Monday, December 07, 2015

Gun violence has declined since the '90's

WTF? How can that be, when the news headlines seem to be screaming the opposite? Take a look at the facts:

We’ve had a massive decline in gun violence in the United States. Here’s why.
Premeditated mass shootings in public places are happening more often, some researchers say, plunging towns and cities into grief and riveting the attention of a horrified nation. In general, though, fewer Americans are dying as a result of gun violence — a shift that began about two decades ago.

In 1993, there were seven homicides by firearm for every 100,000 Americans, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2013, that figure had fallen by nearly half, to 3.6 — a total of 11,208 firearm homicides. The number of victims of crimes involving guns that did not result in death (such as robberies) declined even more precipitously, from 725 per 100,000 people in 1993 to 175 in 2013.

Older data suggests that gun violence might have been even more widespread previously. The rate of murder and manslaughter excluding negligence reached an apex in 1980, according to the FBI. That year, there were 10.8 willful killings per 100,000 people. Although not a perfect measure of the overall rate of gun violence, the decline in the rate of murder and manslaughter is suggestive: Two in three homicides these days are committed with guns.

This decline in gun violence is part of an overall decline in violent crime. According to the FBI's data, the national rate of violent crime has decreased 49 percent since its apex in 1991. Even as a certain type of mass shooting is apparently becoming more frequent, America has become a much less violent place.

Much of the decline in violence is still unexplained, but researchers have identified several reasons for the shift. Here are five. [...]
Read the whole thing for embedded links, graphs and more.

Gosh. So, if we have become a less violent society with fewer gun deaths, why does the media make the opposite seem to be true?

Ask yourself, what else has happened since the 1990's? The internet. And with it, instantaneous 24/7 news reporting. So now, if somebody somewhere shoots somebody, it can be reported all over the world within the hour.

Unfortunately, that is unbelievably attractive to the malignant narcissists who want to become instantly famous and recognized, even if it means killing themselves in the process. So we have malignant narcissists seeking fame and recognition at any cost, and a news media looking to instantly report anything and everything tragic and terrible. The two feed off each other, creating a lethal combination. It also makes less (gun deaths) seem like more, because nearly ALL of them get reported widely now.

Some people think taking guns away from everyone is the answer, punishing everyone for the actions of a few. Gun control is a bigger issue than can be tackled in a single blog post, and I'm not going to try here. But I had done a prior post, about Gun Studies and Politics, that has some relevance.

The topic is so polarized, that it can be difficult to get accurate or complete data, as one side or another wants to cut funding, when they start to see answers they don't like. Yet a lot could be learned from what has been tried and failed, as well as what has been tried and worked. I believe that if objectivity could be maintained, some answers could be found that don't include trampling on the 2nd amendment, or denying law abiding citizens the right to protect themselves. Cooler heads and less retoric are needed. Can it be done?

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