Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Which country has the lowest homicide rate in the world?

The UN has released a very interesting study of worldwide homicide rates and has found that Japan has the lowest rate of homicide of *any* country in the world. I view this with considerable irony as they were the country that was the recipient of two atom bombs in World War II. Here is a rather long nugget from the report:
With no notable fluctuations, the homicide rate in Japan has decreased steadily since 1955 to reach one of the lowest levels in the world. The country’s homicide rate is associated with a stable and prosperous society with low inequality and high levels of development. Young Japanese males now commit only a tenth of the homicides committed by their predecessors in 1955, and the age and sex distribution of victims tend to be uniform across age groups. This has been attributed by some researchers to, amongst other factors, extremely low levels of gun ownership (1 in 175 households), a greater chance of detection (according to police data, 98 per cent of homicide cases are solved), the rejection of violence after the Second World War, the growth of affluence without the accompanying concentrations of poverty common in many highly developed countries, and the stigma of arrest for any crime in Japanese society. (emphasis mine)
I see several key factors namely, low inequality and very low levels of ownership due to very strict gun control laws. Those two factors alone contribute to this startling contrast in statistics:
The U.S. saw more than 12,000 firearm-related homicides in 2008, while Japan had only 11.
So when I see Republicans fighting every measure aimed at inequality and gun control, I see them fighting against peace and happiness. I see them fighting against a shared prosperity for everyone. I see them fighting against a right to life. If they're looking for a good guy with a gun to prevent gun violence, they're going to have a mighty tough time trying to find one.

Maybe that's because the stress of inequality leaves people predisposed to violence. Just ask the people living in Ferguson and Baltimore. They know.
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