Meme-Busting: Do 85% of the children who die from gun violence live in the US?

85% of children that are killed with guns are killed in the United StatesIf you haven’t seen or heard this yet, just wait — it’s making its way around Facebook.

The quick answer is “no.”

Read on to see how the meme got started.

In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and former astronaut Mark Kelly, her husband, spoke out on gun violence.

Kelly said, according to the ABC transcript at midnight Friday January 11:

How do we get to the point where 85% of children that are killed with guns are killed in the United States? That is a sobering statistic.

There is no source for the stat, but mimics a 2012 report from the Children’s Defense Fund (pdf) which does not identify the source of the claim (added) on page 5 of the document or properly cite it on page 30:

The most recent analysis of data from 23 high-income countries reported that 87 percent of children under age 15 killed by guns in these nations lived in the United States.

And the chart on Facebook?

How do we get to the point where 85% of children in the world that are killed with guns are killed in the United States?

But late Saturday night I checked the transcript again, because of a comment below from Robert:

You know, how do we get to the point where 85% of the children in the world that are killed with guns are killed in the united states? That is a sobering statiststatistic (sic). 85%.

Notice the key difference?

  • The Children’s Defense Fund claim is for “23 high-income countries” (not enumerated).
  • The Kelly quote in the original ABC transcript implies we are talking about a global comparison.
  • The Anti-Republican Crusaders quote on the image being shared on Facebook makes that implication explicit — and puts words in Kelly’s mouth in the process.

There is also an implication that we are talking about murder – not accidental death or suicide. Half of all gun-related deaths in the U.S. are suicides; that percentage is considerably less for those under age 20.

How many deaths are we talking about?

Unintentional Injury Deaths / Homicides / Suicides by Firearm (2010)

  • Age 1-4 : 68 total; 25 firearm injury deaths; 43 homicides
  • Age 5-9 : 69 total; 11 firearm injury deaths; 58 homicides
  • Age 10-14 : 213 total; 26 firearm injury deaths; 107 homicides; 80 suicides
  • Age 15-19 : 2,234 total; 72 firearm injury deaths; 1,554 homicides; 668 suicides

This is not to discount the fact that guns are involved in a much higher percentage of deaths in the U.S. than just about any other place in the world or that guns are more likely than any other weapon to be involved in mass murder in the U.S.

But if you are going to stir people to action, do it with facts not fabrications.

***

Data for context:

Top two causes of death by unintentional injury (2010)

  • Age 1-4 : 1,110 total; 436 drownings, 343 motor vehicle accidents
  • Age 5-9 : 1,394 total; 343 motor vehicle accidents, 134 drownings
  • Age 10-14 : 885 total; 452 motor vehicle accidents, 117 drownings
  • Age 15-19 : 4,537 total; 2,895 motor vehicle accidents, 744 poisonings

Top two causes of death by homicide (2010)

  • Age 1-4 : 385 total; 163 unspecified; 84 other, classifiable
  • Age 5-9 : 111 total; 58 firearm; 13 unspecified
  • Age 10-14 : 150 total; 107 firearm; 16 cut/pierce
  • Age 15-19 : 1,832 total; 1,554 firearm; 147 cut/pierce

Top two causes of death by suicide (2010)

  • Age 10-14 : 267 total; 168, suffocation; 60 firearm
  • Age 15-19 : 1,659 total; 752, suffocation; 668 firearm

4:10 pm Pacific, 12 January : Edited to add data on homicides and suicides for context; data moved below conclusion.

9:40 pm Pacific, 12 January : Edited to reflect that ABC changed the transcript of the interview.

12:50 am Pacific, 17 January : Edited to clarify Children’s Defense Fund lack of citation of the study with 2003 data from 23 wealthy countries.

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  • epiphyte

    So we’re better than Somalia at not shooting kids? I feel better already. Not.

  • ShannonLeee

    The most recent analysis of data from 23 high-income countries reported that 87 percent of children under age 15 killed by guns in these nations lived in the United States.

    That should be startling enough, shouldn’t it?

  • EEllis

    That should be startling enough, shouldn’t it?

    Not without knowing more about it. We may have many times the population depending on what countries they used. We don’t know that the stats are comparable as to reporting methods in other countries. We don’t even know if anyone has bothered to correlated those numbers or someone just threw some numbers out.

  • ShannonLeee

    EE page 31 in the pdf is broken down per capita. The swiss are right behind us.

  • sheknows

    As we all know, statistics can be a joke, and are often manipulated to reflect the data someone wants to prove.
    The interesting part is that you can compare two entirely different sets of data, and somehow relate them for comparison, even if there is no meaningful relevance. Often used in the ever popular “yes…but” arguments.

    There are so many variables involved in gathering statistical information, and should only be compared to other information gathered using identical variables…on the same day..by the same group..in the same hour…during the same phase of the moon..etc.

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    I wonder how many of those homicides are related to gang activity and drug trafficking?

  • EEllis

    As we all know, statistics can be a joke, and are often manipulated to reflect the data someone wants to prove.

    Statistics aren’t the joke they are just numbers, it’s the conclusions reached that can be skewed. If they can be looked at objectively and with an open mind they can be quite informative, but of course when someone with an agenda just starts fishing then they become twisted into uselessness.

  • ordinarysparrow

    Actually when i read a % being killed by gun violence, i do not go to homicide…i go to any kind of penetration of bullet into flesh of a child, no matter the circumstance… that alone IS violence… spilled blood.. pain… suffering for the child survivor and/or the family of the deceased child…

    Perhaps it is as much a reading perception or comprehension…where there needs to be more clarity… but for me a bullet piercing a child’s flesh is gun violent (period).

    All the more reason to have gun control rather than just gun background checks…

  • EEllis

    EE page 31 in the pdf is broken down per capita. The swiss are right behind us.

    You don’t see their source for the numbers so it’s hard to know how much faith to put into such a stat. First and foremost they separate out fire arm deaths from other types without giving out total homicide rates and somehow I don’t thin it matters to the dead person what killed them. It doesn’t, or shouldn’t, be more tragic because it’s a gun instead of some other weapon. Here we consider suicide deaths homicides but is that universal for all the countries? I look but at the very least it seems like there has been some cherry picking of what data to show here.

  • EEllis

    I wonder how many of those homicides are related to gang activity and drug trafficking?

    Right off the bat the majority of all gun deaths in the US are suicide. 2/3rd involve either suicide of drugs. Now in youths I don’t know how it breaks down but
    I do know a disproportional amount of children killed in the US are black by about 4.5 times.

  • dduck

    Yeh, any rational thinking person would see that these numbers are skewed, cherry picked, no objective, unopened minded, agenderized, thrown together, incomparable, uncorrelated, different county counting, unfaithful and the dead people don’t care what killed them.

    Statistics and numbers: twenty kids were still shot multiple times (bullets are cheap and speedily delivered)and killed on Dec. 14th while 23 Chinese kids were only injured on that same date. Spin that.

  • sheknows

    The fact that X amount of children die from guns and X amount die from other causes is not a legitimate comparison. What are you comparing? Death?
    Are you saying children shouldn’t ride in cars, or go near the water..or simply that the rate of deaths is not so much greater than by those causes. Well the only real way of using those two studies of how children have dies is to COMBINE them. Then ask, could we have eliminated X amount of deaths by eliminating guns?!

  • ShannonLeee

    Another case of planting trees so you don’t see the forest.
    Also, many of the countries on that list have organized crime and strict drug laws.

  • EEllis

    Statistics and numbers: twenty kids were still shot multiple times (bullets are cheap and speedily delivered)and killed on Dec. 14th while 23 Chinese kids were only injured on that same date. Spin that.

    Yes because when you repeat something, no matter how off point, enough it suddenly seems like it makes sense. Or not. We get you want to ban guns. Fortunately you will be gone long before the guns will but keep spreading the hate, because it’s not a real obsession unless you share.

  • dduck

    @EE, “Yes because when you repeat something, no matter how off point, enough it suddenly seems like it makes sense.”
    Off point??? Sorry, when faced with “the 2nd says I can have my FUN with guns”, yes fun while the bodies pile up, I lose it and do make a salient point too often.
    Continue spinning and accusing people of hate.

  • EEllis

    The fact that X amount of children die from guns and X amount die from other causes is not a legitimate comparison. What are you comparing? Death?

    Well yes. If most of the deaths were suicide and the removal of firearms don’t reduce suicide then the fact that kids slit their wrists instead of blowing their brains out makes me feel not one bit better.

    Are you saying children shouldn’t ride in cars, or go near the water..or simply that the rate of deaths is not so much greater than by those causes.

    I’m saying that I don’t think we have enough info. Look for instance our violent crime rate is like 4.5 times ours in the UK. So you can say if we got rid of guns it would be the same, but our non gun violent crime rate is still 2.5 times the UK so just getting rid of the guns wont make us have the same rate. It wouldn’t even bring us to 2.5 unless you think the best and the worst of the violent criminals who all carry guns will suddenly rethink their life of crime. Now that example may be off by the numbers, but it does illustrate that context matters. One should not assume that just because a gun is missing from an equation the death would also be missing.

  • http://wiredpen.com KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst

    ProfElwood – EELis – pls take a look at the data from 2010 from the CDC — the death rate from guns increases dramatically at age 16 and most of those deaths are homicides. I think gang-related deaths logically would account for a significant portion of these but the data are not presented that way.

    Youth suicide rate from guns is much lower than “all ages” – which is more than 50% of gun deaths are suicides.

  • http://wiredpen.com KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst

    SheKnows – I took the data from the CDC – death by “injury” – and showed what the top two are as a way of positioning firearm accidental death. Raw numbers — ie, numbers without context — have very little meaning.

    I probably should have done the same thing for homicides but it was late and I had (and still have) a headache.

    ADDED: I have now added details on homicides and suicides (top two causes).

  • http://wiredpen.com KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst

    SH – the Children’s Defense Fund numbers are inflated, IMO, because their age range is 1-19 (“children and teens”) — by FAR most of those deaths are in the 16-19 age category (I broke out the US data by ages in the post).

    ADDED: I do not think of a 16 year old or a 19 year old as a “child”. In fact, I don’t think of teens as “children” – yes, I know that they are not adults but I think of children as about 1-11 — 0-1 as infants — 11/12 as tweens.

    RE the data on p31 – that is firearm homicide rate per 100,000 — nothing new there and has nothing to do with this meme. I wrote about those stats earlier …. hmmmm … it seems I did that on Facebook. I thought I’d done it here. See this chart: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10101672359470118&set=pb.10730416.-2207520000.1358034546 and this one
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10101672383107748&set=pb.10730416.-2207520000.1358034546

  • robert_martin

    Actually, Ms. Gill, I am going to have partially bust your meme-bust. The statistic (and quote) that is taken from the Childrens Defense Fund statement (which I assume is this: http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/protect-children-not-guns-2012.pdf). In fact if you go down to page 30 of that pdg you will find the direct quote there (it is quoted twice in the pdf and the second time it is used it IS attributed) and it is footnoted (Note 41) with a link to the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery website with a link to a study that was published in the 2003 Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care (Richardson, Erin G., and David Hemenway. 2010. “Homicide, Suicide, and Unintentional Firearm Fatality: Comparing the United States With Other High-Income Countries, 2003,” Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care (70)1: 238-243. http://journals.lww.com/…). This may be where some of the confusion exists BUT on the other hand the study DOES exist. Sooo… The statistic (the 85% part) that is attributed to CPT Kelly (while not referring to the “23 civilized countries” part of the Children’s Defense Fund statement AND the Journal fo Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care study) is in and of itself factually true and is even underreported by 2%. The study itself is behind a subscribe wall but the abstract DOES have the mention of the 87%. Just a heads up.

    KEG: edited to remove the long URL for visual formatting. Note: it would be a lot easier to read with line breaks.

  • michael_powe

    As just pointed out above, the statistic is actual and factual — easily sourced. How is it that a “technical analyst” can’t be bother to determine the source of the statistic?

    This article contributed nothing toward an understanding of the issues related to gun violence in the United States. Apparently, the author intended to “debunk” the claim without actually verifying it. In that exercise, too, she failed.

    Hi there M> Powe. Read the commenters’ rules before you comment again. There will be no attacking the writers or other commenters. That’s how we keep a civil conversation here at TMV.

    THanks.
    archangel/ dr.e
    managing editor TMV

  • EEllis

    Actually I would say she did debunk the story as it was 23 counties not the world as the claim stated and personal attacks, your “technical analyst” crack, are not allowed here. The funny thing is I would lay money that Kathy is most likely a supporter of stronger gun control but trying to be objective. Then we get “gun control nuts” that come out and show how many on both sides have their minds closed.

  • http://wiredpen.com KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst

    Hi, Robert – the meme that is being busted is the one on Facebook that says “THE WORLD”.

    I have not said that the Children’s Defense Fund fudged its data or that Kelly was wrong. Only that they did not cite it. Which they didn’t.

    The Children’s Defense Fund quote — which I have included in this post — relates to 23 high-income countries and is not attributed (no footnote or reference cited) on either page 5 or page 30. (I had already looked.)

    The quote on page 30 does not claim to represent global deaths of children by firearms:

    America leads a group of 23 industrialized nations in gun deaths. The United States has more guns per capita, more handguns per capita, and has the weakest gun control laws of these 23 high-income countries.(41) Among this group of nations, 80 percent of all gun deaths occurred in America, and 87 percent of all children under 15 killed by guns were in the United States.

    Citation 41 is being give for the “weakest gun control laws” sentence. Not the sentence that follows it, which, repeating myself, has no source. I agree that it appears that (41) is the source for that sentence, but it is misplaced in the paragraph. (Note: it should also have been used on page 5.)

    The next two sentences on page 30 are sourced:

    The United States accounts for less than five percent of the global population, yet Americans own an estimated 35 to 50 percent of all civilian-owned guns in the world. (42)

    Of the estimated eight million new guns manufactured annually across the world, about half are purchased by Americans. (43)

    It is the photo on Facebook that overstates the case and is the meme being busted.

    That said, thank you for teasing out the study (2003 data) that the 2012 CDF seems to be using in its report. I confess that I did not look at footnote #41 because it was associated with the preceding sentence.

    41. Richardson, Erin G., and David Hemenway. 2010. “Homicide, Suicide, and Unintentional Firearm Fatality: Comparing the United States With Other High-Income Countries, 2003,” Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care (70)1: 238-243. http://journals.lww.com/

    A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used data from the early 1990s to compare the United States to the other high-income countries in terms of violent deaths (homicide, suicide, and unintentional gun deaths) of children aged 5 to 14.2 It found that the children in the United States were far more likely to die from violence than children in other high-income nations. Using data assembled by the World Health Organization (WHO), we update that report with more recent data and expand it to include comparisons of the United States and other high-income countries for all age groups, as well as a break-down by gender.

    Also from the research:

    The US age group at greatest relative risk of homicide is the 15 year olds to 24 year olds…

    THIS IS NOT CHILDREN.

    <pedant on>
    This study was, in part, the work of a UCLA professor — who is supported with taxpayer money (both his salary and the institution). It was partially supported by a foundation grant and partially by a Harvard (private) professor. But there is taxpayer money involved here and, as such, this SHOULD NOT BE BEHIND A FIREWALL. There is very little that I hate, but this is one of them. Research funded with public money should not be hidden behind a firewall.

    Of course, if Republicans in Congress had not prohibited the CDC from investigating firearm-related deaths, we probably wouldn’t have to rely on private foundations to fund research like this.
    </>

    I have not looked at homicide rates but I know that violent crime rates are down. If we ended our war on drugs, our homicide rate would probably drop, too.

    EDITED for formatting. AND THE JOURNAL TIMED ME OUT while I was trying to view the tables.

    Added:
    The journal article talks about RATES. I think rates are important but I think absolute numbers are important, too. And in this case, the numbers – while tragic – are not very large when we are talking about children. Once we add teens and young adults, that changes.

    Also, when we are talking about homicides, the age at which the numbers seem to skyrocket is 17 (of course, it could be 18, it’s the 17-19 grouping by the census):
    http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0310.pdf

    In other words, legally adult in many parts of the world (including England, Scotland and Wales). Most of the US states set that bar at 18. I’d love to see the homicide data broken out so that we could see this distinction.

  • http://wiredpen.com KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst

    Thanks, EELis – on both fronts.

    Michael, your post demonstrates a lack of reading comprehension.

  • ordinarysparrow

    I think gang-related deaths logically would account for a significant portion of these but the data are not presented that way.

    Ayee… i am not understanding these kinds of comments? Is there a subtle suggestion that certain kinds of children’s deaths count towards gun violence more than other…

    A gun, a bullet that kills a child is a tragic death… all the trying to say some child deaths by guns count more or less than other, whether it be gang, suicide, or mass murderer i find rather disturbing….

    Anytime a child is killed with a gun it is violent… i cannot even believe this kind of discussion is going on… wow!

    But after last week, it looks like nothing is really going to change… NRA and friends too powerful… all those that love their guns, not to worry….

  • EEllis

    A gun, a bullet that kills a child is a tragic death… all the trying to say some child deaths by guns count more or less than other, whether it be gang, suicide, or mass murderer i find rather disturbing….

    It’s not about measuring how tragic something is, more an attempt to put it in context. A gun may be the preferred tool that some use but if a father is going to kill his whole family then lack of a gun wont be what stops him. If the killer will just switch to a knife I don’t think moving it out of the gun death column is a big win. If a child, or young adult, is killed because of participation in criminal activity then would legal restrictions on firearms be a realistic way of lowering criminal violence? If then what is the point? The guns people are trying to ban are only responsible for about 2% of the criminal gun violence in the US so why not push for something effective rather than waving dead babies to try and by something that will have little or no effect on dead babies?

  • ordinarysparrow

    Ellis i really do not see that as holding much water…

    Easy access to guns does put the U.S. at the very top of gun related deaths in developed countries (period).

    Already this year, the 12th day.. there has been 3,200 cases of reported gun violence…260 today…

    Gun violence is for the safety of our children but it is not just about children…

    My point is, we have a problem due to lack of gun regulation…that crosses the boards of all sectors of society… the problem is much bigger than the 2% of the criminal gun violence with the guns you address…we need legislation that goes deeper than what is currently being suggested… You are probably right Ellis what is currently being talked about is a mere band-aid that will quickly be ripped off..

    If we are really serious about gun violence its needs to go much deeper and wider in the regulation of guns.

    If the concern is to rein in gun violence it needs to look at gun violence, without all the little boxes that makes some people’s lives, or perhaps class or race as more or less acceptable than some.

    The solution to gun violence will only be found in re-visiting the Second Amendment, we need examination of unrestricted and affordable access for all guns. Not saying no guns, but more like a stringent training and review of who gets what weapons and for what reasons…BUT that is not likely to occur…

    Not to worry, little is likely to change…

  • ordinarysparrow

    The Brady Campaign website links to this study… that is likely where the information came from…

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20571454

  • sheknows

    The meaningfulness we are looking for is what? I am with OS on this.
    As I said, the only meaning these “numbers” have is that they show how many children at different age groups have died via various sources. ” One cannot assume that because a gun is missing from the equation, a death would also be missing”. Yes…one can, and should.
    Again, combine them and look to see where the gun related deaths could have been prevented. THEN these statistical findings have relevance to the issue. That issue apparently being now….ways in which children die.

  • sheknows

    BTW Kathy..you are doing an excellent job of maintaining control and rational thought while the rest of us go off on our little tangents. :)

  • robert_martin

    Ms. Gill, I appreciate you for following up with my links. Thank you for taking the time. I do agree that, in reference tothe CPT Kelly graphic and he did misstate “the world” and probably, more accurately, should have said “the civilized world” but it WAS the statement he made. I find in situations like this that a little research help (heck, even I doubted the number itself at first, let alone the world part). It is a lovely information society we live in when people don’t use simple google-fu… Yeah that’s what I call it “google-fu” :), to verify. In the course of less than a half hours research I was able to find out that he was more than likely referring to a study I have since referenced. If I were to fact check this in the style of Politi-fact I would rate it “Mostly True”. Minor word misusage aside the 85% part of the statement holds water and IS factual (see my question below) and the only quibble I think you and I would REALLY have is the use of “the world” in the statement which could have been represented by the use of “the civilized world”.

    I do agree on placement of the footnote # and can see why it might be overlooked. It, in my opinion, probably should have been placed after the sentence in which the 87% claim was made being as it, and the previous sentence are referring to information from this report. I also agree it should have been footnoted after the 1st 87% mention. That would be CDF’s fault.

    My one question though is that in the abstract for the study which I linked (and, btw, I do appreciate that you got into it to view the tables. Personally I would probably be swamped by it) it does make this one CLEAR statement at the end of the section titled “Results”

    “87% of all children aged 0 to 14 killed by firearms were US children.”

    This comes at the end of the listing of other results such as:

    “The US homicide rates were 6.9 times higher than rates in the other high-income countries”

    “15-year olds to 24-year olds, firearm homicide rates in the United States were 42.7 times higher than in the other countries”

    “For US males, firearm homicide rates were 22.0 times higher”

    “for US females, firearm homicide rates were 11.4 times higher”

    “US firearm suicide rates were 5.8 times higher” though “overall suicide rates were 30% lower”

    “US unintentional firearm deaths were 5.2 times higher”

    and it is summed up with the fact that amongst the 23 “civilized” countries studied

    “80% of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States”

    “86% of women killed by firearms were US women”

    and finally the statement above

    ” 87% of all children aged 0 to 14 killed by firearms were US children”

    I don’t know if you saw that and, I am to assume, that if they are going to make that bold of a statement that their research would bear that out. Would I be wrong in making that conjecture? This, in my honest opinion, is where much of the debate about this meme is aside from some, what I would consider, minor word misusage by CPT Kelly which could have been clarified.

  • EEllis

    Easy access to guns does put the U.S. at the very top of gun related deaths in developed countries (period).

    Violent crime puts us at the top of the list also. We are at the top of the lists for violent crime so do you think banning legal guns will change this? We have a higher suicide rate than many countries (which account for 56% of our gun deaths) do you think banning guns will change that? It doesn’t help in Japan which has the highest suicide rate in the industrialized world, something like 13 times our rates and they have some of the strictest gun control anywhere. Now I do think that if you could wave a magic wand and make every gun disappear that it would have a dramatic effect on the stats but the idea that these laws will do that or that US citizens would accept the draconian enforcement it would take to even partially achieve that goal is beyond my belief. 2/3rds of our gun deaths involve suicide or drugs. I’m sorry but those numbers are not victims of guns. We are sitting here arguing about guns and magazines that are used in less than 2 % of violent crime and I can’t see how removing them entirely, however impossible, would have even the slightest statistical impact on gun deaths.

    If we are really serious about gun violence its needs to go much deeper and wider in the regulation of guns.

    Americans will not accept the cost of true gun control and the almost open resistance of large groups of people who will never allow their rights to be removed. Think of them what you will but you won’t get everyone’s guns and if you try and take them then they will resist. Your push to save lives would case a wave of terrorism and violence the thought of which should scare anyone. People are already cashing weapons right now. It would only get worse. Gangs and drug dealers will still want guns. If they can get them in the UK they will get them here. The rich will hire security the poor will buy black market guns and cheap machined junk. Half measures wont work and going full out would destroy this country. Whatever will be left wont be America anymore.

  • http://wiredpen.com KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst

    Hi, Robert — according to the transcript on the ABC web site when I wrote this, Kelly did NOT include “the world” in his commentary – I copied and pasted it above.
    http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/rep-gabby-giffords-exclusive-interview-diane-sawyer-18165742

    But I just looked at it again — and see that ABC has changed the transcript. (Does it say that it was changed? Of course not.) Here’s the current copy&paste:

    You know, how do we get to the point where 85% of the children in the world that are killed with guns are killed in the united states? That is a sobering statiststatistic (sic). 85%.

    And yes, the research (footnote 41) says that 87% of the children under age 15 who were killed by guns in 2003 lived in the USA. However, the researchers do not share their raw data nor do the tables contain numbers — they contain ratios.

  • sheknows

    Ellis ” we are at the top of the list for violent crimes, so do you think banning legal guns will change this?” Yes.
    It will certainly change the number of violent crimes committed with guns!
    Legal?…Well, if the NRA hadn’t spent so much time and money over the last 3 decades preventing legislation and fighting for the “right” of every crazy person out there to own guns, with no background check,or differentiation as to TYPE of gun .. we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place.

  • EEllis

    Yes…one can, and should.

    I’m sorry but the idea that one can say this and think it truthful and reasonable is bizarre. You cannot do so and pretend to have any for of an open mind or care about the truth.

  • EEllis

    Kopel is an anti-anti-gun nut. But his argument that gun-hatred has blinded many of us to the reality of gun use and abuse is supported by the official stats and a disturbing March 27 article in the Christian Monitor by statistician Iain Murray.

    Murray, a senior research analyst at the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS), reported that when it comes to murdering children — which Americans do at a rate four times Western Europe’s — there’s a greater problem with our culture than just gun abuse.

    Murray said that in 1997, according to the FBI, of 738 children under age 13 murdered in the United States, 133 were killed with one of America’s 250 million guns. Apparently children are most at risk from knife violence, blunt-object violence and fist violence — and most of them live in big cities on the East and West coasts and in the Southwest. According to Murray, 85 percent of America’s counties did not have a single child murder in 1997.

    Interesting info. So it looks like my wondering is some other violence might replace guns if they weren’t available is valid since guns are not even the leading cause of child deaths by violence never mind accidental deaths which are even higher.

  • dduck

    EE said: “Your push to save lives would case a wave of terrorism and violence the thought of which should scare anyone.”
    This statement, or semi-threat, implies that instead of complying with whatever the law is that would cause confiscation of firearms would not be complied with and “terrorisim” which is not just hiding and avoiding that law, “would” occur. Says a lot about some of the gun “enthusiasts”, and I hope you would not be one of them.

  • ordinarysparrow

    thanks dduck… sound alot like the Taliban mentality… what is sad, i think EE is correct….lots of tribalism in the Tea….

  • robert_martin

    Yet again, Ms. Gill, I thank you for the reasonable, non-heated conversation we are having here. Thank you, again, for looking up the transcript that ABC had put up and noting its correction. I have discovered, though, it is an accurate correction being as it IS the words that CPT Kelly used. Here is the actual interview and CPT Kelly DOES say the words stated in the graphic. It is at approximately the 1:22 mark:

    http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/rep-gabby-giffords-exclusive-interview-diane-sawyer-18165742

    Also thank you for more insight as to what is in the actual study, i.e. the fact that they didn’t share raw numbers but ratios in their tables. And, in this case, not just the ratios concerning children but all of the other ratios which I quoted should give us pause to think. However, in my humble opinion, I have to state that that if they are going to publish even these ratios in a professional journal they would have had raw numbers to work with that could be provided to back up their research. That is a logical conclusion if you are going to provide statistics to a readership, i.e. that they are backed up by the raw numbers which can be verified by other researchers.

    In this whole discussion I stand by my assessment that CPT Kelly slightly misstated by using the words “the world” instead of “the civilized world” but DID fairly accurately quote the part about the “85% of children” (in fact understating it by 2%). In this meme we have to give that much credit.

  • dduck

    OS, sorry don’t like the comparison, but thanks for the thanks.
    BTW: confiscation is a VERY serious issue and I don’t blame, again some, for ratcheting up the rhetoric and getting upset. When many Americans have been raised in a “free” gun culture all their lives, we have to at least recognize a vast cultural difference of opinion.
    However, I’m afraid time, technology and the American diet of self indulgence and pleasure has turned the simple meaning of “bearing arms” into a Gordian knot problem.
    My only conclusion is that the 2nd is the problem.

  • EEllis

    This statement, or semi-threat, implies that instead of complying with whatever the law is that would cause confiscation of firearms would not be complied with and “terrorisim” which is not just hiding and avoiding that law, “would” occur. Says a lot about some of the gun “enthusiasts”, and I hope you would not be one of them.

    I would be sympathetic at the very least. You basically have nuts that have been preparing for that day for years. Leave them alone and they will never be a problem but then the Govt does exactly what you laugh at the crazies for preparing for, what else would you expect them to do? And hey how can you laugh at them for taking a gun grab serious and at the same time trash them for not going along with a gun grab? Who is the nutty one? People have been saying for hundreds of years that they would never allow anyone to take their guns. They mean it. And as far as the legalities go a govt that does so is not the govt I noe. Whatever was left would not be America.

  • dduck

    EE, and you have nuts out there that have been preparing for a socialistic America for years, maybe decades.
    Well, I’m glad you sound like you are against the more extreme, I guess we can call them gun nuts (btw: I am a Jazz and margarita nut), maybe we still recognize shades of gray on TMV after all.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Although I have been following the comments closely, I have not participated in the discussion of Kathy’s article, thus some may resent such late an “entry,” but here it goes anyway.

    Both Kathy’s piece and the comments discuss extensively the accuracy, the skewing, the “cherry picking,” the “context,” the pros and cons of numbers and statistics. While many comments address the “numbers and statistics” in a pretty cold and clinical way (of course to win their argument) one reader makes an attempt to point out that there are human beings, lives, and other factors behind those numbers and stats:

    Statistics and numbers: twenty kids were still shot multiple times (bullets are cheap and speedily delivered) and killed on Dec. 14th while 23 Chinese kids were only injured on that same date. Spin that.

    Only to immediately be “put in his place” and only for his comments appealing to our humaneness and commons sense to be interpreted as “spreading hate” and reflecting the writer’s “obsession”:

    Yes because when you repeat something, no matter how off point, enough it suddenly seems like it makes sense. Or not. We get you want to ban guns. Fortunately you will be gone long before the guns will but keep spreading the hate, because it’s not a real obsession unless you share.

    But, it was the very first comment in this thread that got my attention and stayed with me:

    So we’re better than Somalia at not shooting kids? I feel better already. Not.

    In an article I just read in the New Yorker, dealing with the gun debate — and statistics — Jill Lepore says something that struck a similar chord in me:

    The United States has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world, twice that of the country with the second highest rate, which is Yemen.

    I am tempted to emulate epiphyte and add, “I feel better already.”

    BTW, some of the other numbers and statistics Lepore points out:

    The United States also has the highest homicide rate of any affluent democracy, nearly four times higher than France or the United Kingdom, six times higher than Germany. In the United States in 2008, guns were involved in two-thirds of all murders

    But, but, some will say, we need to know more about it.We don’t know that the stats are comparable as to reporting methods in other countries. How do we know if someone just threw some numbers out?

    And so it goes…

  • EEllis

    EE, and you have nuts out there that have been preparing for a socialistic America for years, maybe decades.

    No I haven’t, not even close but realize there are people who take the constitution literally. They on’t be fighting against the US because to them when the govt seizes their guns it’s the govt that will have become invalid by usurping authority it was never meant to have. It’s not about politics it’s about right and the violation of those rights.

  • robert_martin

    Dorian (and I hope I am not being to forward in addressing you by your first name), I appreciate you entering this debate. It is a debate that we should have in this country. I may be one of the ones you referred to whose “comments address the “numbers and statistics” in a pretty cold and clinical way” (and I don’t resent it being put that way, btw) but just so you know I wasn’t out “to win an argument”. For me it was trying to clarify the original meme with Ms. Gill by pointing out where CPT Kelly had possibly gotten his information from. As for pointing to statistics in the debate I would say that they help inform us. Statistics, while not the end all and be all of a debate, help clarify and put in black and white what is going on in this country, otherwise the whole debate is based solely on emotion and becomes moot. It is not trying to win an argument but showing that someone has done research out there. In many cases this research, especially in medical journals (where the original “85%” part of the quote originated), is peer-reviewed and, for me, becomes that much more compelling.

    If I were to give an emotional response to the gun debate going on then it would be this: We do need reasonable laws in this country concerning the purchase, ownership, and registration of firearms. Do I want to take away peoples guns? THAT is an emphatic “NO!!!” Do I want them to understand the deadly consequences of owning a firearm, and that for those of us who don’t own a firearm to have a sense of well-being and safety? That would be an emphatic “YES!!” For those of you out there I do not currently own a firearm but should I decide to purchase one then I would be more than willing to go through any hoops (laws, regulation, etc.) to ensure the peace of mind of my fellow citizens and not hold to the notion “Well it says in the Consititution that I have a RIGHT to bear arms so therefore I should be able to get whatever I want whenever I want”. That on it’s face is simplistic at best and to me shows a sign of self-centeredness (i.e. It’s my way or the highway and (pardon the harsh language here) screw you if you don’t feel comfortable about it). From what I have seen in this debate since Newtown is that alot of people think like I do. Yes there are extremes on both side but those of us at(and/or near)the center understand that something is going on in our society that needs to be looked at before situations such as Newtown becomes common-place. When do we say, as one on my favorite lines from Star Trek: First Contact uttered by CPT Picard goes: “Not again, the line must be drawn here.. this far, no further.” Do we have the will as American citizens to say “Enough is enough” and come up with something reasonable? I would hope so.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Hi robert_martin, welcome to TMV and thank you for your comments — which, by the way, I have found to be very reasoned and civil — and of course you can address me as Dorian.

    As a mathematician myself — albeit just at the undergraduate level — and further professional use of math and science I have a high regard for the usefulness of numbers and statistics, when used for productive purposes. I can not quite decide whether using them to justify the willy-nilly possession and use of assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines, etc., can be called a productive purpose. But, I admit, that is my subjective opinion.

    I do understand your purpose of debating the numbers and statistics and I have absolutely no problem with that — not that my opinion should have any impact on that.

    As to emotion, yes, I am guilty of displaying some, especially after 20 children are murdered in cold blood. And I do admire anyone’s ability to keep emotions separate from debating the facts and the issues.(I do wonder if any momentous decisions have ever been made without any regard for feelings, emotions or other human frailties)

    Having said all that, you seem to hold very similar positions on the guns “issue” as I do.

    I do like and agree with the majority of your “If I were to give an emotional response to the gun debate going on then it would be this..”

    Especially your concluding hope:

    “Not again, the line must be drawn here.. this far, no further.” Do we have the will as American citizens to say “Enough is enough” and come up with something reasonable? I would hope so.

    Thanks again.

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    My point on the drug activity was, I thought, pretty obvious: if you want to reduce gun violence, you have to look at the root causes of that violence. The US is also by far the imprisonment capital of the world, which seems to me would bear a very direct relationship to violence.

  • adelinesdad

    I haven’t yet entered into the gun control debate on TMV, other than writing a few comments but then not submitting them. I think my hesitation is that I don’t quite know which debate we’re having. It seems like two different debates that have little to do with each other that are conflated into one. And this thread seems to illustrate that so I’ll take this opportunity to vent my frustration.

    The first debate is about the tragedy of the death of children and how to prevent it. This is the debate that we say we are having, but if this is our primary concern I’m not sure why were aren’t talking about disease and accidents which I’m fairly certain dwarf the number of gun-related deaths of children. Is it that we feel we’ve done all we can do in those areas? I don’t think so. Is it that deaths of children from those causes are less tragic? In adults that might be so to some degree, but in children I’d say any death is pretty much equally tragic. Then why are we talking about guns when almost all deaths of children have nothing to do with guns? And even then most of us are only talking about a very small subset of guns and gun violence.

    Which leads me to the debate I think we’re really having, which is only tangentially related to deaths (and death statistics, which is where my rambling comment runs into some semblance of relevance to this topic), but more about fear, justice, social order, and humanity. The lives that were lost recently in Newtown, Aurora, Wisconsin, and other places are tragedies that are not minimized by noting that many other children and their families suffer and mourn without the world stopping to notice. Maybe what’s different is that the culprit is not a “natural” cause (though it’s debatable to what degree the various causes of childhood disease can be said to be natural) or not one of those things that we consider just “part of life (and death)” like accidents, but rather the deaths here are what we might consider evil, unnatural, an assault not just on the lives of those children and their educators (as if that weren’t enough), but also an assault on justice, social order, peace, and humanity itself. I think this is the debate we’re really having, though it’s masquerading as the first. But I think the two debates have little to do with each other. Both are important, but the first is about statistics and aggregate good, and the second is about humanity and emotion.

    I’d be happy to engage in either debate with the hope of moving us forward to a solution to either. I’d even be happy to engage in both debates at the same time, so long as we recognize that they are separate, for it’s the conflation that I think has us (or at least me) going in circles. One thing I think they do have in common: I don’t think gun control is the central issue in either debate, though a bit more in the second.

  • dduck

    EE, I have to apologize about my remark that elicited this response from you: “No I haven’t, not even close but realize there are people who take the constitution literally.”
    I was not even thinking of that connection. My intended point was that there are always some people out there that hold NON-mainstream or ideas and aspirations; I could have used another example. Sorry for inadvertently bringing up a us VS them scenario.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    This is recopied from M. Power’s post above, as it appears the commenter did not see it:

    Hi there M. Power. Read the commenters’ rules before you comment again. There will be no attacking the writers or other commenters. That’s how we keep a civil conversation here at TMV.
    Thanks.
    archangel/ dr.e
    managing editor TMV

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    For new Commenters: Please read the Commenters’ Rules on the masthead before commenting. Briefly, the comments section is kept for discussion of the topic, not comments about other commenters or writers. Civil discussion means no ad hominem attacks, no vulgarity, no highjacking the topic and so on. It’s all there in the brief rules for commenting. Thanks

    Archangel/ dr.e