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[flagged] Gun laws where guns take the most lives (latinamericareports.com)
128 points by egusa 19 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 190 comments



The debate here has focused on guns as the problem. Guns are not the problem, they are an expression of the problem. To quote the article: "The Economist stated that rapid urbanisation and inequalities in wealth distribution were some of the largest factors in violent crime, and as one of the most unequal countries on the planet, Brazil backs up this claim." I think this statement applies to Mexico and other Latin American countries, to varying extents.

Removing guns from the streets may reduce gun deaths, but the violence will probably remain as long as the underlying social injustices are not addressed.


> Removing guns from the streets may reduce gun deaths

It didn't in Brazil. Since 2004, civilians can't carry their guns and the police makes it very hard for them to be able to have one in the first place, or to register them again when it's time to renew.

Here is a graph with the homicides in Brazil from 1996 to 2016: http://www.ipea.gov.br/atlasviolencia/dados-series/31 (click on "País", then scroll down to see the graph)


Leading to the election of Bolsonaro, who promised to repeal gun control.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-guns-idUSKCN1P91Q6


Guns are like a megaphone for violence. Violent people will still exist but their reach is far less with a knife


You are a bit quieter with a knife though. A gun gives you away immedietly to all around you unless you have a silencer but those arent so easy to get in the USA (class 3 if I remember correctly).

In England people get knifed and who can know?

And if its not a knife it will be a car, power tools, planes, boats, pushing someone off of a building. I rather retain my right to protect myself from crazies and die trying than be disadvantaged compared to criminals who wont follow the law...

Having gone to the range here in the US I gotta say its not as easy as most think. You have rules amongst people who handle fire arms you must follow or get banned from a range. I am convinced after my experience that a bad actor is already mentally unstable and will kill someone they intend to regardless of guns or not. How many US serial murderers didnt we have that didnt use guns anyway?

A gun is a tool. Anybody can use a tool correctly and anybody can use a tool incorrectly. Any tool can be bought legally and illegally. People who do not follow laws will have an advantage against those who do in terms of available tools.

As others in the thread have said people dont think of getting a gun to murder they think of murder and then consider their options.

Worse yet: Oppresive governments usually take away the rights of citizens to defend themselves before they begin total oppression of the people. Just ask Venezuelans who has guns there...


> Having gone to the range here in the US I gotta say its not as easy as most think. You have rules amongst people who handle fire arms you must follow or get banned from a range.

I don't think being banned from one particular range significantly reduces the chance someone will commit an act of gun violence.

> ___ is a tool. Anybody can use a tool correctly and anybody can use a tool incorrectly. Any tool can be bought legally and illegally. People who do not follow laws will have an advantage against those who do in terms of available tools.

Does this argument scale? At what point is it too much?

Replace ___ with explosives, tanks, grenade launchers, or even just bigger guns. Uranium is a useful tool to generate power.

> Worse yet: Oppresive governments usually take away the rights of citizens to defend themselves before they begin total oppression of the people. Just ask Venezuelans who has guns there...

What about Australia? After a nasty rampage in the 90s, they had folks turn their guns in. You can still own one under certain circumstances, but there's a lot more process and conditions involved. And yet 20 years it hasn't devolved into authoritarianism. In fact their rates of gun violence have dropped significantly.


> And yet 20 years it hasn't devolved into authoritarianism. In fact their rates of gun violence have dropped significantly.

Hasn't it been devolving into authoritarianism though? They have banned books and all sorts of things. I've read where lots of people have disagreed with the govt's new laws for censoring the internet and keeping data on people, yet the gov there still does what it wants without worry.

Australia and USA have so many differences that any comparisons are moot. It saddens me to see people trying to compare what happens on that island to what is going on in the states.

I understand there may be less guns there, but from the stories I've seen about violence at bars in parts of Australia leading the gov to shut down parts of the cities earlier just shows that the strong violent abusive people are comfortable engaging in criminal behaviors including assaults and battery, they are not being controlled by gun laws.

It also seems apparent that the weaker, vulnerable people plead for protection, and instead get shortened hours of access.


> Australia and USA have so many differences that any comparisons are moot. It saddens me to see people trying to compare what happens on that island to what is going on in the states.

The US is different but not a special snowflake. The US is not Australia. The US is not the UK. The US is not Germany. The US is not..... The same reasoning means no country can learn from any other country unless they are virtually identical.

But how about Canada? Being similar to the US in many ways, why are their rates of gun violence much lower comparatively?

> I understand there may be less guns there, but from the stories I've seen about violence at bars in parts of Australia leading the gov to shut down parts of the cities earlier just shows that the strong violent abusive people are comfortable engaging in criminal behaviors including assaults and battery, they are not being controlled by gun laws.

And they have much fewer guns to use when acting on impulses, limiting the amount of harm they can cause. Do you think America is less violent? Remember when a single person killed 59 people and wounded 500+ more from a hotel room?


> The US is different but not a special snowflake. Just California alone I think would qualify. The weather, the girls, the agriculture, the money...

kidding aside... could it be that Canada is only worth about $39 billion for drug sales and the US is about $109 billion per year?

I only have one neighbor (that I know of) who would kill for under a thousand bucks, however if there was a million dollars sitting downtown in cash I am guessing there would be more.

I don't know enough about Canada to say, only a few minutes of edited tv here and there, but from what I had seen - people there appeared to be more willing to help people in need - on the street, and via the govt.

The people I saw in the cities also appeared to be very comfortable and not so angry / intimidating - which may mean you can coerce people there without threatening with a gun or shooting up a block. If you can bully large groups with just a scowl, there is no need for guns and shooting.

I'm just guessing though, I am sure there are many factors.

The lack of help here in the states puts a lot of people on the street with lack of access to healthcare and shelter - that kind of creates environments for crime.

I also think people here are more willing to stand up and fight for what they have or what they want. Not sure that's a geography thing (are people more willing to be shitty to others around them about keeping their 70 degree all year california weather as opposed to the snowy mountains up north?

I'm not sure they actually have fewer guns per capita available up there, but I think they have less reason to fight and kill.

Maybe it’s the US’s prison to no vote and no job pipeline, not sure Canada has the same thing?

Could it have to do with things like the US has 58,000,000 latino / hispanic Americans and Canada has 700,000 ? The US has 10 million illegal immigrants and Canada has 100 thousand? Canada has a million black people and the US has 38 times that many?

I don’t mention these things because I think these people are bad or good, it’s just something that makes USA and Canada different.

Again I am not an expert, just seen a couple of shows and a few searches online. These are some ideas about things that may be factors in the differences. I’m sure I am ignorant in these areas and more. Could it be that people in the US spend more time outside throughout the year comparatively and so more fights break out down here? All kinds of things.

I looked into moving to Canada, but I don’t qualify to move there, I could try to sneak in and be an illegal immigrant, but I would not get the healthcare and votes and other experiences I assume – so I may visit one day, but I don’t expect to actually get a lot of first hand understanding of how different it is unfortunately.


Just piping in to say, that, demographics of a city DO have an effect on violent crime. And a lot of it stems from inequality - you can actually see it literally on the roads. In areas where you get tailgated, music bumpers, and just all-in-all too different kinds of people sharing the same spaces, you have a LOT of latent anger. And anger rubs off on everyone. It's kinda like the theory of a single happy person rubbing off on others and makes them happy. Well in these urban areas filled with inequality, I've generally just seen mostly the anger spread.

It's an enormous problem that essentially stems from the wrong kinds of people living with each other. The fix? Don't change the people, change the inequality.


I agree that better social programs, decreased inequality, and drug decriminalization would be a much better approach to preventing gun violence than more people having guns.


> Australia and USA have so many differences that any comparisons are moot.

I hope you stick to the same standard next time someone says "$(Policy X) is how you end up being like Venezuela!"


People also tend to forget about Switzerland[0] entirely where guns are also legal, and yet you don't have the same issues. The problem with guns is gun education, the problem with murderers is psychological, if they can't use one weapon they will turn something else into a weapon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Switzerland


I think Switzerland is an important consideration to show it's not just gun policy or ownership that determines the use of lethal weapons in a country.

I would add that some of the problems with murders are economic, some are lack of spiritual guidance, and there are other factors. If you consider that many families in the US do not get the kind of health care that they could in other places - these issues tend to spiral affect other areas of the family that sometimes spill into crimes in the community.

Certainly some of it lack of character in general. Some of the problems in the US stem from Mexico and Honduras and other places being connected by land.

There are so many factors. I hate seeing some statistics used to paint a picture and then compares the apples to oranges of other places. People who would ban / restrict gun ownership don't really get that most of the statistics and news stories are issues where people are breaking the law and are not going to follow any laws that are made.

New gun laws just make it harder for poor people to get access to defend themselves, and multiple options and training and practice. The drug dealers, gang bangers and rich people can absorb the costs of new laws no problem. The middle class and poor are the most affected.


In Australia, homicide has decreased by nine percent since 1990 and armed robbery by one-third since 2001, but recorded assaults and sexual assaults have both increased steadily in the past 10 years by over 40 percent and 20 percent respectively. Crime was already decreasing in Australia before the 1996 ban, however since that time violent crime overall has increased significantly.


For those curious to do their own investigation, all these numbers are on wikipedia (and for Australia will mostly be sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics where you can freely access the original reports). All things in context though. A 9% decrease over 30 years doesn't sound very impressive, but when you consider that the per-capita homicide rate in Australia is ~5x lower than the US it doesn't sound so bad.

The sex crime example is interesting, because it's a raw count and does not take into account increasing reporting and investigation rates as a result of social change. Over the past few decades Australia has had significant public awareness campaigns for domestic and sexual abuse which are suspected to have significantly impacted reporting rates: https://aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi359

Statistics can be bent to show whatever you when when you assume your audience won't actually think critically. This is a very common problem on both sides of the gun debate unfortunately and I don't think leads to anything productive.


Downvoting because you have not provided references for your statistics and because sexual assault is unrelated to gun violence.


I'm not the author of the message, but I wonder why the downvotes?

Is the message factually incorrect or you think it's irrelevant?


It's the misrepresentation of the data, sexual crimes are on the rise because of increased reporting, not necessarily because of increased occurrence.


> You are a bit quieter with a knife though. A gun gives you away immedietly to all around you unless you have a silencer but those arent so easy to get in the USA (class 3 if I remember correctly).

What are you trying to say with that statement? That knives should be the preferred murder weapon? That clearly isn't the case in any country where getting a gun is 'easy'. Or are murderers in the those countries idiots for using guns instead of the stealthy knife?


Except that's not always true![0] Take Switzerland for example where knives rose as murder weapon of choice, and the rate of guns became lower. In fact... for a country that has so many guns, it's incredible to hear that only about 100 homicides occur per year[1]. The USA has a mental health issue, not a tooling issue. Gun safety and proper education can deter gun violence.

[0]: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/homicide-report_statistics-show...

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Switzerland#Crime_sta...


Switzerland is very different to the US concerning guns in most ways (including the fact that it only has around 1/4 of the guns the US has, per capita).

This article from the same website you linked is quite informative in my opinion:

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/florida-school-shootin...


A gun is a tool. Anybody can use a tool correctly and anybody can use a tool incorrectly. Any tool can be bought legally and illegally. People who do not follow laws will have an advantage against those who do in terms of available tools.

A gun is a tool, but it is a tool with one use; wounding and killing organisms. A gun when used correctly, as designed and intended, is a ranged lethal weapon. A knife or a hammer, a car, or even a flamethrower have uses which don’t involve hurting or killing anything, and your point stands for them. If you’re killing someone with a car, you’ve misused your tool, but if you kill with a gun you’ve used it correctly.


> A gun is a tool, but it is a tool with one use; wounding and killing organisms.

This is kind of true, it depends on the ammo used of course.

However I think they have multiple uses, and from what I have seen they are mostly used as a deterrent and sometimes as a compliance tool.

If it's a pistol on the hip of an armored car runner or security guard, it's existence is a deterrent - and there is a definite difference when people see an armed guard and a 'rent-a-cop / mall security with a whistle' -

Cops often use guns to threaten in order to get compliance in their orders. I suppose it's the same at military bases and prisons - they are used everyday to deter people not used everyday to kill people.

Of course this tool can be used to deter good things and to force compliance for nefarious things like armed robbery so it's not a tool that is always used for good or in good ways.

I would guess if stats could really be made - they are mostly used for target practice at paper and cans as such when being used, unless you consider them being on display at various places like courthouses as being in use.

So it's a tool with more than one use imho. Not the best tool for the job they are often used in sadly.


Police and for that matter anyone in law enforcement are trained to draw and aim only when they intent to use the gun. Using a gun for anything other than shooting is how you either escalate a situation or how people are (too often) shot with their own guns. It is also a felony to use a gun as a threat or coercive tool, and it’s called ‘Brandishing’. Police don’t threaten with a gun outside of Hollywood. They offer a verbal warning, and if you don’t comply (and sometimes if you do) they will fire.

You never draw your gun unless you intend to use it.

You never point your gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy.

Treat all guns as loaded.

Anyone who hasn’t had that drilled into them has no business owning a firearm of any kind. Such a person is most likely to hurt themselves or someone else, or have their gun taken from them and used against them.


Oh how I wish you were right on all this.

> Police and for that matter anyone in law enforcement are trained to draw and aim only when they intent to use the gun.

Which police are you describing? I would not mind this being true, but from my experiences on the east coast I don't think this is true of most law enforcement, unless you mean to say that drawing it to use as a coercive tool is the "intent to use" -

It may be a felony to stick a gun to someone's head and threaten them with violence if they do not comply with what you say - however I think that is not applied often. Most cops are not charged with that if they do it, and most criminals at that level are not ratted out either.

> Police don’t threaten with a gun outside of Hollywood.

I have seen just that, many times.

Again I wish you were right, but it's not true, and I'm sorry you believe that. Maybe things are different in your hometown and you don't worry about traveling.

I agree with not drawing unless you are prepared to use, and do not point at things that you would not be okay with destroying, and all guns are loaded. Those parts of your comment I believe are true.

However I still believe that people having a firearm without shooting it is still a use. Yes sometimes the appearance of one may be escalating, but often times one being visible (eg a soldier holding an m16 pointed at the ground, a bank guard with firearm in holster) does deter other violence from occurring.

edit for formatting - had to hit enter after quote.


> If you’re killing someone with a car, you’ve misused your tool, but if you kill with a gun you’ve used it correctly.

Murdering someone is never the correct use for a gun. Killing in self defense or under circumstances of war is another matter. For the sake of my discussion of guns I'll define murder vs killing: Murder is a premeditated kill, you hate someone, you intend to kill them. Killing, is just what everyone thinks it is, taking the life away from some animal or person.

I've seen numerous cases where men and women with legal access to weapons have stopped bad actors from either shooting up total strangers, or trying to rob them, or worse. I've even seen plenty of videos of attempted break-ins to peoples homes.

Switzerland has plenty of guns, and their crime rate has lowered, and knives are much more common as a murder weapon now there. It's not the tool that deserves the blame, it's the mental state of the person, and without addressing that, and targeting issues that affect people (like pharmaceutical companies) we will never get to resolve the real problem.


Murdering someone is never the correct use for a gun. Killing in self defense or under circumstances of war is another matter.

You just moved the goalposts from what I said, killing, to murder. I never once used the word murder, and I didn’t even specify humans. Please discuss this with integrity.


So? Not sure how that matters. Japan mass murders are with car or knife, probably because that's the 'tool' at hand.


I’d take Japan’s rate of mass killings and average casualties per incident over ours any day of the week, wouldn’t you?


Not if I had to live in Japan, or be Japanese. They are a very different, extremely paternal society. You would expect different social statistics there vs an extremely independent Egalitarian society.

America is the way it is, because its full of Americans. Until we change what that means, we don't change anything.


> You are a bit quieter with a knife though. A gun gives you away immedietly to all around you unless you have a silencer but those arent so easy to get in the USA (class 3 if I remember correctly).

There's a ring adapter you can screw on most weapons (Econo-can) that allows you to suppress any weapon with a regular oil filter. It would be easy to 3D print and is surprisingly effective, even on a full auto rifle[1]

> And if its not a knife it will be a car, power tools, planes, boats, pushing someone off of a building. I rather retain my right to protect myself from crazies and die trying than be disadvantaged compared to criminals who wont follow the law...

And yet in most European countries a tiny percentage of the population has (access to) guns, yet we're magnitudes safer than America. Australia banned a huge swathe of rifles and shotguns in 1996, yet there hasn't been a huge rise in victims of crime.

> A gun is a tool. Anybody can use a tool correctly and anybody can use a tool incorrectly. Any tool can be bought legally and illegally. People who do not follow laws will have an advantage against those who do in terms of available tools.

This is an extremely tired old chestnut. I mean, come on dude. Do you see someone with a knife killing 58 people and wounding 400+[2] within 10 minutes?

[1] https://youtu.be/haiqFcIXTqs?t=51 [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Las_Vegas_shooting


> Guns are like a megaphone for violence. Violent people will still exist but their reach is far less with a knife

You'd think so, but I don't think that's the case. There have been many multiple-death stabbings in Asia, for instance:

https://newrepublic.com/article/151994/china-many-school-sta...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/06/world/asia/china-knife-at...


And many multi-death vehicular attacks around the world, like the one in Nice, France that killed 86 and wounded 458.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Nice_truck_attack

The people who want to ban guns are aware that doing so won't end violence, but they have a plan: they'll ban knives and vehicles as well. It's already being called for in the UK and in this very discussion. They'll never stop because being "against violence" is an easy way to score cheap political points, no matter how useless such measures are.


lets have a serious discussion... knife is like number 5000 on a crazy persons shopping list. gun is probably 300 but also easier than 1-299


I'm not saying that guns should be legal (I'm also not saying they should be illegal). What is important is to focus on the root issues, and I don't believe that the root issues are "guns".


This is a false dichotomy. Why do you have to focus on the "root issue"? What's wrong with dealing with a part of the problem? No complex problems get dealt with as a whole. They get broken in to pieces and dealt with using the tools available. Guns are clearly a part of the problem so let's do something about them while also doing something about other social issues.


is this true?

I feel like by dealing with a part of the problem you first have an understanding of the system as a whole so that you can isolate the root cause aka the part of the problem it's not route in terms of the base or foundation of a problem it's root in terms of dealing with the actual causal issue


Policing and laws often treat symptoms and not the "root" cause. Financial laws addressing fraud don't try and solve the underlying human greed yet they are valuable in trying to the protect victims of fraud.

Saying we can only solve fraud by addressing the underlying socitial reasons driving people to commit fraud would be crazy. The symptoms can be dealt with it can and make a difference while also working on other causal factors.

It doesn't have to deal directly with the "causal issue". It just has to reduce the negative effect.


GP is making a serious point.


People don't see a gun and decide to use it.

They decide to hurt someone, then look for a weapon. If it's not a gun, it will be a knife, or acid, or poison, or fists, or a vehicle...


This actually isn't well backed up by psychology. The large majority of violent crimes aren't premeditated--they're impulses.


Wouldn’t that mean the same thing? They decide to hurt (the impulse), and they grab whatever happens to be nearby.

That is, they don’t see a gun and decide to use it; they decide to use something and see a gun


How exactly would someone like, for example, Jared Lee Laughner have wounded and killed so many without a gun? How many would the Vegas shooter have killed? It’s interesting that harm reduction is fine for some things, but when we’re talking about guns suddenly the concept is discarded or evaded. I’ve talked to people who make the specious argument that if people didn’t have access to guns they’d just make bombs, as if making a bomb to kill dozens or even hundreds of people is trivial.

Imagine if that psychopath who attacked Glasgow airport in ‘07 had access firearms instead of a home brew “bomb” that only succeeds in lighting him on fire? Bombs are hard, knives require strength and skill, an AR-15 in a crowd is too easy.


> How exactly would someone...have wounded and killed so many without a gun?

In addition to bombs and knives, here are some other alternative weapons people have used to kill far more people than Jared Lee Laughner did:

Gasoline

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daegu_subway_fire (192 killed)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Land_fire (87 killed)

A truck

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Nice_truck_attack (86 killed and 458 wounded)

Poison

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niels_H%C3%B6gel (over 100 killed)

A cord

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Ridgway (at least 49 killed)


Violence still happens but the magnitude would be reduced.

It's a lot harder to kill people with things that aren't guns. If it was as easy then soldiers would primarily equipped with "knife, or acid, or poison, or fists". The army chooses guns as the primary weapon are they are clearly much more effective at killing.


The army doesn't use poisons (chemical weapons) because they are so effective, and so horrible, that their use is unthinkable.

Remember the outrage when Syria did use poison?


So you're suggesting this is the main/only reason poison isn't the primary weapon provided to infantry for most military situations? Interesting.


Don't try to intentionally misrepresent me. You know that's not what I said.

I'm saying that if the army shared the goal of mass shooters - to kill as many people as possible indiscriminately - guns would absolutely not be their weapon of choice; and if the army switched weapons from guns to poison, the magnitude of violence would be amplified, not reduced.


I was discussing what solders carry as a primary weapon but since you brought it up why don't "mass shooters" regularly use chemical weapons now instead? Could it be because they're regulated and not readily available to civilians?


Not sure there are any good ways to prove it at this point, but I think that part of the appeal is the mass media coverage. You get instagram famous, news at 9 and news at 5 and 10 and 11 TV famous, you get facebook famous.. and the debates about guns and the interest groups and the people who want votes and those who want money and power - they all keep your name in the news for longer than most stories in a cycle.

Then when you trial date comes up it all goes on again - so these people see the fame that others have gotten - and how people have loathed them and feared them, and their shots are heard around the world.

Not so much the case when someone mixes bleach and windex.


Probably because they think, as you did, that "it's a lot harder to kill people with things that aren't guns."

Fortunately that means they use guns instead of more dangerous weapons.


I'm willing to learn here, but I can't find a source for that claim.


See what happens when someone gets in a crowded place with a gun vs a knife. Also the general public should not be allowed to take a vehicle in to a dense area like a city.


> Also the general public should not be allowed to take a vehicle in to a dense area like a city.

First, ban guns. Then, ban knives. Then, ban vehicles. Where does it end?


We're going to get to books eventually...

Honestly, I think banning guns won't work, especially in a country like the US. However, it seems like an easy solution to a difficult problem, hence the relatively widespread support.

To find solutions, we need to look at the problem from as many angles as we can. What I see is:

- gang violence - lack of jobs, profitability in illegal industries like drugs and prostitution, poor high school graduation rate - mass murders - mental health issues, anger at "society" (desperation or desire to right some wrong), intolerance - murders - jealousy, revenge, etc, without a better outlet - covering for another crime - robbery, burglary, drugs, etc

So, now we look at solutions, which will be some mix of:

- gangs - better job availability, better eduction, access to capital for self employment - mass murder - better mental health care access, more informed public - murder - more social interaction/feeling of community, access to counselors, better HR departments - other crime - similar solutions as gang violence

We can't eliminate all violent crime, but there are more solutions than taking away the tool. Honestly, I think more people should be familiar with guns, not fewer, so part of my solution would be to encourage people to get basic training with them, which should help people appreciate their destructive power more.

However, spit balling solutions like this isn't particularly helpful, just like attacking guns isn't helpful. Let's look at what the causes to the problems are, look at possible solutions, and look at how much those solutions will cost and estimate an ROI for each solution. I'm a fan of generally removing restrictions where those restrictions are big causes of crime (e.g. legalize marijuana, which will likely reduce drug crime; legalize prostitution, which will decrease sex trafficking and organized crime), but I want to look at the numbers before deciding which changes to make. We need more studies and policy proposals based on those studies, not populist crap to get reelected.


Vehicles should be banned in cities because they are a huge health and safety risk when used as intended. They have an endless list of downsides.


Then how do you explain India? There exists massive wealth inequality in India as well, yet the murder rate is infinitesimal compared to Latin America.

I believe the issue is more cultural than economical.


Does india have a drug problem or such a corrupt, unhelpful government? I don't know which way the causality goes, but all of the above (drugs, culture, crime, poor government) seem to be correlated.


> Does Indian have such a corrupt, unhelpful government?

Yes.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ronakdesai/2018/03/07/india-con...


> illegal drugs

Drugs don't seem to be the problem (e.g. look at Portugal or The Netherlands), but illegal drug trade. The violence doesn't seem to come from drug users, but drug traffickers. If we make it legal, the drug traffickers go out of business.

My guess is that Latin America is worse than India because the US is close to Latin America, and the US buys a lot of drugs. If we legalize the more common drugs, I anticipate that the weaker demand will drastically reduce gang violence because there just isn't as much money as stake.

India doesn't border a wealthy country, so it isn't likely as lucrative to murder. That's my guess, and I'd like to see some research to explain it better than my gut reaction.


Doesn't India actually have a fairly low Gini index? Lower than any country in South or Latin America, save Uruguay.


In Latin America there have been repeated movements for many decades to identify and address these underlying social injustices, including the wealth distribution. These movements often do not fare well, and the US Government is invested (financially, militarily, politically) in ensuring that these movements do not fare well.


Yeah, Venezuela's going through one of those movements right now, and thanks to it, has the third highest homicide rate in the world.


How much of it is cultural? Were the indigenous peoples of the Americas particularly murderous (I seem to remember depictions of human sacrifice where large cages were filled with people to be burned)? How much of it came from the Spanish inquisition/conquistador culture? These are the questions I ponder whenever related subjects come up, but unfortunately I have no answers.


The Aztecs--and I specifically mean Aztecs here and not the Mexica in general--were probably some of the most profligate sacrificers in human history. But outside of them, the pre-Columbian Americans don't seem to be unusually inclined to human sacrifice, especially in comparison to the rest of the world. The difference is that they were first contacted by European society at a time when they still practiced religious beliefs that included human sacrifice while the Europeans had forgotten just how much they had sacrificed humans a millennium earlier.


From my experience visiting the Mayan highlands in Guatemala, I’d say the indigenous people are generally wonderful human beings dealing the best they can with a hard situation.

They’re so far away from the days of human sacrifice, it’s like asking if white people are naturally violent because of the 30 years war.


That's true, but it's still a lot harder to reliably murder people with a knife.


It makes sense except for the US, which is sort of a strange outlier for gun violence.


Guns are part of the problem. It is as dishonest as saying that cigarets are not bad for health.


> Removing guns from the streets may reduce gun deaths, but the violence will probably remain as long as the underlying social injustices are not addressed.

The old no solution unless it's the perfect solution response. No-one is saying social issues and inequality shouldn't be addressed too but easy access to guns sure makes shooting people a lot easier.


> Small Arms Survey reported that in 2017, Mexico had 12.9 guns per 100 civilians, although of the 16,809,000 guns estimated in circulation in that year, only 3,118,592 were legally registered.

>This high level of unregistered firearms has been attributed to Mexico’s proximity with the United States, as thousands of gun retailers sit just over the border. A report on gun trafficking between the US and Mexico revealed that almost 90% of the guns recovered and identified from Mexican crime scenes can be traced back to firearm dealers in the neighbouring country.


Mexico actually has one of the lower homicide rates in Latin America (17th in LA, 20th worldwide). Proximity to the US isn't correlated with a high homicide rate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intention...


What you're pointing out is exactly what the article misses: firearms are not the only tool used in homicides.

Negative effects on society from homicide are because of the violent death, not because of the mechanism.


That's a bingo!

You can't really draw very much from the poorly framed data in this article. They selected these 6 countries by absolute number of deaths / guns, rather than per capita; mix suicides with homicides; and don't include the overall number of homicides, which (as I think you're suggesting) could be used to tease out direction of causality.

Moreover, n=6 lies in the realm of anecdote, not data. There are ~200 countries in the UN. If you want to know anything significant, throw all their gun ownership rates, homicide rotes, Gini coefficients, etc into a regression and maybe you'll be able to say something interesting.


You just say bingo.


A subtlety in that quote: most guns were not submitted for tracing in the first place. Of those that were, ~90% led to the US.

The whole 90-percent-of-Mexican-gun-crimes-happened-with-US-sourced-guns argument never passed the smell test with me. Guns are expensive at retail. And wholesale prices aren’t low, either. Who wants to spend truckloads of cash on brand new guns from licensed dealers when all manner of ex-military AKs and FNs are available on the Latin American black market? Much cheaper and less risky to get guns from the south than the north.

Anyway, what’s the proportion made up by US-sourced firearms? Nobody’s sure, but probably nowhere near the bulk of it:

https://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/counting-mexicos-guns/


> most guns were not submitted for tracing in the first place

Kind of like claiming that fewer than 10% of accusations for a given crime are false, based on the fact that, out of the cases that prosecutors decide to bring to trial, over 90% result in convictions.


If that is true, then Canada should have exactly the same problem.


We do have a problem in that for the non-suicide firearms violence that does occur in Canada a great amount of the weapons involved were smuggled in from the USA and are restricted or prohibited in Canada.


Canada has a much stronger, better funded government and, in particular, they don’t have the drug trade pushing amounts of money rivaling state budgets into crime syndicates.

Mexico has been destabilized by U.S. influences fore decades and the widespread corruption is in no small due to the number of areas where honest cops and prosecutors are dead – there’s even a phrase “plomo o plumo” (Silver or lead?) describing the decision so many have been told to make. That’s a huge inflection point which is hard for any country to recover from.


It's "plomo o plata" (lead or silver).


Oh, you’re totally right - that’s what I get for responding too quickly. Thanks for the correction.


I would assume Canada has much stronger border control than Mexico.


I highly doubt it. Our border is really too big to guard effectively, and frankly no one really cares to.

There is a border crossing that literally just consists of some cameras and phones: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/northwest-angle (admittedly to smuggle things through this you would have to take a boat to get there, and if you did this regularly someone would probably notice)

There are towns (and houses, and at least one library, also a restaurant) split down the middle with no barrier: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-incredible-complic...

And there are ridiculously many miles of basically uninhabited border.

It's probably "stronger" at the well traveled crossings, but only because you're not likely to be able to bribe our border guards.


The united states and canada invest heavily in a physical barrier. Both countries regularly clear the forests on the border so that the entire border is more easily patrollable. Because of this physical barrier and cooperation between the countries it is extremely difficult to cross the canadian united states border without being immediately noticed and caught.


Wtf are you talking about? There are numerous stories of people accidentally crossing the border without even knowing it while hiking or boating. And you're really going to tell me that clearing the forests for 20ft at the border magically prevents people from crossing if they want to? Do you think there are thousands of drones patrolling the clearings or something?


There are numerous stories I've heard of people crossing the border and then being met by authorities and sent back: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/06/23...

For example, this guy crossed accidentally, and was promptly met by ICE agents.

> And you're really going to tell me that clearing the forests for 20ft at the border magically prevents people from crossing if they want to?

Yes... it's littered with ground sensors and cameras.

> Do you think there are thousands of drones patrolling the clearings or something?

No. Of course not. But there is a sophisticated system on both sides to deal promptly with these things.


The story you cited was a jogger (female, by the way) who crossed via road in broad daylight in front of border patrol agents. There are no ground sensors or video cameras in the thousands of miles of border between roads and marked paths - the clearing is just there to tell you that you're at the border. If you're so inclined, you can hike away from border stations and cross between the US and Canada at your leisure.


Why would you assume that of the longest undefended border on Earth?


I've heard various stories of people being caught shortly after crossing the border (by accident or otherwise), via cameras and so on. Granted, these might be isolated anecdotes.


The border between Vancouver and Washington is literally a ditch.


I believe Canada and Mexico both have more guns per capita than the USA does, but one has less gun violence than the USA and the other has more...feel free to look it up and double check me on that though my brain is rusty and I think I last looked into it around Y2K.


Canada definitely does not have more guns per capita. USA is the highest in the world. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estimated_number_of_civilian_g...


Canada has substantially fewer guns than the US, and handguns are basically banned. As a Canadian I've never seen one in my entire life other than on a cop or military.


Because you haven't seen one does not mean it's banned. There is easily millions of legal handguns in private hands in Canada, probably another few millions illegal ones (including both the ones in criminals hands, and those in otherwise "law-abiding" families who never bothered to register them).


Hand guns are not banned in Canada. One cannot carry, but there are plenty of legal handguns at homes. Owner can take hand gun to range and back, but not drive around with it.


>>A report on gun trafficking between the US and Mexico revealed that almost 90% of the guns recovered and identified from Mexican crime scenes can be traced back to firearm dealers in the neighbouring country.

Do you really think that cartels would be gunless if USA outlaws guns tomorrow? They need guns to win and protect their tens of billion dollar business. They can't sue in court if you don't pay for the 1450 kilos so they use guns. They'd get them, and the dollar difference would not even raise the coke price.


The cartels will easily get their guns from wherever they need, surely.

Highly organized, powerful crime outfits will always have access.

That said - with Supply and Demand - it may be that their front line guys are weakened.

Instead of the mock-AK or high powered rifle, they just have a pistol or a revolver. It makes a difference.


Drugs are smuggled all over the world yet Mexico seems particularly prone to gun violence.

I agree with you in one sense though: there is no hope of eliminating illegal firearms in a continent already awash with them.


Mexico has a firearm homicide rate of ~6.3 murders / 100k people / yr. The United States has a lower rate, 4.62 murders / 100k people /yr [0].

If American guns are the problem, why aren't the gun homicide rates higher in the United States than Mexico?

But at the very least, it sounds like Mexico could benefit from stronger border security, too many guns are flowing across its porous border with the US. How many Mexican lives would a wall save from gun violence?

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-r...


Has literally anybody said that American guns are "the whole problem"? This seems like a strawman that's simplistic to the point of parody. It's not that people think that guns magically cause murders, it's that people think American guns cause Mexican murders. That doesn't mean American guns cause American murders at the same rate, because (ready for a shock here) America is not Mexico.


FYI, I downvoted the parent because of the tone of the first sentence.


> If American guns are the problem, why aren't the gun homicide rates higher in the United States than Mexico?

One of the answers is money. USA has more of it - for policing, for prisons, for making sure corruption and taking bribes from crime is less of an attractive choice. More poverty and profits of drug trafficking push the homicide numbers up in Mexico.

Of course American guns are not the whole problem but they are the problem alright. Here in Canada from 50 to 75% of illegal guns come from south of border.


>One of the answers is money.

It would be convenient if it were true, but I don't think money is a great explanation. I come from a rural area in the Midwest, the people are very poor (even poorer than the urban poor) but have a lot of guns. Despite being poor and armed, the gun homicide rates are very low (the suicide rates are unfortunately not that low).

Can you help me understand why poor farmers in the midwest don't commit as many murders as similarly poor and armed Mexicans?


I understand you are helping to differentiate between political and social stability and the easy metric "money", however, poor means something very different in Mexico and central America than it does in the Midwest. I agree with you- there's more going on than just money. But your example isn't convincing to me, because there is a huge difference in the financial capability and stability of the very poor in america, and the very poor of our southern neighbors. Also, just because someone in america is very poor doesn't mean they don't benefit from the wealth of our country in other ways- stronger prisons, often better schools and police, though that does vary a bit by community.


The answer to your question was in the comment:

> for policing, for prisons, for making sure corruption and taking bribes from crime is less of an attractive choice

Does this rural Midwest area have an active police presence? How well policed do you think a rural area in Mexico is?


>Does this rural Midwest area have an active police presence?

Not anything like you'd see in a more developed area. We had a county sheriff - I recall going months without seeing a law enforcement officer, I think we had a police to citizen ratio about 1/4th that of the nearest major city. Over the holidays, even getting emergency services can be really dicey. One time my neighbors were screaming and yelling at each other, we called the police and the dispatch told us that unless we heard it get physical, they wouldn't be able to send an officer out until the next day or the day after.

>How well policed do you think a rural area in Mexico is?

Probably equally as well, but the police in rural mexico are much more likely to be an extension of the cartels than police in the rural Midwest. If those cases, increasing patrols would actually increase cartel power. Until Mexico figures out their corruption issues, it's not clear how things can get better.


The rural areas of much of the US effectively have no police presence. In these regions, the primary law enforcement is the county sheriff (and a few deputies) and they may have responsibility for an area the size of a small European country. You generally don't see them unless you call them. Honestly, murder rates in many of these parts of the US are negligible and people tend to sort out their own issues -- the sheriff often acts as an arbitrator when neighbors can't. Sheriffs are typically elected, local, and have an enormous amount of autonomy within their jurisdiction.

I've seen more "police" in rural Mexico than I have in many parts of the rural US.


Most rural Midwest areas have very little law enforcement presence. There may be only a few sheriff's deputies on duty at a time to cover a large county. It can take a long time for help to arrive, so residents learn to take more responsibility for themselves.


Where do the rest of the illegal guns in Canada come from?


From Canada. Despite tighter regulation, guns are still not completely prohibited and many illegal guns start their life as a legal purchase.


Mexico would also benefit if we solved our drug problem. We’ve created a huge economic opportunity for the black market in Mexico. If we really focused on drug rehab instead of just throwing people in jail I bet a lot of the violence in Mexico would go away.


Why can't Mexico perform the basic state function of protecting its citizens from organized violence?

Drug rehab may sound like a panacea, but as it's practiced and administered in America, rehab centers seem to respond to their perverse incentive to treat addicts enough to get them out the door and relapsed back into treatment.

I think we're doing a lot to treat addiction, but Mexico can't count on us to solve the hard problem of addiction. Mexico would be much better served by doing the comparatively easy task of reducing corruption and violence rates to something that reflects its status as a middle-income country with European institutions. Simply making it harder for cartels to thrive and for Mexican politicians/police to profit off of drugs would reduce the amount of drug pushing here in America.


Why can't Mexico perform the basic state function of protecting its citizens from organized violence?

Because the cartels have made so much money from drugs that they threaten Mexican sovereignty in a lot of regions. The cartels literally operate their own private armies capable of waging war against any government forces that try to police their regions.

This is all due to the fact that the US economy is so big, its appetite for drugs so insatiable, and its arms industry so powerful that the Mexican government can't keep up.


> Why can't Mexico perform the basic state function of protecting its citizens from organized violence?

The drug cartel has better funding. This is why you see El Chapo housed in the US and not Mexico anymore.


Do the drug cartels have better funding? Mexico's Federal Budget was $314 billion dollars last year, estimates put America's illegal drug expenditures in the region of $100 billion [0], I imagine a lot of that money stays within the country. But I don't see how it's possible for Mexican cartels have even 25% of the budget of the government.

Why do you think the Mexican drug cartels have better funding than a government with a budget of $300 billion/yr?

IIRC, El Chapo is in America because Mexican prisons couldn't contain him. All his prison breaks involved corrupt guards, in fact, during his trial it was claimed that El Chapo paid a $100 million dollar bribe to the sitting President of Mexico. I think it's more plausible that Mexicans would rather join in the festival of corruption, saying that the Government is outclassed by the resources of the cartels seems false.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_drug_trade_in_the_Unit...


Most of the Mexico's federal budget isn't for protecting citizens from violent criminals, if I remember correctly the federal budget for "security" (police, army, navy, etc.) is less than $20 billion dollars.


The truth behind you question is that a significant amount of cartel power came from CIA policies in the 80s and 90s.

Illegally funding the contra through cocaine sales is a proven thing in the 80s with confessions of continuing alliances in the the 90s.

The second truth is that it doesn't help that the Spanish governed like they did or further that James K. Polk conspired with Santa Anna and started a war to "acquire" the West, or that the U.S. never paid its half of the deal.


RE Mexican govt. protection: If you're the cartel and the police are giving you trouble in a certain area, you have some options: Bribe whoever needs bribing to make it stop. Brazenly shoot up the police station until they all quit. Murder everybody on the force and their families. Or offer to hire them all at 2-3 times the salary and murder the ones who refuse. This is what people are talking about when they say wealth inequality is a destabilizing influence.

RE drug rehab: "Solving" drug addiction would be a sufficient, but unnecessary, way of stopping violence in Latin America. You don't have to tackle that whole big problem; all you have to do is legalize across the board. That makes drug production the province of legitimate businessmen right here in the US, not a vocation that only the poorest/most desperate/most violent/least risk-averse will take on.


I think part of the problem comes from the fact that stopping corruption takes effort, and when people have large differences in power relative to each other then basic state functions deteriorate. The United States seems to have power imbalances which lead to corruption.

For example, see the Jerry Epstein case in Florida: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article220097825.html

Other examples might include the water problem in Flint, the deterioration of Detroit, or even the violence problem in South Chicago.


Rehabs expanded under the ACA due to the insurance coverage mandate. Quality however has always been suspect. Most rehabs are not evidence based and there are a whole bunch of very shady rehabs in Florida and other places.


> rehab centers seem to respond to their perverse incentive to treat addicts enough to get them out the door and relapsed back into treatment

Interesting. Unrelatedly: how's OkCupid going for everyone?


okcupid never pretended to be good at its job, merely ok.


> Why can't Mexico perform the basic state function of protecting its citizens from organized violence?

The basic state function is to protect citizens from unorganized violence.

Fending off organized violence (other than from the state itself) is a goal, but it is frequently not achieved and often not attempted because it's so unrealistic. If Germany really wanted Luxembourg, it would take it, and Luxembourg wouldn't be able to stop it.


I've heard (but I don't have a link right now) that legalization of marijuana has already drastically reduced the amount of marijuana being brought into the country, so I expect further legalization to increase this effect. Marijuana is one of, if not the most lucrative drugs for traffickers.

I don't think rehab will have nearly as big of an effect as legalization/regulation. We should be looking for safer alternatives to more dangerous, often abused drugs. For examine, "magic mushrooms" are generally safer than other psychedelics, and LSD can be relatively safely used under supervision (and has potential for medical uses as well), so we should be considering those for legalization as well once marijuana is legalized.

It's far easier to control a problem if you control distribution than if you don't. Attacking it from a rehab angle doesn't solve the biggest problem with drugs: trafficking. Legalization solves that aspect, and taxes on drugs could fund rehab, so it's a win win situation.

Therefore, I want drug legalization as the primary focus for curbing drug-related violence specifically, and violent crime generally, since I believe it will have the largest positive effect for zero cost (in fact, it should be a net win).


> The United States has a lower [homicide] rate

No it has not, the wikipedia article mentions "death rate". "homicide" != "death". About 2/3 of America's death rate is suicide. Canadians statistics show that gun control has no effect on suicide.


Mexico has a violent crime problem driven by drug trafficking. That’s why.


You're clearly looking to veer this into a traditional debate along traditional lines. I don't think you'll find anyone in sociology who believes that any civic problems are monocausal. People who make these kinds of arguments are usually trying to ensure that, on a list of correlation coefficients, your favored cause is not considered highly correlative or "the sole problem," in your words. Inevitably, your next argument will be whataboutism for various other correlations you'd prefer we all look at.

Actually, you'll find that the correlation coefficient between gun availability and homicides/suicides involving a firearm are quite high across countries (0.7 - 0.9) [1,2].

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1485564/pdf/cma...

[2] https://journals.lww.com/jtrauma/Abstract/2000/12000/Firearm...


The article that sparked this discussion was about murders. In that context suicide is a red herring.


No, then you didn't even click the article links. From the first study, for example, the correlation with homicide rates is 0.746.


This conveniently ignores that in many ways, the U.S. is actively supplying guns to South America. And child comments ignore CIA effects on the drug trade.

Choose your program, "Fast and the Furious", "Iran Contra", activity in Chile and Panama, the early 90s.


> If American guns are the problem, why aren't the gun homicide rates higher in the United States than Mexico?

Guns don't kill people, a corrupt political and judicial system held at bay by a massive influx of cash and illegal smuggling from gigantic narco trafficing empires at war with each other over the right to make the most money off the US Drug War kills people.

Once the US has the same problems, then gun homicides will be higher here. (however, we are #1 in gun homicides among developed western nations, so we're on our way!)


Both countries could benefit from an EU-style NAFTA that allows for truly free movement of people and goods (no passports, no tariffs, no customs inspections, etc) between borders. Today that proposal would probably be problematic, but the U.S. Mexico and Canada should be pursuing "ever closer union" to borrow the EU's phrase.


Mexico is a crime ridden third world country. What do you think it's citizens are going to do if you open up the border?

How many millions of people do you think the US can suddenly take on? And you don't think they'll bring crime with them?


1) Come work. 2) 1 seems pretty doable. 3 is probably pushing it. Still less than 1% increase, but would be a stretch. 3) yes? We aren’t exactly crime free today. More labor, bigger economy, police and courts and jails would scale up >1%, just as if a bunch of people moved here.

We currently run at just shy of 1% in prison. If we admit a million, 10k criminals wouldn’t even be noticed.


10k criminals won’t commit 10k crimes. It will likely be hundreds of thousands of crimes. Not insignificant. Most criminals aren’t one-time offenders.


"why aren't the gun homicide rates higher in the United States than Mexico?"

Mexico has vast lawless areas where there is nary any law enforcement, and cartels fight with other cartels for power.

For reference:

+ Canada has many fewer guns than the US, and many fewer gun crimes + European countries have vastly fewer guns, vastly less gun crime + Japan has almost no guns, and almost no gun crime.

When looking at civilized states where laws are actually enforced then there's a correlation between guns and gun crime.

While most legal gun owners are not more likely to be criminal, the preponderance of available guns just gives the statistical chance that someone in a bad mood can get one much higher.

In other words: loose gun laws mean low level bad guys can get a hold of guns in a much more easy way.

Every car you pass on the highway in the US, there's a half decent chance there's a gun in there. In Canada, there's very little chance.

The 'odd man out' is Switzerland: they have a lot of guns. Their guns are however for civil defence: rifles, not hand guns, and they definitely do not have 'self defence culture' whereby people actually carry weapons. They are locked up in the basement or at the armoury. Also, they are amazingly civilized with low social strife etc..

It would be nice to see America have much stricter gun laws while not so much infringing on the essential right to own a gun. I think it's possible.


"Operations" like the ones listed here [1] were one of the reasons thousands of illegal guns flooded Mexico while the cartels were at their worst. It was as if destabilization was a goal, just as George Bush Junior insistently called Mexico a failed state, while pressuring our government to buy American weapons or be outgunned. Everyone knows the huge mess that did, I'm surprised we didn't end with guerrillas like Colombia, but it was likely because the next president wasn't Republican.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATF_gunwalking_scandal


This article suggests the main externality from the USA contributing to violence and instability in Mexico (not to mention Colombia before the current peace process) is guns. That's laughable.

The first rule of clickbait is that it has to make me feel something, anything, whether it's anger, fear, warm fuzzy, or here, moral superiority. I can easily read this and think, oh, it's those hick gun nuts who are causing Mexican children to die and mayors to be shot. Doesn't have anything to do with all those drugs that I and all my friends have tried at least once, or with our puritanical legislators who think that protecting their constituents from temptation is more important than the lives of Mexican civilians. Carry on, as you were.


That's a pretty good tactic.

Our government is entirely responsible for the rise of organized crime and corrupt officials in Mexico with respect to the War on Drugs, just as we were responsible for:

* the rise of organized crime and crack cocaine in California in the 80's when we were also caught proliferating drugs and firearms into Los Angeles to fund radical terrorist groups

* the rise of organized crime and corrupt officials in New York and Chicago after the Prohibition movement

* the rise of organized crime and terrorist cells in the Middle East after repeated meddling in foreign affairs in the pursuance of economic dominance and control of resources

* the rise of organized crime and corrupt officials in parts of South America where both the War on Drugs and staging of coups and election meddling have wreaked havoc on the population

But instead, we can use this as a way to convince people that American citizens have too much easy access to firearms. Because it's really in our best economic interest that only police, criminals and criminal organizations have guns. I would be surprised if the CIA wasn't in some level behind this report, with their sterling track record.


This article mixes and matches statistical types and conclusions in a confusing manner.

For example, if most United States firearm deaths are suicides, it is misleading to then follow with a quote saying “where there are more guns there is more homicide.”


Yet the US has the highest numbers of mass shootings.



From wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_shootings_in_the_United_S...

> The United States has had more mass shootings than any other country.


Wikipedia as primary source?

If you'll check the references for that statement, they're all news articles based on a single study.

A study that the link above already discussed. A study that "excluded gang-related shootings, drive-by shootings, hostage-taking incidents, robberies and acts of genocide or terrorism."[1]

In other words, it's a custom-designed, cherry-picked statistic designed to make the US look worse than it is.

1: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/05/does-us-l...


It's not cherry picked, it focuses on the phenomenon of mass shootings specifically. Gang wars and genocide are certainly tragic, but they are a very different type of gun violence than what people mean by mass shootings. The study is asking why in America people are shot by the tens or hundreds at ordinary, law-abiding venues such as schools or concerts, which is relevant in its own right.


Actually the study defines "mass" as four or more victims, not tens or hundreds.

And I've never understood who decides whether a mass killing is an "act of terrorism" or not.


I'm shocked. The country that leads the world in stereotypically American mass shootings, narrowly defined to fit our cultural context and exclude problems endemic to other countries, according to one study quoted by the Amazon Post and other left-leaning outlets, is the USA. Say it ain't so.


Isn't that kind of irrelevant? How many people have died from mass shootings vs other violent crime? Yes, it's a problem that we should address, but it's also not a significant contributor to death, so the average person isn't really at a significant risk of being involved in a mass shooting, much less being killed by one. The media and politicians just like to make a big deal about it because it draws eyeballs.

Instead of focusing on mass shootings, we should be looking at violent crime in general and the causes for it. This would lead us toward more general solutions (e.g. improve schooling for inner city students instead of just taking away their guns), which would solve a far bigger problem than some media headlines, and those solutions would be far easier to implement than attacking one of the core parts of American culture.


Mexico has mass-killings every single day. To give you an idea, a clandestine mass-grave with 500 bodies was found not long ago. If Mexicans had guns, their gagster politicians would think twice before fucking the economy on behalf of other countries.


Why? Both things can be true. Firearms could cause an increase in both homicides and suicides.


They could, but that isn’t a conclusion that the statistics show.


And a country can be leading in both statistics



>This high level of unregistered firearms has been attributed to Mexico’s proximity with the United States, as thousands of gun retailers sit just over the border. A report on gun trafficking between the US and Mexico revealed that almost 90% of the guns recovered and identified from Mexican crime scenes can be traced back to firearm dealers in the neighbouring country.

Obama's ATF forced dealers to sell guns to straw purchasers who took them to Mexico.


>However, there is a loophole. In a country of nearly 132 million people, there is only one shop that sells firearms, which is located in Mexico City. ... This high level of unregistered firearms has been attributed to Mexico’s proximity with the United States, as thousands of gun retailers sit just over the border.

It sounds like it's the Mexicans that need a wall to protect themselves from U.S. firearms!


Drugs and illegal aliens go north - cash and guns/ammunition go south


And the former funds the latter. If we legalize popular drugs and make legal immigration easier, we end much of the flow of guns, as well as the reasons to use them.


Reported murders. We mostly do not know what happens in Africa


Nobody seems to point out the obvious fallacy of the "right to protect yourself". If having that right actually results in being more likely to be harmed, or harm someone else, having that right is an unacceptable public safety risk.

A common argument against gun control ("should we ban hammers next?") is obviously fallacious when you compare it to an even more extreme comparison ("should we ban private ownership of nuclear weapons?"). It's obvious that some "weapons" are ok because they aren't a big public safety risk, whereas other "weapons" are a gigantic public safety risk. Guns are quite obviously a significant risk to public safety, as the murder statistics demonstrate.


>A common argument against gun control ("should we ban hammers next?") is obviously fallacious

obviously fallacious... https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/04/09/london-m...


> the obvious fallacy of the "right to protect yourself". If having that right actually results in being more likely to be harmed, or harm someone else, having that right is an unacceptable public safety risk.

I disagree. I understand that the divorced female across the street has a higher chance to harm someone else because she has the right to own weapons - that does not make is unacceptable.

I would like to see increased access to instruction / training on safely using any weapons one may choose to have available, so that there is less chance of collateral damage, not restrictions on her rights to use them.

The same could be said of free speech. I do not want other people's ability to speak to be restricted, even though I am aware of the possible harms. Instead I want more education for people to know who to research facts and find other opinions.

> Guns are quite obviously a significant risk to public safety, as the murder statistics demonstrate.

I do not think this is true. I'd like to see some stats that show how many people are killed by guns that are not involved in illegal activities (and suicides), gun deaths in the circles of drug dealers, gangs and other illicit activities should not so much in the stats of risk to public safety imho.

car crashes, cell phone use, and hospitals likely contribute to more deaths than guns yet we don't rush to ban them - and yet access to those things are not 'rights'


Education does not always correlate to action. Behavioral psychology and economics show us that even when people know what they should be doing, they don't always do it.

We have had training and instruction on the use and care of firearms for decades, but we still have an unacceptably high number of incidents, both accidental and intentional. States like NY have even passed laws that make not securing your weapon a misdemeanor; people aren't just uneducated, they need a clear incentive to act safer.

> I'd like to see some stats that show how many people are killed by guns that are not involved in illegal activities (and suicides), gun deaths in the circles of drug dealers, gangs and other illicit activities should not so much in the stats of risk to public safety imho.

Before I get into the stats, I'd like to point out that suicide risk is still a public safety risk that the united states takes very seriously. If someone is a danger to themselves, it's nearly the same as if they were a danger to others: either way, a life is at risk. Suicide is (most of the time) an impulse decision, and even small mitigations can prevent them. If not having a gun prevents a suicide, that saves a life, and thus has an impact on public safety. Suicide impacts not only families, but entire communities. This is a complex subject, but one that should never be discounted.

Guns account for over half of all suicide deaths in the US. In fact, the use of guns in suicide has only increased, and is now even larger than gun homicides. [3]

Gun deaths involved in illegal activities are definitely public safety issues. It's easy to dismiss gang violence as a lesser part of society that we shouldn't care about. But if you get to know the kinds of people in gangs, you realize it's 14 year old kids, and 50 year old lifers. It's people with families, who live in real communities. Their life affects many other lives. From the police they come into conflict with, to the social workers that try to help rehabilitate them, to the hospital workers that pick up the damage, and the prisons that generate hardened soldiers.

Gun crime creates worse outcomes for all these parts of society and more. To say nothing of the collateral damage of their conflicts that reach out into any surrounding communities. Gang violence enacted through guns is a very significant public safety risk, perhaps one of the largest gun-related risks to public safety. Their impact on public safety is probably greatest through the impact of the drug trade, but second to that, the collateral of gun crimes.

Snopes did an investigation on a meme about homicides. They found that only about 48% of homicides could be directly attributed to gangs, with the rest being due to interpersional relationships, and "unknown causes". [4]

Gun crimes significantly affect minorities, which has a significant accumulative effect not just on public safety, but the health, safety and economic stability of significant portions of minority communities. Homicide is the fourth leading cause of death for non-Hispanic whites 15-24, but the second leading for Hispanics 15-34, and the leading cause for non-Hispanic blacks. [1]

> car crashes, cell phone use, and hospitals likely contribute to more deaths than guns yet we don't rush to ban them - and yet access to those things are not 'rights'

Wait, cell phone use causes deaths? You lost me there.

Cars cause about as many deaths per year in the US as guns, so I would definitely say we need tougher regulations there. But like I mentioned before, people are not rational, and we should be legislating based on real-world harms, not based purely on the "perception" of risk.

[1] https://www.apha.org/-/media/files/pdf/factsheets/160317_gun... [2] https://web.archive.org/web/20160616013917/https://www.ama-a... [3] http://www.bradycampaign.org/gun-violence-in-the-united-stat... [4] https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/gun-homicides-disputes/


>to point out that suicide risk is still a public safety risk... ...

I disagree with about everything you mentioned about suicide. This does not mean I am saying you are wrong, you can be right as far as how you feel the impact and all that, I just don't feel the same about the impact, and I do not consider suicide a reason to consider banning anything.

> Gun deaths involved in illegal activities are definitely public safety issues.

I do not think this is statistically significant. How many members of public are also injured when a drug dealer is shot? There was a time when drive by shootings inuring and killing bystanders was more common in the news, but I think that is much less these days, and even at it's peak, if you take out the drug dealers, drug buyers, the thieves, etc - how many in the public are affected by being shot?

> only about 48% of homicides could be directly attributed to gangs, with the rest being due to interpersional relationships, and "unknown causes"

This is some information, it seems about than half the homicides are targeted deaths where a criminal is killing someone likely due to illegal activities, and about half are from people who have known each other a long time and were likely arguing about money or someone sleeping with someone kind of things.

Skimming the info via snopes it seems about 2/3 of the 'interpersonal relationship kind of homicides' happened with a gun and 1/3 of the kills used something else.

Here's the point I am / was trying to make above and here, I disagree that these deaths should be chalked up as public safety issues broadly. Most of these killings took out the intended target without collateral deaths of public bystanders, neighbors, etc.

If there were no guns, knives, other methods, and the only way to kill a human was the use of poison gas, and 10,000 a year people killed not just the intended target in the interpersonal relationship but also anyone living in adjacent apartments or others at such and such restaurant / pub / etc.. then I would be behind this as public safety issue.

> Gun crimes significantly affect minorities, which has a significant accumulative effect not just on public safety, but the health, safety and economic stability of significant portions of minority communities.

Understand the importance here, but disagree. If you had said "Violent crimes significantly affect minorities, which has a significant accumulative effect on the health, safety and economic stability of significant portions of minority communities" - I would say yes, and this is important stuff. Regardless of the tools that violent offenders use, the issue is complex and I think it's important for the whole community.

> Wait, cell phone use causes deaths? You lost me there.

"In 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed. 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015.

During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving" [1]

This does not include times when baby drowns in tub while mom is addicted to fbook. Also does not include the times when texts or social accounts on a cell phone lead to argument about interpersonal relationships that ends in death.

now here I agree:

>people are not rational, and we should be legislating based on real-world harms, not based purely on the "perception" of risk.

On that statement, we are on total agreement.

[1] https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving


What you're basically saying is there's a spectrum, but people just disagree over how to demarcate the spectrum. I agree, and so does the US government. Right now, automatic rifles and anything more powerful than them are illegal to privately own. That's just where a large part of the US draws the line right now: semi-automatic and below are okay, anything above is not okay. Maybe that line will move in the future, but people are already thinking in this way, they just disagree with you over what things are on which part of the spectrum.


FYI, fully automatic firearms are not actually illegal to privately own in the US. They are just heavily regulated. Guns that weren't registered by a 1986 cut off date are banned for private ownership, but even that is reasonably easy to work around with the appropriate Federal Firearms License. Although I don't own any fully auto guns myself, I know plenty of people who do legally own them.


I wouldn't argue it's very easy to get a SOT. It's not the most difficult thing in the world, but it's definitely non-trivial.


But shouldn't the "spectrum" be decided by what actually happens to people, and not just public opinion? Wrt automatics vs non, handguns are (iirc?) the deadliest weapons in the US. So yeah, the spectrum may change, I'm just saying I think it should be based on real world risks and not just individual perception.


I don't know why you got downvoted, because what you said makes sense.

Unfortunately, it seems that when you touch people's belief, facts become fake news.

No weapons mean no idiots able to kill dozens of people for no reason at all.

It's insane to even have to explain that weapons just have the potential to kill and don't serve any other purpose.


[flagged]


Could you please stop posting unsubstantive comments to Hacker News, and follow the site guidelines?

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Are they wrong, though? I got slammed with a bunch of downvotes all at once, and later a bunch of upvotes, and other comments on the page seem to track similarly. You don't think that's maybe caused by a surge of bias?


Even assuming that's true, (a) that doesn't make a comment valuable, and (b) the GP way overinterpreted it ("Lots of people owning guns") in the flamewar style.


There's a YouTube channel called Active Self Protection where the subscribers have this running joke almost about the next video being from Brazil. Even the commentator says stuff like "...you guessed it, from Brazil", because there's just so much content coming out of these Latin American countries for his show's focus which is analysis and review of crimes captured from surveillance camera footage, badge cams, and bystander journalism and what not.

It's interesting the ubiquity of these video feeds that we can get a glimpse into another part of the world and see the problems people have to deal with. The commentator for the channel often informs his audience about how certain things pose entirely different risks in other parts of the world. This includes things like not boxing yourself in with your car in Latin America where car jackings often play out where you gave yourself no exit by stopping so close to the car in front, or being oblivious to two men on a motorcycle, the so called "motochorros", etc.


The submitted title broke the site guidelines by editorializing. Please don't! The relevant guideline says "Please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait; don't editorialize."

(Submitted title was "Latin America has 8% of world’s population and 38% of murders".)


> Topped by Brazil with 42,000 deaths, the macabre list is followed by the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Guatemala.

All the countries mentioned aside from United States seem to suffer from gang warfare, or even civil war. That it is so high for Latin America is perhaps not surprising. Unfortunately, the US doesn't seem to have that excuse.

Also, are we undercounting murders by other countries by differentiating between civilian vs non-civilian? That could be affecting the statistics.


The gun homicides in the USA are from smaller-scale gang war fare as well


That is what happens when a global superpower starts funneling guns and money to rebel groups to overthrown democratic governments and replace them with easily bribed authoritarians. This is what happens when you bomb a peaceful civilian populous so they give into a foreign fruit companies exploitative demands.

Things would be a lot better if we didn't spend the last 60+ years doing everything possible to destabilize established and successful political institutions in the name of corporate profits.


Please stop talking about Brazil as a single reality. Murder rate is completely different across state lines. And guns play zero role into the causes, as others have already pointed out.

Any serious analysis on USA is done in a per-state basis, and the same applies to Brazil.


[flagged]


Care to explain?


They're almost entirely caused by prohibition of, and demand for, coke and weed in the US, and the fact that these prohibitions have been forced on its neighbours basically at gunpoint in wasted efforts to stop citizens from being able to feel good by taking something instead of being productive.

I never understood how anyone can take another life. To take away the memories, the experiences, the future potential of another spirit - all for the sake of what? Hate? Money? Power? How can anything be worth more than the only thing that allows one to experience this world? Sad.


Starvation, poverty, vengeance. Would you willingly let yourself starve to death? Would you willingly watch your kids starve to death? Most crime is done out of desperation, and if you and enough other people around you are desperate enough it becomes normalized behavior in order to survive. You get robbed, so instead of dieing a hobo, you rob somebody else, the problem perpetuates itself because there are so few alternatives available.


"Most crime is done out of desperation"

This is just wrong.

The vast majority of Mexicans don't commit murder, and they are definitely not starving.

Greed, egoism, pettiness, rage, psychopathy, nihilism are more likely reasons.


Starvation need not provoke murder. If I had to choose between watching my child die and murdering another human so he could survive I’d choose the former. There is no life for a life. You only get one, and robbing someone of their life is the greatest injustice that can ever be carried out. I understand that if you grow up in that culture it feels normalized, but that doesn’t make it ok.


[flagged]


Please follow the site guidelines.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


"We look at them individually to see if there is a correlation between loose gun laws "

Laws are irrelevant if they are not consistently enforced.


Yeah central american in general is a shithole. In Bolivia we are having trouble with colombians bringing in a ton of violence to the streets. To the point where hitmen tried to gun down people leaving their apartment complexes and being killed themselves, left on the sidewalk for everyone to see.

Evo certainly didn't help with narcos coming up big league since his illegitimate presidency.

These degenerates come to Bolivia and cause mayhem on a scale the people of my country and the police are not used to. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSFQQzV24CE


I spent three months traveling through Central America and it’s beautiful and the people are mostly lovely.

The violence is concentrated in a few parts of the country. It’s not like you walk out of your house and get shot at every day.


That is pretty much the case everywhere. We better focus our attention on those parts of our countries and see what is wrong with them, rather than generalizing over the whole country.




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