Friday, May 13, 2011


Revisitng the Wild West Myth

Recently I completed the course required for concealed carry of a handgun for the state of Ohio. I don't plan to carry very often, mostly when I'm on bicycle rides and walking through rural country. My primary concern is wild animals or wild dogs that may attack.

Thinking about gun control issues, revisiting the Wild West is important. Opponents to concealed carry, etc like to espouse dire warnings about the Wild West erupting. However, the Wild West wasn't that wild (except in Hollywood movies).
In his book, Frontier Violence: Another Look, author W. Eugene Hollon, provides us with these astonishing facts:
  • In Abilene, Ellsworth, Wichita, Dodge City, and Caldwell, for the years from 1870 to 1885, there were only 45 total homicides. This equates to a rate of approximately 1 murder per 100,000 residents per year.
  • In Abilene, supposedly one of the wildest of the cow towns, not a single person was killed in 1869 or 1870.
Zooming forward over a century to 2007, a quick look at Uniform Crime Report statistics shows us the following regarding the aforementioned gun control “paradise” cities of the east:
  • DC – 183 Murders (31 per 100,000 residents)
  • New York – 494 Murders (6 per 100,000 residents)
  • Baltimore – 281 Murders (45 per 100,000 residents)
  • Newark – 104 Murders (37 per 100,000 residents)
We can only hope the Wild West returns.

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