Politifact noted as false President Obama’s claim that the kind of mass violence seen in Oregon last month “does not happen in other advanced countries.” The fact-finding publication also knocked down the president’s other dubious claim that mass violence “doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”
As a matter of fact, Politifact stated, gun violence does happen in other countries, and with equal the amount of frequency and regularity as happens in the United States.
We compared mass shooting incidents across countries is to calculate the number of victims per capita — that is, adjusted for the country’s total population size.
Calculating it this way shows the United States in the upper half of the list of 11 countries, ranking higher than Australia, Canada, China, England, France, Germany and Mexico.
Still, the U.S. doesn’t rank No. 1. At 0.15 mass shooting fatalities per 100,000 people, the U.S. had a lower rate than Norway (1.3 per 100,000), Finland (0.34 per 100,000) and Switzerland (1.7 per 100,000).
There are more killings, per capita, in European countries, and others, than there are in the U.S. Moreover, most of the data compiled by people itching to enact more gun regulations do not include instances of terrorist attacks and knife attacks in China, a country with a population much larger than that of the United States.
If these data are included in the overall data set, then you’re probably going to get much different results. In fact, the United States would likely fall further down the list of countries with instances of mass killings and shootings.
It’s also worth exploring the reasons why gun control advocates, the media, and others compare the murder rate in the United States to those of developed countries in Europe — the comparison are dubious, considering the fact that the United States is different from European countries in terms of diversity, politics, and demographics.
To that point: Former head economist at the Colorado Division of Housing and current editor at Mises Daily, Ryan McMaken, penned a blog post on the Mises website earlier this month fleshing out the reasons why the U.S. murder rate is compared to so-called developed countries such as Luxembourg in terms of size, history, ethnic diversity, and geography, but not Argentina or Mexico.
Gun control activists and the data-mining folks who running triage for legislators looking to regulate claim murder rates in developed countries are comparable, McMaken writes, simply because people in developed nations — or OECD members — are happy healthy, and live long lives, whereas, those residing in the so-called undeveloped countries live brutish, uncivilized lives, thus making them incomparable.
But if we compare the murder rates of countries such as Russia, Uruguay, and Mexico, McMaken argued, then we actually get a remarkably different view of the U.S. murder rate than the one proffered by the likes of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Indeed, the updated comparison shows that the United States is actually a safe place in global terms on top of having many more legally owned guns than other developed countries.
McMaken used the UN’s human development index (HDI) — a measurement used to gauge the life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators of UN-member countries — to compare the murder rates of the United States and other countries.
He compares the murder rates of Mexico and Turkey, both of which have relatively high HDI numbers (anything above .75 is considered a high HDI measurement), with those of the United States. He also tosses in several other countries with high HDI numbers in for good measure.
The numbers in the bar graph above show that, indeed, the United States, at least in terms of murder rates, is a remarkably safe country — and not just that, but the measurement also appears to show that the murder rates of Canada and the United Sates are quite similar, varying only slightly.
McMaken also looked at the murder rates in all the countries in the data set alongside the number of civilian guns per 100 residents. The results are surprising — though perhaps not as surprising for those who figured President Obama’s claims were bunkum.
Obviously, the US is a big outlier in terms of guns per capita. But in terms of murder rate, it’s very much in the middle of these countries. The U.S. is right smack dab in the middle, not leading the pack as President Obama and Hillary Clinton insist.