For John, BLUF: When looking at statistics it isn't always "yes, no or I don't know". Nothing to see here; just move along.
At PJ Media, Mr Clayton E Cramer looks at differences in murder rates between the US and Canada. To avoid any confusion, for 2011, the Canadian rate was 1.73 homicides per 100,000 people, while that for the United States was 4.8 murders and non-negligent homicides per 100,000 people. And, as we all know, Canada has much stricter gun control laws than the United States.
The interesting part is the homicide rate in Canada is not uniform across that nation. Mr Cramer points out that his state of Idaho has a homicide rate of 2.3 per 100,000. Then he breaks down Canada by provinces and territories.
Surely with such lax gun-control laws, our murder rate must be much higher than our Canadian counterparts’ rate. But this is not the case: I was surprised to find that not only Nunavut (21.01) and the Northwest Territories (6.87) in Canada had much higher murder rates then Idaho, but even Nova Scotia (2.33), Manitoba (4.24), Saskatchewan (3.59), and Alberta (2.88) had higher murder rates. (Okay, Nova Scotia is just a teensy-weensy bit higher than Idaho for 2011.)This doesn't address the wave of terrorism that engulfed parts of Canada between 1963 and 1970.
But, back to gun control, as Mr Cramer points out at the end of his article, there seems to be more to homicide rates than just the availability of firearms. Put another way, if the Government was able to sweep up all the legal firearms in the United States, it might not have a proportionate impact on our homicide rates.
Yes, if you argue that a reduction of just one homicide would be worth moving heaven and earth, I would agree with you, in the abstract. The truth is, however, that human life has value attached to it and we are willing to make tradeoffs around that value. Look at how we deal with highway deaths and the death of pedestrians. Look at aviation accidents.
We take steps big and small to avoid deaths, but we don't take all steps possible. We find there are other factors to be balanced in the equation. For example, in the case of fighter aircraft, nimbleness in the air can lead to more losses in training, but fewer losses in combat, where that nimbleness pays off in combat victories. In the realm of politics the Second Amendment is one of those other factors, a factor which some argue pays off by reminding the government of the ultimate power of the People.
Hat tip to the Instapundit.
Regards — Cliff