In a recent letter to the editor, Mr. Colin Frayne of Macon, began his letter pointing out the need for “factual information” about guns. He cites the statistic that for 2016, “36,861 total annual deaths [were] from guns, of which 58 deaths were from terrorism.” And compares it to Japan, which allegedly had only one firearm death that same year. Statistics are not like pictures that tell a thousand words. They must be analyzed. Unfortunately, they can also be tortured and made to confess to almost anything. Instead, they should be carefully cross-examined.
Mr. Frayne, for instance, did not tell the reader that of the 36,861 total annual deaths, two-thirds were suicides. He should have; his fellow gun prohibitionists have also been claiming that the possession of so many guns in the U.S. is responsible for the high suicide rate. For the Democrats, the gun control arsenal must be replenished with suicide statistics. After all, suicides outpace homicides every year by a 2:1 ratio.
The letter writer also mentioned Japan, which is instructive. The latest figures show that Japan ranks 26th in International Suicide Rates; the Japanese commit suicide via hanging, suffocation, jumping in front of trains, and Hara-kiri at a rate of 15.4 per 100,000, much higher than the United States. Americans rank 48th and the rate is 12.6 per 100,000. Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, and many other European countries have higher rates of suicide than the U.S. and all have stricter gun laws. So obviously people use cultural methods and whatever means they have available to commit suicide.
The letter writer also writes, “Forty-two percent of civilian-owned guns around the world are in the U.S., which accounts for 4 percent of the global population.” This is a statistic difficult to come by. But assuming, it is true, it was American arms that also liberated Western Europe, beat the Nazis, and then protected the pusillanimous Europeans from the Soviet Bear during the cold war. American civilians even sent guns to Britain to arm their Home Guard (HG), their first line of defense against the Nazis. The HG was using pikes to prevent the Nazis from landing in England! The guns incidentally were never returned. The Europeans, in short, should be thanking God for the Americans on a daily basis, instead of decrying our “gun culture.”
As for the assertion, “Half of the 265 million guns in the U.S. are owned by 3 percent of U.S. adults. That’s an average of 17 guns each for individuals in this group.” If the statement is correct, all it means is that 3% of Americans are serious gun collectors. If they were criminals we would not know about their possession. And even good citizens, with good reason, lie about their guns. They are afraid of common thieves as well as confiscation by legal predators. Researchers have found that gun surveys underestimate gun possession and gun usage by approximately 36%, which means for example that one third of gun owners will deny gun ownership and even beneficial gun usage in surveys and polls.
Lastly, Mr. Frayne asserts, “The gun homicide rate in the U.S. is 25.2 times higher than other high-income countries, while the total homicide rate is seven times higher.” Notice the caveat “high-income countries.” This means that most of the world doesn’t count. I must suppose that only the lives of wealthy (“high-income”) Europeans count and are worth comparing to the U.S. Why? Most of Africa, including North Africa; Latin America, including our next-door neighbor, Mexico and most of the Caribbean and Central America; and the Eurasian landmass, including Russia and Kazakhstan — have higher rates of homicides than the U.S. In Rwanda, the genocide of Tutsis by Hutus was mostly done with machetes. Liberals can get away with anything, but as a Hispanic I have for years resented this neglect of most of the world by the progressive gun-grabbers, and it is time that ethnic and geopolitical discrimination stops. All lives count, particularly when it comes to homicides — with or without guns — and the U.S. is nowhere near the top.
Are there any other gun statistics that need cross-examining?
Miguel A. Faria, M.D. is an Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). He is the author of Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). His website is http://www.haciendapub.com.