Armed Americans Are the Greatest Threat to Americans

Americans are more likely to be killed by other Americans with guns than by all of our enemies across all of history combined.

That is a mind-blowing fact. It puts the issue in perspective. It also makes one wonder what people mean by guns making them feel ‘safe’. It certainly doesn’t make Americans on the other side of that gun safe. Nor does it make for a safer society, as compared to other countries.

This can be taken as a direct criticism of guns or not. I take it as a criticism of our gun-obsessed and violence-obsessed culture. There are other countries with as or higher rates of gun ownership and yet lower rates of gun homicide. Likewise, other countries don’t necessarily have less crime, just less crime that leads to homicide. It’s bad enough being robbed or raped, but being killed afterward is far worse.

In America, life is cheap.

11 thoughts on “Armed Americans Are the Greatest Threat to Americans

  1. Agree with your general point. We not only have the most guns of any country in the world, but we’re highly militarized and addicted to violence in our videogames, movies, sports, etc. Also, don’t overlook our gun-enabled suicide rate — highest in the world.

    • Yep. All of your points fit in with what I was saying. This fits into a context of a growing police state, a growing militarized police force, a growing military-industrial complex, a growing defense industry, a growing mass incarceration, a growing privatization of prisons, and on and on.

      I could add one further angle.

      The areas and states that have the highest gun ownership and strongest gun culture show a particular pattern of gun violence. If you live in those places, you are more likely to be shot by someone you know. You are more likely to be shot by a family member, by a friend, by a neighbor, or by yourself (i.e., suicide).

      I would focus less on the guns themselves. Instead, I’d focus on the more basic issue of the culture of violence in all of its forms. Guns and gun culture are just one expression of that.

  2. You must understand why there is a culture of violence to change it. Just noting it and asking nicely gets you no where. Conversely, we have lower violent crime in the last decade than from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. So the cultural elements like violence on television do not even correlate.

    And actually you have your statistics wrong if you break it down in metropoles and counties and not broad regions. For example, gun control efforts in DC had almost no effect at all on the very high gun violence there, while they did have an effect in NYC, why? I feel like the moralism here does not even hit the tree must less cut the root.

    • Yep, I agree that more is needed than just acknowledging the violence. Part of my long-term ongoing project involves violence in the US. It is something I want to better understand.

      I do know about the decrease in violence, but it is still higher than other countries. There are many possible explanations for that decrease. The most convincing explanation I’ve seen so far is the decrease in lead pollution/toxicity. There are probably multiple factors, though.

      I wasn’t going for an a detailed commentary at the moment. I’m still in the process of researching this topic. I’ll save the detailed commentary for later. I was just thinking about the problem itself in more general terms, for the moment.

      One of the difficulties, as you point out, is that violence plays out very differently in different places. Like everything else, it is complex, more complex than I presently understand, assuming anyone understands it.

      • Right, I feel like I came out as oppositional here, I just want us to get past the talking points, they obscure why questions in a big way and are designed to I think.

        • You are right to target talking points.

          I play around with talking points sometimes, just as I play around with data. But I appreciate your pushing for deeper analysis. I was just throwing things out there at the moment and seeing what sticks. It’s me thinking out loud, but not as seriously as I’d like.

          My mind is actually elsewhere at the moment, on genealogy research, something entirely unrelated. I promise I’ll get back to this and offer something more worthy. Give me some time.

  3. Wrong is the wrong word, your statistical claim is right, but far too broad because it does not set the right parameters to see precise trends, it is liberal talking point.

    • Well, I am basically a liberal. So it would probably be fair to call it a liberal talking point. I wouldn’t be a liberal if I didn’t agree with liberal ideology and worldview. But I take your criticisms as fair.

  4. By the way, I am pro- very precise gun control. Like most of the US. But I think ending the drug war would end far more of this than a generic gun ban.

    • Gun control isn’t a big issue for me. It seems mostly superficial or a distraction.

      My focus has always been elsewhere. I really don’t care about my fellow Americans having all the guns they want, for the most part. I’d rather get at bigger issues and more fundamental issues. The War on Drugs is a good example of that.

      I see all of these, however, as pieces to a bigger puzzle. I’m still working on the puzzle, but at times I like to push the individual pieces around just to think about them. I’m far from putting all of the pieces together.

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