Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Not Everywhere

“This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil,” President Donald Trump stated at a Future Farmers of America event in Indianapolis on Saturday. He should have stopped but unfortunately went on to claim that it is "hard to believe and, frankly, something that is unimaginable." Inadvertently indicting himself, Trump had told reporters a few hours earlier "it's a terrible, terrible thing what's going on with hate in our country, frankly, and all over the world."

No, not all over the world because as Vox's German Lopez notes

Every country in the world has bigoted extremists and people with serious mental health issues that may drive them to violence. But in America, it is uniquely easy for one of these people to obtain a gun and carry out horrific tragedies like the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

As the chart below indicates, there are more civilian-owned firearms per capita in the USA than in any other nation, more than twice as many as in second-place Yemen, wracked by civil war. Not surprisingly

The US has nearly six times the gun homicide rate of Canada, more than seven times that of Sweden, and nearly 16 times that of Germany, according to United Nations data for 2012 compiled by the Guardian. (These gun deaths are a big reason America has a much higher overall homicide rape, which includes non-gun deaths, than other developed nations.)

All other things being equal, jurisdictions with more guns have more gun deaths and

 A 2016 review of 130 studies in 10 countries, published in Epidemiologic Reviews, found that new legal restrictions on owning and purchasing guns tended to be followed by a drop in gun violence — a strong indicator that restricting access to guns can save lives. A review of the US evidence by RAND also linked some gun control measures, including background checks, to reduced injuries and deaths.

Even before Donald J. Trump was elected President, mass murder at a synagogue was not unimaginable. Now it far more imaginable, and just another calamity he can happily exploit.

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