Note to media: Despite horror, Americans are safer
Listening to the crush of media coverage and the sickening politicization of the murders in Colorado, we should not let it escape our attention that despite all the violence and sadness brought on by this event — I lived in Denver for years, and I’ve taken my children to the Aurora theater, so I get it — most of us live in a far safer place than our parents.
All day, I’ve watched television pundits talk about the country as if we were saturated in non-stop violence. The simple fact is that over the past decades we have become a more peaceful place. Steven Pinker’s fascinating book “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” is a macro view of this historical worldwide trend, but during my lifetime, crime rates and gun violence have fallen – dramatically.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 1994, the United States hit an ugly peak with 13,981 murders by hand gun. By 2005, the last year the study is available on the site, the number was 8,478. Death by other guns also decreased from 3,094 to 2,868 during that time.
In 2010 there were 14,748 “murder and nonnegligent manslaughters” in the United States. That’s the lowest number since 1969. Even during this recession, crime has kept falling for the most part, and baffling experts.
Nothing can stop a sick person bent on murder. But all the scaremongering about guns and crime doesn’t reflect reality.