Terrorism is a significant threat to Americans’ safety. Twenty-nine individuals were injured in New York when a bomb exploded on Saturday night. The anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks earlier this month is a reminder that extremist zealots regularly attempt to kill American civilians in large numbers.
It is nonetheless not a glib point, at least in this blogger’s opinion, to point out that gun violence is an even greater and more consistent threat to public safety in the United States than terrorism. To wit, while no one was killed in the bombings allegedly perpetrated by Ahmad Khan Rahami, 70 firearm deaths were reported across the country on Saturday and Sunday and cataloged by the Gun Violence Archive.
The 70 individuals who died were killed in both apparent homicides and apparent accidents and, in four cases, during confrontations with police. Victims include a 17-month-old girl in Florida, a 19-year-old pregnant woman in Chicago, and an 18-year-old college student who was one of nine people shot at a community concert event in Washington, D.C.
A recent American Journal of Medicine study of 23 countries found that gun-related fatalities are a much greater threat to United States citizens than to residents of other economically prosperous nations even though the U.S.’s rates of non-lethal crime are generally comparable to those countries’. Ninety percent of the female firearm victims identified in the study had been killed in the U.S.