One often reads that “gun violence” is a unitary concept, as in a recent paper entitled “Trends and Disparities in Firearm Fatalities in the United States, 1990-2021“. Yet once you go beyond the headlines, you quickly realize that (perhaps aside from some gun-related accidents) there are two primary and very different categories: homicides and suicides.
According to the paper, in 2021 the homicide rate was highest among black men age 20-24 (141.8 fatalities/100,000 people) especially in urban areas, and the suicide rate was highest among white non-Hispanic men age 80-84 (45.2 fatalities/100,000 people) especially in rural areas (check out the “heat maps” in the paper). Aside from the fact that men were involved on both counts, young urban black men and old rural white men have very little in common with regard to their activities and their reasons for pulling the trigger.
Because calling members of both categories victims of “gun death” makes as much sense as saying that people who die in floods and people who die in boating accidents are both victims of “water death”, it’s pretty clear that the anti-concept of “gun violence” is meant to serve the agenda of those who want to outlaw firearms, not to provide any useful guidance on how to prevent homicides and suicides.
What are some other good examples of such anti-concepts?