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NAT’L – GUN SAFETY – Is the United States unusually violent? The answer may surprise you

Beneath our debate about gun violence, there’s an undercurrent assumption many people — particularly gun-rights advocates — seem to cling to: that the United States has more homicides than other industrialized countries not because we have more firearms but because something about our nation makes it culturally more prone to violence. Is it true? In many circles, the notion that overall violent crime in general is higher in the U.S. than, say, Europe, is taken as an article of faith. Indeed, I hear many colleagues claim that someone is more likely to be assaulted or raped in the U.S. as compared to most industrialized countries. It’s not so simple. A look at crime data from the United Nations suggests some caution in how we perceive U.S. crime relative to other industrialized countries. If we start by looking at the comparative homicide data, we find the expected pattern. Namely, that the U.S. is far out and above other industrialized countries regarding homicide. In fairness, countries such as Russia, the Ukraine, Mongolia and the Philippines have fairly high homicide rates compared to the U.S. Much of Latin America as well as the Caribbean and South Africa have homicide rates that are through the roof. Interestingly, however, if we look at serious assault rates, the picture is far different. Specifically, the U.S. is roughly middle of the pack compared to other industrialized nations. One is more likely to be assaulted in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Belgium, France or Australia, compared to in the U.S.  [full article]

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