LETTER: Stats on gun deaths faulty?

Richard Green takes issue with attention paid to a recent report.

A reader criticizes a report on gun injuries in Canada.

This month there has been considerable media attention paid to an article which appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The article reported that there are a large number of injuries and deaths among Ontario youth involving firearms: average just under one injured youth per day, with three-quarters occurring accidentally.

Whether the article is transparent or not, you be the judge. It presents youth as being anyone under the age of 25. It includes BB guns and paint ball guns as firearms. It ignores sources of many more injures and death affecting youth.

Let’s consider accidental deaths. Statistics Canada has data which reports, for the twelve years 2000 to 2011, that there were 26 accidental deaths involving firearms in the under 20 age group, which is just over 2 per year.

During the same period, due to accidents in the same age group, there were 16 who died of medical complications, 241 drownings, 85 who died of burns, 117 killed in falls, 91 who died cycling, and 3947 who died in motor vehicle accidents. Total: 4533, just over one per day during the twelve years.

The source of this data is Statistics Canada, External Causes of Morbidity and Mortality, Causes of Death.

This tells us that accidental deaths involving firearms among youth (up to to 20 years old) amounts to 0.57 per cent of the total – about one out of every 200 deaths. Yes, every one of those deaths is heartbreaking, and disastrous for the family involved, but there are much bigger areas of concern as shown by the above statistics. Perhaps the CBC, CTV, and Global TV and the print media could, and should, put the picture into perspective?

Richard Green


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