Politics Analysis

America’s gun deaths lower despite Trump still urging violence

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Officer Jonathan Diller (inset) was killed while on duty as Donald Trump continues to inspire violence (Screenshots via YouTube)

Trump-inspired murders remain high in the U.S. while Australia leads the world on gun reform, as Alan Austin reports.

LATE AFTERNOON last Monday, New York police officer Jonathan Diller was no doubt looking forward to going home to play with his little boy before bedtime. Then, while dealing with what seemed a routine matter, the 31-year-old was shot and killed.

His death brought the number of American police killed or injured by firearms this year to 105. That is on track, three months into 2024, for more than 400 serving officers shot on duty for the fifth consecutive year.

The number of police shot in most other developed countries, including Australia, so far this year is zero.

Trump’s routine calls for violence

All categories of violent crime in the USA had been on a downward trajectory for nearly three decades until 2015. Donald Trump then entered politics with frequent calls to his supporters to engage in physical violence. One “news” outlet devoted itself to repeating and amplifying all his provocations to murder.

The result of the Trump/Fox News pact has been an escalation in all categories of violent crime, including police fatalities. See green chart, below.

(Data source: gunviolence.org | nleomf.org)

This chart shows the long-term decline, which started well before 2004, before the sudden jump in 2015. The surge continued until 2021, then eased marginally.

Most other categories of violent crime have similar trajectories. In January, IA showed charts for overall homicide rates, gun homicides and children under 18 killed or injured by firearms for 2023. These are now reducing significantly but remain well above pre-Trump levels.

Improvement is evident this year in mass shootings, which numbered 89 to March. Yes, that is appalling and has cost several hundred lives. But the number was 147 up to March last year and even higher in 2021. See blue and grey chart, below.

(Data source: gunviolence.org | statista.com)

Trump still the accelerant

Trump’s calls for violence have never stopped. Some have been direct, others coded dog whistles, as these recent three reveal.

From The Guardian, 29 September 2023:

'We will immediately stop all of the pillaging and theft. Very simply: If you rob a store, you can fully expect to be shot as you are leaving that store. Shot!'

From Geo News, 26 September 2023, referring to Trump’s former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley:

‘This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH!’

At a campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio, on 16 March 2024, Trump said:

“Now, if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole — that’s gonna be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country.”

People Trump has recently attacked in speeches or via social media include prosecutors, judges, families of judges, senior military personnel, President Biden, Trump's rape victim E Jean Carroll, his former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and Australia’s ambassador to the USA, Kevin Rudd. These have led to death threats requiring security protection.

Cost of the Trump death cult

Before 2015, Americans accepted around 230 police officers shot each year. Since Fox News flooded the airwaves with Trump’s hate speech, that has surged past 400. The total sacrifice of officers since 2015 attributable to Trump’s rhetoric – that is, above the long-term trend – is now 1,180 and counting.

Since Trump, the number of children under 18 shot has surged well above 6,000 each year. The extra toll due to his malicious rhetoric is now 15,700 children. The estimated grand total extra firearm casualties of all ages, which Trump has provoked since 2015, is 94,400.

Data withheld by Russia

IA’s crime analysis no longer uses information from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). A message now pops up on FBI websites advising: ‘We’re sorry... The request has been blocked.’

(Screenshot via FBI website)

This is frustrating researchers worldwide, as the FBI collects detailed data going back to 1985. An example is the chart showing the surge in hate crimes by White offenders, published here last April.

Reuters reported in January that Russia's regulator, Roskomnadzor, claimed to have blocked CIA and FBI websites, accusing them of ‘spreading false information’.

It has proven difficult to discover more, from Russia or the USA. It is now April and these sites are still shut. Russia, it seems, is beating the USA in cyber warfare.

This is hindering American voters from learning about the violence unleashed week after week in Donald Trump’s name, which certainly suits Russian President Vladimir Putin if he wants the American ex-President returned to do his bidding.

Australia leads the world

State and federal governments in Australia set the pace for global gun reform in 1996 when they enacted strict laws and implemented a successful gun buy-back scheme.

In the 14 years before 1996, 113 people were killed and 98 injured in 15 mass shootings. In the 28 years since, eight mass shootings resulted in 28 deaths and 16 injuries. Thus, the number of victims dropped to one-fifth in double the years and the population is now nearly 50 per cent higher than in 1996.

Further reform has followed, including the 2020 national ban on importing bump stocks and similar devices. Western Australia is currently tightening its laws by limiting the number of guns anyone can own and strengthening gun storage rules.

Why this matters

Americans vote in November to elect senators, representatives, state governors, state legislators, judges and prosecutors as well as a president — all of whom have a say on gun laws.

If pro-gun reform candidates win, it should be possible for the USA to emulate Australia. Most Americans, according to opinion polling, support this. They include Officer Jonathan Diller’s widow and little boy.

Alan Austin is an Independent Australia columnist and freelance journalist. You can follow him on Twitter @alanaustin001.

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