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US Society: Homicide, Suicide and Guns

Guns in US Illustration by AI

This week we continue our focus on the domestic issues at the heart of the American Empire, examining the causes, effects and dangers of this societal decay, illustrated with how homicide and suicide are impacting life expectancy.

The US is ranked 77th globally in the number of deaths by homicide, which may not sound too bad at all. The issue arises when we scan the countries above the US and notice the absence of any developed Western democracies. At 4.96 homicides per 100,000 people, the US rate is four times that of the UK or France, both at only 1.2 in 148th and 150th spot respectively.

There may be many reasons behind this fact, but it is no coincidence that neither the UK nor France allows their citizens easy access to firearms. It is far more likely that a disagreement, altercation or domestic argument will lead to a fatality in a country awash with firearms.

While the argument is often made that it is not the gun but the person who wields it that is to blame, the person in question is far more deadly when they are armed with a pistol rather than a kitchen knife. There is a direct connection between homicides, suicides and guns.

The US has the second highest number of gun-related deaths globally (some 37,000 in 2019), not that far behind Brazil (over 49,000), and firearms are the means used in around 75 per cent of all homicides. If we factor in total population,the US falls just outside the 20 most violent countries, with 10.89 firearm-related deaths per 100,000 people, but this is nothing to celebrate.

Most of western Europe has a rate below three deaths per 100,000 (the UK’s is 0.24). America’s annual death toll from firearms is more than ten times the number of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and over five times the number of US service people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is completely unsurprising in a nation that has the highest level of gun ownership in the world, and more guns than people – the rate of civilian ownership is around 120 guns per 100 people.

Hidden deeper in the data is another bleak statistic: 60 per cent of deaths from firearms are suicides, and firearms are the method used for around half of all suicides nationally. Just as widespread access to firearms increases the likelihood that they will be used fatally against other people, there is also a far higher chance that a suicide attempt involving a firearm, as opposed to another method, will result in death: around 85 per cent of such attempts do so, whereas less than 3 per cent of drug overdoses – the most widespread attempted method – are fatal.

It is this finality and grim efficiency that exacts such a devastating human toll; once the trigger is pulled, there is little chance of survival, assistance or change of heart.

Why is this state of affairs permitted to continue? The usual culprits of money and influence are involved, mixing with identity politics and a cultish adherence to individual freedom above all else. This creates a toxic situation in which even questioning the wisdom of the status quo is deemed “anti-American”.

We will examine the last two points in detail later, but now we can simply follow the money and note that over $12 million is spent annually in lobbying by the firearms industry, a figure more than five times the $2.3 million or so spent by those aiming to influence policy toward gun control. If the statistics for homicides and suicides were not sufficiently bleak reading, there also exists a parallel epidemic ripping through all levels of American society – deaths caused not by bullets, but by pills or powders which will be our subject next time.


About the Author: British author Patrick Watts' new book, “The End of the American Empire,” warns that unless some of the issues that beset our country are resolved, the “American empire” will collapse. This is the second of a three-part series that Watts has prepared for Lean to the Left. Part 3 will be published in the coming days. Patrick appeared on the Lean to the Left podcast February 26 and that episode can be found here: Video; Audio. To find out more, head to where you can find links to “The End of the American Empire”, podcast discussions and much more.

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