(NaturalNews) A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has broken down by race the number of gun deaths in America, and - according to this government agency's own figures - the divide is especially pronounced between whites and blacks.
According to data culled from all 50 states, whites are much more likely to use a firearm to commit suicide, while blacks are much more likely to die at the hand of someone else wielding a gun.
"A white person is five times as likely to commit suicide with a gun as to be shot with a gun; for each African American who uses a gun to commit suicide, five are killed by other people with guns," the Washington Post reported, citing the CDC report.
Where blacks and whites live also makes a difference, the government report notes. For instance, gun deaths in urban centers are much more likely to be homicides, while suicide gun deaths is much more prominent in rural areas.
There is also a divide in terms of which ethnic group is more supportive of gun control. From the Post:
A Washington Post-ABC News poll this month found that about three-quarters of blacks support stronger controls, compared with about half of whites. The poll also found that two-thirds of city dwellers support stronger gun controls, while only about a third of rural residents back them.
The CDC data indicated that suicide and homicide rates among Asians and Hispanics were not as pronounced as the sharp differences seen between whites and blacks.
Missing the point?
While there is some discussion in the Post article about gun deaths by homicide, the story focuses primarily on guns used in cases of suicide. The paper's underlying themes seem clear: More guns equals more suicides, and, if we just had fewer guns we'd have fewer suicides.
What is not examined in the Post article is as glaring as what is. For one, you could argue that gun control laws appear aimed primarily at whites, since whites, by far, own more guns as a percentage of the population (an argument that would, no doubt, be advanced by some black leaders if the opposite were true). For another, absent from the Post story is the fact that most African-American casualties of gun violence are killed by members of their own ethnic group - a fact that is also substantiated by government statistics.
A special report by the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2007 laid bare several facts regarding gun homicides in the black community - trends that continue unabated:
-- "Blacks were victims of an estimated 805,000 nonfatal violent crimes and of about 8,000 homicides in 2005. While blacks accounted for 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005, they were victims in 15 percent of all nonfatal violent crimes and nearly half of all homicides," the report said.
-- Young, black males were many times more likely to be killed with a gun than black females.
-- "Blacks living in urban areas were more likely than those in suburban or rural areas to be victims of violence," said the report.
-- And finally, "In 2005 most homicides involving one victim and one offender were intraracial. About 93 percent of black homicide victims and 85 percent of white victims in single victim and single offender homicides were murdered by someone of their race," the BJS report said. "About four-fifths of black victims of nonfatal violence perceived the offenders to be black."
Gun violence is not racism
"The vast majority of people being murdered are African American in the City of Cincinnati," said Hamilton County Prosecutor, Joe Deters, who is white, in an interview with local ABC affiliate WCPO, in March 2011. "The vast majority. Well outside the 40 percent of the population it should be."
He continued: "In 2009, the City of Cincinnati did not have a single white victim of a homicide. (That) tells me that we have a subset in the underclass of Cincinnati which is committing a lot of violent crime and they tend to be black. And the reality is, you almost always commit murder within your racial classifications. So when we've got a young black man up in the coroner's office, it's almost always a result of another young black man shooting him."
The Reverend Damon Lynch III, who is black, says the main reason for so much black-on-black crime is the destruction of the traditional family within the African-American community.
"In 1920, 90 percent of black families had a father in the house. In 1960, 80 percent of black families had a father in the house. In 2011, it's only 30 percent. Three out of 10," he said.
The point is, per the government's own statistics, indeed there is a wide disparity regarding gun violence in white and black communities. But seriously, what is the more important discussion to have regarding gun violence - suicide rates or intraracial homicide rates particular to a certain demographic and ethnic group? Which debate would better serve the nation?
Downplaying one side of the gun issue while over-emphasizing another side because of a particular socioeconomic and political point of view does not advance the debate or help solve the inherent problems involved. All it does is misinform and inflame passions.