Florida = Honduras: Inequality kills.
Want to end the American shooting epidemic?

Friday, February 16, 2018

By Greg Palast

Guns vs Homicides by Nation

A crucial factor about the Florida killer: his family had to move out of the school district because they couldn’t afford the rent. Resentment yields anger. Not every poor kid becomes a killer — think Bill Clinton — but there will be one. Inequality kills.

A student of statistics — my son — was surprised by his regression analysis of gun ownership per capita in each nation versus homicides.

He wrote, "The result of my scatter plot came as quite the surprise to me: there was just about no correlation between number of guns and number of gun homicides."

In fact, "the correlation coefficient was -0.105871699." That is, by a small amount, more guns meant fewer homicides.

So what DID prove a strong correlation? Homicides versus the "GINI" coefficient. GINI is the measure of income inequality in a nation.

I've just returned from the nation with the widest gun ownership in the world, Switzerland, which has vanishingly few homicides — although almost all men 18-35, due to ancient military tradition, must keep weapons in their home (many fully automatic).

The nation with the same population as Switzerland, Honduras, has the world’s highest homicide rate — yet Honduras outlaws personal gun ownership.

David Hemenway, of the Harvard School of Public Health notes, "Switzerland and Honduras are not even close to being the same in many aspects of their society that will influence the levels of violence and homicide."

Exactly. Want to end gun violence? End violent inequality.

Here’s the roster of the world’s most violent nations measured by non-military homicides:

  • Honduras
  • El Salvador
  • Jamaica
  • Venezuela
  • Guatemala
  • Trinidad
  • Colombia
  • Belize
  • Brazil
  • South Africa

It’s also a listing of the world’s most economically unequal nations.

After the US, here is the list of highest per capita gun ownership: Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany Austria, Iceland — all nations with tiny small homicide rates — and very low GINI scores. Iceland, where a huge one-third of households have guns, is the most economically equal society on the planet — with a homicide rate of ZERO.

(And before your all scream at me because I’m simply telling you the facts, I will add that these nations with lots of guns and few or zero homicides all maintain strict gun SAFETY rules. In Switzerland, deadly weapons in your home must be safely LOCKED AWAY.)

As a journalist, you will have to take these facts from my cold, dead hand.

* * * * *
Before turning to journalism as an investigative reporter for The Guardian and BBC Television, Greg Palast was an investigator of fraud and racketeering for governments and labor unions worldwide. Known as the reporter who exposed how Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush purged thousands of Black voters from Florida rolls to steal the 2000 election for George Bush, Palast has written four New York Times bestsellers, including Armed Madhouse, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, now a major non-fiction movie. The post-election update of the movie, subtitled The Case of the Stole Election, has just been released on Amazon — and can be streamed for FREE by Prime members!

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