Worst Graphic Charts: the Sequel
I'd glad that before the president addressed the public yesterday, I described the corporate-own NRA as a terrorist organization and explained why -- that's because later in the day when President Obama spoke before the press about the latest mass shooting, as angry as he seems to have ever been at a public appearance, he asked the media to compare gun and terrorism deaths. (No, he wasn't at all making the same point as I was about the NRA, but I'm pleased that a similar connection was made about the impact.)
What the president said was --
"I would ask news organizations because I won’t put these facts forward. Have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who have been killed through terrorist attacks in the last decade, and the number of Americans who have been killed by gun violence and post those side by side on your news reports. This won’t be information coming from me. It will be coming from you."
As a result of his comments, a couple of publicans have already followed up on the president's request. This first is from the Washington Post.
Interestingly, in regards to this, the story that the Post published with this chart was one that had originally been published previously, only a month ago on August 27. The president had given an interview to a a local TV station in Philadelphia, and "drew a distinction between the effects of gun violence and terrorism." What he said at the time, just a month earlier was --
"What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism."
The chart that the Post used above supported this, easily. I also came across another chart that was published today, as well, that tells the same story, from just in a slightly different perspective. This compares the number of terrorism deaths since 9/11 to the number of gun deaths last year and this year so far --
For the sake of accuracy, the gun deaths in 2015 are slightly different in the two charts because they are using data taking at different times and from different sources. It's also worth noting that if you took the tragic deaths on 9/11 and horrifically repeated them four months later...and then again four months after that -- it would still be fewer than the number of gun deaths this year alone, and we're only just passed September. It would be almost 3,500 fewer than the gun deaths last year. Now, multiply that for every year after year after every year since 2001.
None of this is to suggest that gun deaths are more -- or less -- important than those lives lost from terrorism, or that the potential of a cataclysmic physical and emotional loss from terrorism isn't a realistic concern. Just that if one considers the national resources and changes to the law as a result of governmental (and public) focus on terrorism, then if Congress put only a small percentage of that effort into addressing gun deaths, as well, which are monumentally more numerical (by these numbers, 2,000 times more) and have their own devastating physical and emotional impact on the nation, then perhaps we can move towards addressing such a crushing national problem.
Guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people. And kill them and kill them, by the tens of thousands every year after year.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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