The headlines scream, “Gun deaths overtook car crashes as leading cause of trauma death in the U.S., study shows,” but what does it really mean?

It means that a group of progressive virtue-signaling physicians has published another nonsensical paper trying to distort the facts to pursue a gun control agenda. Even worse, they introduce a meaningless metric called “years of potential life lost,” which is a reductio ad absurdum result, the disproof of a proposition by showing that it leads to absurd or untenable conclusions. Especially if one applies that years of potential life lost metric to the number of children aborted each year or the deaths caused by heart disease, cancer, or other medical conditions.

The study details are published in Trauma and Acute Care Open journal.


Objectives Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that firearm deaths are increasing in the USA. The aims of this study were to determine the magnitude of potential years of life lost due to firearms and to examine the evolution of firearm deaths on the basis of sex, race, and geographical location within the USA.

[OCS: From what we have seen, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is no longer a trustworthy source of medical statistics, given large variances in the quality of underlying data collection. The metric. potential years of life lost is totally meaningless as it does not account for the quality of life, a major factor in suicides, or the productivity of individuals near the end of their careers.]

Methods Data was extracted (2009–2018) from the National Vital Statistics Reports from the CDC and the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System database. Years of potential life lost was calculated by the CDC standard of subtracting the age at death from the standard year of 80, and then summing the individual years of potential life lost (YPLL) across each cause of death.

[OCS: Standard year of 80? A strange number considering that the CDC notes the average life expectancy is 77.0 years (Source: Mortality in the United States, 2020). And there are additional caveats buried in the research paper.


Within the CDC WISQARS database, firearm deaths are currently only categorized into three different mechanisms: homicide, suicide, and legal firearm interventions. The legal firearm interventions remained constant throughout the study period and were not statistically significant in comparison with the YPLL secondary to homicide and suicide; therefore, it was only briefly mentioned in our article. Although the data obtained for this study are publicly available through the CDC website, there has been no previous systematic analysis and presentation of these data as has been performed in this study. This study summarizes the available data and therefore cannot fully determine the etiology behind the changes in YPLL caused by firearms without demonstrating bias.

Results The YPLL in 2017 and 2018 was higher for firearms than motor vehicle crashes (MVCs). In 2018, the YPLL for firearms was 1.42 million and 1.34 million for MVC. Males comprised the majority (85.4%) of the 38 929 firearm deaths. White males had the most YPLL due to suicide, with 4.95 million YPLL during the course of the 10-year period; black males had the most YPLL due to homicide with 3.2 million YPLL during the same time period. The largest number of suicides by firearms was in older white males. Firearm-related injury deaths were highest in the South, followed by the West, Midwest, and Northeast, respectively.

Conclusion Firearms are now the leading cause of YPLL in trauma. Firearm deaths have overtaken MVC as the mechanism for the main cause of potential years of life lost since 2017. Suicide in white males accounts for more YPLL than homicides. Deaths related to firearms are potentially preventable causes of death and prevention efforts should be redirected.

[OCS: Deaths relating to drunk driving are also potentially preventable, but we do not outlaw alcohol or vehicles.]

Level of evidence Level III—Descriptive Study.


Why I think this paper is politically motivated…

“Previous studies have shown that firearm ownership, mass shootings, injuries, and death are more of a problem in the USA as compared with other developed countries.”

[OCS: There can be no comparison to other countries as the United States is unique given its size, structural freedoms and governance, population diversity. And reducing numbers to per capita metrics is statistically questionable when one considers underlying confounding factors, components of a study that make it difficult or impossible to isolate the effect of the variable being examined.]

“The demand for total freedom and the second amendment have resulted in high access to firearms in this country and this is undisputable. The main argument is that the right to bear arms to prevent injury or to defend against aggressors may result in a small number of preventable deaths is a plausible theory, however, the data reveal that the resulting access to firearms has equated to magnitudes of death due to firearm suicides in the same individuals demanding access to firearms. Effective suicide prevention efforts should include limiting access to all methods of suicide—including firearms—for at-risk populations.”

I am confused. Isn’t this the same group that demands freedom and “body sovereignty” when it comes to abortion while demanding total obedience to state mandates when accepting medical treatments with questionable efficacy and potentially life-threatening side effects in some cohorts?

There is no effective method, short of incarceration, that limits access to all methods of suicide for at-risk populations. And, as Jeffrey Epstein demonstrated, even close-watch incarceration may not be enough.

Bottom line…

Another bullshit study. It is little more than a trivia item that total gun deaths have overtaken car crashes as the leading cause of trauma death in the United States.

The findings that “suicides among older White men account for a large share of the problem” and “deaths in the black male population due to firearm homicide was significantly less than the total number of white male suicides” might be interesting but not really actionable. It is statistical bullpucky to note, “For each death, on average, black male homicides accounted for 50.5 YPLL, whereas white male suicides accounted for 29.1 YPLL.”

The truth is simple. Given the number of gun deaths in the U.S. population, as a percentage of the total population, the number is insignificant except as a political talking point. Instead of attempting to disarm the entire law-abiding population of gun owners, merely enforcing the gun laws on the books without favoring minorities or allowing plea bargains and curbing gangs would solve the majority of the homicide-related problem.

We are so screwed when you realize the regime wants to take away your guns as an effective method of resisting government tyranny – the original purpose of the Second Amendment.

-- steve

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

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“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS