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Hullabaloo


Friday, December 28, 2012

 
People do kill people. But people with guns kill a lot more people.

by David Atkins

There are a lot of ways to slice and dice the statistics on guns and violence in society, but most approaches leave themselves open to critiques about the way other statistical variables such as poverty, media and other factors are controlled.

But one study in particular back in 1992 seems to have made an open and shut case of it, looking at almost exactly similar populations in proximate Vancouver and Seattle, with the only significant difference between them being gun ownership.

The results could not have been more clear:

Those studies were discussed, together with others, in the current issue of The American Prospect, a liberal political journal, by Carl T. Bogus, a professor of law at Rutgers in New Jersey. He led with the Seattle-Vancouver comparison, pointing out that the two cities, one in the United States, one in Canada, had about the same population, the same household income, the same unemployment, the same crime rate, and whose citizens even watched the same television shows during the six years of the study.

``Burglary rates in Seattle and Vancouver were nearly identical,`` wrote Bogus.``There were almost identical rates of assaults with knives, clubs and fists, but there was a far greater rate of assault with firearms in Seattle. During the seven years of the study, there were 204 homicides in Vancouver and 388 in Seattle.``

The reason for that difference -- and the fact that the adolescent suicide rate in Seattle is 10 times higher -- is the availability of guns. It is simply easier for people to kill others or themselves with the power of a gun in their hands. There were then guns in 41 percent of Seattle homes, but in only 12 percent of Vancouver homes.

When people get angry enough or depressed enough to want to kill someone or kill themselves, they grab the heaviest weaponry around. If that weapon is a knife or a club, there will probably be blood, broken bones and bruises. If a gun is handy, it is more likely there will be a corpse.

The difference, then, is gun control. A Canadian needs a certificate from the police to buy a gun and must go through an investigation process, during which the citizen must demonstrate need and reason for gun ownership -- and self- defense is not an acceptable reason. The penalty for illegal possession of a handgun is two years in prison. In Seattle, you do not need a reason, but there is a five-day waiting period for gun purchases.

Quod erat demonstrandum, as they used to say. But then, facts and scientific evidence never did much bother the American Right. This fight is being waged by the gun nuts on a prejudicial, emotional basis that has no grounding in reality.







.

h/t Debra Cooper for pointing out the article

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