face a dilemma of gun violence, one that carries a grisly association
with domestic violence. This month, the Violence Policy Center released the newest iteration of its continuing study
tracking the number of women murdered in the United States by men. As
it turns out, Vermont has the eighth-highest rate of any state, with
1.58 victims killed per 100,000 people. Of those slain by men they knew,
three-quarters were intimates (wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends) of
their killers, and two-thirds were shot to death.
There is another tragic layer to gun violence in Vermont. In almost every year since 1990, the state has suffered a higher suicide rate than the country at large — a number that has continued to climb recently — and well over half of its suicides
are committed via firearm. And the grim harvest of its weapon surplus
can’t even be properly contextualized by looking at in-state numbers,
since it’s also a northeastern hub of gun trafficking.
Again, in universal terms, the total
number of homicides, domestic violence cases, and gun-related deaths is
indeed small, which can make some of these rate statistics seem
exaggerated. But the argument can be made that they’re also less
deceptive than the happy reports of a Second Amendment oasis in the
heart of New England. A truer picture lies in this final statistic:
Vermont, which is virtually impossible to traverse without a car, is a
state where firearms deaths outnumber traffic deaths.