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Friday, December 14, 2012

Back to Reality: "Japan has as few as two gun-related homicides a year."

Posted by on Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 11:54 AM

It's not violent video games, it's not drugs, it's just guns..

What is the role of guns in Japan, the developed world's least firearm-filled nation and perhaps its strictest controller? In 2008, the U.S. had over 12 thousand firearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11, fewer than were killed at the Aurora shooting alone. And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, also in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.
Population of Japan: 127,817,277. Population of USA. 311,591,91. Gun-related homicides in the USA: around 12,000. If the USA were Japan: under 30.


Comments (17) RSS

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News flash: We're not Japan, nor will we ever be Japan.
Posted by Mister G on December 14, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 2
but they're much less free than we are. and they don't have all those awful minorities there, invading the suburban homes of their cascadian bacons & ken mehlmans at will.
Posted by Max Solomon on December 14, 2012 at 12:49 PM · Report this
Japan has far, far, less interpersonal violence in general than the US. Most of the developed world does.
Posted by tkc on December 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
@2 You don't think Japan's ethnic homogeneity has something to do with it's low murder rate?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 14, 2012 at 1:05 PM · Report this
And one of the reasons Japan has less interpersonal violence is gun control.

Same with Great Britain, Australia and dozens of other countries.…

If our citizens are inherently more violent, for some reason, ("not Japan" or Great Britian) it only makes sense for our gun control laws to more strict, rather than more lax.

Not that common sense has any relation to gun nuts hysterical someone might take their penis substitute away.

For God's sake, break down suck your fucking thumbs, it's less homicidal for the rest of us.
Posted by judybrowni on December 14, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Wandergeist 6
@1: exactly. This is a cultural problem. Much like drunk driving before MADD, it's only going to change when the culture changes.

Here's another data point: Switzerland has universal conscription of males, and when their initial training ends they remain in the reserves, and keep their weapon and equipment in their homes. This means every able-bodied man, and almost every home, has a fully automatic military assault rifle. Even after they retire, they're allowed to keep their weapon (though it is modified to be semi-auto only). Switzerland has almost as many automatic weapons as it has men.

Yet how many mass shootings are there in Switzerland? (Of course Norway, which used to have a similar policy, had an awful one fairly recently, but that was the only one ever, vs what seems in the US to be multiples every year).

But Swiss culture is very different from American culture, and so the lack of gun violence in Switzerland is not surprising despite the availability of weapons.

Guns are just how the culture expresses itself; if all the guns were gone, Americans would lead the world in knife attacks. Of course to kill someone with a knife you have to be close, and skilled or lucky, and it's much harder to knife many people at a go (and much easier for them to stop you).

So fewer guns would mean fewer deaths... but you'd have to have a LOT fewer guns. Like getting rid of 90% of them. Because a small reduction isn't going to make any difference: the people who want to get their hands on them will do so unless it's extremely difficult. This country is so awash in weapons that that's never going to happen. You'd have better luck mandating that everybody carry one at all times ("An armed society is a polite society... but also one with a lot of dead innocents.")

Gun control may work in countries that already have the proliferation tightly under control, but the US is far past that point. So you've got to change the culture, much as MADD did with drunk driving. Why do wives tolerate their husbands and sons owning guns? Why do women have sex with men who fetishize weapons? Why don't people avoid movies and TV shows that glorify gunplay, and why don't they boycot those shows' advertisers? Why don't we talk about changing the culture? If we did, and guns were not so attractive to own, the control would take care of itself.
Posted by Wandergeist on December 14, 2012 at 1:13 PM · Report this
@5 First, who are you telling to suck their thumbs? I don't own a gun.

Second,while I agree we need stricter controls on hand guns, why would fewer guns impact violence rates where guns are not present? Our rates of nearly all types of violent non-gun crime is higher.

There IS clearly a cultural difference in the US. And for life of me why is that not valid, if not totally crucial, to discuss? It's a completely rational and non-controversial element of the issue.
Posted by tkc on December 14, 2012 at 1:32 PM · Report this
This is overly simplistic: lots of countries with more guns than the US commit fewer gun crimes. It's NOT *JUST* guns.
Posted by fetish on December 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM · Report this
@8 And lots of countries with stricter gun laws have a lot more gun violence. Mexico, Brazil, etc.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on December 14, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
@9 so we're only marginally less violent than countries with a GDP one tenth of ours, endemic police corruption, and almost no enforcement capacity? What an achievement.
Posted by tkc on December 14, 2012 at 2:05 PM · Report this
raku 11
#8: Ummmmm... literally no country has more guns than the US, or is even close.

We also have the most gun murders of any country that isn't a poorer "developing nation". The #2 most gun murders of a developed country is the Palestinian Territories.…
Posted by raku on December 14, 2012 at 4:22 PM · Report this

Guns Per 100 residents
1 United States 88.8
2 Serbia 58.2
3 Yemen 54.8
4 Switzerland 45.7

Not close might be overstating it. But the US gun ownership rates are very high. It must be noted that over half of the guns in ownership in Switzerland are ULLY automatic militia weapons.

But the point is the gun ownership rates are not even close to reflecting the rate of violence. Switzerland has just over half the gun ownership rate of the US. One would then expect - if guns were the sole culprit of violence over cultural factors - the the gun violence rate would be half ours. It's not even close. It's not even one hundredth ours. The rate of killings with guns is about one for every quarter million residents yearly.

It's just a fact. There is more at work than guns. But guns sure are not helping any.

Posted by tkc on December 14, 2012 at 5:08 PM · Report this
raku 13
#12: Switzerland's gun murder rate per 100K is 0.77, versus 2.97 for the US (see link on #11). That's a little over 1/4 our gun murder rate, not less than one hundredth. Trains and socialism probably make up the difference.
Posted by raku on December 14, 2012 at 5:58 PM · Report this
That data was a single survey from 2007. Wilipedia says In 2011 there were 34 homicides by gun in the entire country. That makes the rate one for every quarter million. My one hundredth was incorrect. But clearly there is not a proportional representation of homicides to gun ownership rate alone. Examining Canada's ownership rate to homicide will show the same thing. I think yes that socialized medical systems and social supports DO make a difference.
Posted by tkc on December 14, 2012 at 11:01 PM · Report this
Ok. I live in a latin american country (a place some of you might consider technologically, culturally and economically inferior to USA, and therefore much more dangerous) and yet, at 36 I've never in my life touched or seen in person a real weapon. None of my friends, family or colleagues owns one. I myself consider it beastly but that's not the point. Living in the third world, we often have crime, political revolts and even huge soccer incidents, a vast quantity of uneducates citizens and plenty of inmigration (from other, poorer, latin american countries) and YET no mass shootings. No one entering schoools, movie theathers or malls to kill strangers. Oh, we have deaths, violent ones. They are just not random. Although I DO think it is guns, it is not guns alone. Wouldn´t it be interesting to start wondering what kind of culture, what kind of society delivers such large numbers of citizens that are lost enough, sick enough, lonely enough, confounded enough to think that the epitome of their lives is going to a school and shooting kids? What can it be done not to prevent shootings but to prevent young adults being in such dispair?
Posted by ferfer on December 15, 2012 at 6:40 AM · Report this
When gun activist start pushing for the same social programs and the taxes to support those social programs that Switzerland has, then they can bring it into the argument. Until then the whole "Switzerland has a shit load of guns and they don't have violence, therefor our gun laws aren't the problem" is bs. As the stranger has pointed out time after time, the same people pushing for no control are the same people destroying the social safety net in this country.
Posted by j2patter on December 15, 2012 at 1:41 PM · Report this
Also the reason you don't hear about Switzerland having 500+ deaths to accidental discharge is 1) Everyone who owns a gun has military training and 2) There are strict laws about how the gun can be kept and transported. America's one of the few first world nation that still has a wild west mindset about guns. If 500+ people died from a new designer drug it would be banned asap in every state...
Posted by j2patter on December 15, 2012 at 1:45 PM · Report this

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