Justice

One Comic Sums Up the Bitter Truth About Gun Deaths

August 31st 2015

By:
Kyle Jaeger

The failure of the U.S. government to enact gun safety legislation, especially in the wake of mass shootings, has left many Americans dumbfounded. It also hasn't helped many feel any safer, with reports of gun violence regularly making headlines.

Part of what makes Americans fear gun violence is the apparent unpredictability of mass shootings. Though gun reform advocates argue that comprehensive background checks and enhanced mental health screenings would help reduce the incidence of shootings, there is still a strong element of uncertainty associated with this problem.

This comic from Darrin Bell looks at one of the sources of our national fears about gun violence, showing exactly what it means to live in 21st century America.

Gun violence forecast

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, guns are involved in approximately 81,300 nonfatal injuries and 31,672 deaths each year. To put that into perspective, that's about 308 shootings and 86 deaths that occur in this country every day, as the Washington Post noted.

There is much debate surrounding gun legislation and regulatory policies, but without an actionable plan to push us forward, it is both reasonable to feel concerned about shootings and easy to fall into cynicism regarding the prospects of reform.

The problem, in this case, is uniquely American, according to a recent report. As ATTN: previously reported, mass shootings are significantly more common in the U.S. than any other country in the world. In the past 50 years, this country has experienced at least 90 mass shootings or approximately one-third of the total number of mass shootings in 171 countries.

That's despite the fact that the U.S. accounts for only five percent of the world's population, as Dr. Adam Lankford, the lead author of the study, noted. "This is not a coincidence," he said.

Drawing on data from the FBI and New York Police Department active shooter tracker reports, the researchers demonstrated that "a nation's civilian firearm ownership rate is the strongest predictor of its number of public mass shooters." America, having the most firearms per capita, is accordingly where the most mass shootings occur.

Unlike in other countries with high per capita gun ownership, mass shootings in the U.S. have generally taken place in schools, office buildings, and factories. Cartoonist Darrin Bell highlights this trend in his comic, which replaces the weather forecast lineup with such non-meteorological predictions as "Chance of Being Shot in a Church" on Sunday and "Chance of Being Shot Wrongfully by the Police" on Thursday.

 
Gun Violence: A Public Health Issue

Today is the four-year anniversary of the shooting of US Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

Posted by ATTN: on Thursday, January 8, 2015

It is not only our ongoing problem with mass shootings but gun violence in general, Bell suggests. It can happen—and has recently happened—at schools, churches, movie theaters, traffic stops, and on streets in high-crime communities across the country. And though data shows that stricter gun regulation leads to reduced shootings, until America resolves to advance gun control legislation, this does indeed appear to be an "ongoing" forecast for America.