Firearm death rates and more

After a terrible yesterday, like many people I am still trying to understand how someone could do those horrible things. I run through the list of factors and wonder which ones contributed causally. His being male? His mental abilities/disabilities? How his parents raised him? His living in a society with access to firearms or with much violent entertainment mourning — movies, video games, etc.? His socio-economic status? And having identified possible contributing factors, how do I weight them? Which were more significant in this case?

Below are six data sets. As I peruse them for significance, I remind myself that sociology is not destiny. That is, individuals in identical social circumstances make dramatically different choices. E.g., it may be true and important that 90% of violent crimes are committed by males, but it’s at least equally importantly true that 99% of males choose not to commit violent crimes.

1. Firearm deaths per 100,000 population. The top ten in the world:
El Salvador 50.36
Jamaica 47.44
Honduras 46.70
Guatemala 38.52
Swaziland 37.16
Colombia 28.11
Brazil 19.01
Panama 12.92
Mexico 11.14
Philippines 9.46

Common factors?

The next ten:
South Africa 9.41
United States 9.00
Montenegro 8.55
Paraguay 7.35
Nicaragua 7.14
Switzerland 6.4
Argentina 5.65
Canada 4.78
Zimbabwe 4.75
Serbia 3.90

2. Regional differences within the United States. The death rate varies significantly by region — South, West, Midwest, Northeast:


Also within the United States:

3. Victims by sex and gender: Deaths Due to Firearms per 100,000 Population by Gender, 2009.

4. Perpetrators of murders by sex/gender. From the FBI’s Expanded Homicide Data for 2010: “Of the offenders for whom gender was known, 90.3 percent were males.”

5. Deaths by race/ethnicity: Number of Deaths Due to Firearms per 100,000 Population by Race/Ethnicity, 2009.

6. International gun possession: Number of guns per capita by country.

Please feel welcome to suggest other interesting data sets.

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