atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5679: I believe that statistic.

"Gunshots are the third leading killer of children in the US", goes the headline of this Arse Technica article, meant to be scaremongering over how dangerous it is to let people own guns, because thank o' da CHAWWDREN!

But the thing is, I know--without reading the article, which is bound not to mention it anyway--why so many children in the US are killed by firearms: gang activity.

You can't go one week in the Chicago area without hearing about this or that young child being "caught in the crossfire" (and the media almost always use that phrase). Somewhere down in the nether guts of the report you'll learn that the person who fired the shots was a) young and b) a member of a gang, both of which scream "young black male" which is the big violence demographic in the United States.

Bear in mind that the statistics cover children aged 0 to 17. There's no word in the article whether or not age was the only consideration (as in, some kids who commit murders are charged as adults; were those cases excluded from the "homicide" category regardless of the victim's age?).

Okay, just look:
The latest annual death estimate breaks down to: 53 percent from homicide, 38 percent from suicide, six percent unintentional, and the remaining three percent were either from unknown intentions or legal intervention.
The article doesn't differentiate homicides, so the innocent bystander killed by a stray bullet counts the same as the gangbanger who was shot in the same fullisade. So Daddy G Crawdad, age 16, gets killed, and little Nuesha Peapod, age 4, gets killed by bullets fired from the same gun, and they both contribute to that 53% even though one homicide was intentional and the other was not.

So, figure 7100 children are killed or wounded by gunfire in the US every year. Out of that 7100, 53% are due to gang activity--so 3,337 cases are not due to gang activity. Get the gang situation under control and you've just cut child firearm casualties in half.

Furthermore, as we've seen, homicides are largely confined to some pretty strictly limited areas--the big cities, and about the southern quarter of California--so if those locations could just get their gangs off the streets, that would go a long way towards eliminating most of the murder in America.

Guns are not the problem; criminals are the problem. I think the statistics mentioned in this article show that rather well.

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