How violent crime and suicides correlate to gun ownership, THEY DON"T

It's not easy to compare suicide and crime statistics from dissimilar countries where guns are or are not available to the public, but gets a little easier to see the impact if guns are removed from a country.  The UK got rid of almost all their guns from 1988 to 1992 and from all I can see by the crime statistics, doing so had no real impact on their suicide rates or the crime rates.  In fact today they have even less guns, almost no private ownership and it's not seemed to have had any effect on suicides or violence.  In fact without guns they have become more violent.

 

I continue to believe that crime and suicide rates have far more to do with cultural factors than the availability of guns.  People with violent or suicidal inclinations are not stopped or inspired by the presence or absence of guns.

Comments

Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 14, 2018 - 3:47pm
Of course, it's culture.
Unrelated, just for giggles, why women need guns:
https://goldsteinweb.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/a-convincing-argument-for-guns/
Doug Plumb Added Apr 14, 2018 - 3:51pm
With PCA analysis and the amount of data available, they could say some very definitive things about guns, but then everyone would know, or see that they are lying.
Doug Plumb Added Apr 14, 2018 - 3:57pm
re "Of course, it's culture.
Unrelated, just for giggles, why women need guns:"
 
Why go through all those fighting classes, risking injury and maybe still encounter a guy that can fight better than you? Buy a gun, stay home, watch the kids, eat some cheezies and watch some TV. Be safe and secure with your friends at Smith and Wesson if you need it.
Dino Manalis Added Apr 14, 2018 - 4:18pm
There are many ways to commit crimes and suicide, guns just make it easier!
Autumn Cote Added Apr 14, 2018 - 5:10pm
Please note, it's against the rules to post articles here unless you comment on the work of others.
Gerrilea Added Apr 14, 2018 - 6:00pm
Dino M--  So one dimensional, as usual.  While I'd never help someone end their life, it's theirs to do with as they please. And depending on the issue at hand, I'd probably try to talk them out of it.
 
Autumn Cote- Rusty has multiple conversations with us, all the time.
 
Rusty Smith-- Great article and quandary.
 
The question becomes why do so many people want to die? 
 
I'll give ya a hint, no, no...it's not the guns...No...it's not the Russians either... But this:
 
Buried in the FDA/GSK release is an astounding fact:
Depressed people are 6.4 times more likely to become suicidal while taking an antidepressant than while taking a sugar pill (2).
 
Oh and just in case you weren't sure about that unspoken Pink Elephant in the room that connects almost all of the dots we're seeing today.
 
Judge: Prozac Turned Teen Into Murderer:
     "This was the first criminal case in North America where
     a judge has specifically found that an antidepressant was
     the cause of a murder."
 
 
Gerrilea Added Apr 14, 2018 - 6:08pm
I'll add this to the above posting. The Russians wouldn't let us, here in the US, adopt their children because our own GAO reports:
 
Now there is a Government Accounting Office (GAO) report confirming that foster children in five states -- Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas -- are receiving shocking amounts of psychiatric drugs.
 
This is why I have to grant Putin some leeway...Obviously he really does care about "the children".
 
 
Autumn Cote Added Apr 14, 2018 - 6:30pm
Gerrilea,
I just went back several days in Rusty's comment history and could not find one insightful comment in an article written by someone else.  That's not frequent enough if he wishes to post articles here.  
Gerrilea Added Apr 14, 2018 - 7:08pm
Autumn C--- Okay, so I never noticed...he seems active and responsive... Sorry to interrupt.
Rusty Smith Added Apr 14, 2018 - 7:57pm
Autumn Cote I do participate in a lot of other people's forums but not as much when I am pretty tied up in my own forums. 
 
I have a certain amount of free time, when I'm in town, and have prioritized replying to my forums after you jumped my bones for not responding in a timely manner once when I was out of town and couldn't.  
 
I think perhaps you should consider a box we could see every time we logged on thats a visual reminder so we don't run afoul of those types of rules.
Rusty Smith Added Apr 14, 2018 - 8:02pm
Benjamin Goldstein I have generally found that size is more of a factor than gender, a big woman has little to fear from most unarmed men who are smaller than she is.  
 
I've had lots of women aggressively insist they are a match for most men but so far never had one beat me in arm wrestling even though many thought they might be able to.  Many know all sorts of fancy self defence moves but most lack the physical strength to take a hit as well as a man the same size.  Of course there are exceptions but women are generally smaller and much more vulnerable unless they are armed.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 14, 2018 - 9:59pm
Rusty: Strength is more important than people think and the difference between the sexes is bigger than women are ready to admit.
 
When Regina Halmich was boxing world champion she did two charity boxing matches with untrained, chubby TV host Stefan Raab. She won both matches, but it was almost evenly matched. You can imagine that a male world champion in a martial arts would not take more than a few minutes to win over an untrained man.
 
I think what the video shows, and this is a factor in politics too, is that women are usually very poor in assessing risks properly. The woman who thinks mice are a threat are still real today, but what's more, most women vote leftwing parties and dismiss all arguments that have to do with protecting them.
 
Again this is statistics. Some women have male traits. I think Ann Coulter and Maggie Thatcher were above most males in identifying relevant risks correctly, but as a rule of thumb poor risk identification is a very underestimated, yet characteristic trait. The reason women don't get in as many car accidents is that a) they rather abide to rules and b) once they do identify a risk they react very strongly to it while men are more willing to take a risk that they have identified.
 
That's why a woman can watch this Marie Clair video without getting alarmed at all. There is nothing suspicious. You just step on the shoe and the guy will open up the grip so you can go away. If it's so easy, then you can vote Hillary and don't need a gun.
Rusty Smith Added Apr 15, 2018 - 10:02am
Benjamin Goldstein things always look easier when you watch skilled people doing them and I think a lot of women see all the kick ass women on the silver screen and many are growing up imagining they are much more equal to men physically than they really are.
 
Most women are not martial arts experts, and in order to overcome the average man's height and weight advantages they would need a lot of training and surprise never hurts either.  Of course that presumes the drugged up thug they are facing isn't armed, most are.
 
I've seen many contests between rank amateurs with knives or more often blunted substitutes, and highly skilled martial arts instructors.  I've never seen one where the martial arts instructor didn't prevail but must admit in every case the amature with the knife presented an amazingly strong deterrent and dangerous threat to the instructor.   The one time I saw it done with a real knife, I thought the instructor was nuts for allowing it.  In every case the amatures were new students who thought they could not be taken by the instructor if they had a knife. 
 
Women who take a class for a few weeks and learn all about where to strike an aggressor are deluding themselves.  Most of the time they would be better off screaming and running away.  The best strategy is still avoiding risky situations.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 15, 2018 - 1:25pm
Rusty,
Back to guns . . . As much as I hate generalizations, I was taught that generally, women use pills to commit suicide and men prefer guns.  But your question of why do so many people want to commit suicide is valid.  Remember that those on psychiatric meds are already in a risk group.  The standard answer to the link between anti-depressants and suicide is that before beginning anti-depressants, suicidal people don't have the energy to kill themselves.  Supposedly, it's only when they begin to feel better that they have the energy to take action.  The most dangerous period for potentially suicidal patients is when they just begin their anti-depressants.  Or so say the "experts."
 
The "opioid epidemic" may also reflect suicidal inclinations in the culture.  
Rusty Smith Added Apr 15, 2018 - 4:02pm
Katharine Otto I tend to look at bigger pictures and longer term statistics.   From what I can see suicidal tendencies are very strongly influenced by cultural values, and the tools they use make no real difference.
 
Taking away the guns in Japan did not make suicide less popular, and neither did it in the UK.  
 
The 65% of deaths involving a gun will not go away if the guns are taken away, those same people will just kill themselves another way.
Rusty Smith Added Apr 15, 2018 - 4:23pm
Autumn Cote by the way one reason I don't have more in depth conversations in other people's forums is that I can't get my computer to show me anything but the first page of my inbox.  
 
I use the inbox comments to see who replies to my comments and if I get a lot of replies to my forum it pushes the others of the first page and out of view.  I can't tell you why, but that's the way it works.
Autumn Cote Added Apr 16, 2018 - 6:36am
Rusty,
While I’d prefer you’d have in-depth conversations in articles other people wrote, it’s not a requirement. The reason I initially commented to you is because it had been some time since you offered anyone a single comment. My apologies, but I always find it humorous when people I publicly scold attempt the “lack of time” excuse. All of these people have the time, they just prefer writing their own articles (and I don’t blame them), otherwise I would have said nothing. As far as I’m concerned, this is water under the bridge, as I’ve noticed your recent comment activity on the work of others.
 
For whatever it’s worth, I’m sure there is a setting on your email that allows you to receive more than 10 messages on a page.
 
Dino,
Without exception, for every comment you’ve ever written there is no evidence you take the time to read any more than just the title of the article. There is also no evidence you’re remotely interested in engaging others in debate or discussion, as I’ve never once witnessed you respond to a direct reply. This is not the first time I’ve written this to you, but because you only read the titles of articles, you probably haven’t seen one of my messages. So to make sure you’re seeing this one, I’m suspending your account. If/when you contact me by email to complain of issues logging in, I’ll direct you to this comment. This is the first time I’ve ever suspended an account of someone that hasn’t violated the rules. It would appear even I’m capable of abusing power.
Rusty Smith Added Apr 16, 2018 - 11:04am
Autumn, at the bottom of my WB inbox there are page indicators I once was able to use to see more than the first screen full of comments.  Those buttons have stopped working for me.  
 
At the moment I can only see back 6 comments on the first page, and can't get to any of the previous pages.  That is the vehicle I have always used to see if anyone responded to me and then respond if I had something thoughtful to add.
 
And yes, I have tried to focus the time I have on timely replies to people in my own forums, before searching for other forums to comment on.  I will go back to spending more time searching other people's work so I don't run afoul of your rules.
 
I too have noticed a lot of the comments are extremely shallow, and wonder if if it's because your rules force many people to comment in forums they have no knowledge or interest in.  Many commenters in my forms have no idea what they are talking about.
 
While it is nice to have interested people comment, I'm not someone who appreciates participation from people who have no interest in my forum.  Forced participants comments are irrelevant noise everyone has to tolerate, not passionate, insightful and appreciated forum comments.
 
I must admit I for one would rather not see them.  I know that might mean some of my forums topics might not get comments, but that wouldn't be a bad thing.  There is something to be learned even from that and I'd rather see honestly interested posters or none at all.  Obviously a lot of the current activity is from people who are just trying to run up the counter and pacify your rules.  
 
I've enjoyed writing thousands of editorials for the sheer joy of sharing my opinion.  I think most of your authors would continue to write interesting articles even if no one provided feedback.
Autumn Cote Added Apr 16, 2018 - 2:40pm
Rusty,
I think the comment activity on Writer Beat is far less shallow than the comment activity elsewhere.  So if you can name a website where you can share your thoughts and then receive superior comment activity on what you wrote, I’d love to know the address.  I would also add that most commenters are not offering comments because of my rules.  Most do so because they enjoy providing feedback on the work of others.  Please keep in mind, nobody is required to comment to you, they do so out of choice (they currently have over 20,000 articles and counting to choose from).  Good comments or bad, I disagree with your assertion that “authors would continue to write interesting articles even if no one provided feedback.”  In my humble opinion, comment activity is the only reason any of you are here. 
Utpal Patel Added Apr 17, 2018 - 4:55am
The UK has been passing highly restrictive gun legislation since way before and after 1988 and 1992, and the results are in.  The UK is one of the least likely places one will be both shot by a gun or shoot themselves with a gun.  You got one thing right, cultural factors play a big role.  Because America has a strong gun culture, far more people are killed by guns or kill themselves with a gun than if you lived in the UK.  Not to mention the fact far fewer cops are killed in the UK with a gun than in America.  You can click Wikipedia for all sorts of great factoids proving you wrong. 
 
On a side note, the next time you decide to display charts and graphs, you should let your readers know where you found them, so we can review your data/source.  The first chart doesn’t even identify what a square or diamond is supposed to represent.    
Gerrilea Added Apr 17, 2018 - 9:03am
Utpal Patel-- A comparative analysis by country is not a legitimate exercise and any statistician worth his weight in gold will tell you that.
 
Social mores impact everything from suicides to record sales.  And in a country as diverse and spread out as the US, those social values vary enormously by region/physical location.  If you live in the South, being polite & respectful is the norm. In the NE, not so much.  Rural vs urban plays a HUGE role here.  
 
The US suicide rate has been steady through the past 70+ yrs at 13.3 per 100,000.  Violent crime rates have gone down by 49%, across the board. 
 
Here's a "peer-reviewed" study on "Men Who Kill Policemen".  You won't like the analysis, however.  You'll find that the black population is around 13% of the total BUT they account for 37% of all cop killings.
 
If we were to be as one-dimensional as your argument above reflects then we could falsely conclude that if you're an armed black man, you're more likely to kill a cop.
 
This absurd notion IGNORES the social pressures created by racist police policy AND the very real economic failures blacks face by being forced into Urban locations.
 
If you were to subtract, just for arguments sake, any "gun deaths" in cities with 1 million or more people...THAT WOULD BE JUST 10 CITIES!!! You'll find that our violence rates ARE the same or lower than most European Nations.
 
Hell, we could then "conclude" that Big Cities are to blame, couldn't we???
 
I see and understand your propaganda for what it's worth when you falsely compare country to country.
Rusty Smith Added Apr 17, 2018 - 10:01am
Utpal Patel look closer, the first chart says it lists the number of incidents on the left, number of guns on the right and the years are shown on the bottom.
 
The amazing thing about this graph is that it's pretty easy to see that removing all the guns may have taken them away as a tool used by UK criminals, but it seems to have had no significant impact on violent crime.  The same applies to the suicided in the second chart, suicidal people in the UK apparently are suicidal and just as successful now as they were when many used guns to kill themselves.
 
Violent crimes in the UK seem to have been on the increase long before the gun ban and the increase continued almost as though criminals didn't notice.  Criminals seem to be just as able to brutalize and kill the public without the guns, and the public is no safer.
 
I had expected a small decline, thinking the smaller criminals would not be so brave without guns, but the numbers don't seem to show that.  From what I can see a lot of the murders now involve knives and other things like bats and hammers.  I now the UK is now doing all it can to ban knives over 3 inches, but I think it's a futile effort.  Criminals brutalize and kill people they think they can easily overpower, and even if all they carry is a wooden cane, I'm sure they will find plenty of victims.  The UK needs to get the thugs off the street, not try to disarm their entire populace.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 17, 2018 - 3:06pm
I hope that my comments were not seen as too shallow. As far as I'm concerned suicide and guns are not logically connected at all so I don't know how to expand on this. I think that gun ownership neither protects people from depression nor does it get people to kill themselves.
 
Now, that I write it I get doubts. Okay, maybe a gun does help commit suicide, but I fail to see why that is a bad thing. People should be free to take their deaths into their own hands when they wish. I find it barbaric to take away such a basic freedom.
Gerrilea Added Apr 18, 2018 - 2:19am
Benjamin G--- I agree.  It's your life to do with it as you please.
 
Maybe someday I'll share...more.
 
People, especially those closest to you, want to blame everyone and everything BUT the person whom committed the act.
 
The "what if's" are endless, destructive and ultimately meaningless.
 
The choice was consciously made.  The reasons become blurred and moot. You know only one overriding thought, one certainty;
 
"This, too, shall end......."
 
~Fini~
Rusty Smith Added Apr 18, 2018 - 11:15am
Benjamin Goldstein  and  Gerrilea if there was a correlation between the availability of guns and suicides Japan's suicide rate would not be way higher than the US's.  If there was a correlation we'd have seen a big change downward when the UK got rid of their guns, and we didn't. 
 
People who want to put themselves out of their misery have an abundance of tools that all do the job well, and the numbers prove they are no less inclined to kill themselves if they don't have a gun. 
 
I've been very conflicted in the past, after taking away all the tools someone close to me could have used to kill themselves, and then having to watch them suffer greatly while bed bound and not have the ability to end it.  It's tough to refuse someone you care for deeply, when they ask you to help them end it, especially when you can see that they have no alternative but to suffer greatly until their body give out.  
Utpal Patel Added Apr 18, 2018 - 11:17pm
I think it’s you that needs to look closer.  The chart displays two variables on the Y axis but it fails to identify what line represents violent crime rate and what line represents legal gun ownership. Explaining how a multi-variable line graph works, was not the point of my comment to you.  The point is that you can’t display a graph and then not provide the source. 
 
Is your source reputable or is it some pro-gun website using a biased analysis?   
 
Why does your graph end its analysis in 1992?  Perhaps the data stops supporting your pre-determined conclusion about guns?
 
If the Firearm Act of 1988 really got rid of most of the guns, why did the UK passed the Firearm Act of 1997?
 
I don’t believe there is a link between guns and violent crime.  However, there is clearly a link between school shootings and assault rifles.  Or do I need to prove that correlation with charts and graphs from a reputable source? 
Gerrilea Added Apr 19, 2018 - 2:10am
Rusty S-- I truly don't think you can understand what I've stated.  That's okay.  But please hear me now, a gun plays no part in the chose that is made.
 
Anyone claiming they know the answer on how to stop suicides, doesn't know their ass from a hole in the ground.
 
You're gonna ban guns, PSHAW...I have a 3500 pound weapon, moving at 70mph into a brick wall...life surely ends.  OH wait, you banned them, grrrrrrr...    Well then!    I know this bridge I can walk to.  Dang it, you put "suicide barriers" there??!!! Hummmm... I remember this rooftop, over an expressway....  YOU BANNED THOSE TOO? Rats dang it!!!  Okay....OKAY....I recall I have some garbage bags in the cupboard and some duck tape...  Ahhh...that's peaceful from what I hear...you become euphoric and just pass away.
 
If there is a will....by damn, there is a way.
 
Rusty Smith Added Apr 19, 2018 - 10:58am
Utpal Patel Good point, I thought the title made the line where the guns were taken away easy to spot.  The chart is from something called "UK Home Office" and the line that starts out high and drops sharply as soon as private guns were being turned in, is defined as "Legal Gun Ownership", the lower line that slowly rises is defined as "Violent Crime".
 
The "UK Home Office" seems to be government provided with statististics similar to what the US CDC provides.  Since the UK banned private gun ownership I would not call them pro-gun, but you question was valid.  It was hard to find a chart that overlaid violence and the number of guns over time that was not from a US gun.
 
I can't explain why the UK government's accounting of private gun ownership doesn't match your expectations, it's their data.  I do know that some aspects of the laws had gradual effects, more and more severely restricting what their citizens could own and just as importantly how they had to store them.  At some point the only way they could own some of their guns was to have them stored properly at a gun club.  Eventually they were totally banned but not before continuing to own them became so cumbersome and expensive that many just gave up and turned them in because they were useless or expensive to continue to own that it wasn't worth it to them.
 
I fail to see your association between assault rifles and school shootings.  Can you please draw it out for me in a simplified way.
Rusty Smith Added Apr 19, 2018 - 11:05am
Gerrilea I've done a lot of diving for a very long time and know what it feels like to black out, it's not painful at all.  The prelude where you feel like you have to breath happens and then passes long before you actually do black out so when you do pass out you don't feel a thing.  It's a subtle thing, and most people don't even realize they passed out until they start to wake back up.  The first thing you slowly lose is your sight, and the last your hearing.  As you wake back up it comes back in reverse.  I've often come to floating on my back with my eyes still wide open, and start seeing again.  Before that I can hear things like people's voices.  
 
I think if I ever wanted to check out I might consider a really deep dive.
Henry Ortiz Added Apr 19, 2018 - 3:54pm
A “gun ownership” does not correlate with those statitistics, I agree, but the problem is not “a gun” but an arsenal. I have nothing against having a gun but there is no reason for any person to have an Arsenal of automatic and semiautomatic rifles, or whatever the name is, but only in times of war
 
When it comes to lives that could be saved, I don’t care about statistics, but about that human being.
 
To have control does not mean to get rid of your right to have a gun. 
 
Drugs like guns don’t kill people, it is the incorrect use of them that destroyed lives. That is why we have laws to control the use of drugs, you still have the right to get them, but with control, same thing should apply to guns.
Rusty Smith Added Apr 19, 2018 - 7:39pm
Henry Ortiz I have two large gun safes full of guns and no room for the ammo, and don't see where it's any more dangerous to me or the public than if I only owned one.
 
I suspect you have not grow up with guns and somehow believe one or two can do everything, but they can't.
 
First of all there are 3 basic types, pistols, rifles and shotguns, and no one uses one to do all things.  
 
I have single shot pistols, revolvers, and semi auto pistols in many sized and shapes.  The tiniest is a 22 revolver I can slip in a shirt pocket, fine for self defense against people in very close quarters, but not much more accurate than a staple gun but does fit in a suit pocket without a bulge.  Slightly larger is a 22 practice semi auto that costs less to shoot than the 380 I carry for personal protection when the tiny 22 wont' do but I still don't want it to show.  I have many pistols that are 22 caliber and like other guns I have that shoot much more expensive ammo.  Not all are semi auto, some are revolvers.  Yes I have lots of those, from 22 to 44 mag.  For many I have lightweight versions and solid steel versions for practice so I don't wear my lightweight ones out.  What I like to carry when I ride horses is the same as what I carry when I hike in bear country.  I have lots of pistols that are ok for self defense in the city but way out of place on a camping trip and I large pistols like the 44 mag are not concealable so they make lousy self defense guns, besides they shoot though walls too easily.  My 911 colt is great for home defence but would make lousy target gun.  The one that looks just like it is a good target gun but the tolerances are too tight for it to be as reliable as the one I use for self defense.  I have many pistols that are fantastic target guns, but if you saw them I'm sure you'd agree they are impractical for anything else, they are huge and heavy.  I have them in several calibers.  I need several different styles of pistols for different types of competition, you can't do a Cowboy Shoot with a Glock or do urban silhouettes with any of my revolvers.  I even have some that are family heirlooms, not worth shooting but have lots of sentimental value to my family.
 
Wow, I haven't even gotten to my rifles and shotguns.
 
So which of my guns is unnecessary in your opinion, and of course please also tell me why a person who likes some gun sports should not get specialized guns for all the different sports they participate in?
 
All this makes me wonder if you have one knife in your kitchen, and one saw in your shop.  
Gerrilea Added Apr 20, 2018 - 12:57am
Henry O-- It doesn't matter if I own an arsenal or just one OR, as is the case, none.  If you wish to limit the number of times someone can exercise a right, how about we do it for all of them? 
 
Your freedom of religion is limited to 6 times a year.
Your freedom of speech is limited to 4 times a week, this includes internet postings.
Your freedom of the press is limited to once a week.
 
You might find I'm your ally in this endeavor if you want to push the above restrictions, especially the ones on speech...Too many people with too many varying opinions!  It's time we cracked down on the chaos it creates!!!
 
ROFL.
Rusty Smith Added Apr 30, 2018 - 9:26am
I've found the rule that restricts gun purchases to once a month quite inconvenient when attempting to acquire matched sets of pistols.  They are far more valuable with consecutive serial numbers and no one sells one one month and then another a month later if they can find a buyer somewhere else who will take both at once.
 
I also can't see the value of that rule, I have safes full of guns, and can't imagine how only acquiring 1 more at a time might possibly reduce the chances that one I own will do something stupid like break out of the safe and murder someone.
 
Once I'm vetted properly and they say it' ok to sell me a gun, one or 10 should make no difference.  At that moment I can own hundreds so who cares?