Gun violence is a U.S. public health problem

A night out for the midnight premiere of the summer blockbuster "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises" turned deadly.  Twelve people are dead and at least 59 were wounded.  The victims will be mourned, the suspect studied, and the incident relegated to our criminal justice system.  In my circle, however, we see gun violence a public health problem.  It affects people, it causes death, injury and disability, and it can be addressed with environmental, legal, and behavioral interventions.   A classic paper examining violence in a public health frame was published in a 1993 issue of the journal Health Affairs.  J.A. Mercy and colleagues described the methods and models used in public health, including our heavy emphasis on interdisciplinary leadership.  More recently, David Hemenway, PhD, a professor of health policy at Harvard School of Public Health published Private Guns, Public Health in which he makes the compelling case that gun violence can be prevented, just like we've tackled other public health challenges.

Gun violence is uniquely an American problem compared to other industrialized countries.  The rate of gun-related deaths per 100,000 individuals in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom is 0.1, 0.5, and 0.03, respectively.  In the U.S., the overall rate is 2.98.   And that overall rate doesn't tell the full story.  In some cities, the rates are five to ten times that number.  The fatality rate in Los Angeles is 9.2, in Miami it's 23.7 and in my hometown of Detroit, Michigan the rate is a staggering 35.9 deaths per 100,000 residents.  According to data assembled by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIJP), about 85 people in the U.S. are killed everyday in firearm-related incidents.   The most recent available NCIJP data (2007) identified more than 31,000 firearm-related deaths in the U.S., including 17,000 from suicide and 13,000 from homicide/police involvement.

The number of deaths are striking enough, but even more so when compared to the firearm-related fatality rates in other countries.  I used data from the University of Sydney School of Public Health's gun policy program to create the following table.  It shows gun-related fatality rates for the Group of Twelve countries.  The U.S. is a striking outlier on both the rate of homicides by guns and rate of unintentional gun fatalities.

If a cohort made up of 13 advanced industrialized countries that cooperate on monetary policy doesn't seem like the proper group to draw comparisons, look at Table 2.  It compares the gun-related fatality rates among the top-ten countries ranked by number of college graduates.

If you have a better comparison group, use the University of Sydney School of Public Health's gun facts by country to make your own comparisons.  I bet the results won't make you swell with pride.

Beginning in the 1970's, the American Public Health Association (APHA) has adopted numerous policy statements to support educational and legislative initiatives to address the factors that contribute to firearm-related injury and death.   The most recent statement adopted in 2009 describes the need for youth violence prevention efforts, and complements APHA's opposition to civilian access to assault weapons.   The Association also has a policy statement on the books concerning handgun-injury prevention and one adopted in 2001 supporting curricula in firearm-related violence prevention.

Some of the smartest individuals who can help us understand and articulate the link between gun violence and public health are Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD and, as mentioned above, David Hemenway, PhD.  Both are with the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and are also members of APHA's Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section.  Here's what they said in the wake of the deadly gun violence in Aurora, Colorado:

"The US has more guns in civilian hands than any other developed country and more firearm related death as a result: more frequent massacres like the horrific shooting in Colorado, and day after day, more accidental firearm deaths, more domestic homicides, more homicides in the streets, and more firearm suicides.  ...Other countries have much more sensible gun control policies than does the US and, ironically, more people in the US favor sensible firearm control legislation than has been enacted. The toll of firearm death is not, however, inevitable. Indeed, we know that rates of suicide and homicide are lower, all else equal, in areas of the US where there are fewer privately owned guns and where more sensible gun control is the norm.  Violence is a public health problem, and firearm violence is recognized as a uniquely American public health problem (at least in comparison to other high income countries).  Most scientific studies on firearms now come from the public health community."

In the 72 hours since the shootings in Aurora, I've heard quite a few political commentators say that with the November election looming, most Members of Congress will keep their lips sealed with conversations about gun control.  They also predict that neither Mr. Obama nor Mr. Romney will speak on the campaign trail about gun-control policies.  Should either candidate or leaders on Capitol Hill decide gun violence in the U.S. deserves national attention, they'd do the country a service by inviting public health experts to sit at the head of the table.



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Combining rates for gun homicides and non intentional gun fatalities brings the total to 3.25 deaths per 100,000.
To put this in perspective this is below the death rate attributed to Pertussis. Is is also below the death rate attributed to Asthma. It is even below the death rate attributed to Tetanus.
It is slightly above the death rates associated with either Meningitis or Iron deficient anemia.
Perhaps you could focus on one of the problems from the first list, potentially saving more lives and doing it without trying to trample on one of the rights enumerated in our constitution.

By B Griffin (not verified) on 23 Jul 2012 #permalink

B. Griffin,
I hope you'll share your data sources for the illnesses you mention. A quick look at the MMWR on tetanus surveillance shows a total of 26 fatal cases in the U.S. for the period 2001-2008. That number alone tells us the fatality rate for tetanus is drastically less than death by firearms.

I am a sport shooter interested in conservation. I don't hunt. I do shoot rifles that would be classified as bench/varmint rifles. I also enjoy skeet shooting and to a much lesser degree target pistol shooting. I mention these two interests because times change: In regards to conservation, once upon a time anyone interested was labeled as a bunny-hugger..or tree hugger. Of course, in the end, hunters, due to their sporting interest are intensely interested in ecology. If there is no conservation, their sport can't be practiced. You can similarly gain the support of otherwise right wing christians by pointing out that stewardship of the earth is something God commands be done. These are two examples of how political polarity has been tempered in regards to conservation. I have also been a proponent of gun control...despite my interests. I think the framers of the constitution advocated gun rights at a time when an individual was fairly limited in the amount of damage he/she could do with a musket, pistol or hand held weapon. I also think that given many of these slayings have occurred with legally procured weapons, which were not...NOT...assault weapons....but rather semi-auto pistols with a high magazine capacity. I safely, responsibly and legally, pursue my interests. I think gun control advocates would gain a lot of ground by finding a way to link to gun owners who wish to protect their ability to enjoy their pursuits legally, while simultaneously lowering the crime rate. As is, currently, liberals other than myself frequently advocate complete removal of firearms from all civilians...apparently failing to remember Jimmy Carter, as well as other libs were outdoor enthusiasts who wouldn't support such a stand. On the other hand conservatives argue against gun control, wanting to arm up with the highest firepower possible, failing to realize having that firepower available while make for more dangerous and deadly criminals. Advocates for either extreme miss the point and help to maintain a dead lock polarity that keeps the country from truly progressing beyond the spiral of violence we are in.....I would make one final analogy as well: I don't hunt, but as a conserationist I recognize that some of the greatest advocates you can have, as well as those who will enjoy the wild areas most, are hunters. I am not drawn to assault style weapons or even particular semi-auto pistols with a large magazine capacity, but there are many folks who enjoy these firearms safely and responsibly and quite frankly are very concerned about the crime rate. Enlisting their aid in addressing a common problem would seem to be the best course of action and perhaps the most prudent.

By Mike Olson (not verified) on 23 Jul 2012 #permalink

The reason you can't get a discussion going is because the only card you want to play is disarming the people who haven't done anything wrong. There are Countries with higher gun ownership and lower gun deaths. The US has higher murders from fists, knives, and blunt objects than other countries and no one is proposing that those items are banned.

One person in the theatre with a concealed weapon could have saved countless lives. That is what will stop crime, not calling a guy with a gun (the police) but being the guy with the gun.

Public health experts have numerous, much larger problems that fit easily with the domain of 'public health'.
Smoking, obesity, alcohol abuse, exposure to toxic substances, and infectious disease are each responsible every year for far more deaths than all gun fatalities combined. These causes are also clearly fall into the domain of health.
Before public health delves into fixing the constitution, perhaps you can demonstrate your abilities by finding and implementing effective solutions to these more significant problems that still need attention within your own field.
I have filled out a few medical questionnaires in my time and I can say with certainty, I have never been asked about the positions of my hands on the steering wheel, nor, the safe stopping distance at 60 mph in the rain. Also, I do not consider the DMV, DOT, or NHTSA in any way to be a medical institutions. Traffic does not fall in the domain of pubic health. But, since automobile ownership is not a constitutionally protected right, and because traffic accidents cause far more fatalities than guns, you really should make everyone ride bicycles before you decide you your field should be in charge of limiting citizens rights concerning firearms.
In short, public health experts have quite a few more significant problems to deal with that are clearly in their field before they will have earned consideration as a significant voice at any table for changes to gun legislation, much less being invited to 'sit at the head of the table'.

By B Griffin (not verified) on 23 Jul 2012 #permalink

I am a proud gun owner but I have never killed anyone with a gun nor do I want to. I do not own an AR-15 or an AK-47 or Sub-2000 or even a SOCOM M1A which I would love to own. mainly becuase of price. A decent AR cost around $1500 and up. The M&P model used in this tragedy is a crappy rifle to say the least. It does not even employ a pistol driven system like your higher quality rifles such as barret, Ruger, and Rock River Arms. The two Glocks he used were overrated as well. the media makes spin about Glocks becuase they look menacing. They are hign quality firearms at a reasonable price, but they are Not a Kimber, Sig, or STI. Nowhere near it. Cops use Glock brand becuase they are reliable, tough, and cost less. if monye was no option cops would ditch the glock for an STI or Wilson Combat or Kimber in a heartbeat.

As for all the silly talk of gun control laws going on in the minds of liberals everyone, keep inmind that jack the Ripper killed many with only a knife. serial killers who often rape and kill numerous people usually do not use a handgun or "assault" rilfe but choose a silent weapon like a knife or strangulation. Any sniper worth his weight would use a bow and arrow for its silent and deadly effects without the high cost of ammo and the constat harrassment of police questionaires about ammunition.

The thing is this. Man has been killing man sine cain killed Abel 6500 years ago. What makes you think some human law will stop it now? Cavemen would kill other cavemen over food, shelter, weapons, and women. Not much has changed. Vikings would raid villages, rape women, plunder, then kill every man woman and child and burn down what was left just for sport yet they had never seen a violent movie or owned an 'assult" rifle. We rarely heard of poltical rallies to ban swords back then either.

The thing about the so called "assault" rilfe is the look. It is menacing looking. Liberals do not understand that it is NOT the same rifles that marines and army use on the batlefield. The civillian version is a semi-auto version, not a full auto version and to obtain a full auto verison one must pass an ATF and FBI background check and posess a class III liscense to do so which is a major pain to get.

Liberals are scared of guns becuase of what the wrong hands might do with the guns. Conservatives say striclkter punishment is needed for criminals to put fear back into them. Fir instance, if this Holmes creep gets the death penalty, he should not wait 25 years to get it. They should take him out back of the courthouse and string him up right then and there. It doesn't hurt to put some fear into copycat killers and future nuts.

Violence has always been aproblem becuase of SIN. Most liberals do not recognize sin and evil becuase they have replaced CREATIONism and Biblical truths with ths man made fallacy that is charles darwin.

Darwin indicated that man evolved from apes and apes are violent disgusting animals, not humans. So, do not be surpised when we kill each other like animals if we so derived from them.

far from it. We were CREATED by GOD and to Him are we accountable and yes the Bible does teach strict punishment for evil deeds. If you want to correct what is wrong in this nation, how about lets undo all the liberal doing for the last 50 or so years and pt God back into the classroom and take out sex and evolution and lets put back waht was taken out. Notice that as more and more Godly things were taken away by liberals, the more evil society became. let's put it back like it was. Problem solved.

By Kevin Sanders (not verified) on 23 Jul 2012 #permalink

My apologies for not proofing before posting on my original comment. The spirit and intent are obvious, but there are a couple of spots with incomplete statements. If anyone is concerned I'll gladly clear up any confusion.

By Mike Olson (not verified) on 23 Jul 2012 #permalink

According to the graph in that wikipedia article, for the age group between 15 and 35 the leading causes of death by a huge margin are motor vehicle accidents followed by firearm. they Peak between 15-24: MVA=34% and Firearm=21% leaving 45% for Everything else! These two are the youth killers! and they need to be dealt with promptly. We ought to protect those youngsters from the bad laws we maintain and from their foolishness. And remember the constitution is not infallible!

Please don't try to peddle this as science. pick and choose sources that support your beliefs. you are now a politician not a scientist. I can find researchers that say the world is flat.

By Bret Clikeman (not verified) on 23 Jul 2012 #permalink

Pls., stop fighting the gun, fight the gunner that misuses it.
Do you fight arson by forbidding matchsticks and lighters?
Sounds stupid, ahh ?

Dr. Montfortin, I could not agree with you more and to B. Griffin, since when is Wikipedia a trusted data source. It is also clearly stated at the top of the page that the article is out of date. The point is that all of the illnesses mentioned, including gun violence, are preventable. Even one unnecessary death is one death too many.

B. Griffin,
Public health researchers and practitioners certainly focus on laws, policies and interventions to address health risks associated with tobacco, obesity, alcohol, toxic contaminants, infectious diseases, etc. They've also studied transportation policy---so indeed seat belts, air bags, distracted driving, vehicle safety, helmet laws, speed limits, etc.----have been examined from a public health frame. I'd encourage you to look at the policy statements adopted by the American Public Health Association and you'll see that public health prevention and research touches many aspects of life. Where people are involved and harm can be prevented, somebody in public health is probably interested in examining and trying ways to stop that harm.
APHA policy statements are here:

B. Griffin:

Wealthy countries have the means and the motive to tackle multiple public health concerns simultaneously.

In addition, precedent Supreme Court rulings (e.g. DC v. Heller or McDonald v. Chicago), affirm firearm ownership rights per the Second Amendment but also affirm regulation of possession & commerce is still possible.

From that IMO your attempt to posit false dichotomies based on competing public-health priorities (firearms XOR other things) and public-health measures against firearms vs. the Second Amendment falls thoroughly flat.

By Composer99 (not verified) on 24 Jul 2012 #permalink

I don't think anyone is supporting gun violence. Nor does anyone support crime. From a public health stand point things can get a bit wonky. For instance, yes, public health generally brings to mind infectious disease. This can be followed into the treatment of STD's and unintended pg's. Those are definite health concerns, even though they intersect with individual privacy and an individuals freedom of choice/expression. Similarly, addictive substances can have an impact on the welfare of the individual and the community, however, in that case the impacts are not necessarily due to a straight forward cause and effect. Meaning, although 12 step programs would claim addiction to be a disease, there is no virus or bacteria, no direct genetic link, there is not a test which can be given to indicate an individual has a given disease state and the current treatment of such a condition, advocated by nearly all public health folks, is only 10% successful and involves praying to God for a miracle. The only "disease"...(addiction really is a cause for public concern...but, "disease" is really the wrong term)...which is acknowledged both officially and unofficially as a faith cure. In the case of seatbelt use and helmet laws, realistically speaking you're protecting the individual from themselves. Simply going without a helmet or seat belt isn't a problem, the problem arises with the reality of unpredictable which case only the person who has decided against the safety measure is harmed...there is no vector. We do realistically have a problem with gun violence in this country, we realistically have a problem with all forms of violence in this country. And that violence doesn't just harm those who choose to use firearms. And, in the case of the gun man in colorado, someone else having a gun would likely have simply gotten themselves killed. That particular gunman was covered head to toe in body armor. So, unless a CC person was out for a night on the town in full body armor, pulling their pistol would have just led to more blood shed. It would seem a public health approach might work if it focused on education of gun owners and worked out a method of limiting these crimes by the use of non-invasive tactics.

By Mike Olson (not verified) on 24 Jul 2012 #permalink

Is not a South African's life as valualbe as the life of a person in Canada, France or the United States. Pick and choose your data and 'craft' your statement and you can once again claim 'unchristian' natives have no right to their homeland and can be slaughtered for not understanding latin. Is the life of an uneducated woman less valuable than the life of a college educated woman? Is the life of someone who earns $100K a year more valuable than the life of some third world resident who makes less than $10K a year? People need to stop blaming tools for how individuals use them. (The United States does not even come close to the firearm homicide rate at least a dozen other nations.)

RE PUBLIC HEALTH: Last night I was talking to a young woman about the great number of teen pg's in the area. I suggested we would be best served by following the Swedish model, as they had a pretty good take on education and criminal enforcement: Lower teen pg rate, greater age at loss of virginity, in regards to prostitution it is the "john," not the prostitute who is engaging in criminal behavior. She suggested that education was good and supporting your teen was good, but if your teen wanted to rob a bank, would you supply them with a gun and mask? I got her point, but was a bit stymied. Then I realized in that situation a realistic analogy would be driving a car. But, an analogy that implies the need for education and caution would be rock climbing. With the bank robbery analogy you imply that sex is a criminal behavior and if you are thinking about sex you are thinking about committing a crime. This teaches kids that sex is bad rather than a universal human experience. On the otherhand, rock climbing is cool, but requires proper protective equipment, caution and education before engaging in the activity. I bring all of this up because the analogy works for gun ownership as well. Rather than implying that wanting to own or use a gun legally is criminal, the best approach would be to indicate it is a risky business that requires proper protection, education and well functioning equipment before being engaged point is, why criminalize or pathologize an otherwise harmless behavior...if common sense is used in combination with proper education.

By Mike Olson (not verified) on 24 Jul 2012 #permalink

I would argue that the deeper public health issue is mental health. Obviously, individuals who commit acts like the one in Aurora are deeply disturbed, mentally ill people. Mental Health is a public health issue and is the root cause for these violent acts no matter if the weapon of choice is a gun, knife, grenade, etc.

By Stacey DiLorenzo (not verified) on 25 Jul 2012 #permalink

I saw this on FB today and did wonder about the relationship between guns per capita, gun laws, and crime with guns. I know that's a complex analysis, but it would be interesting to see info on this as I think it could help illuminate some folks.…

Also, great article! It amazes me how reluctant people are to believe facts and think that their quick wikipedia analysis trumps someone who has studied these issues for years. If @B Griffin was looking at the first chart on the link they provided, the mistake may have been that they looked at worldwide causes of death, not US only.

B. Griffin's "proof" to fit his fucked up theory are numbers worldwide,not strictly U.S. Since we kill more than any other country,those numbers u posted render worthless.
No one is questioning the 2nd amendment, you have the right to own a gun & protect yourself, your property. The question is AR's, weapons of war, with the sole purpose of killing dozens of people without much effort. There is no reason a civilian needs one,& since they didn't exist in 1776, don't understand how conservatives link it to the Constitution. Society has changed a great deal, the men that owned guns, also fought wars. Nowadays, any idiot can go to WalMart &buy a gun. Because is a capitalistic society, making money trumps, "We The People." The Founding Fathers could not speculate 250yrs later. They gave us the foundation,but we are to amend.
How can Conservatives say more guns will result in less gun violence? It's ridiculous, we now have more guns in circulation, than we have people. And a massacre every year, over 100k victims of gun violence.
This theory is proven wrong by every other country in the world, and with the ban on 100 round magazines that Clinton had, that Bush overturned in 2002. There has been a steady growth of violent use. Just like everytime Palin or Gingrich tells their base, Obama's coming for your gun. Gun sales spike. This game the NRA, politicians & the gun industry is playing, is costing us too many American lives. Unfortunately, no conservative will comprehend this until it's their child, their spouse, their friend. You're all pathetic.

By Elizabeth (not verified) on 27 Jul 2012 #permalink

Im not trying to go against people who want to have possesion of firearms but people need to realize that you do not need an automatic rifle and other large dangerous weapons to go hunting. Those are meant for MASS killings in war that is why they can hold a large amount of bullets so you dont need one to defend yourself against A FEW robbers in your house or to kill A FEW animals if anything, a handheld pistol is enough to harm anything brutally.

By Nathaniel (not verified) on 15 Oct 2012 #permalink

You are aware celeste that 85% of everyone killed in the US with guns are criminals, criminals killing criminals, drug useres, drug dealers and people with extensive criminal records. People we are far better off without in our communities. That makes you a criminal protectionist, you want safe criminals not safe communities. As besides, it is clear that gun control is a myth, no government anywhere in the world has been successful in stopping criminals getting guns. Here in Australia they make their own if they can't steal or buy them, also you spend all your time comdeming gun deaths, what about all the people who are killed with knives, blunt objects or peoples fists ? Here in Western Australia in 2010-2011 fiscal year we had the same overall homocide rate as the US, with only one or two gun murders, what do you say about that celeste ? We have tight gun control yet the same number of murders. We find that is a common thread with gun control advocates such as yourself, you don't care about the number of people murdered, thats ok with you, as long as they arn't shot, is that right celeste?

By saun cruise (not verified) on 27 Nov 2012 #permalink

Hello B.Griffin....Do you realise all your data sources seem to be from Wikipedia which is defiantly not a reliable source. Just go to and you will realise the brutal truth that America is completely out of control when it come to firearms.

By Chris Dacre (not verified) on 08 Dec 2012 #permalink

All you pro-gun folks - I have no problem with the need for so many guns. I mean, who doesn't need a dozen or so different guns in one house? You afraid of the boogeyman? Oh, they're for hunting and target practice, I forgot. Those of you who say it's for protection, I can't wait til you blow someone's head off for 'trespassing'. Your life will never be the same. You say it's because you're entitled to because of the 2nd, I have no problem with that.

Fine if you all need guns and love to throw around the "guns dont kill people..." comment. If people kill people, then why the F would you want so many god damn guns around them??? It can be dealt with but not with these insane comments of pro-gun owners turning their head at the problem. But you're all so afraid your rights will be stripped with the slightest gun control.

By all means get your shot gun, Glock, AR and why not let your kids play with them so they learn how to use them. No reason to hide it right? In fact, help them learn how to use them so they too can protect themselves from zombies. I really dont care if you want to own guns, just dont have a blind eye to the fact that the US is full of wing nuts and they're killing your kids with all the guns made available to them. And guess what? You can't do a damn thing because the coward blew his head off before the police could.

Just as long as you have your trophy buck - life is peachy.

B Griffin, You have an antiquated constitution, the founding fathers could not imagine the weapons in circulation at present and I'm sure they hadn't put in a clause that states you can kill each other at will.
The right to bear arms was essentially there to protect the constitution at that time, the fact it has been hijacked by the gun lobby makes you one of the most dangerous in the world, if only you would open your eyes and see it.

By Terry Casey (not verified) on 17 Dec 2012 #permalink

Great point B Griffin. I never thought about it that way. Boy what if someone with a grudge walks into a crowded theater with asthma? Imagine the terror he could bring to that group of unsuspecting people with his wheezing. We must stop people with illness form killing others with there sickness!

This is a great example of how people who LOVE guns can not be reasoned with and should be removed from the debate.

P.S. B Griffon, I think you should be able to buy as many Flintlocks as you can carry. Keep the weapons of mass destructions limited to the army.
I hope you never have to suffer what those families in Newtown have to live with.

By Torquato Tasso (not verified) on 17 Dec 2012 #permalink

I find something else common with Gun Lovers.
They all LOVE there country, and wrap themselves around the flag. And at the same time, they MUST have their guns because they foresee a time when they must protect themselves against the same country the profess to love.

It is a very very strange delusion.

P.S. They are all for the constitution as long as everyone thinks the way they do. Anyone else should leave the country the LOVE so much - and are SO afraid of, that they need to hoard machine guns and rocket launchers. You never know when Uncle Sam will ride up to your compound in them thar hills with an M1 tank ready to take your Christmas Tree or Bible.

By Torquato Tasso (not verified) on 17 Dec 2012 #permalink

Mr. Scott addressed Congress the other day. He lost a child in the Columbine shootings. He message was simple. basically, quit blaming the gun. The problem is far greater than an inanimate object. Morgan Freeman said the same. Work on fixing the evil in this country and forget the liberal agenda.

By Terry M Chambers (not verified) on 18 Dec 2012 #permalink

A wise man once told me that if you had one foot in a bucket of ice and one foot in a pot of boiling water than on average you would be comfortable. What happens to the US figures when you remove Detroit and Miami (and perhaps Los Angeles) from the averages? Is it meaningful to average Detroit and Paris, Idaho? In Newtown, CT, for example, prior to last Friday, in the almost 10 year period there had been exactly one other homicide all told. l'm willing to bet that I can find a portion of the US equivalent in population to Canada, where the gun death rate is similar to Canada's. But really, so what? If you banned all guns outright, do you suppose you would end all gun violence? Ever heard of Prohibition? The war on drugs?

If we want more peace and love, then we will create and disperse instruments of peace and love. Guns are definitely instruments of peace. So, we say we want to go east, but we are driving west. We say we want love, but we want the freedom to carry instruments that have nothing to do with love - are completely opposed to love. Hence, the state of fear and anxiety we live in - day after day. And you cannot imagine living in the projects - where we are given permission and encouraged by the powers that be to kill each other.

What war on drugs? you mean the slogan that Regan used to get elected. If there was really a war on drugs, don't you think we are intelligent enough to figure out how to win it. The Caucasian reporter of the Washington post got it right; it is a way to legitimize racism. Last year, over 700,000 people were stopped and searched in New York. More than 600,00 were released because the police could not find anything on them. 85% of those stopped were Africans and Hispanics. so, this war on drugs is just a way to comb the black and brown communities, to herd our young men into prison -- the new jim crow.

In 2009, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 66.9% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm.[4] There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000.[5] The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides,[6] with 17,352 (55.6%) of the total 31,224 firearm-related deaths in 2007 due to suicide, while 12,632 (40.5%) were homicide deaths.[7]

Funny that a liberal would but out only partial news.
B Griffin is correct on his information.
Sadhu: How about putting all of the information for 2009. Your information is not complete. According to the CDC: Assault or Homicide - 16,799 total number of homicides by any method. 9,146 total number by guns. ( ).
Every report you can find that will tell you how many time criminals were stopped by firearms is has always exceeded the criminal use of firearms. As in 2009 according to the FBI more than 2 millions times civilians used firearms to stop criminals. In 2010 the FBI reported 998,000+ civilians used firearms to stop criminals. In 2010: 40% of the arrests made were because citizens used firearms to detain criminals. 90% of the criminals arrested were successfully convicted in those cases.

Sadhu there never really was a "War on Drugs".... You are absolutely correct. There are illegal searches occurring in NY because Americans do not know their constitutional laws. They are testing to see what people will accept and how easy it would be to get them to follow a given directions. They figure white people are more likely to get a lawyer and sue that black or latin people are.

He who live's by the sword shall die by the sword.
All persons in the US with an IQ lower than 120 should hand in there Guns ! Problem solved.