Re: Justice's Return (Was: Re: The End of Privacy ?)

Michael Nielsen (
Sun, 5 Jul 1998 21:29:59 -0600 (MDT)

On Mon, 6 Jul 1998, Damien Broderick wrote:

> At 03:34 PM 7/5/98 -0400, Mike Lorrey wrote:
> >I seem to recall that Autralia has a higher level of domestic violence
> >than the US does....
> Hard to test. Who keeps the statistics? What are the parameters? I can't
> say I've seen much evidence of widespread spouse-battering (but I gather
> it's a working class/workless class remedy in many countries).

About a year or so ago I went and looked up a bunch of statistics on crime (I used a bunch of sources, but the most useful was a UN report, available online, which I can't seem to find at the moment).

I was glad at the time that I wasn't looking specifically at the domestic violence figures, but rather at the murder rate, and total rate of vilent crime. The domestic violence figures are a complete mess. Comparing statistics for domestic violence across countries is pointless, because of differences in how frequently the crime is reported, and how seriously it is treated when reported.

On a general note, I was interested to discover that the rate of violent crime seems to be fairly comparable in the US and Australia (within a factor of 2, depending on crime; also, I had to extrapolate because the figures I could find were all at least a few years old), but much lower in Switzerland. On the other hand, America had a far higher murder rate (~4 to 5 times) than Australia. Australia, in turn, stood in a similar relation to Switzerland.

I don't know why this is so. Gun laws seemed the obvious answer to me, but a correspondent pointed out that only one quarter of murders in the US are done with a gun. I didn't check the figure, but he's a reliable guy, and I assume he knows his stuff. This fact does shoot a hole (couldn't resist, sorry :-) in my hypothesis. I've been curious ever since why, even if you simply remove all the gun deaths by fiat, there are still so many murders in the US.

> >While this might be true in a country where the national sport is to get
> drunk
> >and beat your wife, it is not so here...

<sound of my mind boggling>

> Calm down, Michael. This doesn't help.

This wasn't addressed to me, but right at the moment, it sounds like very good advice, which I'll try to take in the interest of keeping the S/N high.


Michael Nielsen