October 22, 2008

45 People Are Shot and Killed Daily in America

Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Il) focused on urban violence recently. He shared some stats that blew me away when I saw them:

More Americans are killed in America than American soldiers killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The Department of Justice reports that, on average, 45 people are shot and killed daily in America. Annually, there are 16,000-17,000 gun deaths in America.

In contrast, the total number of American casualties in Iraq, over the entire span of the war (5 years), is about 4,155 and for Afghanistan, it's at least 500. The combined total of casualties for Iraq and Afghanistan is less than 5,000 since both wars began.

Rep. Rush is sponsoring The Communities in Action Neighborhood Defense and Opportunity (CAN DO) bill in congress. This is an attempt to provide a comprehensive, community-oriented approach to address the issue of gun violence, especially as it affects our youth. The object is to accurately frame the issue of gun violence as a matter of public safety, rather than as a Second Amendment issue or strictly a gun control issue, while also addressing the root causes of the violence.

45 deaths every dayum day of the year!

That is an impact not just on the 45 people each day that stopped breathing ... it impacts on the 45 killers. It is impossible to take another life and not have it affect your soul ... not to mention your freedom if you are caught and convicted.

What is the lost opportunity in our community as a result of this urban violence? Did we lose a future doctor? a future scientist? a future Nobel Prize winner? a future father or mother?

Villagers, as the election comes to a conclusion it may be time to look at other ways that we can make a difference.
What is your thought about urban violence? Does it impact your community?


DNLee said...

those are staggering numbers

Unknown said...

DN Lee - Yes ... a good number of the killings occur here in Cincinnati OH. This is an issue that needs some focus...

Unknown said...

Do you realize you typed Bush instead of Rush? It would be a shame to confuse one with the other.

I found you through WW.

Unknown said...

Pagan Sphinx - Oops! I made the correction. I hope you find reason to come by and visit our village again in the future..

Anonymous said...

First, the numbers aren't accurate to begin with. Secondly, even when using the correct numbers, one must consider the fact that justified homicide (self-defense) is lumped in with criminal homicide in those numbers.

Furthermore, the numbers fail to take into account the fact that the majority of homicide victims in the United States have previous criminal records (often quite extensive ones). In other words, the majority of these people who are "shot and killed daily" are criminals killed by other criminals.

Finally, ANYTHING can be made to look like a disaster, or an insignificant problem, when phrased in such a way as to elicit the desired emotional response rather than a rational one.

All numbers are from the Center For Disease Control's "Wisqars" program.

From 1999 to 2005, an average of 11,529 firearm related homicides occurred each year, or 32 per day.

While each death is a tragedy, I have to wonder why you only consider those who are SHOT and killed to be worthy of note. During the same period an average of 6,303 (17 per day) non-firearm related homicides were committed.

Do the families of victims who were stabbed, strangled or beat to death grieve any less? Why are only firearms homicides worthy of attention?

In fact, why don't the deaths by other means...many of them completely preventable...garner as much outrage and angst?

During the same period, an average of 12,881 people per year died of suffocation, or 35 per day.

An average of 16,979 people per year died from falls, or 47 per day.

An average of 25,764 people per year died from poisoning, or 71 per day...more than twice the number of gun homicides.

An average of 42,844 people per year died in motor vehicle crashes, or 117 per day...well over three and a half times more deaths than from gun homicide.

The bottom line is that, especially if you are not a criminal, the chances of being the victim of a gun homicide are very low, by any rational accounting.

Or is your contendion that the victims of gun homicides are somehow more egregiously killed, or their families more grieved, than those killed by other means?

Unknown said...

SailorCurt - I appreciate your additional statistics and the link to the source. I also acknowledge that all deaths are equally as devastating for those that are left behind.

In this case, I was sharing information on legislative action related to gun violence that is being touted by Rep. Rush (D-Il).

All that being said ... I'm not sure that I buy the idea that most of these deaths are criminals killing criminals. At the end of the day they are people ... and too many are dying in ways that we should be able to talk about and significantly reduce...

Anonymous said...

The statistics are what they are, whether you "buy" them or not.

Regardless, you are absolutely right that they are still human beings and, as such should not be written off as expendable. That was not my point.

My point was that if you stay away from the life of crime and act as a responsible member of society, the chances of becoming a victim of violent crime are significantly reduced. That is not intended as a dismissal of the lives lost to violent crime, but a cautionary statement about choosing to "live by the sword."

Where I think that most efforts such as the one you referenced in the initial post fall flat is that the emphasis is on the wrong things. The problem isn't GUN homicides or GUN violence...the problem is with the culture of violence itself within our inner cities. Concentrating on the tool that is the most convenient to perpetrators of that violence is wrongheaded. Even if guns could be completely eliminated...if someone cold wave a magic wand and make them all disappear, the perpetrators of violence would just move on to the NEXT most effective tool.

A tool is, after all, only a tool. Tools have no inherent qualities of good or evil. What makes them good or evil is the use to which they are put by their operators. That's why we don't consider Police evil even though they carry guns every day.

At any rate: I don't disagree with the underlying (and often overlooked) point that the culture of violence in our inner cities needs to be addressed, I only disagree with the implication that the issue is a hardware problem rather than a software problem.

Find a cure for the "thug" mentality and the inner city culture of violence and "easy access to guns" just won't matter any more.

Unknown said...

Sailor Curt - I agree with you that the "thug mentality" existing with many youth, including those in the African American community needs to be dealt with. However, I don't agree that it should done at the exclusion of dealing with the "tools" (as you call them). Changing a mentality is a long-term generational effort. Changing legislation to reduce the ease of access to handguns is something that we can do in the short-term.

Whatever the "2nd most available tool" is ... it is likely less deadly than a handgun.