One of the standard claims of the gun enthusiasts when trying to downplay the role of guns in violent crime is that the U.K. is worse off than we are, and they have strict gun control. I've been told countless times that if guns are not available, criminals will use other "tools." In England they use knives, for example. And what's more, the gun folks say, crime goes up not down when guns are banned. I never bought any of these suggestions, needless to say.
Recently, it became more specific. Bob S., one of our most faithful and passionate commenters started claiming that violent crime in the U.K. is four times greater than in the U.S. Now, Bob has often criticized me for not doing research and not trusting statistics, but can you blame me? Last week on his blog I called him on a comparison he'd made between non-fatal gun injuries and all automobile accidents. It wasn't gun injuries compared to car accidents in which someone was hurt, which I would have had a problem with, it was all car accidents, even little fender benders. Despite the absurdity of the comparison, his loyal fans, to a man, complimented him on the astute post.
Well, finally I looked at the famous U.K. link which supposedly "proves" the unbelievable four-times-the-US idea. Here it is.
Indeed, the British web site called Mail Online, which was emphasizing how violent England is, said that in Britain there are over 2,000 violent crimes per 100,000 population while in the United States there are only 466 per 100,000.
I compared that to the FBI stats shown here. According to them, in recent years the U.S. number has dramatically fallen to 2,000 per 100,000, just about the same as in England. Note that a few years ago it was more than double that figure.
So, as it turns out, both countries are extremely violent, but ours is more lethal. The big difference comes in the murder department. According to the Mail Online site, England has less than 1,000 per year. We all know how that compares to the good old US of A.
What's your opinion? How did the British researchers come up with only 466? The FBI considers violent crimes to be "rape, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, and homicide." And with only those, they come up to about 2,000 per.
Here's an idea. What if we forget about all the statistics, quit cherry-picking the ones that support our argument and just use common sense. If there are fewer guns available, then only the most determined criminal will get one or use something else. Many will not. The spur-of-the-moment crimes and the less determined crooks will simply do without.
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