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Using real figures to show something…

I commented on Twitter yesterday that some were taking the Oslo tragedy as an opportunity to push forward certain right-wing agendas.

And please don’t tell me that open carry and anti Gun Registry proponents are not unique to the right. There may be a few exceptions – but damned few.

Over at wmtc, they took it one step further and tore down the straw-man that the anti Registry and pro open carry advocates were making. Please go over and take a look.

And, just because of how I tick, I dd a bit of research and yeah, the figures cited are correct. At 10.9 gun deaths / 100,000, Texas is in the middle of the pack in the U.S. on this count.

And here’s a country by country table (again, / 100,000 of the pop.). Some of the sources are quite dated, but I don’t believe any are too far out of whack.

Country↓ Total firearm-related death rate↓ Homicides↓ Suicides↓ Unintentional deaths↓ Year↓ Sources and notes↓
 South Africa 74.57 74.57 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Colombia 51.77 51.77 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Thailand 33 33 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]
 Guatemala 18.05 18.05 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 United States 15.22 7.07 7.35 0.59 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Brazil 14.15 10.58 0.73 0.28 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Estonia 12.74 8.07 3.13 0.93 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Mexico 12.07 9.88 0.91 1.27 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Philippines 9.46 9.46 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]
 Argentina 9.19 2.11 3.05 0.32 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Paraguay 7.35 7.35 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Finland 6.86 0.86 5.78 0.12 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Northern Ireland 6.82 5.24 1.34 0.12 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Switzerland 6.4 0.58 5.61 0.13 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 France 6.35 0.44 5.14 0.11 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Canada 4.78 0.76 3.72 0.22 1992 Krug 1998[3]
 Zimbabwe 4.75 4.75 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Austria 4.56 0.42 4.06 0.05 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Norway 4.39 0.3 3.95 0.12 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Portugal 3.72 1.28 1.28 0.21 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Belgium 3.48 0.6 2.56 0.06 1990 Krug 1998[3]
 Costa Rica 3.32 3.32 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]
 Uruguay 3.24 3.24 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]
 Slovenia 3.07 0.35 2.51 0.2 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Barbados 3 3 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Israel 3 0.72 1.84 0.13 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Italy 2.95 1.66 1.11 0.11 1992 Krug 1998[3]
 Australia 2.94 0.44 2.35 0.11 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 New Zealand 2.66 0.17 2.14 0.09 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Denmark 2.6 0.23 2.25 0.04 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Sweden 2.36 0.18 2.09 0.03 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Slovakia 2.17 2.17 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Czech Republic 1.77 1.77 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]
 Germany 1.57 0.22 1.17 0.04 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Greece 1.5 0.59 0.84 0.04 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Azerbaijan 1.47 1.47 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]
 Republic of Macedonia 1.28 1.28 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Kuwait 1.25 0.36 0.06 0 1995 Krug 1998[3]
 Hungary 1.21 0.23 0.88 0.09 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Ireland 1.21 0.03 0.94 0.11 1991 Krug 1998[3]
 Latvia 1.2 1.2 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]
 India 100 100 NA NA 2011 UNODC 2000[1]
 Spain 0.9 0.21 0.43 0.25 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Bulgaria 0.77 0.77 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Netherlands 0.7 0.36 0.31 0.01 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Scotland 0.58 0.19 0.33 0.02 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Moldova 0.47 0.47 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]
 Lithuania 0.46 0.46 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]
 Taiwan 0.42 0.15 0.12 0.11 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Belarus 0.38 0.38 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]
 Ukraine 0.35 0.35 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 Poland 0.29 0.29 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]
 England/ Wales 0.46[3] 0.38 0.07[3] 0.15 0.03[3] 0.2 0.01[3] 0.03
 Singapore 0.24 0.07 0.17 0 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Hong Kong 0.19 0.12 0.07 0 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Mauritius 0.19 0 0.09 0.09 1993 Krug 1998[3]
 Qatar 0.18 0.18 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[1]
 South Korea 0.13 0.04 0.02 0.05 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Japan 0.07 0.02 0.04 0 1994 Krug 1998[3]
 Chile 0.06 0.06 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[2]


Canada’s right – many are narrow minded and reactive hypocrites

I might have more to say about this later, but for now I just want to highlight the idiocy of some on the right of the spectrum here in Canada.

Yesterday, when the news broke about the tragedy in Norway, the response by many in the Twitterverse, blogosphere and in the comments sections of news articles was overwhelmingly vitriolic against Muslims.

“Send them back.” “This is what happens when you let those people into your country.” “Bomb them to hell.”

Crap. It was nasty.

And this judgement was made despite the fact that there was no evidence that an Islamic group was involved. None.

And the worst of the lot on Twitter were the usual right-wing morons who always like to spout hate. If you follow Twitter, you know who they are.

But this morning, where have all the anti-Islam Tweets gone?

Now that details are leaking out, it looks like the Oslo terror may have been the work of a Christian fundamentalist or someone on the far right.

So now I assume we’ll see lotsa anti-Christian Tweets, right?

Didn’t think so.

Bloody narrow minded hypocrites.


Another graphic – wife beating OK for some…

…this one showing the results.

And while Canada is way down on the list, it’s still sad to see that 6% of men think that it’s A-OK to beat his wife…

Sad. And tragic.


Murders and suicides with firearms…

Note: The registration portion of the Firearms Act was implemented in 2001 and became mandatory in 2003.

I put this table together because of a Twitter conversation that was going back and forth about murder, suicides and firearms.

So here is a fact-based, empirical set of data on what went down between 2000 and 2007.

For me, the striking thing is the decrease of firearm related suicides. Quite remarkable.

I should mention that these data are publicly available and accessible at no cost.

What other conclusions do you draw from the data?


Death penalty poll – is this for real?

The Sun media group is all over a poll released today by Abacus Data that 2/3 of we meek and mild Canucks are in favour of killing people to show that killing people is wrong. It is is also noted, however, that less than half (41%) want it formally reinstated.

Putting aside the clear statement of ambivalence expressed by the respondents to the poll – 66% of Canadians support the death penalty “in certain circumstances,” but only 41% want it brought back it back a punishment for murder – I have a few other issues with these numbers.

First, it was a poll of randomly selected adults from an online panel of over 400,000. Web-based polls have an inherent bias that should be acknowledge in any analyses of the results.

I looked at a similar question that was asked by EKOS in March 2010 (sample size of 2,302, phone survey), and the results were more closely aligned with those 40-odd percent who indicated in the Abacus poll that they would want it brought back in legislation.

Forty-six per cent do not support the reintroduction of capital punishment while 40 per cent do. Another 14 per cent said they had no opinion.

Data from 2000 suggests that opinions on this issue have remained relatively unchanged in 10 years. In June of 2000, 43 per cent disagreed with capital punishment while 44 per cent agreed with it.

Those who support the reintroduction of capital punishment tend to be Conservative supporters (53 per cent), residents of Alberta (48 per cent), men (43 per cent), seniors (45 per cent), high school grads (48 per cent) and college grads (46 per cent).

Which begs another question…

Second, where is the regional breakdown in the Abacus poll? There isn’t one. And why is that? Because the sample size is not large enough. A sample of 1,100 will yield you good results at the national level but won’t get you anything provincially. And THAT is where the interesting results would be seen.

For example, will anyone dispute that the likelihood of someone in Alberta supporting the death penalty is greater than someone in, say, Ontario. No, of course not. And where is the CPC base?

Now, I’m not throwing the Abacus polling results out the window. All I am saying is that with polls such as these, one should be very careful about drawing conclusions. The CPC would love everyone to believe that indeed most Canadians are behind Harper after he muses on being “personally” in favour of the death penalty. While in fact, these numbers may be more a case of strong regional bias coupled with the bias inherent in a web-based panel.

Just sayin’…

Of course, a Harperite who reads this will accuse me of liberal bias or some such nonsense… go ahead… throw it at me…

And in case you haven’t noticed, I am. for the record, not in favour of the death penalty.


A horrific story is ending…

It looks like the OPP has found the remains of that poor little girl who went missing back in the spring.

So, so very sad.

As a parent, I cannot come close to imagining what her parents have been through over the past few months.

As a human being, I cannot imagine what kind of person could do something so horrible to one so young and innocent.

Horrific occurences like these are yet further confirmations of my atheism. There cannot exist a god who would permit the existence of those who murdered this child. Nor a god who would allow a child to feel such suffering at the hands of these beasts.

I hope they are both prosecuted to the full extent of our country’s law. There must NOT be a repeat of the Homolka travesty.

My thoughts are with Tori’s family and friends.


High Times – Canucks Deliver

Hey! It turns out that we Canadians are really, really good exporters!

Story on the MotherCorp this morning reporting that Canada is becoming a hub for the export of hard drugs like ecstasy and methamphetamine.

According to the 314-page report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Canada-based organized crime groups involved in the methamphetamine trade “has grown significantly.” As well, these groups have increased the amount of methamphetamine they have manufactured and exported.

Australia, for example, reported that 83 per cent of its total seized imports methamphetamine by weight came from Canada. In Japan, the figure was 62 per cent.

Hard drugs like these and their ilk… well, they suck. Totally. No good can come from taking these highly addictive substances that are not natural, expensive, dangerous and rotted in organized crime – which is also dangerous. You just don’t want to mess with those dudes. They ain’t all cute and cuddly like Tony Soprano.

So why is this happening? Why has organized crime established such a solid beachhead here in the ol’ True North? Where are the cops?

The police certainly keen to trot out bags of pot in front to the media whenever they run across a plot in a farmer’s field. Well, here’s a thought: why doesn’t our government and our police forces stop wasting time and money on the “War on Pot” and instead concentrate on breaking the supply chain of those substances that are actually harmful to individuals? Instead of going after some schmuck who wants to grow a few plants in his back yard for his own use, why not dedicate the bulk of these resources to eliminating the gangs that supply meph, E, crack cocaine, etc. These chemicals have ruined countless lives yet our police forces go full throttle after the suppliers of a herb that is less harmful than alcohol.

The reasons why the cops and our governments have chosen to spend the bulk of their budget on illicit drugs chasing pot growers is because it’s an easy win for them.

  • Pot plants are easy to find. They are tall. Stink to high heaven and require lots of space
  • The people that grow it don’t shoot back as often as those involved in harder drugs – so it’s safer for the cops
  • It makes good TV and can claim you’ve taken an over-inflated dollar value of marijuana “off the streets”.

And our governments? What about them? Why haven’t they acted?

Trashy could go on and on about this for pages and pages… but suffice it to say that they are simply cowards. The politicos are SO FREAKIN’ AFRAID to appear soft on drugs, or crime (even though growing pot barely qualifies as a crime). Plus – and perhaps more importantly – our neighbours to the South would freak out like a bunny on speed! Not only would we be labelled as the country with SOCIALIST medicine and a haven for terrorists, but we would also be portrayed (at least in the Conservative “press”) as a nest of pot growing junkies!

And man, those church-goers out in Alberta wouldn’t like THAT, now would they?

This is what I ask:

Police forces – recognise that the easy way out isn’t necessarily the best option. Yes, it is more dangerous to find these labs and yes, they are harder to find than a grow-op or a plot of weed in a field, but the social costs of the hard drugs are far higher and THAT is where your efforts should focus.

Politicos – OK, I know that the Harperites will never loosen marijuana laws… that would make too much sense. BUT, the Grits will be back in power in the next year or so and there are some in the party that feel that not only should pot laws be relaxed, but perhaps eliminate them altogether: regardless of what Uncle Sam thinks. Legalize the stuff. Allow the cultivation for personal use. Sell it in licensed shops. Tax it. Use the revenues to eliminate the hard drug trade and the criminal elements that rely on it.

Just do it.