Nuggets of Wisdom

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gun Deaths Down 49% Since 1993


Here's another statistic for your anti-gun control arsenal: gun deaths are 49 percent lower than they were 20 years ago.
National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.

Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.
These statistics should surprise no one. Violent crime in America has been on the decline for decades, to the point where crime rates are the lowest they've ever been. Even European countries like Great Britain have worse crime rates than we have, and those countries have stricter gun laws to boot. (Odd how that is!)

And yet, even with these statistics, most Americans still think violent crime is a problem in this country:
Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, today 56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower.
Again, this disparity between public perception and reality should surprise no one. To see why there's such a stark difference between the two, just turn on the news. Chances are the first news report you'll see is a crime story. Since our news media is saturated with crime-related stories, this gives viewers the impression that crime is higher than it really is.

So why is our news media so obsessed with crime when it's at an all-time low? One word: ratings. Crime involves conflict, and conflict increases ratings; and as long as the news media places ratings over journalistic integrity, they're going to seek and report news stories that will boost their ratings, even if it means stoking unnecessary fear by hyper-inflating menial crime stories.

And of course, there's always the political aspect. It's no secret that our news media, rather than being watchdogs for the people, are lapdogs for the politicians. So of course the news media is going to report on stories that benefit their political benefactors. And there's one thing that benefits both the media and the politicians: fear. By reporting on stories that instill fear, the media ensures they have viewers, and the politicians ensure they have constituents willing to comply with their poltical agenda, whether it be stricter anti-terror measures or stricter anti-gun laws.

Don't let the media get to you. We are living in the safest time in history. Anyone who tells you otherwise simply wants to exploit your fear for their own agenda, whether it be ratings or political support. Don't let them exploit your fear. Do not be afraid. As FDR once said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!"