If you listen to the media, you know the United States is in the middle of a crisis. Blood is running in the streets. Children are dying. Violence is at epidemic levels. And to the anti gun contingent, this is no surprise. After all, by some estimates, there is a gun for every man, woman and child in the United States of America. This makes the people who would like to control the average citizen a bit nervous. The elites, after all, study history. And history shows that if a populace is pushed too far, they tend to revolt. And in the history of the world, there is no more heavily armed populace than the American people of the early twenty first century . . .
So there are people who would like to change that. People who would like that to whip up emotional fervor, confuse the facts at every opportunity and push the civil disarmament agenda forward.
If you listen to the antis talk, you’d think guns are the number one threat to life, health and soundness of limb in these early years of the New Century. So let’s take a look.
The Centers for Disease Control keeps track of what kills us year by year. The latest statistics they have up are for 2013. According to the CDC, two million, five hundred and ninety six thousand people died in 2013. That was out of a population of three hundred and sixteen million. So what was the big killer in 2013? Firearms, right?
Nope. Heart disease was the number one killer. It killed 611,105 people and accounted for 23.5% of all deaths in the US. Despite accounting for nearly a quarter of all deaths, heart disease only gets the occasional mention in the media. The president doesn’t give solemn speeches telling us “something must be done, politics be damned.” No former New York City mayor billionaires wage personal crusades against our nation’s number one killer.The are no Moms Demanding Against Heart Disease. I think the American Heart Association buys the occasional ad in off peak hours on basic cable from time to time.
Still, gun deaths have to be near the top of the list. Gun violence is an epidemic, right? Maybe it’s number two?
Not hardly. Cancer of all kinds takes the number two slot, having killed 584,881 Americans in 2013, accounting for 22.5% of all deaths. To be fair, cancer awareness is pretty high. It gets talked about a lot. Maybe as much as guns. After all, the NFL wears pink every October. So there’s that at least. Still, guns must be next on the list.
Yeah, no. Chronic respiratory diseases take the number three slot at 149,205 fatalities accounting for 5.7% of all 2013 deaths, and I won’t even pretend there’s any kind of media drumbeat for those. That’s followed by stroke at 128,978 deaths (4.9%). Alzheimer’s killed 84,767 (3.2%), diabetes accounted for 75,578 (2.9%) and the flu and pneumonia killed 56,979 (2.1%) and kidney failure ended 47112 lives (1.8%)
If you’re seeing a pattern here, that’s because there is one. Disease is the big killer in America. “But,” the dedicated anti-gunner will cry, “Those aren’t violent deaths.” As if watching your loved one waste away because of cancer or Alzheimer’s isn’t a violence to the soul. As if having your dignity robbed from you as your body betrays you and fails isn’t just as terrible as any “gun violence.”
But alright. Let’s take a look at untimely deaths caused by something other than disease.
Accidents claimed 130,557 lives in 2013, which accounted for 5% of all deaths. Those are all accidents, whether they were auto accidents, drownings, slipping in the shower, or, yes, getting accidentally shot.
Breaking it down, poisoning deaths killed 48,545 people, 1.8% of the total death toll. Drug overdose killed 43,982 people (1.6%), though the CDC notes that 35,663 (1.3%) were unintentional. The rest were suicides. Motor vehicle deaths killed 33,804 (1.3%).
And finally, ranking dead last (pun intended) are firearms fatalities. In 2013, a bullet from a gun killed 33,364 people, accounting for 1.2% of all deaths in the US.
But it breaks down even further. The CDC keeps track of suicide deaths by type, and in 2013, 21,175 people chose to end their lives with a firearm, leaving 12,189 non-suicide firearms deaths, which account for .4% of the total death toll. And that .4% makes up all non-suicide gun deaths, including murder as well as justified self defense use.
At this point, an anti-gunner would say, “But if you took the guns away, they wouldn’t commit suicide!”
Which leads to South Korea. South Korea has some of the most restrictive gun laws on the planet. The only firearms allowed to the citizenry are rifles and shotguns for hunting. They must be registered and when not being used, all firearms must be stored at the local police station. Civilian gun ownership in South Korea is effectively nonexistent. Yet South Korea has a national suicide rate of 28.5 per 100,00, over twice the rate of the United States, where the suicide rate is 12.6 per 100,000. The moral: those who want to kill themselves find a way, gun or no gun.
Anti-gunners depend on fear and emotion. They continue to press a civil disarmament agenda that ignores the fact that guns are literally the least lethal problem facing the American public. The argument that taking away guns will prevent suicide is laughably false. Suicide is tragic, but someone determined to kill themselves will always find a way. Guns are hardly necessary for someone determined to end their life.
Guns get portrayed as one of the largest problems facing the US. A problem equal to the number two killer, cancer, at least judging by the amount it’s talked about. The fact is, the civilian disarmers don’t care about your lives or your heath. American citizens dying by the hundreds of thousands of heart attacks doesn’t threaten their designs on control. People overdosing on prescription drugs doesn’t threaten their agenda, either.
But the American citizenry owning firearms in record numbers does.