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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/25/18

Florida = Honduras: Inequality kills.

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Want to end the American shooting epidemic?


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A crucial factor about the Florida killer: his family had to move out of the school district because they couldn't afford the rent. Resentment yields anger. Not every poor kid becomes a killer -- think Bill Clinton -- but there will be one. Inequality kills.

A student of statistics -- my son -- was surprised by his regression analysis of gun ownership per capita in each nation versus homicides.

He wrote, "The result of my scatter plot came as quite the surprise to me: there was just about no correlation between number of guns and number of gun homicides."

In fact, "the correlation coefficient was -0.105871699." That is, by a small amount, more guns meant fewer homicides.

So what DID prove a strong correlation? Homicides versus the "GINI" coefficient. GINI is the measure of income inequality in a nation.

I've just returned from the nation with the widest gun ownership in the world, Switzerland, which has vanishingly few homicides -- although almost all men 18-35, due to ancient military tradition, must keep weapons in their home (many fully automatic).

The nation with the same population as Switzerland, Honduras, has the world's highest homicide rate -- yet Honduras outlaws personal gun ownership.

David Hemenway, of the Harvard School of Public Health notes, "Switzerland and Honduras are not even close to being the same in many aspects of their society that will influence the levels of violence and homicide."

Exactly. Want to end gun violence? End violent inequality.

Here's the roster of the world's most violent nations measured by non-military homicides:

  • Honduras
  • El Salvador
  • Jamaica
  • Venezuela
  • Guatemala
  • Trinidad
  • Colombia
  • Belize
  • Brazil
  • South Africa

It's also a listing of the world's most economically unequal nations.

After the US, here is the list of highest per capita gun ownership: Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany Austria, Iceland -- all nations with tiny small homicide rates -- and very low GINI scores. Iceland, where a huge one-third of households have guns, is the most economically equal society on the planet -- with a homicide rate of ZERO.

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Greg Palast's investigative reports appear in Rolling Stone, the Guardian and on BBC Television. His latest film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, on how Donald Trump stole the 2016 election, is available on Amazon. Palast is Patron of the Trinity (more...)
 
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