Mark Kelly, former astronaut and husband of fromer representative Gabriel Giffords who was shot in the Arizona mass shooting stirred a few people up by saying: “How do we get to the point where 85% of children that are killed with guns are killed in the United States? That is a sobering statistic.”
Which is far from the truth. And I’ve been a bit surprised that the gun nuts and the far right have not made more of an issue of it.
But I guess I know why. Because although the statement is factually incorrect, the underlying truth of it is quite damning.
The statistic comes from a 2003 study by Erin G. Richardson and David Hemenway from the UCLA School for Public health. Homicide, suicide, and unintentional firearm fatality: comparing the United States with other high-income countries, 2003.
The study looked at: Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (England and Wales), United Kingdom (Northern Ireland), United Kingdom (Scotland) and the United States.
So basically they looked at countries with populations and societies not entirely unlike the US. Countries that are relatively stable, relatively well educated, relatively free, and countries that by and large have been so for decades.
And the results of the study are sobering. The US population at the time was roughly half that of the other 22 countries combined (290.9 million V 563.5 million)
Andyet 80% of ALL firearm deaths occurred in the US. 86% of all women killed by firearms where in the US, and 87% of all children under 15 years old killed by firearms in the US.
So I understand why the right and the gun nuts are letting this one pass. Because while the claim as made may be factually incorrect the actual truth is no less damning.