In the aftermath of our recent national spate of gun-totin' insanity, a friend has re-posted a meme on Facebook suggesting that "gun control" is rendered foolish by virtue of a comparison of crime rates in Chicago and Maine. Hmmmmm?
Apples and Oranges, I fear. Cannot let this one slide, especially this week.
Maine has a current population density of just 43.1 people per square mile, over an area consisting of 35,380 square miles, which makes it the least densely populated state in New England, the American northeast and the eastern seaboard, as well as all states with an Atlantic coastline and all of those states east of the Mississippi River. In short, at any given moment there's hardly anyone to shoot.
By comparison, almost a quarter of Illinois' population is living in Chicago due to the job opportunities there. The city's population density is 4,593 people per km2 (over 100 times that of Maine). In August, they're all riding the EL, smelling after a day's work and frustrated at every little thing, and they're inches apart.
Assume one person in ten thousand is angry or crazy enough to be homicidal. In Maine there would be 134 dangerous persons in 35,385 sq mi and in Chicago 269 in 234 sq mi.
In Maine the nearest dangerous person is thus occupying (35385/134) sq mi or about 11.5 million sq ft, or about 3,827 feet away (a mile is 5,280 feet).
In Chicago that person is standing in only 37,892 sqft or about 100 feet away, i.e., in your own back yard. If the population of dangerous people is five per ten thousand, one is sharing your bedroom.
Despite the obvious intent, the meme has nothing to do with the Second Amendment or personal liberty generally. When that was adopted in 1791, the nearest angry or crazy person (white, as nonwhites were not then counted in the census) was about 55 miles away and carrying a muzzle loading rifle that took two minutes to load and was about as likely to explode in his face as to launch a projectile.
How does gun control work? Japan — a country with which my family has proud connections — has a total homicide death rate of 0.02:100,000. It takes a long time and a lot of demonstrable training and paperwork to qualify to own a gun, and then never a handgun. The US rate is 12.2:100,000, or SIX HUNDRED AND TEN TIMES AS HIGH. The difference is gun control.
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