Gun Violence, Gun Control, Terrorism, and President Obama 12/15/2015
A few weeks ago, two radical Islamic terrorists murdered 14 and wounded over 29 in San Bernardino, California. President Obama responded by stating the U.S. Congress needs to pass stricter gun controls. A few days before his comments to Americans, in Paris, France, he stated that mass shootings don’t happen in other countries like they do in America. To have an opinion on gun control and mass shootings, it is important to know the facts and how the U.S.A. compares with other countries regarding mass shootings.
The United States of America is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This organization is composed of 34 democracies with market economies, as well as more than 70 non-member economies. It makes sense to compare mass shootings in the U.S.A. with countries in the OECD, instead of using countries that are extremely poor, or those led by tyrants, or with countries that are in war.
Of the OECD member countries, the United States of America is sixth in the frequency of mass shootings from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2013. These countries had a higher frequency of mass shootings: Norway, Finland, Slovakia, Israel, Switzerland. It is important to note that the five countries before the U.S.A. in the frequency of mass shootings have national restrictive gun control laws. In terms of total victims of mass shootings as a rate per 100,000 people, the U.S.A. is fourth behind Norway, Finland, and Switzerland.
Another comparison that can be made involves individuals committing mass murder with guns. Since 1982, there have been five mass murders with victims numbering at least 30. The following is the list:
Anders Behring Breivik Norway July 22, 2011 77 killed, 151 wounded
Woo Bum-Kon South Korea April 26, 1982 57 killed, 35 wounded
Martin Bryant Australia April 28, 1996 35 killed, 21 wounded
Seung-Hui Cho USA April 16, 2007 32 killed, 25 wounded
Campo Elias Delgado Columbia December 4, 1986 30 killed, 15 wounded
A third comparison involving gun violence can be made involving all countries worldwide. One company, START, is a national consortium for the study of terrorism and responses to terrorism. These are some of its findings on “mass-fatality, coordinated attacks worldwide.” All of these attacks occurred outside of the U.S.A.
Between 1970 and 2014, there were 176 occasions where 100 people or more were killed on a particular day in a particular country.
Between January and June 2015 there were 11 occasions in which terrorist attacks killed more than 100 people in a single country on a single day.
Between 2000 – 2014, ISIL committed over 750 coordinated attacks. Al-Qaida in Iraq carried out at least 400 attacks.
For a fourth comparison, we can compare the U.S.A. with one country, France, in 2015. In France in January, Islamic terrorists attacked the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical journal, killing 11 and wounding 11. Within two days of this attack, Islamic terrorists attacked other locations in Paris, including a Jewish deli. 20 were killed and 22 wounded in these attacks. In November 2015, Islamic terrorists attacked French civilians attending a concert and sitting at a café. They killed 130 and wounded 368. In the U.S.A. in 2015, in May 2015, two terrorists were shot and killed while trying to attack “Draw Muhammad” cartoon art exhibitors. In December, two Islamic terrorists killed 14 and wounded 21 in San Bernardino. France has very strict gun controls nationally and the U.S.A. does not.
After the San Bernardino attacks in December, what was one of President Obama’s responses?
Relative to OECD countries, how does the U.S.A. rate in terms of frequency of mass shootings?
Of the top five mass shootings carried out by one person since 1982, how many were carried out in America?
From January to June 2015, how many acts of gun violence occurred where 100 or more people were killed?
In 2015, what was the largest terrorist attack in France, and the largest terrorist attack in the U.S.A.?
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