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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.

5 comments:

  1. You are correct, it is culture, primarily whether or not the people in the culture believe that some sort of reasonable justice system is operating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment Dean. That's part of it. This presentation explains a lot about the social dynamics that drive murder rates Why Is the United States The Most Homicidal Nation in the Affluent World?

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  2. brother, your list is not authentic. India does not have that much murder. most people in india dies due to road accidents or diesease and murder cases are few.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You did notice that I was listing low murder rate countries, right? Anyway, you can take it up with my source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate#By_country

      Delete
  3. I had no idea about the murder rate you listed. As human being and a Bangladeshi I hate terrorism and murder. Thanks for the information.

    ReplyDelete