once lamented that there were “lies, damned lies and statistics”,
with the third being the most deceptive at all. I was reminded of
this the other evening when examining a “hit piece” that was circulating
on Facebook last Friday in the aftermath of the horrific mass murder
at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
I was feeling
a bit wonkish and I thought I would look up some statistics on violence
and gun ownership around the world. One study I found was from the
Small Arms Survey that dealt with the number of guns per capita
in 177 nations around the world. The other was a 2012
U.N. study on the number of intentional homicides in nations
around the world.
While I am
not a professional statistician, we can conclude one thing: there
simply is no correlation between the murder rates and rates of firearms
consider the countries on the above graphic:
almost no gun ownership.
has a low rate of gun ownership.
ranks fourth in the world in guns per capita.
thirteenth in the world in guns per capita.
a moderate rate of guns per capita.
tenth in the world in guns per capita.
ranks fifteenth in the world in guns per capita.
States has the highest gun ownership rate on earth.
Now let’s consider
just a few statistics from the two surveys:
has the highest homicide rate on earth, and a gun ownership rate
similar to that of Great Britain.
out the top five countries for highest homicide rate are El Salvador,
the Ivory Coast, Jamaica and Venezuela, all of which have fairly
low rates of gun ownership.
has a homicide rate over three times that of the United States
and almost no gun ownership.
the third highest rate of gun ownership and a homicide rate about
equal to that of the United States. Serbia, with the second highest
rate of gun ownership, has a homicide rate about one-third that
of the United States.
eleventh in the world in gun ownership and near the bottom in
homicide. (Yes, someone went nutzoid there in the summer of 2011.
However, five million other Norwegians didn’t.)
the same rate of gun ownership as Australia, and 16 times the
dozen countries have higher homicide rates than the United States.
On Friday evening,
I posted the following graphic about gun control and received some
was most indignant that I would make a connection between the genocide
of Nazi Germany and the murder of innocents in Newtown, Connecticut.
Both were gun-free zones where victim disarmament did not prevent
why every government of a disarmed nation is not killing their own
citizens en masse. To be sure, not every disarmed nation
has experienced genocide. However, numerous genocides – e.g., Nazi
Germany, Soviet Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, North Korea
– have followed citizen disarmament. Do you want to run that risk
here in America?
The issue is
not gun ownership. Rather, it is the evil that resides in the human
heart. Depriving people of a tool – any tool – will
not cure this. If people intent on crime cannot use one tool, they
will use another. And when someone wants to victimize you, do you,
in that most dreadful of moments, want to be denied the means of
what if someone at Sandy Hook Elementary School had been armed on
the morning of December 14? How many innocent lives would have been
and prayers to everyone affected by the mass murder at Sandy Hook
Elementary School. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they
shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4