The Gun Violence "War Zone," Evaluated
Of "lies, damn lies, and statistics," the anti-gun crowd is defaulting to just plain old lies.
On January 24th 2023, the Newton Action Chair Po Murray tweeted this:
We’re going to tear this tweet apart brick by brick, leaving it a heap of smoldering mathematical rubble, because that’s just how we roll around here. Then we’re going to talk about the side benefits of nuking US cities for fun and profit.
6,919 civilians killed in Ukraine is both wrong and low. It comes from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It’s wrong because it was updated to 7,068 confirmed killed on January 23rd of this year, and it’s low because it’s a confirmed killed number, and it’s very difficult to confirm every civilian casualty in an active war zone. Nobody uses “confirmed killed” numbers when talking about wars unless they’re trying to downplay the civilian casualties for some reason. The Ukrainian government estimates 33,681 killed, including 25,000 in the siege of Maruipol itself, for which no “confirmations” can even be made because of the nature of the siege. Lie number one.
20,138 gun deaths excluding suicide is a number from the Gun Violence Archive, which is notorious for cooking their books. First, this number includes cases of legitimate defensive gun use and of police use, which should be stripped out. Second, the last year for which verified data is available is 2020, which had 19,384 gun homicides. I find it hard to believe that 2022 had more homicides than the Floyd Protest Summer of Love did, but let’s move forward with the Gun Violence Archive’s number as if it’s correct just for the sake of argument.
The first thing someone who isn’t lying must do with these two numbers, is calculate a death rate from them. The USA is far bigger than the Ukraine, so these numbers must be normalized against total population. When we do that, here’s what we get:
The Ukraine civilian casualty rate is 12.7 times higher than the USA gun homicide rate. But that’s not even a fair comparison either, because some of the gun homicides in the USA are combatants. These two bars compare innocent bystanders in the Ukraine against gang members intentionally trying to shoot each other in the USA. There’s no good way to know how many of the USA numbers come from shootouts between armed opponents (e.g. literal combatants) but the absolute floor is around 15%, which is the usual rate of known gang crime. If we correct for that, the ratio is closer to 15:1. Maybe higher. Lie number two.
I just got back from SHOT Show 2023 in Las Vegas this past weekend, the world’s largest firearms conference, and much of the buzz on the floor was about how Eastern Europe is pivoting at light speed towards civilian rifle ownership because of the war in Ukraine. Everyone can see on the ground that while Ukraine’s army is doing quite well, they are not entrusted with keeping villages safe. Their attention is fully on the front lines of that war. If a village wants to keep itself safe, they need rifles too, and they don’t have them. Poland sees this, Lithuania sees this, and every citizen on the border with Russia is arming up. Simply put, there is a significant case to be made that if Ukraine had more civilian guns they’d have less civilian war casualties. They seem to think so, at least, and I’m not one to put words in their mouth.
HWFO has made a similar case to this before, when comparing rates of US homicide death to rates of European genocide death.
What we discovered there, was that the net difference in homicide deaths between the USA and Europe was 14 times smaller than the annual expected value of European genocide deaths, corrected to match the US population. Go back to the other article and check the math if you like. Europe is a genocidal shithole.
That’s a curiously similar result to the Ukraine civilian casualty ratio, don’t you think? 12:1, 14:1. 15:1, these are large numbers of dead people happening in areas without a lot of guns.
But the anti-gun crowd loves Europe, shithole genocide and all, so maybe they’re okay with genocide as a policy. Let’s play with that for a second, and see what they could do, genocide-wise, to solve the homicide problem in the USA.
Genocide to Solve Homicide
Since the anti-gun crowd is continually okay with eliminating the only bulwark against genocide in the United States, in a drive to make us more like Europe where genocide is commonplace, let’s unpack how they could just skip to the end and use genocide as a tool to reduce gun homicide here. It’s really pretty simple. Start nuking cities. The following table is built from 2019 data:
From the prior article, the expected value of annual genocide death due to European policy choices is, when corrected to match US population totals, around 95,000 per year. Year one you drop a nuke on St. Louis and reduce the overall murder rate by 1%, then year four you drop a nuke on Baltimore, and the net murder rate goes down 3%. Every few years drop another nuke, in keeping with the expected value of genocide death due to Euro style policy, and you eventually get all the way down to significant homicide reductions. It’s really pretty easy, once you decide that the only remaining bulwark against genocide isn’t important.
Mathematics seems to indicate the following:
No, we do not currently live in a warzone,
Converting US gun policy to match European gun policy would, in fact, convert us into a war zone,
If we wanted to skip to the end, we could just nuke our own cities and get the same benefits the anti-gun left want, since genocide appears to be okay from their point of view.