Thursday, May 24, 2012

Alaska, cars used in suicide more often than reported

The original title of this post was "Analysis of VPC's Car deaths V Gun deaths" but read on to see why it was changed.

The Violence Policy Center (VPC) has graced us with yet another 'study' (and a neat little graph) about motor vehicle deaths v firearm deaths and claim: Gun Deaths Outpace Motor Vehicle Deaths in 10 States in 2009 New Analysis Shows (I guess guns are still safer in the rest of the US)

2A proponents often bring up motor vehicle deaths when some anti-rights crybaby brings up the unintended deaths by firearms. These unintended deaths arise out from accidental and negligent discharges, whereas motor vehicle deaths arise from accidental and negligent motor vehicle crashes.

(very interesting graph after the jump)

Also included in the 'gun death' statistics is homicide, suicide and legal intervention. As I've shown before, suicide is independent of gun ownership and according to CDC statistics, guns are only used in about 5% of all suicide attempts. Legal intervention by law enforcement and civilians is also included in VPC's 'study' and therefore makes their entire analysis suspicious. As a matter of fact, their entire analysis is little more that a chart, a graph, and a call for some type of consumer product safety regulations. Well, here's the cold hard facts; firearms operate as intended, not quite always used as intended, but operate as intended. The manufacturers design firearms to hold a bullet in the chamber and discharge that bullet when the trigger is pulled. Firearms are designed not to fire that bullet when the trigger is not pulled and to not blow up when the bullet is discharged. When used as intended, firearms are a very safe product.

I was going to put a graph up that represented motor vehicle deaths, unintended firearms deaths and so on, however, it seems that unintended deaths by firearm is so low that CDC WISQARS doesn't list accidental deaths for the years 1999-2009, however it appears that for those years, there were a total of 21 accidental firearm related deaths. Strike that, after looking at the numbers of deaths, I saw something interesting so I will put up a graph. There seems to be a correlation between suicides and motor vehicle deaths.

As you can see, as represented by the green and yellow lines, automobile deaths and firearm suicides follow the same general pattern, however, CDC WISQARS doesn't list any motor vehicle suicides. This begs the question, were people using their automobiles to commit suicide more often than firearms?

This is not the direction I was expecting for this post, unfortunately, this is all the time I have right now. Expect other comparisons.

Bill Baldwin's analysis: Motor vehicles are used in suicides more often than reported or thought, despite all the safe features. What do you think?


  1. There is MAJOR flaw in the data, we need to call for the banning of roads the other 40 states....

    1. And ban cars, too. No more drive by shootings, kidnappings would be greatly reduced as would suicide by car.

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