Friday, February 08, 2013

The statistic that caught even pro-gun control supporters by surprise.

I know this looks impossible, I thought so too.

And so did the folks over at Politifact:

Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., supporters and opponents of gun control have thrown out statistics to support their point of view. 

Here’s one that caught our eye, offered by liberal commentator Mark Shields on the Dec. 21, 2012, edition of the PBS NewsHour. 

Shields told host Judy Woodruff, "You know, Judy, the reality is -- and it's a terrible reality -- since Robert Kennedy died in the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, more Americans have died from gunfire than died in … all the wars of this country's history, from the Revolutionary through the Civil War, World War I, World War II, in those 43 years. ... I mean, guns are a problem. And I think they still have to be confronted." 

We found a comprehensive study of war-related deaths published by the Congressional Research Service on Feb. 26, 2010, and we supplemented that with data for deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan using the website Where possible, we’ve used the broadest definition of "death" -- that is, all war-related deaths, not just those that occurred in combat.  

The number of deaths from gunfire is a bit more complicated to total. Two Internet-accessible data sets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allow us to pin down the number of deaths from 1981 to 1998 and from 1999 to 2010. We’ve added FBI figures for 2011, and we offer a number for 1968 to 1980 using a conservative estimate of data we found in a graph in this 1994 paper published by the CDC. 

So they did the research and after combing through the statistics, this was their finding:

With about 1.4 million firearm deaths to 1.2 million in war, we rated his claim True. 

Essentially 1,171,177 Americans have lost their lives while fighting in EVERY SINGLE war fought by this country including the Revolutionary War, while an incredible 1,384,171 have died due to gun violence since the death of Robert Kennedy. And that really only covers 2011 and does NOT take into account the loss of life during our most recent shootings.

So the statistic which a number of people, on both sides of the debate, scoffed at, turns out to be frighteningly accurate. 


  1. "But guns don't kill people, so this graph is just wrong, you know? It's just a commie librul socialist plot to take away my arsenal. And if we'd just enforce the laws on the books, we'd be fine. And the answer is not fewer guns, but MORE guns, because we have rights. And the government is the bad guy, and we must protect ourselves against the evil government."Too bad the right will never believe it, and even if they did, they do not care. They want their 'entertainment' and their faux manhood symbols, and if another million die this decade, what do they care? At least they know THEIR kids will never find the stash and kill them or their friends with one of their precious guns. America is not exceptional, but sick.

    1. Anonymous6:21 AM

      Gun goons: "B-b-b-b-but what about our short penises? We're conservatives, you know."

  2. Anonymous4:52 AM

    Gryphen, at the end of your post, you refer to John F. Kennedy, but it should be Robert Kennedy.

  3. I'm going to dig a little since, at a glance, the numbers*** appear to be inflated by a factor of 2-3 times the number of gun deaths that I have in my head (where my rapidly aging & deteriorating mind resides, I assume). I'll study to make sure I understand all the parameters before I comment.

    *** I.e. (1.4M 'gun deaths/43 yrs) = ~ 32,500 US gun deaths per yr over the period measured.

  4. Anonymous7:21 AM

    The RW twists and lies about everything. How is it anyone remains that follow them?

    After Whining About MSNBC’s ‘Deceptive Editing’ the Right Pushes a Fake Sandy Hook Father

  5. Anonymous7:27 AM

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police say a 7-year-old boy alerted a teacher after finding a loaded gun in his backpack at a Philadelphia elementary school.

    It happened during an after-school program at Universal Samuel Daroff Charter School in west Philadelphia around 4 p.m. Thursday. School officials told police the boy was putting a folder in his bag at the end of the day and noticed the gun.

    The principal says staff immediately took the backpack and called police.

    Lt. John Walker says police are conducting interviews with family and reviewing surveillance video to figure out how the gun got into the bag.

    Walker says it was a .38-caliber handgun loaded with five rounds of ammunition. The boy says he had his backpack with him in the classroom the entire day.

  6. Anonymous9:19 AM

    David Keene, NRA Head, Slams Colorado's New Proposed Gun Bills, Gun Background Checks

    "If I were a Colorado resident," Keene said to The Denver Post, "and told I had to wait an undetermined period of time to buy a gun, I would go to court."

  7. Anonymous9:22 AM

    'Good Guys With Guns' Will Not Stop Gun Massacres

    Here's why the left always loses the gun control debate: we're too inclined to acquiesce on serious points -- to concede to the immovable, uncompromising gun people.

  8. Anonymous10:56 AM

    Poll: Guns Could Drive Women from GOP in 2014

    GOP’s Obsession With Guns Stands To Drive Women Vote In The 2014 Election: Poll

    Women who don’t usually vote in midterm elections — the same women who generally drive Democratic victories — will turn out in 2014 over the issue of guns, according to a recent poll.

    The survey released by Women Donors Network, a self-described progressive “community of women philanthropists,” found that a subset of women voters who usually don’t vote in midterm elections are more likely to vote in 2014 on the issue of gun violence.

  9. Anonymous10:57 AM

    Sobering stats... now, how do we get that message out to those rabid NRA supporters?

  10. Most of their actual current membership (2-3M) are sportsmen and these are the ones leaving the NRA because of their wrong-headed positions on supporting the manufacturers instead of gun safety which used to be one of their main objectives. The minority in the NRA are the gun goons. Either way, they make a lot of noise to be such a small portion of the gun-owners in the US. The real loudmouths care nothing about hearing anything other than someone agreeing with their own opinion.

    NRA represents the manufacturers' interests much moreso that those of their individual members, and today acts primarily as the PR agent and political lobby shop for the gun industry.

    By the way, even Glenn Kessler of Factcheck (in Wasington Post) agrees that the NRA overstates their membership figures when they claim 4.5 M by as much as 50% (see article in today's WaPo 2/8/13). Still, this is a small percentage of the 70M Americans who say that they own firearms.

  11. Anita Winecooler7:21 PM

    Those are some sobering statistics. The problem with the hard core gun fetishists is that they believe the majority of the public is on their side, and the only statistics they even consider are those given by the nra or anyone who's like - minded.
    Today at lunch, I actually heard people in a restaurant justifying the actions of that rogue ex police officer/cop killer that's hiding in California. In their eyes, he's a "hero" good guy defending the right to bear arms. And they were dead serious!!!!
    How does one reason with crazy people?

  12. Anonymous9:57 PM

    Gryphen's commentary refers to gun deaths since the death of Robert Kennedy in 1968, but the graph refers to gun deaths since 1960, which is before the death of John Kennedy. Can we have some clarification before I bombard my right-wing family with this information?

  13. Anonymous11:39 PM

    Compare death by gun since 1960 against death by auto since 1960 and what do you get?

    Death by gun......... Your quote Gryphen.... an incredible 1,384,171.
    Death by auto......... My even more incredible 2,026,713.

    Or more than 50% more car deaths than gun deaths. And not a peep out of you folks who find gun deaths a reason to start passing laws against law abiding gun owners. Cars are more dangerous than guns, there is no doubt. But cars are important to your lifestyle, so you'll look the other way at car deaths. Hypocrite much?

    And not that every life isn't precious, But you pick the style of gun, by far statistically the least likely to be used in a gun death, to go after, because they look scary, or they seem scary or you saw one "used" in a movie, or you "feel" like they are more of a danger.

    Do you people ever use your heads for critical thinking, or do you just feel your way through life?

    Fact........... you or your children are a thousand times more likely to die in an auto accident than by a so called "assault rifle". Try to wrap your head around that. Then tell me logically why it's more important to ban "assault style rifles" than it is to ban autos.

    To gun owners, there is only one answer, because this is just a first step, to get your foot in the door. Then there will be more and more. Why should gun owners trust you when you don't act logically?

    1. Anonymous at 11:39PM:
      You have it backwards. It is you who needs to justify why a lethally dangerous hobby which directly causes 30,000 deaths per year should be allowed to have less regulation than buying alcohol or driving. I can't buy alcohol without showing ID. I cannot drive a car without proof of my ability to use it safely as well as insurance. I can buy guns from a private individual with no ID, no records, no insurance, for cash.
      Automobiles require more safety standards for their products and owners than do guns. The reason why there are more auto-related deaths is obvious, if you thought about it- very simply because people use their cars and trucks for a lot more time than people use guns. Even police officers and military personnel (even inside of combat zones!) drive or ride a lot more than they shoot.
      Don't give me the "Freeeedom" or "Tyranny" garbage, either. I vote in every election, and the majority's opinions are still blocked by the whacko GOP/TP minority - some loss of freedom for me, no loss for the Tea nuts. You can still buy guns and ammo, and no one is a-comin' to take away yer guns, no matter what Faux Noise or Rush-radio says. It just might need a 100% background check (just like a car) in the future, but not confiscation.
      As far as the "overthrowing tyranny" spewing from the far right wing, they are the biggest threat to democracy around. Patriots vote, and some of us are veterans who have taken oaths to protect and defend the Constitution. It is treasonous nut jobs who threaten to overthrow a democratically elected government in the name of "freedom". (The right wing propaganda today sounds like it came right out of the book '1984' agitprop, or from Goebbels big lie.)

    2. Anonymous6:01 PM

      Jerry A. I'm right there with you. The gun zealots are confused about rights and responsibilities. I think some simple regulations regarding gun ownership should be enacted soon, preferably before the next mass killing in a public space.
      These could and should look like gun registry, gun insurance, and gun safety course requirements for all members in a gun owner's household. Mandatory safe keeping of guns is another. A gun owner should have to keep their weapons in a locked safe.
      People use cars for transportation. We all are transported in some way nearly everyday of our lives. There is no real world logic to a comparison of car to gun deaths.

      Nice try though 11:39. You could also try to learn a little more about percentages before attempting the "more than double" argument. I'm sure you meant well though.

  14. Anonymous10:27 PM

    thanks for share...


Don't feed the trolls!
It just goes directly to their thighs.