Monday, January 23, 2006

A little statistics to brighten up your Monday...

The Short Story: some gun loon on one of the lists I'm on started dispensing non sequiturs about free countries. Now even I, Don Quijote-esque tilter-at-windmills that I am, know better than to try to have a logical argument with a True Believer, so I let it pass... sorta. It got me wondering about what the real facts were, so I went and did some research which I carefully didn't post on said list; some of you lot might find it interesting though. Say I fairly un-arbitrarily pick a state in Australia with gun control - New South Wales - and a state in the US without it - California:

NSW (12 months to Sept 2005)
Population: 6,731,295
Robbery with a Firearm: 470 (6.98 per 100,000)
Homicide: 71 (1.05 per 100,000)

CA (2004)
Population: 36,590,814
Robbery with a Firearm: 20,609 (56.32 per 100,000)
Homicide: 2,394 (6.54 per 100,000)
Homicide with a Firearm: 1,730 (4.73 per 100,000)
Homicide without a Firearm: 664 (1.81 per 100,000)

This does not prove that legalised firearms increase murder or robbery, though some - myself included - might think it was useful enough evidence to suspect a connection. But there are heaps of other factors involved, including the fact that CA has a much higher population density than NSW. I suspect you'd also find a high proportion of such crimes in both cases happen in inner-city slums, and LA has got it all over Sydney for inner-city slums. Whatever. What it does mean is that overall NSW is a heckofa lot safer place to live than California. You blame whatever reasons you like; we got it good.

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