Sorry for being political: Gun Violence


NonViolence, by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd. In Malmö. Photo from here.

It really is somewhat impossible to go a day without hearing news of at least one fatal shooting in the US. It seems this is something I notice more, now after having been mostly outside of the US for the past three years. Or maybe it’s just that here in California, a lot of these shootings seem to happen not too far outside my front door. I read the news with morbid fascination and a bit of fear in my throat as the number of faceless dead seems to climb higher and higher. A couple killed in Irvine, CA, a man shot in Las Vegas, NV, in Lakewood, CO, in Fort Pierce, FL… in Everywhere, Your City, Your State, USA. As I watch or read or click on the news I wonder what the number is, how it stacks against other numbers, the ones they actually report on tv, the ones we remember.

So, I found some numbers:

Death toll of People in Sweden killed by gun violence in just 2010: 138 (

Death toll of People in the UK killed by gun violence in just 2010: 155 (

Death toll of People in Canada killed by gun violence in just 2009: 173 (

Death toll of American troops in Afghanistan, in the year 2012: 301 (USA today)

Death toll from 9/11 attacks on the World trade Center (including airplane passengers and hijackers): 2,996 (wikipedia)

Death toll of American troops in Iraq, since March 19, 2003*: 4,488 (

Death toll of People in Mexico killed by gun violence in just 2010: 11,309 (

Death toll of People in the US killed by gun violence in just 2010: 31,076 (Law Center to Prenvent Gun Violence)

Death toll of People in Brazil killed by gun violence in just 2008: 34,678 (

Death toll, including non-Americans and Civilians for Iraq War: 109,032 (wikipedia/ wikileaks war logs)

World War II total death toll: Over 60 million (wikipedia)

Finally: Number of people killed by guns in the US since the Newton Massacre on December 14, 2012:


As of this publication. Daily updates on the death toll can be found here:

 So, while the ‘gun debate’ has been happening since the Newtown Massacre, nearly as many people have died as did in the 9/11/2001 attacks. In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama urged congress to “Give [stricker gun laws] a vote.” Such violence continues, and this is the strongest statement you can make? In more than one way, centrism perhaps has squeezed the morals out of your gut. Maybe have we simply become so numb to our reality, in which shootings are so commonplace that it takes the horrendous murder of multiple school children in the northeast to even get our attention.


All things considered: Gun deaths obviously don’t scale linearly with population, or even number of civilian owned firearms. So how can we normalize?

If you look up information on a few of the countries I mentioned above, you find:

Population: UK (68 million people), Sweden (9 million people), US (315.5 million people), Brazil (198.04 million), Canada (33,476,688)

Civiling owned Guns in: US (270,000,000), UK (4,060,000), Sweden (2,800,000), Bazil (Between 14,800,000 and 17,600,000), Canada (9,950,000)

I’m no expert, but this interests me.  How can we possibly compare? More on this later, with graphs.


*My God, has been ten years?


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One Response to “Sorry for being political: Gun Violence”

  1. michael9murray Says:

    Frightening; but we cannot afford to be frightened.

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