Clayton E. Cramer posted an article on PJ Media about the difference in murder rates between Canada and the United States. Part of the point he was trying to make is that gun laws aren’t necessarily behind the differences in murder rates between Canada and the United States.
His comparisons aren’t valid. He doesn’t know Canada, and so he missed some important points. I don’t know the United States as well as he does, but I used to travel there a lot, and I see things differently.
Let’s look at the numbers he quoted.
- Idaho – 2011 – murder rate was 2.3 per 100,000.
- Minnesota – 2011 – 1.4 murders per 100,000.
- Montana – 2011 – 2.8 murders per 100,000.
- North Dakota – 2011 – 3.5 murders per 100,000.
- Nunavut – 2011 – 21.01 murders per 100,000.
- Northwest Territories – 2011 – 6.87 murders per 100,000.
- Nova Scotia – 2011 – 2.33 murders per 100,000.
- Manitoba – 2011 – 4.24 murders per 100,000.
- Saskatchewan – 2011 – 3.59 murders per 100,000.
- Alberta – 2011 – 2.88 murders per 100,000.
Looks pretty solid, doesn’t it? But is it?
- Idaho – 1,595,728 population
- Minnesota – 5,420,380 population
- Montana – 1,015,165 population
- North Dakota – 723,393 population
- Nunavut – 31,906 population
- Northwest Territories – 41,462 population
- Nova Scotia – 921,727 population
- Manitoba – 1,208,268 population
- Saskatchewan – 1,033,381 population
- Alberta – 3,645,257 population
When you look at population, you’ll note that the populations of the Canadian provinces and territories are a lot lower. This means that if there is one murder in Nunavut, the murder rate is 3.13 murders per 100,000 population.
He also doesn’t understand Canadian gun laws. While I don’t have solid figures on gun ownership in Nunavut, it is probably like where I live in Northern Ontario. There are more guns than people on the street where I live. Seriously. Hunting is a big sport up here, and nearly every house has at least one shotgun or rifle.
So if anyone wants a gun to commit a murder, they aren’t that hard to obtain. In fact there are more guns in areas like where I live, than in most areas of the United States.
I do agree with him that there are underlying contributing factors which need to be addressed. Poverty, Alcohol, and Domestic Violence are huge contributing factors. Many of the states with the highest poverty levels have incredibly high homicide rates. Canadian poverty rates are far lower, and that impacts on our homicide rate, which is also far lower.
And of course he ignored the Yukon. It had a homicide rate of 0.00 in both 2011 and 2012. But mentioning that would have ruined his thesis.
For reference, please see:
Saturday May 24, 2014