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.

4 thoughts on “Firearm death rates and more”

  1. Thank you Dr. Hicks for all the informative statistics.

    A couple of articles you might appreciate:

    Dr. Michael J. Hurd – “The Mindset That Pulls the Trigger”:

    Dr. George Reisman – “Gun Control: Controlling the Government’s Guns”:

    For myself, I do not understand how we can expect individuals to respect rights while we repudiate rights as a principle.

  2. It was pointed out on CNBC this AM that 68% of firearm deaths in the USA are suicides. Most handguns are now semi-automatic. Readers might also figure that Negro murders are quite high as they are 10% of the US population but their deaths/thousand equal or higher than whites et alter. Hence their per capita rate must be phenomenal. In the international figures Israel is not even listed — yet they often have an Uzi in the closet. They are reputedly the best armed country in the world. That these weapons are often “military” hardly matters. Annie, get your gun?

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