Gun Violence Study & Personal Experience

We used fatal and non-fatal gun injury rates in 2013 from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) and generally accepted estimates about the size of an American’s social network to determine the likelihood that any given person will know someone in their personal social network who is a victim of gun violence during their lifetime. We derived estimates in the overall population and among racial/ethnic groups and by gun-injury intent.


The likelihood of knowing a gun violence victim within any given personal network over a lifetime is 99.85% (99.8% to 99.9%). The likelihood among non-Hispanic white, black, Hispanic and other race Americans were 97.1%, 99.9%, 99.5% and 88.9% respectively.

I guess I am an outlier. I have not known any gun violence victim or heard from a friend or acquaintance that knew of a gun violence victim. I would think that such an occurrence would have filtered through to me.
I of course heard and knew of JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King assassinations and the same for Kent State & Jackson State killings. But I had no personal connection to the decease/victims or knew anyone that did have a personal connection or knew anyone at those learning institutions.

Of course most of my existence has been sans cellphone. I would think the wide use of cellphones now have sped the transfer of information from person to person.

What has been your experience?

I do have some anxiety that the world is a more dangerous place now. Is that true or is it because one cannot escape the media reporting of violence?
The 2 news articles below indicate that statistically the world is a safer place now than in the past.

Is the World More Dangerous Now Than Ever? | Psychology Today

Cui bono from the idea that the US is a more dangerous place?

But perhaps it depends on when one grew up.
Look at the homicide rate chart on page 215.

A big spike from 1920 to 1933 concurrent with prohibition.
Another big spike from 1965 to 1980. A minor decline 1981 to 1983. Then a resurgence from 1983 to 1997. And then a rapid drop off.
My thesis of the second spike is the large number of males aged 20 to 40 in the population at that time. As the male boomers aged the incidence of homicide ebbed along with that decline.
As the nation ages it should be getting safer.
What do you think?

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Grew up in Philadelphia. Father & uncle both were cops if that adds anything to this. Spent 20 yrs in the military. Never had anything even remotely resembling any personal contact or involvement of any kind with any person experiencing any gun violence.

I have read various articles and heard interviews with people doing research saying that the world is a much safe place nowadays than a century ago. The world used to be fraught with no end of tribal and regional conflicts that went on sometimes for centuries like the Hatfields and McCoys. Big wars WWI, II, Civil war don’t make up everyday living. They are major historical events. Those tribal/regional/territorial/smoldering/recurring wars defined life in most places for thousands of years.

Crime is definitely up in most cities (at least in the US) since the 1940’s. (Sorry but I cannot discuss my own observations on that subject here. Highly varied as you’d expect) That is a major reason people feel unsafe. Anybody old enough knows that into the 1950’s people could and did put their kid on a bus or subway with name, address, and destination pinned to his or her shirt without fear. Who would harm a child with all those people around? Sounds crazy nowadays, eh?

Is there reason to create a crime/safety narrative to scare people? HA HA! OF COURSE! The old advertising axiom: “Sex Sells!” Well, fear can catapult a lot of BS too.


The brother of a coworker of mine was a police officer in metro Detroit. Killed in the line of duty.

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If you know anyone that has served in the Military it is hard to believe that everyone hasn’t been touched by gun violence. Unless the military doesn’t count.


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We know. So? I didn’t say it didn’t happen. Can’t compare cops with what we’re talking about any more than one can reasonably insert military people in a war zone as related to what we’re talking about.


I was a victim of gun violence in the mid-70’s during a bulk marijuana purchase gone bad.

My buddy and I thought we were meeting a guy to purchase a pound of weed, but when he got into the back seat of the car, and we showed him the cash, he stuck a stub nosed pistol up to my head and told my friend to drive. He said if we did not follow his orders, he would blow my head off. We drove to one of the area “projects” where he took our money, told us to get down on the floor of the car and count to 100 before getting back up. He disappeared into the night.

I was scared sh*t.

Obviously we never reported this to the local police. :wink:

→ owns no guns


Mrs. Goofy had a close college friend commit suicide by gun. This was more than a decade after college and they had not been in touch, but it’s still a shocker when you get such news. I’m not sure if this counts or not, but there it is.


Suicide is included in the gun violence numbers. I have read that over half of gun deaths are suicides.



That definitely counts.

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@Goofyhoofy Ditto here. It was a member of my extended family.

CDC said, as of 2021, 54 percent of us gun deaths were suicide, 43 percent murder, 3 percent ‘other’.


Have had both a cousin and friend that were police officers killed in action. At least 2 high school friends commit suicide with firearms. Have had several friends as victims of armed robbery, but then again my former home town was constantly in the top 25 for crime/violence per capita in USA.

I have an uncle who, about 20 years ago, had a step child who accidentally shot a friend in the head with a weapon in that friend’s house. Obviously that weapon was not secured very well. Also had a neighbor who committed suicide with a gun many years back. In '09 a friend got laid off from work at a time when nobody was hiring and his best friend removed all his (multiple) weapons from his house, for sadly good reason. Lastly, a year back we had some elder guy (75+) who got upset about a parking situation in front of the elementary school during child pick-up and brandished a weapon (no shots fired, and the guy I believe was found guilty of a crime and imprisoned).

I was an inner city prosecutor in the early 1980’s when the us murder rate (and in Richmond va where I worked) was higher than it is now. We suffered from a rise in drug murders because crack was hitting the streets. I knew George Taylor and Mongo Mcmahand rpd police officers.


Sadly timely; the neighbor six doors up killed himself with a gun yesterday. We knew he was bi-polar, but we didn’t know he had serious financial difficulties and no health insurance.

I don’t know all the details, nor do I need to (we weren’t close; I said hi a couple times at neighborhood functions), but there it is: do I know someone? Yes, I do.


And now we have another person with bare arms.

Nobody is saying who pulled the pin, but I guess it doesn’t matter. At least his rights weren’t infringed, although his body is now singed.


A little black humor, huh? Or charred humor maybe…


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