We hear it all the time. “The US has the highest gun murder rate of any industrialized western country not at war.” Or in the case that Weer’d dug up, the “highest gun murder rate in the ‘developed’ world.” What does that mean, anyway?
Read the sentences above again. Note all the qualifiers. “Industrialized,” “Western,” “Developed.” They make no claims about the world as a whole, just the small subset of countries that they wish to compare the USA to. The one Weer’d dug up used the member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (minus Mexico) as a proxy for “developed.” Basically all they are saying is that among white(ish) western European countries, plus a few more, we rank second worst in gun related murders after Mexico. So how do we rate in the whole world?
(Source data, List of countries by firearm-related death rate, Wikipedia)
Our rate doesn’t look so bad now, does it? We have a total firearm homicide rate of 3.6 per 100K. Keep in mind, that’s just the 75 countries they have data for.
But we’ve always maintained to the anti-gunners that dead is dead. Stabbed to death is just as bad as shot to death is just as bad as strangled. So how does the US compare in overall homicide rates?
In this graph there are so many countries that Excel is unable to label them all. The US is two bars lower than Belarus and two bars above Surinam. Our intentional homicide rate is 4.8 per 100K.
Let’s make the whole thing more clear. Here is the above graph broken down into smaller graphs. They all use the same scale of 0-100, so the bars are proportional on every graph.
If you want to have a lot of fun, go through the countries on the first 3 graphs and count how many of them are places that rich white liberals consider good vacation destinations.
This isn’t secret data. It’s all posted on Wikipedia for everyone to look at. You can make your own graphs using the current data here.
What’s going on is that the gun haters cherry pick the countries that they want to compare the US to. They don’t look at the whole world, but just a tiny subset. They ignore the very real problem that other countries do not collect homicide data in the same way as we do in the US. Our rule is “dead body that isn’t clearly suicide or accident = homicide.” In the UK, it’s not a murder until someone gets convicted. (Seriously, read this and see how different the UK statistics are from reality)
So next time someone spouts off about how murderous the US is, point them to my handy dandy graphs.
UPDATE: Just for grins I made a graph comparing US States vs. Canadian Provinces. Check it out.