Letter: Clearing up some stats on gun violence - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letter: Clearing up some stats on gun violence

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Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 11:06 am

Although I happen to agree with David Rich’s lament (Aurora Tragedy, Aug. 9, 2012) about media over emphasis of firearm events, his statistics need clarifying. Wikipedia.org relates these 2007 data: 31,224 firearm deaths of which 17,352 were suicides and 12,632 were homicides. In 2005, of the 10,100 homicides, 75 percent were by handguns, 4 percent rifles and 5 percent shotguns. (This doesn’t add up to 100 percent, so what other types of firearms remains a mystery.) Of note though is data from Philadelphia showing that 93 percent of shooting victims had a criminal record.

Preliminary 2010 CDC.gov data lists 11,015 firearm related deadly assaults. Accordingly, if you don’t have a criminal record, and using the Philadelphia percentage, the number of shooting victims in the U.S. is not 86 per day (31224/365) but closer to 2 per day (11,015/ 365 x .07).

So Mr. Rich is correct that worrying about getting involved in a mass shooting is needless hand-wringing. It would be far more productive for the media to obsess over more likely things such as health issues (2.47 million deaths per year) or motor vehicle accidents (35,000 deaths per year).

William Zipperer


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