Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Untimely Death In America—Guns and Cars

SUICIDE—When people want to kill themselves, we have the following methods of choice:

Guns—57.8 %
Suffocation (hanging, head in a bag)—12%
Various others—16%

The various others include jumping from bridges or buildings, intentionally crashing cars, and although increasingly rare, some still do cut themselves, but the slashed wrist is pretty much obsolete.

MURDER—When we want to kill someone else, the numbers change. We like guns even more, at 67.6%. Poison figures prominent here as well, coming in around 12%, and suffocation (strangling) is 10%. While knives play almost no role in suicides, they figure more prominently in homicides at 10%. When it comes to stabbing and slicing, we would rather do unto others than have done unto us. That pretty much captures all of homicide: shoot, poison, strangle, stab, with just plain beating to a pulp completing the picture. By the way, suicide ranks 11th (rating 10.8), well ahead of homicide at 15th (rating 6.1). Far more significant are accidents coming in 5th with a rating at 37.6.

ACCIDENTS—When it comes to dying by mistake, traffic accidents command 45% of all fatalities. After that falling and accidental poisoning are about 12% each. Regarding falls, we are not talking about dramatic slips off the top of some skyscraper or cliff, but simple staircase incidents. As folks get older, those staircases get more and more dangerous, especially in the older buildings. Staircases kill more people than you think, especially back east. Significantly less frequent, at about 4% each, are drowning and accidental suffocations (choking). The balance is made up of those rare occurrences like electrocutions, skiing into a tree, and guns are here too, but in very small numbers.

To keep a little perspective, the head honcho of death, heart disease at number one, has a rating of 235.6, with cancers (all combined) coming in next at 191.5.

Bottom line: When an untimely death occurs intentionally, odds are good a gun was involved. When an untimely death occurs accidentally, it was probably in traffic.

Enjoy your commute to work tomorrow, and try not to invoke any road rage. They might be packing.


Blogger sirocco said...

Remember though, "guns don't kill people ..."

... and I guess, technically, they're right. It's usually the bullet which does the killing.

12/07/2006 7:36 AM  

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