Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Horrible Racist Says Horribly Racist Thing

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM

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Paradise is spelled B-E-L-G-I-U-M
  • Paradise is spelled B-E-L-G-I-U-M

However, as is so often the case with Ann Coulter, she is totally manipulating statistics in order to make a stupid, racist point. The website AmericaBlog points out that, "Coulter is right, about Belgium — and only Belgium — but wrong about the rest of western Europe, which has a lot lower murder rate than even our 'white' murder rate." AmericaBlog posits that Coulter chose Belgium because it is such a tiny country that the murder rate might be inflated due to its small population. Even then, the only time in the last ten years that Belgium's murder rate even approached the "white" murder rate in the US was in 2002. If you average out the Belgian murder rate from 2000-2010, it about 18% lower than the US "white" murder rate, and less than half of the total US murder rate.

And if you look at the rest of Western Europe, the statistics make it even more clear that the anomaly is the US and that the problem is guns. The US has a "white" murder rate of 2.6 per 100,000 and a total murder rate of 5.5 per 100,000 (over the last ten years.) In Germany, that rate is 1.2/100,000. In Switzerland, it's 1.0/100,000. In Norway, it's 0.8/100,000. AmericaBlog points out that "67% of murders in the US (2003-2010) were committed using a firearm. That gives a non-firearms murder rate of 1.8 per 100,000, which is only slightly higher than the rate in the UK (1.5), which has strong gun control laws and a negligible firearm murder rate (0.1)"

It is easy to write Coulter off as a right-wing nut-job troll, and believe me, I do think that. But she is also representative of why it is so difficult to have a serious conversation about gun control in this country. By spewing her hatred and blaming gun violence in this country on "demographics" she is redirecting the very important conversation about guns and violence into one about race. She is also being willfully ignorant about why exactly those "demographics" have higher incidences of being both the perpetrator and the victim of violence. That is a worthwhile conversation and it has nothing to do with skin color and everything to do with poverty and other social issues and also, importantly, the ready availability of guns. There is a rational discourse that could be conducted revolving around gun control, but if Coulter is any indication of how the right-wing, NRA nut-jobs want to talk, then that won't be anything approaching a rational discourse. There will just be hate and incendiary commentary and, as usual, nothing will get done.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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