After the horror of the Conn. mass shooting, the copycat media have
regurgitated the usual conjectures, theories, superficialities, misleading
statistics, and ideological canards, sophistry, and platitudes. That’s why private contemplation and research are
preferable after such tragedies.
One interesting place for research is the
FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2010 and 2011. Statistics can be found
there that are not reported by the media herd. For example, of the 12,996
murders nationally in 2010, 8,417 were committed with handguns, 358 were
committed with rifles, and 4,221 were committed with something other than a
firearm, such as knives, poison, explosives, fire, hands, fists, and feet. In
fact, twice as many people were murdered by hands, fists and feet than by
Given these statistics, one has to wonder
why there is so much national angst over so-called “assault rifles.” There is a greater risk from assault hands, fists
Let’s zero in on a couple of states with
tough gun laws.
14% of murders were committed with a rifle, and 86% were committed with hands,
fists, feet, or knives. However, Hawaii
had only seven murders all year, one of which was committed by a firearm, a
rifle. This low number of total
murders means that a few murders can skew the statistics for the state.
Connecticut, on the
other hand, had 128 murders in 2010. Of these, 56% were committed with
something other than a firearm. This
is significantly higher than the national average of 32% of murders committed
with something other than a firearm.
Arizona, which is not known for
tough gun laws, is close to the national average in the percent of murders
committed with something other than a firearm.
At first blush, these statistics would
seem to suggest that the tougher the gun laws, the more that people are murdered
by hands, fists, feet, knives, and other means. A lot more analysis would have
to be done to see if this is indeed true. Of course it’s possible that some
reputable researcher has already done the work but has not been given media
breakdown of murderers is also interesting. Of the total murders in 2010,
46.4% were committed by whites (including white Hispanics), and 49.7% were
committed by blacks (including black Hispanics).
However, whites comprise 72.4% of the
population, and blacks, 12.6%. Therefore,
blacks commit murder at a much higher rate than whites.
Races other than white and black
committed only 2.5% of murders while comprising about 6% of the population. These “other” races include Asians, Pacific
Islanders and Native Americans. If you see one of these “others” walking
toward you on a dark street late at night, you can feel relatively safe. (The large population of “others” in Hawaii might account for
the state’s low number of murders.) On the other hand, the mass murderer at
Virginia Tech was Asian, so there
are exceptions to the average.
As was the case in Conn., the most horrific murders are murders of young children. Tragically, 584 children under the age of eight were murdered in 2010.
Statistics aren’t gathered by the FBI or
other government agencies on how many of these were murdered or otherwise
assaulted by the live-in boyfriends of their unmarried mothers, but there is
some evidence that the percentage is high. For instance, here is a link to an
article on the subject that ran in the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Even if children are endangered by living
with men who are not their biological fathers, it is doubtful that the media
and intelligentsia would call for a ban on the social-welfare policies and
programs that have caused such living arrangements to skyrocket.
In any event, as the foregoing shows, quite contemplation and research lead to more questions than answers, and, in turn, to even more contemplation and research. It’s much easier to turn off your brain and accept what the copycats tell you.
Mencken’s Ghost is the nom de plume of an Arizona writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.