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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Guns have killed more Americans than all our wars combined

Research reveals some figures the NRA would rather us not know.
The NRA is scrambling to defend their arcane perspective on guns and the Second Amendment in the wake of recent mass shootings and the efforts of the March for Our Lives movement.

As Vox reported, March for Our Lives “could win by making more people more passionate about gun control, the movement could help close a big gap in the current debate.”

Hundreds of thousands came in from around the country to march in Washington, DC. They chanted and cheered as speakers — mainly students and teenagers — appeared on-stage to call for gun control measures…. And they vowed to fight for significant change — and vote. 

As march organizer David Hogg put it, “We’re going to make this the voting issue. We’re going to take this to every election, to every state and every city.” 

He added, “To those politicians supported by the NRA that allow the continued slaughter of our children and our future, I say get your résumés ready.”




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A change in America’s approach to gun violence is long overdue and possibly most disturbing is the fact that the warning signs have been clear all along.

For instance liberal commentator Mark Shields made an incredible claim in the wake of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children between six and seven years old and 6 adult staff members.

Appearing on the Dec. 21, 2012, edition of the PBS “NewsHour,” Shields told host Judy Woodruff,
“You know, Judy, the reality is – and it’s a terrible reality – since Robert Kennedy died in the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, more Americans have died from gunfire than died in … all the wars of this country’s history, from the Revolutionary through the Civil War, World War I, World War II, in those 43 years. … I mean, guns are a problem, and I think they still have to be confronted.”
Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking website PolitiFact was able to confirm that claim using “a comprehensive study of war-related deaths published by the Congressional Research Service on Feb. 26, 2010… supplemented with data for deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan using the website icasualties.org.”

War-Related Deaths

PolitiFact provided the following summary of deaths for each conflict using “the broadest definition of ‘death’ — that is, all war-related deaths, not just those that occurred in combat.”

Revolutionary War – 4,435
War of 1812 – 2,260
Mexican War – 13,283
Civil War – 525,000 (Union and Confederate, estimated)
Spanish-American War – 2,446
World War I – 116,516
World War II – 405,399
Korean War – 36,574
Vietnam War – 58,220
Persian Gulf War – 383
Afghanistan War – 2,175
Iraq War – 4,486
Total – 1,171,177

Continuing, PolitiFact reported that: “Another 362 deaths resulted from other conflicts since 1980, such as interventions in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia and Haiti, but the number is not large enough to make a difference.”

Gunfire deaths

Continuing their analysis, PolitiFact reported that “The number of deaths from gunfire is a bit more complicated to total.”

Two Internet-accessible data sets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allow us to pin down the number of deaths from 1981 to 1998 and from 1999 to 2010. We’ve added FBI figures for 2011, and we offer a number for 1968 to 1980 using a conservative estimate of data we found in a graph in this 1994 paper published by the CDC.

As with war-related deaths, PolitiFact provided a summary of total deaths caused by firearms:

1968 to 1980 377,000
1981 to 1998 620,525
1999 to 2010 364,483
2011 32,163
Total 1,384,171

Politifact ruled that Shield’s statement was true

1.4 million firearm deaths trump 1.2 million deaths from war. They also note these figures refer to “all gun-fire related deaths — not just homicides, but also suicides and accidental deaths.”

The NRA and pro-gun crazies have been spouting statistics for their cause, in fear, since the Sandy Hook massacre. Liberal/Pro-GunSense groups have given their own figures. 

Who wins? Nobody. 

The study is devastating, and proves America has sorely lost, is losing, and will continue to lose, until laws are changed.

This sobering and poignant information needs to become known to every U.S. citizen. And we need to demand action. Thank you, Mark Shields. Thank you, PolitiFact for the research.

Epilogue

Sadly, the gun epidemic continues – with the help of the NRA and politicians willing to accept their blood-money donations.

As CNN reported June 2017:
[A] study based on data from 2012 to 2014 suggests that, on average, 5,790 children in the United States receive medical treatment in an emergency room each year for a gun-related injury. About 21% of those injuries are unintentional, similar to the third-grader’s case.

From 2012 to 2014, on average, 1,297 children died annually from a gun-related injury in the US, according to the study, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday. [June 19, 2017]

The Guardian reported the following information October 2017 in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas:

When people think of gun violence, they might think of large-scale mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas on Sunday, in which 59 people were killed. But of the approximately 33,000 gun violence deaths that take place each year, only about 500 (or 1.5%) come from mass shootings. Two-thirds of gun violence deaths are from suicide.

What doesn’t this [data] show? The more than 70,000 people who are injured by guns each year.

Everytown offers the following breakdown of gun violence by the numbers:

  • Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that on an average day, 96 Americans are killed with guns.
  • On average there are nearly 13,000 gun homicides a year in the U.S.
  • For every one person killed with guns, two more are injured.
  • Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of firearm deaths in the U.S. are suicides.
  • Seven children and teens (age 19 or under) are killed with guns in the U.S. on an average day.
  • In an average month, 50 women are shot to death by intimate partners in the U.S.
  • America’s gun homicide rate is more than 25 times the average of other high-income countries.
  • Background checks are a central component of America’s efforts to keep guns from criminals: since their inception, they have blocked over 3 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers.
  • Black men are 13 times more likely than non-hispanic white men to be shot and killed with guns.
  • When a gun is present in a situation of domestic violence, it increases the risk the woman will be killed fivefold.
Samuel Warde is a writer, social and political activist, and all-around troublemaker.