Retired military trauma surgeon provides some perspective on gun deaths

The Sun's Sept. 12 editorial, "The other atrocity," compares the number of gun deaths in the U.S., in 2003, with the number of deaths from the attacks of 9-11. These are not comparable.

All 2,973 of the deaths from the 9-11 attacks were premeditated intentional homicides. The comparison implies that all 30,136 of the 2003 gun deaths were also intentional homicides; thus comparable to the 9-11 deaths. The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2003, however, reveals that two-thirds of the gun deaths (19,907) were suicides.

The editorial also failed to mention that criminals killed by the police, or by honest citizens in defense of their lives or the lives of others, were also included in the 30,136; as were unintentional gun deaths.

The number of 2003 gun deaths truly comparable to the 9-11 deaths was no more than one third of the 30,136. The spurious comparison also implies that gun violence in 2003 was of great or increasing concern. In The Gainesville Sun Oct. 18, 2005, article "Murder rate in U.S. hits 40-year low," however, we find that the murder rate in 2003 was the lowest since 1965, and we now know that it declined 3.3 percent more in 2004.

Murder rates in the United States do remain a problem in some of our large cities: Washington, D.C., is the prime example. It has the most stringent gun control laws in the country - and the highest murder rate. Prohibitive gun control disarms the honest citizen - and criminals obviously prefer unarmed prey. . . .

Martin L. Fackler is a retired military trauma surgeon who lives in Gainesville.


Anonymous Nimrod45 said...

The text of this letter references a "Sun editorial", but the link you have goes to WREX TV in Rockford IL...

I think this is the correct link, to the Gainesville Sun:


10/15/2006 1:15 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Thank you, Nimrod45.

10/15/2006 1:47 AM  

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