a public and emotional battle on "assault weapons" and gun owners because it lets them avoid having to discuss the "background" level of violence from the War on Drugs and the lack of single-payer health insurance and other social ills.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #11)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:00 AM

12. You're implying it's better to do nothing than stop a few deaths, though.

I'd rather not say that it's okay to have a War on Drugs and all the attendant bullshit we have to deal with just as long as the gangs aren't killing each other, and I'd rather not say it's okay to have a serious domestic abuse problem just as long as husbands aren't killing their wives.


If the gangs aren't killing each other, and the husbands aren't killing their wives -- or those things are happening less often -- that's a win.

Also, if you want to attribute a big percentage of gun deaths to gangbanger shootouts, you've got to consider the large number of bystanders who get killed in those actions -- and if you curb one, you curb the other.

I keep thinking that our pandering politicians on this issue are choosing to wage a public and emotional battle on "assault weapons" and gun owners because it lets them avoid having to discuss the "background" level of violence from the War on Drugs and the lack of single-payer health insurance and other social ills.


You're in a country devastated by malaria, and you see a kid bleeding to death. You want to skip the pressure bandage because, hell, there's malaria?

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Response to Robb (Reply #12)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:58 PM

14. I'm saying there are faster and universally better ways to get what a gun ban is presumed...

...to accomplish.

We as a society must say that putting in a better medical care system immediately is far better for treating malaria than a multi-decade process to drain all the swamps where mosquitoes breed.

Yeah, maybe ultimately it will be better in fighting malaria to drain all the swamps, but it will be better overall, and much sooner, if that country had better doctors, universal health care (or at least health insurance), more hospitals and clinics and specialists, more pharmacies, and the educational facilities for training medical staff. If a country is going to spend a huge amount of money over a period of, say, a decade, is it better to drain swamps to fight malaria, or to spend that money instead on doctors, hospitals, clinics, nurses, supplies, equipment, etc. If both measures will drastically reduce malaria, but one will also fight infant mortality, whooping cough, rickets, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, the flu, the common cold, bronchitis, polio, smallpox, and pneumonia... which do you choose?



The other issue is that from about 1991 to 2003 or so, the homicide rate plummeted something like 40%, with attendant reductions in assaults, justifiable homicides, etc. And it's stayed there the last decade or so.

This was done despite gun ownership per capita going up, despite sales shifting away from manual-action rifles to semi-automatics, despite "tactical" self-defense rifle sales going up, despite the ongoing evolution of tactical accessories like red-dot sights, flashlights, lasers, and the mounting rails that hold them, despite the ongoing evolution of ammunition to make it even more deadly.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:59 PM

15. If you have shovels, I say drain the swamp.

You can build a hospital there later, and in the meantime fewer people die.

On the other (setting aside how much better we are at keeping GSW victims from dying than we were even five years ago) : you see a reasonable decline despite gun ownership rates; I see a potential decimated because of gun ownership rates. In other words, think of what it could be.

This is why, as an aside, I think so much is made from "your" end of the debate about how impossible getting rid of guns is. Because "it's too monumental a task" is really the strongest argument against banning all guns. If it ever seems remotely possible -- as it tends to in the wake of these tragedies -- the remaining arguments start to sound hollow.

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