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Monday, June 29, 2015

Murder Rates: Why Comparing The United States Only To Other Developed Countries Is Deceitful


Bicycle taxi drivers waiting for passengers outside 
of a hospital in poor but peaceful Malawi


My recent article “Islands, Churches, and Guns” was met with a ridiculous criticism that gun rights advocates have left unrefuted for far too long. Namely, the idea that it's only legitimate to compare the US murder rate to that of other developed countries. When one does compare the US to that cherry picked group the US looks, for the most part, bad. This false point is why gun rights haters try to limit the comparison. The problem with that limited comparison is the fact that many very poor countries are also very peaceful. Gun rights haters would have to be able to show that virtually all affluent countries are very peaceful and that virtually all poor countries are very violent for their limited comparison to make any sense. That would indeed make the US an outlier. Fortunately for gun rights they can't meet the above conditions. There are many poor countries with high murder rates. The table below shows that there are at least 36 poor countries (that's over 18% of the 195 countries that exist in the world today) with a murder rate under 5 per 100,000. This puts them in the same category that the US and most of Europe is in. This tells us that a country's level of development or poverty is irrelevant to the murder rate.

Country
Indonesia
0.6
43.3
80.5
Algeria
0.7
23.61
63
China
1.0
18.6
49.1
1.6
27.69
74.9
Bhutan
1.7
15
52.8
Malawi
1.8
90.45
97.2
Armenia
1.8
12.43
65.1
Sierra Leone
1.9
76.08
96.5
Jordan
2.0
1.59
26.5
Tunisia
2.2
4.5
26.3
Syria
2.2
16.85
60
Morocco
2.2
14.3
52.9
Bangladesh
2.7
76.54
95.7
Senegal
2.8
60.36
88.8
Liberia
3.2
94.88
99
3.3
54.2
N/A
Vietnam
3.3
12.5
48.5
Egypt
3.4
15.43
71.6
Sri Lanka
3.4
23.9
63.9
India
3.5
59.2
91.2
Iran
3.9
8.03
86.7
Fiji
3.9
22.9
61.8
Georgia
4.3
32.21
67.9
Micronesia
4.6
44.69
N/A
Niger
4.7
75.23
96
Yemen
4.8
46.6
82
Libya doesn't have income figures on the source chart but this note says 1/3 of Libyans live under the poverty line. With a murder rate of only 1.7 per 100,000 they deserve to be included in this article.
Vanuatu is a country with little economic information available on the Internet. With its murder rate of only 2.8 per 100,000 and a per capita income under $5000 per year it merits mention.
East Timor isn't on the chart either but with a per capita income of only $1847 and a murder rate of 3.6 per 100,000 it gets mentioned here.
Tuvalu isn't on the chart either but with a per capita income of only $3400 and a murder rate of 4.2 per 100,000 it gets mentioned here too.
The Solomon Islands aren't on the chart either but with a per capita income of only $3191 and a murder rate of 4.3 per 100,000 it gets mentioned here as well.

The US has a rate of 4.5 murders per 100,000 of population which is well below the world average of 6.2 per 100,000. There's no disputing that the US has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world. Putting these two facts together is part of showing that having guns isn't the problem as gun rights haters can't show a correlation between access to guns (or the lack thereof) and murder rates.

If the level of development of a country and rate of gun ownership aren't determining factors what should we look at? The social dynamics that drive murder rates. As Kates and Mauser wrote in “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?”:

...the determinants of murder and suicide are basic social,
economic, and cultural factors, not the prevalence of some
form of deadly mechanism. In this connection, recall that the
American jurisdictions which have the highest violent crime
rates are precisely those with the most stringent gun controls.
Let's finally put to rest the idea that forcibly disarming people will make them safer. We need to stop wasting time and implement liberty so that the social dynamics that lead to a harmonious society can take hold here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Islands, Churches, and Guns

Myself on a beach on Little Exuma, the Bahamas
This article is prompted by two things that happened recently. The first was a happy event, my vacation to the the Bahamas. The other the horrible shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. At first glance these two things may not seem related but the connection between them will soon be made clear.

As usual, a mass shooting like the one in Charleston brings out the gun rights haters who want to cynically use the blood of the victims to grease the skids for their gun control schemes. One hears and reads claim after nonsensical claim that if only we had less gun rights and fewer guns in the United States the victims would still be alive. Reality tells us something very different.

Unfortunately, while in the Bahamas I discovered that all is not well in paradise. During our visit a shooting happened at a school in Nassau. This sparked discussion in the local media that revealed that the Bahamas are on pace for a record number of murders this year after a substantial increase last year. How is this relevant to the US and gun control here? Because in the Bahamas they have strict gun control and way fewer guns per capita than we have here. Yet they die from gun shots at a much higher rate than Americans.

The lesson to be learned is clear and not the one gun rights haters would have us learn. Dreams of legislating away murder by outlawing guns is a dangerous fantasy. It will only lead to more violence as it doesn't address the causes of the problem. Until we start dealing with the social dynamics that drive crime the killing will continue both here and in the Bahamas.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

This Is What Gun Control Looks Like: Shaneen Allen's New Jersey Ordeal (video)


It's great that Shaneen Allen is free and was able to share her story with us at a Citizens for Liberty meeting. I just couldn't post this video without commenting on her call for national reciprocity for state issued carry permits. She's in favor of them, I'm not. Here's why. National reciprocity is just more federal domination of the states. We have too much of that already.

The problem is states implementing gun control not a lack of federal laws on the subject. National reciprocity entrenches and legitimizes this state level tyranny while at the same time expanding federal power. Despite appearances it's step backwards for liberty. The answer is to repeal state laws about licensing and regulating guns. At the same time we need to end federal involvement with guns by abolishing agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It's by this kind of limiting of government power that we protect our freedom.


Shaneen Allen's website:

http://www.shaneenallen.org/


Please read this article for commentary on national reciprocity:

The Concealed Carry Lie

 

 




Sunday, March 15, 2015

Braving Gun Rights Haters' Nails: Lower Merion Township, PA Family Open Carry Rally (video)

Braving nails placed in the street by our car tires by gun rights haters (one wonders if there is no low they won't stoop to) we protested the fact that Lower Merion, PA won't repeal their local gun ordnance despite the fact that it's in violation of the state's preemption law.

Pictures of guns at the rally that killed no one:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Pictures of signs and other expressions of support:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Gun Rights Haters: Victims or Aggressors?

Now these perpetual “victims” want to learn about “Powerfully Peaceful Action in the Face of Armed and Aggressive Opposition”. Why do they say they need to do this? Because, according to them, “Almost every group in the gun sense movement has – at some time in the last several years – been confronted by armed and/or aggressive counter demonstrators at one of our public actions.” Though as you can see at the link above no examples of any aggressive behavior towards them are given. Of course, we often counter-demonstrate their events armed but that's not aggression as the zero body count and zero hospitalization rate among attendees show. If being around guns frightens them there is a name for that, hoplophobia. Perhaps a psychiatrist would be more helpful to them than a workshop. 

I wish I knew what aggressiveness they've been facing. Last June we went out of our way not to interfere with their gun rights hating march from Chester to Media, two towns near Philadelphia, PA. Here is video proof that they weren't even verbally insulted.

Facing aggressors from our side isn't what's going on out there. No, they realize that they can't keep abusing us and keep the facade of goodness and victimhood intact. For example, they sure were abusive of me when I tried to flier their rally once:


Gun rights haters in Rhode Island were even worse to liberty activist Dan Bidondi:


Even disrupting a peaceful gun rights rally is held up by gun rights haters as a proper way to behave:


Then there is the vile practice of “swatting” open carriers. This is when gun rights haters call 911 and lie about open carriers' behavior so the police will stop, arrest, or even kill them.

Who really are the aggressors here? Certainly not gun rights advocates. We want only to peacefully have our rights respected. It is the other side, the gun rights haters, that want to send armed thugs with badges to infringe on our rights. Let's be very clear on this point, it is the gun rights haters who are the aggressors. They, in the form of their agents in the government, are coming after us not the other way around.

My impression is that they're stung by years of defeat in the legislatures and courts. Not to mention years of being proved wrong by the dropping crime rates that have occurred in recent decades despite the fact that there are more privately held guns than ever in the US. Just as they think that sounding more knowledgeable about guns will make them more credible and effective activists (see here for a write up of their meeting on firearms) they now think that hiding their hate will help their cause. It won't. More than a marketing problem what they have is a reality problem. They've been proved wrong and all the sweet talk in the world won't change that.