Home / General / Who Will Be Lucky Number 10,000

Who Will Be Lucky Number 10,000


Since the Newtown killings last December, at least 9900 Americans have died from guns. The total mass political movement from this has been the recall of two Colorado legislators who voted for gun-control legislation.

Update [PC]: The 9,900 figure is, as Slate notes, a massive underestimate, since for among other reasons the reporting method ends up excluding almost all gun deaths from suicides (suicides outnumber homicides by about two to one). Using CDC estimates, the actual number of gun deaths in the US since the Newtown killings is around 28,700.

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  • Well, there has been a mass political movement–the one the Colorado legislators were punished for which was the change in the law relating to the number of bullets in a magazine. Its just been unsuccessful.

  • LeeEsq

    The gun fanatics have a lot more passion than the gun control side. To them asking to accept gun control is like wanting them to voluntarily undergo castration.

    Honestly, gun control isn’t enough. There are too many firearms in private ownership. Many people have small arsenals including types of firearms that they really don’t need. We need gun confiscation to and that is not going to happen.

    • LeftWingFox

      Hell, there were protests and national news-level outrage during voluntary gun exchanges, when people turned in old firearms to the police for grocery store gift certificates.

      • And there are bills proposed here and here (I don’t know if any have become laws) forbidding the police to destroy or otherwise render impotent any guns that they buy back or confiscate—they’re to be SOLD, dammit, SOLD!!! (Or, I suppose, given free to a good home.)

        • Hogan

          So THAT’S who’s been leaving guns on my front porch with notes saying “Please clean and load me.”

          • Philip

            So THAT’S who’s been leaving guns on my front porch

            My coffee-addled brain read this as “front Porsche” and wondered what a front Porsche is compared to a back Porsche. And also why there would be guns on one.

            • Hogan

              Remind me never to ask you to paint my porch.

      • Unhinged Liberal

        Hell, there were protests and national news-level outrage during voluntary gun exchanges, when people turned in old firearms to the police for grocery store gift certificates.

        Participating in a voluntary gun exchange is similar to castrating yourself because you think your neighbors have too many children.

        • Origami Isopod

          JenBob thinks about castration a lot.

          • DrDick

            He also obsesses a lot about his penis substitute. Makes you wonder.

            • Anna in PDX

              My partner calls guns “equalizers” when talking to gun nuts on line, for just this reason.

  • TrexPushups

    That number seems low is it only counting murders?

    • Orpho

      It seems a bit low – it may be accidental death and homicide, excluding suicide?

    • Orpho

      Yep, that seems to be it – from article:

      This number, says Slate, is a gross underestimate of the actual number of deaths caused by guns in the last 10 months.

      “As time goes on, our count gets further and further away from the likely actual number of gun deaths in America — because roughly 60 percent of deaths by gun are due to suicides, which are very rarely reported,” the news outlet says. “When discussing this issue, please note that our number is by design not accurate and represents only the number of gun deaths that the media can find out about contemporaneously.”

      • Anna in PDX

        The Slate site is self-reported and does include some suicides but only when they’ve hit a news source.

        My partner has been monitoring the site since Newtown, arguing with gun nuts, and commenting on every reported Oregon death. He continually harps on the suicide issue because gun nuts refuse to talk about it. It has been educational for me. He actually worked on a suicide hotline many years ago and has been in social work most of his working adult life.

        • Manta

          Is having a gun really a factor in suicides?
          I mean: killing oneself is easy, as long as you have the will: is there reason to think that many of those who shot themselves would not, say, hang themselves if a gun were not available?

          I am ignorant on it, so if you have a good source, I would like to have a look.

          • Anna in PDX

            See below, there is a fair amount of discussion on this. Basically it’s about impulsive behavior.

  • With any luck, it’ll be this guy.

    • Duke

      Gotta love ’em: Amateur comics, making amateur comedy. And then posting it to be seen forever.

  • Glenn

    Not sure what “mass political movement” really means or why that particular formulation should be seen as the only type of political action that counts, but there certainly have been some anti-gun (or, I guess, pro-gun-control) responses, e.g., NY and CT gun legislation. Not enough by any means, of course.

  • gman


  • Matthew Stevens

    Our Constitution protects minority rights, particularly the right of a minority to exploit and terrorize its neighbors.

    • Well, depending on the minority. If the minority is an actual political, ethic or demographic minority, well, they’re just complainers who’re looking for handouts and need to get with the program, assimilate and shut up when Mr. Charlie speaks. If the minority is actually a part of a demographic majority, have a good time. Here’s some airtime on an important national television news network so you can spread your nonsensical whine, ’cause America.

  • Dirk Gently

    I genuinely don’t understand why suicide deaths should be in the conversation about guns, one way or the other. I suppose fewer guns would mean fewer successful suicides, but again I don’t really see a clear line connecting that to anything resembling achievable gun control. “Reduce suicides through gun control” is a pretty weak sauce argument.

    One thing that annoys me about such heavy implication, and some of the comments above, is this empty wish fulfillment: “If only we could confiscate…” Fuck’s sake. This is the flipside of the gun nut investment in assault weapons as the last line of defense against authoritarian government (“Wolverines!”). Confiscation is a total impossibility, not to mention it may or may not actually prevent the sorts of deaths you seem to be imagining. Give it a rest.

    • TrexPushups

      Look at the dramatic drop in suicides that Australia experienced.

      Ignoring the number is statistical malpractice when evaluating the damage and loss that is the impact of the presence of firearms.

      • Baby Needs-A-Nym

        There’s also the coal-gas precedent in the UK. Across many countries, and across many types of means reductions, the evidence shows that making common methods of suicide more difficult significantly reduces the incidence of suicide.

        • Baby Needs-A-Nym

          Here’s a link.

          • Dirk Gently

            This is good stuff, but guns are somewhat different than chemicals and gas.

            • guthrie

              They’re more effective, certainly. And less essential on a day to day basis.

      • mojrim

        Except that drop was in suicide by all methods, gun and non-gun. The actual data show from the NIH report (Table 2) shows a peak homicide rate in 1990 and a downward trend to baseline since then unaffected by the gun round up.


    • Anna in PDX

      If you care about reducing suicide, you want to reduce people’s ability to do something impulsive. If they don’t have guns, it is MUCH less likely that they will take the impulse. Talk to people who have worked suicide hotlines and maybe they can explain it to you. Or volunteer at one for a while.

      • Dirk Gently

        Sure, I’ll volunteer at a suicide hotline just so I can educate myself on this particular issue. That’s the best reason to volunteer.

        • DrS

          I think you misspelled your first name in your comments.

        • Anna in PDX

          Was assuming you might be the kind of person who would do something like that for various social/charitable reasons and that interest in this issue might be one of them. Obviously, not a fair assumption. Sorry.

          • Dirk Gently

            I took your comment at the end to be one of condescension and moral superiority, the “if only you did something worthwhile with yourself, you wouldn’t be so ignorant and misguided, unlike myself.” I misread your tone, and I apologize. I didn’t mean to disparage that work or insinuate I wouldn’t be so uncharitable.

            • Dirk Gently

              FWIW I don’t think casual interest in what the link between impulsivity, access to guns, and suicide success is a good enough reason to even contemplate doing that kind of work—by all accounts it can be very emotionally taxing, and so one should only do it if one is committed to really helping people.

              • DrS

                It is a lot harder than concern trolling the internet, tis true.

                • Dirk Gently

                  I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself instead of, like, coming up with an idea.

            • Anna in PDX

              OK, sorry I was a little bit sarcastic back, then.

              I am a little bit touchy on this issue. it seems to me it is very important to understand the issues around suicide if one wants to keep it from happening or offer support so that people don’t take that way out. I actually support it under some circumstances (am a supporter of the Oregon Death with Dignity act for example) but as an impulse because one is sad and happens to have a gun, it is a tragedy that should be avoided.

              • Dirk Gently

                Agreed. I was only expressing skepticism in how we go about doing this. If someone presents a method, I’m 100% behind it. FWIW it occurs to me that I might be wrong, and that suicide prevention is an excellent reason to give for biometric locks.

      • kg

        Thanks for this Anna. I read that the suicide rate in UK dropped drastically after all acetominophen was required to be blister packaged (instead of say 750 tablets in a bottle). Anything to force delay that impluse helps, apparently.

    • sibusisodan

      I genuinely don’t understand why [one kind of gun death] should be in the conversation about guns, one way or the other.

      Really? You really don’t see that?

      • Dirk Gently

        I’m not disputing the link between guns and suicide success based on impulsiveness. That’s totally obvious. What isn’t obvious to me is how we create gun laws that would actually keep guns away from anyone who wants to commit suicide, unless they’re seeking treatment and/or have made an attempt previously.

        Think of it in practical terms: what is the sort of weapon one uses to commit suicide? Overwhelmingly, these will be handguns, and overwhelmingly, those handguns will be low capacity. You want to ban handguns? Yeah, that will work out great. Then there’s the migration to eating the end of a shotgun.

        I guess I just need someone to show me how we actually reduce those kinds of deaths, given the existence of the 2nd Amendment. I don’t know very much about the Australian example, so I’ll look into it—perhaps I just lack imagination.

        • Dirk Gently

          I guess my overall point is that I don’t understand how we can actually pass gun laws that would keep guns away from anyone who is, or might be, suicidal. Do people have to pass an annual psyche test to keep their guns? Which guns are people allowed to have, and which aren’t they, whether or not they are suicidal?

          I think it’s far more productive to keep the conversation concerning gun control focused on murders and accidental deaths, given that there are meaningful restrictions of all sorts that can impact those deaths.

          And I say this not to be dismissive of suicide deaths via gun. Those are horrific numbers. I just don’t see them being useful for rhetorical or legislative purposes.

        • DrS

          Fewer guns in circulation means fewer guns used in suicide.

          You’re arguing that this isn’t a particularly easy outcome. Which makes you savvy, I suppose.

          Congrats on your savvy.

          • Dirk Gently

            This is a fair point. Fewer guns overall in circulation is fine by me. But then this just brings us back to the same policies we’d want just focusing on accidents and murders: trigger locks, biometric locks, serial number tracking/registration, safety courses, background checks, etc.

        • ajay

          Think of it in practical terms: what is the sort of weapon one uses to commit suicide? Overwhelmingly, these will be handguns, and overwhelmingly, those handguns will be low capacity. You want to ban handguns? Yeah, that will work out great.

          Well, it has in Australia. And the UK. And so on…

          If you reduce handgun ownership, you’ll reduce suicides. No need for a complete ban.

          • Dirk Gently

            Agreed—that’s the goal. But the emphasis is on overall reductions—you don’t focus on suicide as rhetoric or policy. Reducing suicide by gun is a side effect of good gun control policies. I just can’t think of any workable policies that are specifically designed to reduce suicide by gun, and I’m very sure that focusing on suicide is a not a good rhetorical tactic (“You can’t own handguns or shotguns or short barrel rifles because your or someone you know might try to commit suicide.”).

            The only exception to this I can think of is trying to make sure that people who go out and buy a gun specifically to commit suicide are not allowed to. I would support such a law. But statistically, is that really what people are doing? Isn’t it much more likely that suicidal people are finding guns at home and using them?

            • DrS

              Your concerns have been noted.

              • Dirk Gently

                How kind of you.

            • Anna in PDX

              In Oregon a while ago a person actually shot himself in the gun shop right after buying the weapon. All I could think of is that the clerk is going to be scarred for life.

              • Dirk Gently

                Christ. :(

                • At least he got the commission on the sale. It’s not like the guy was trying it out before buying.

              • We had something similar happen in Ohio at a shooting range.

    • Murc

      Confiscation is a total impossibility, not to mention it may or may not actually prevent the sorts of deaths you seem to be imagining. Give it a rest.

      The fact that it is politically unfeasible at this time is never a good reason for activists to stop pushing for good public policy. If you’re an actual elected official who has to worry about actually governing? Yeah, maybe you don’t talk so much about certain things. If your objective is to make that policy eventually possible, you never stop talking about it.

      • Dirk Gently

        Fair enough, but I want to save lives, not “win”. Let’s start by enacting good policy by increments (or by more, when possible), not just trying to move the Overton Window.

        • Anna in PDX

          Both/and seems to me to be the key here. We need to harness the narrative and discourse away from the gun nuts, while making inroads on policy – it does not have to be either/or, and seems to me that it would not be very useful if we did one while purposely not doing the other.

  • I’m totally shocked.

    In a country where a right wing nut 2nd amendment worshipping can strap on a loaded gun and open carry near a presidential event while OWS are treated like a threat to the foundation of the nation and laws let Zimmerman shoot whomever he pleases, these results are totally predictable.

    And predicted as well.

    Face it, most of your neighbors don’t care about folks doing whatever with their gunZ and they don’t care what the government does with your private information. Wish it were different, it aint.

  • Gunnar G. “Gunny” Gunn

    28,700 people dead? That’s only about the equivalent of one 9-11 terrorist attack per month since Newtown. A small price to pay for freedom!

    If only the people who committed suicide with guns had been armed with even more guns, they would have been able to defend themselves against their own attacks, by shooting themselves before they had a chance to shoot themselves. I don’t know why liberals have so much trouble comprehending this simple logic.

    • We should honoring these patriots fighting for freedom on the front lines, sacrificing their all for the right to own the means of self-annihilation and in those rare instances where the wiring has been completely messed up, taking a couple dozen other front line heroes of collateral damage with them.

      In this great country, it’s always a good day to die, especially for the 2nd Amendment that Dan’l Boone received from the frontier god of self-reliance on Rocky Top.

  • At this rate they’re going to drown that Tree of Liberty.

    • DrDick

      We may already have done so.

    • Anna in PDX

      Well at least the smell of blood will keep the deer away.

      • Dirk Gently

        Ah man, now us hunters can only use our weapons for insurrection.

      • I feel absolutely dreadful for laughing at this.

        “Quick we need to water the hostas and irises of liberty as well!”

  • aidian

    Why I’m a gun nut:

    “Every union should have a rifle club. I strongly advise you to provide every member with the latest improved rifle, which can be obtained from the factory at a nominal price. I entreat you to take action on this important question, so that in two years we can hear the inspiring music of the marital tread of 25,000 armed men in the ranks of labor.”

    -Ed Boyce, President, Western Federation of Miners

  • wengler

    At this point, the best tactic to take against the use of firearms in homicides is not to try to push what normal people would consider commonsense restrictions, rather to make firearm owners pay for the massive liability caused by the destructive power of firearms.

    The insurance lobby is extremely rich and powerful, right? And they have a vested interest in not having to pay out every time some nut shoots up a place, right?

    • Jordan

      Why would that be politically successful when much more mild suggestions are routinely torpedoed?

      • ajay

        Because it could be spun as having no effect on “responsible gun owners”. If you keep your gun locked up and unloaded when it’s not in use, and someone uses it in a murder (or an accidental shooting), then you’re off the hook. If you left it lying around, then you’re liable.

        • DrS

          Also too, might help the profits of insurance companies, and they are the true constituency.

  • Manju

    Oh, give it up already. Do you really want to give Bloomie more reason to go all Orville Faubus? Work on legalizing mj instead. Make life harder for Orville. And you can win that one.

    • aidian

      God forbid. You want to destroy the one part of the economy that actually works for the working class?

      • Manju

        aaaah…I never thought of that angle. Big Pot Mart v Mom & Pop. Of course, you have to define “working class” by education in order for it to work, as one has to do for “whats the matter with kansas” but i digress.

        Anyway, points for originality. I shall reconsider.

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