Tag Archives: Gun Control

Simple Math: Oregon Shooting : 294 Mass Shootings in 274 Days

Here’s a very tired, very frustrated Obama breaking down the steps in a Typical American Mass Shooting.

“We spend over a trillion dollars and pass countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths.

“When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities.

” So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon,… doesn’t make sense.”

It’s a lot like Kübler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief, except we never get beyond step 1: Denial. These things happen to someone else. There are too many guns, there’s nothing to be done about it.

Playing with your guns all day
If only they could see you now
How you’ve learned to shoot so well
They wouldn’t laugh that way.   —  “Lullaby For Wayne”

Except that’s not remotely true. Here’s Will Oremus, writing for Slate:

After a 1996 Mass Shooting, Australia Enacted Strict Gun Laws. It Hasn’t Had a Similar Massacre Since.

“On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in a seaside resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania. By the time he was finished, he had killed 35 people and wounded 23 more. It was the worst mass murder in Australia’s history.


“Twelve days later, Australia’s government did something remarkable … it announced a bipartisan deal with state and local governments to enact sweeping gun-control measures. A decade and a half hence, the results of these policy changes are clear: They worked really, really well.

“At the heart of the push was a massive buyback of more than 600,000 semi-automatic shotguns and rifles, or about one-fifth of all firearms in circulation in Australia. The country’s new gun laws prohibited private sales, required that all weapons be individually registered to their owners, and required that gun buyers present a “genuine reason” for needing each weapon at the time of the purchase. (Self-defense did not count.) In the wake of the tragedy, polls showed public support for these measures at upwards of 90 percent.” (Full article here)

So that’s all there is to it.

  • Buy back the guns from those who will sell — probably at an obscene markup to encourage trade-ins;

  • Prohibit private sales;

  • Restrict commercial sales to hunters and sport shooters (e.g.: If you say you plan to hunt rabbits, your license doesn’t allow you to buy a high-powered rifle).

If Australia can do it, so can we. Let Australian Jim Jeffries entertain and enlighten you on the subject:


More Simple Math

In the wake of this morning’s shooting, which, according to Mass Shooting Trackerwas actually the second of the day,

I’d like to present two maps, and dismiss a logical fallacy.


Bang bang
Bang bang

No doubt, you have seen something like this before, and it usually only serves to reinforce the idea that the poorer, disenfranchised Red States are more violent. So — let’s put this in context with

Map 2:

Our Cities are on a par with Entire Countries!
Our Cities are on a par with Entire Countries!

To quote journalist Richard Florida in his fine analysis for the Atlantic :

The pattern is staggering. A number of U.S. cities have gun homicide rates in line with the most deadly nations in the world.

  • If it were a country, New Orleans (with a rate 62.1 gun murders per 100,000 people) would rank second in the world.
  • Detroit’s gun homicide rate (35.9) is just a bit less than El Salvador (39.9).
  • Baltimore’s rate (29.7) is not too far off that of Guatemala (34.8).
  • Los Angeles (9.2) is comparable to the Philippines (8.9).
  • Boston’s rate (6.2) is higher than Nicaragua (5.9).
  • New York, where gun murders have declined to just four per 100,000, is still higher than Argentina (3).

… Yes, it’s true we are comparing American cities to nations. But most of these countries here have relatively small populations, in many cases comparable to large U.S. metros.

The sad reality is that many American cities have rates of gun homicides comparable to the some of the most violent nations in the world.

The fallacy I’d like to dispel with is the one that goes something like this:

“More people are killed with stuffed animals than with guns every year. Should we ban stuffed animals, too?”

I pains me to spell this out, but here goes:

We have two countries:

Country SG has Stuffed Animals and Guns.

Country SG
Country SG

Country S just has Stuffed Animals.

Country S
Country S

In both countries, the same number of people die from exposure to Stuffed Animals, and an additional (nearly equivalent) portion of the populace dies from gunshot wounds in country SG.






Or to put it another way, in closing, if John Lennon had lived in Country S, he’d probably still be writing great music.

Ah … not so much, no.

Simple Math

“If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100,” President Obama said to BBC News just hours before the Lafayette shooting. “If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands.”

Terrorist deaths amount to about 7/year.
Non-suicide gun deaths stand at about 11,000/year.
So why are we so afraid of terrorists, and yet perfectly okay with our heavily-armed next-door neighbor?