Posts Tagged ‘guns’

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The headlines this morning are all reporting the same thing: suicides in the United States are climbing dramatically. The suicide rate rose 24 percent between 1999 and 2014 after a decade and a half of declines. Moreover, the increase accelerated to an average of 2 percent a year after 2006 from about 1 percent a year from 1999 through 2006. And, finally, the suicide rate also continued to climb in the first half of the 2015.

What the hell is going on?

According to Alex Crosby, chief of the surveillance branch of the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention,

Suicide rates have risen historically during difficult economic times, when job prospects diminish. The CDC tied increases in suicides to foreclosures on homes and evictions several years ago, he said.

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In fact, according to a 2011 study in which Crosby participated,

the overall suicide rate generally increased in recessions, especially in severe recessions that lasted longer than 1 year. The largest increase in the overall suicide rate occurred during the Great Depression (1929–1933), when it surged from 18.0 in 1928 to 22.1 (the all-time high) in 1932, the last full year of the Great Depression. This increase of 22.8% was the highest recorded for any 4-year interval during the study period. The overall suicide rate also rose during 3 other severe recessions: the end of the New Deal (1937–1938), the oil crisis (1973–1975), and the double-dip recession (1980–1982). Not only did the overall suicide rate generally rise during recessions; it also mostly fell during expansions. For example, the overall suicide rate posted the sharpest decrease during World War II (1939–1945) and the longest decrease during the longest expansion period (1991–2001); during both of these periods, the economy experienced fast growth and low unemployment.

There’s a clear correlation between capitalist downturns and U.S. suicide rates—both historically and in recent years.

Sure, people kill themselves with guns—and with drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning and by suffocating themselves. But we’re forced to have the freedom to kill ourselves by the suicidal instability of the way our economic and social life is currently organized.

 

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Violence in Chicago

Posted: 26 February 2016 in Uncategorized
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Chicago is on track to have 700 murders in 2016. That would be the highest number of homicides in Chicago in nearly 20 years.

Homicides have already nearly doubled this year, with more than 93 murders since the start of January. There were only 52 murders in all of January and February last year.

If the city does have 700 or more homicides this year, it will be the highest number of murders since 1998, when 704 people were killed. . .

The year has already seen several high-profile murders: Two friends, 17-year-old Sakinah Reed and 16-year-old Donta Parker, were shot and killed while standing at a corner in South Shore.

On Feb. 5, 25-year-old Aaren O’Connor was apparently hit by a stray bullet while sitting in her car outside of her Pilsen apartment.

A family of six, including two young boys, was found dead in their home in early February. They had been stabbed, beaten and one of them was shot.

Just days later, activist Matthew Williams, who had called for peace in the city for months, was shot while playing videogames in a friend’s house.

Most recently, a cab driver was found dead, shot in his head, in Lincoln Square.

The vast majority of the murders (83 of 98) have been gun shootings. Most of the victims (77.6 percent) have been between the ages of 13 and 34.

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Americans die younger [ht: ja] than people in other high-income countries—by more than 2 years!

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According to a study by Andrew Fenelon, Li-Hui Chen, Susan P. Baker just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (unfortunately gated), American men and women can only look forward to a life expectancy of 76.4 and 81.2 years, respectively, compared with the 78.6 and 83.4 years of their peers abroad.

The question is, why? The authors of the study focus on injuries, which are the leading cause of death for Americans between 1 and 44 years of age. Among injuries, those responsible for the greatest number of deaths are drug poisonings, firearm-related injuries, and motor vehicle crashes.

The injury causes of death accounted for 48% (1.02 years) of the life expectancy gap among men. Firearm-related injuries accounted for 21% of the gap, drug poisonings 14%, and MVT crashes 13%. Among women, these causes accounted for 19% (0.42 years) of the gap, with 4% from firearm-related injuries, 9% from drug poisonings, and 6% from MVT crashes. The 3 injury causes accounted for 6% of deaths among US men and 3% among US women.

Perhaps even more important, the authors of the study found systematic variation in injury deaths across countries, with relatively high rates in the United States. Therefore, they conclude,

Although injury prevention represents an important means to improve life expectancy, the existence of predictable international patterns of injury mortality may suggest that these causes of death reflect broad factors that go beyond individual policies.

In other words, there’s something seriously wrong in the United States, which is causing Americans to die young.

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