A recent study by Christopher Murray, Professor of Health Metrics at the University of Washington, reveals that the world wide gun deaths total about 250 thousand yearly. Certainly an incredible range of firearm deaths. Of the 195 countries involved in the study the top 6 were Brazil, Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela and of course the United States batting in the number 6 position. There were large increases in many of the countries involved in the study, most notably Central American and South American countries, where gun deaths have soared to almost 40 per 100,000 people. It's certainly no secret that the lucrative drug trades are behind the killings. The cartels in those countries and the gangs in the U.S. are without question the main culprits. Life is cheap when it comes to greed and profits.
Around the world gun deaths have out numbered deaths from combat and terrorism every year except for 1994 when 800,000 people died in Rwandan genocide. Indeed in the United States since the beginning of the Republic, more Americans have been killed by guns than in all the American wars combined. Before I get into the numbers for U.S. gun deaths remember that all murders are homicides but not all homicides are murder. In the United States in 2017 there were 38,658 gun deaths -- 23,109 were suicides. In addition there were 61,113 gun related incidents with 15,501 deaths, 31,065 wounded, over 727 children killed or wounded and 3,222 teens killed or wounded. Mass shootings are the ones we hear most about. "USA Today" tracked all mass shootings in the United States from 2006 through 2017 in which shooters willfully killed 4 or more people. There were 271 incidents and 1,358 victims.
In 2016 the last Federal data available reports that the national rate was 11.1 killings in the U.S. per 100,000 people, a far cry from the 40 per hundred in the other 5 leading countries. However, nowhere near the lowest in the world, Singapore, who barely registered at 0.1% per hundred thousand. I'm betting Singapore does not have a First or Second Amendment, nor does it have the freedoms Americans enjoy, but as far as crime goes, any crime for that matter, it's the safest country on the planet and the people do not seem to be oppressed in any way. On a personal level my wife and daughter have friends there and they have visited the country and felt totally safe no matter what time of day or night they were about. Some economists have described Singapore as a country that is rich but its people are poor, so maybe the grass seems greener than it appears. However, one thing is certain, they don't kill each other at alarming rates.
The photo above depicts magazines and the hand guns that were confiscated this week by Chicago cops. The arrestees were returning from a gang funeral in the south suburbs. For those of you who are not familiar with gang funerals, I can tell you they are extremely dangerous and can be volatile. Competing affiliates and rival gangs are a dangerous mix and disrespect to those mourning loved ones are part of the culture. I remember an incident years back on South 87th Street near Morgan when a rival gang stormed the wake of a slain rival and tore his body from the coffin and threw him to the curb outside. The first policeman on the scene mistook the corpse for a fresh homicide victim. We all know by now Chicago gangs and their guns are a vicious scourge that has terrorized entire neighborhoods killing hundreds and wounding thousands over the past 7.5 years.
The cops are clearing paltry numbers of violent crime, and the Cook County court system has adopted a catch and release attitude for most gun offenders. Those new "get tough" gun laws have not been used once. It was just a lot of hot air brewed up by frustrated politicians and quickly forgotten. Approximately 15 to 17 murderers and shooters out of every 100 are ever charged and the rest roam free to continue terrorizing the community. Little or no accountability or punishment is dealt to repeat offenders, the County Sheriff holds pizza parties and supplies therapy dogs for those criminals who do manage to get jail time. Demonstrators march and yell on expressways miles from the killing fields, chanting and inconveniencing hundreds of people who have no power to make a difference. A carnival of players breathing their own exhaust in an atmosphere rivaling a circus act.
Before I lose all my friends on both sides of the gun issue, I want to put forth a disclaimer. I do not want to take guns away from people who lawfully own them. I am a former Marine and I was a Chicago Police Swat C/O for many years. I have been around guns my entire life. I am in favor of the First Amendment and Second Amendment. All the yelling past each other is doing no good. Gun enthusiasts often protest that cars kill as many people as guns (40,101) in 2017, and we don't ban cars. Indeed! But, the automobile is actually a model for a public health approach. We don't ban cars but we work damn hard to regulate them and limit accessibility to reduce the deaths by those who abuse the privilege. Its been reported that 22% of gun sales are done with no background checks. Who would object to that? In my opinion a sound idea.
Let's look back into Chicago's past with the Prohibition era of the infamous Al Capone. The daily slaughter from the rival gangs was so vicious Chicago became famous the world over for the violence and lawlessness that played out on a daily basis. In 1929 when Herbert Hoover was sworn in as the 31st President of the United States his inaugural address was aimed at Chicago. He said, "Justice must not fail because agencies of enforcement are either delinquent or inefficiently organized. To consider these EVILS, to find remedy is the SORE of our times." History has repeated itself, evil has returned. Our leaders have to start to realize, the liberal handling of those who prey and spread evil just creates more evil. You cannot have it both ways. To call for gun control and then in turn not hold those accountable who thumb their noses at our laws is almost bordering on the insane. It seems simple. We have to start holding those responsible who ARE responsible. Respectful gun owners and innocent people on expressways are not responsible.
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