Sunday, January 14, 2007

Umm, no kidding? Really?

While not specifically parenting related, lots of kids kill or are killed (or seriously injured) by improperly stored firearms in their homes. Now it turns out that lots of people are killed by guns; and the more guns there are, the more people are killed by them.

A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, shows that in gun ownership and homicide rates are directly linked.

No kidding.

Firearms are used to kill two out of every three homicide victims in
America.. In the first nationally representative study to examine the
relationship between survey measures of household firearm ownership and
state level rates of homicide, researchers at the Harvard Injury
Control Research Center found that homicide rates among children, and
among women and men of all ages, are higher in states where more
households have guns. The study appears in the February 2007 issue of
Social Science and Medicine.

Matthew Miller, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Injury
Prevention at Harvard School of Public Health, and his colleagues David
Hemenway and Deborah Azrael, used survey data from the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention’s 2001 Behavioral Risk Factor
Surveillance System, the world’s largest telephone survey with over
200,000 respondents nationwide. Respondents in all 50 states were asked
whether any firearms were kept in or around their home. The survey
found that approximately one in three American households reported
firearm ownership.

Analyses that controlled for several
measures of resource deprivation, urbanization, aggravated assault,
robbery, unemployment, and alcohol consumption found that states with
higher rates of household firearm ownership had significantly higher
homicide victimization rates for children, and for women and men. In
these analyses, states within the highest quartile of firearm
prevalence had firearm homicide rates 114% higher than states within
the lowest quartile of firearm prevalence. Overall homicide rates were
60% higher. The association between firearm prevalence and homicide was
driven by gun-related homicide rates; non-gun-related homicide rates
were not significantly associated with rates of firearm ownership.


"From my cold dead hands". Right.

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1 comment:

MaverickNH said...

Think of countries where firearms that kill citizens are NOT those kept in the home...

Are you thinking of police death squads, paramilitary insurgents, military dictators, etc? Places where the populace is unarmed and awaits the knock in the night?

The paper is based on "States with firearm prevalence more than one standard deviation above the mean: Alabama, Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, South
Dakota, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming", which comprised < 6% of the US population at time of survey. Those are some pretty weak numbers. In terms of causes of injury we should be addressing, firearms comes in way, way down the list.

As in most of this Harvard group's work, their difficulty is not in trying to say something true, but is in trying to say something important. But since they make their living from gun-control funding organizations, they have to keep pumping out the papers and dramatic news-bites for the press.