I generally have ignored the VT murders. I don't know anyone that attends the campus; I live almost 1,000 miles away from it. It has no real impact on my life. But I am not a hermit. I read a comment on a blog post comparing the death rate from guns in Australia and the US. The commenter noted the countries are very similar in many cultural ways but that we had twice as many deaths from guns. Why she wondered.
I thought about race. I had a stereotype in my head that blacks died as a result of guns in much higher proportions than whites. I went in search of evidence to support my stereotype. And found it...but in looking at the page I found, there was something else MUCH MORE STARTLING.
55% of gun deaths in 2004....were suicides. 25% of those under 18 and 74% of those over 40 were suicides. The vast majority were white men. It appears that if a gun is in the house, the more likely event is that the man is going to use it to kill himself.