A fascinating article at Medium examines the map of suicides and homicides in America involving guns, and comes to some conclusions that are sure to be controversial - but the author seems to make a good case. Here's a very brief excerpt from a long and detailed article, that you really should read in full (the maps are essential to understanding the author's case). Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
We hear a lot of banter from the “anti-gun” media that these problems are gun problems, and they’ve concocted this “gun deaths” number in order to lump these into the same problem and gloss over the differences. But if the problem were “guns,” then the hot spots on the suicide map and the hot spots on the homicide map would coincide, and would be related to gun ownership rates. There are only a few places where they overlap. Most of the hot zones for suicide have low homicide rates, and most of the hot zones for homicide have low suicide rates. The difference is stark.
. . .
How on earth is any of this possible? It certainly doesn’t fit the “it’s the guns” narrative. If it were “the guns,” then these hot spots would mostly overlap. There are a few overlaps ... but most of the country exhibits the exact opposite behavior than we would expect from the “it’s the guns” hypothesis.
Let’s dig a bit. We pointed out over a year ago in our “solutions” article that the main problem with homicide, demographically speaking, was within the black community, and the rate numbers for this are outrageous ... Black male firearm homicide victimization rates are 35 times that of white women. They’re the ones getting shot ... Gun homicide in the United States is largely a poor black problem.
. . .
Put even more hastily and sloppily, gun homicide and gun suicide are behaviors, and behaviors are functions of culture ... What I can say, from grinding on these maps for several days, is that “gun deaths” as defined are a deeply cultural problem, and only slightly (if at all) related to gun availability. Not just for homicide, but for suicide as well. Further, the cultural and genetic makeup of our country is so different than other countries, that comparisons between them and us are simply not viable.
Most importantly, in a country where firearms are never going to be magically evaporated, with a guns per capita rate far beyond the saturation point of easy availability, we must seek cultural solutions to cultural problems, and medical solutions to genetic ones.
There's much more at the link. Highly recommended reading.
The article is from an author who calls his Medium page "Handwaving Freakoutery". He looks to have some very interesting entries there, and I'm going to have to spend some time reading and noodling over them. For example, another article looking at the firearms dilemma is titled "Newsweek‘s Bogus Gun Rhetoric Misses an Amazing Find". It looks intriguing.