Dr. Paul H. Blackman writes:
Yes, I’m sure [Kleck] would dispute Annest, because he would assume injuries
not treated in emergency rooms, and he’d probably stick with an
estimate starting around 150,000 — unless I’ve misunderstood
So how does he reconcile this with his earlier estimate of
10,000-20,000 such woundings? That estimate was computed from his
estimate of 1400-2800 self-defence killings and the estimate of 15%
wound mortality. Does he know believe that there are 30,000
self-defence killings or that wound mortality for defensive shootings
is only 1%? Surely neither figure is credible.
If you compare the death rate from gunshot wounds now with that of a
century ago it is quite obvious that medical treatment (most notably
the use of antibiotics) makes an enormous difference. If criminals
never get their wounds treated then you would expect a much higher
death rate from gun shot wounds than the 15% estimate that Kleck uses
in “Point Blank”. If we conservatively use that number for the death
rate, it follows that at least 30,000 criminals are killed by
civilians. Where do all the bodies go?
Criminals don’t “never” get their wounds treated; they avoid treatment
The Annest figures are compatible with at most 10,000 wounded criminals
getting hospital treatment. (Assuming that at most 20% of the
intentional shooting wounds treated at hospital are of criminals shot
in self-defence.) That is, if there are 200,000 such wounded
criminals only 5% of them get hospital treatment. It seems unlikely
in the extreme that 95% of such wounds are trivial ones that allow the
criminal to escape and require no treatment or just basic first aid.
While medical treatment has clearly improved since
a century ago, there have also been improvements in non-professional
treatment for injuries; general preventive activities not necessarily
involving a post-shooting trip to the doctor (tetanus shots, etc.); and
today’s bullets are much cleaner than yesteryear’s. In addition,
criminals may seek out medical treatment which doesn’t get reported,
something possibly akin to backroom abortions of pre-Roe/Wade days.
Even if there is a backroom gunshot wound treatment industry that is
larger than the hospital one AND provides treatment every bit as
good, then we would expect to see 30,000 dead criminals each year.
I ask again: Where do all the bodies go?