Donald Trump would like you to think that Mexico is a fundamentally dangerous place. If you ask America’s right wing politicians, Mexico and all things and people Mexican have little basis to respectably interact with American society.
Trump, who this week is officially accepting the Republican nomination for president, launched his campaign on such a premise.
Last June, as you can watch below, Trump kicked off his presidential run by asserting that Mexico is “sending us people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Trump made the racist intentions behind his comments clear as he announced his plan for a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico. Trump also soon after announced a plan to deport the over 12 million undocumented Mexican immigrants currently living in the United States.
His comments have incensed many since day one of his campaign. All the while, millions of people have gotten behind his hate-spewing campaign, bringing him to this week, where he is accepting the Republican nomination.
Does any part of Trump’s slew of assertions about Mexico have basis in truth? No, not really.
Mexico might, in fact, be a “dangerous place.” The problem is that Trump’s implication of the word dangerous is completely subjective.
What Trump and America’s right wing are not telling you is that the United States is at least as dangerous as Mexico, if not much, much more so under many circumstances.
Let’s start by looking at what has effectively replaced abortion as the most discussed and polarizing topic in America today — guns.
Guns have been thrust to the front of America’s conversation in the wake of mass shooting after mass shooting. Underpinning the latest push for gun safety measures is the June shooting of over 100 people at an Orlando, Florida gay bar that left 49 people dead.
America is reeling under a staggering 195 mass shootings since January 1, 2016. These shootings are among an overwhelming 29,032 gun violence incidents since January 1, incidents which have resulted in almost 7,500 deaths, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
How does Mexico compare?
GunPolicy.org is one of several professional sites used to collect data on gun violence from around the world. Just a quick look into the site’s data leads to a startling fact: in terms of gun violence, the United States is at least as dangerous as Mexico.
Under many circumstances, the United States is more dangerous than Mexico in terms of gun violence.
Take the “Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People.” Mexico’s 2014 rate was 11.23. The 2014 rate in the United States was barely less than Mexico’s at 10.54.
With less than a one percent buffer, the margin evaporates when breaking down the numbers state by state.
The Kaiser Family Foundation archived the 2014 Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 people state by state for the United States. The highest rate is found in Alaska, which has a reported rate of 19.2. Louisiana and Mississippi come next, with rates of 19 and 18.3, respectively.
In other words, you are safer living in Mexico than in certain parts of the United States.
The graph below, featured via screenshot from GunPolicy.org, illustrates the comparison.
From left to right are vertical bars representing Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Mexico, and the United States as a whole.
This analysis doesn’t even get into a more startling fact — you are more likely to die from suicide in the United States than from gun violence in Mexico. The American yearly suicide rate per 100,000 people is about 13, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The majority of American suicides are via firearm.
The Mexican yearly suicide rate per 100,000 people is 4.4, according to the Washington Post.
In 2014, firearms researcher David Kopel suggested in the Washington Post that Mexico’s gun control laws might be a model for the United States.
Many politicians among America’s left agree with Kopel. He himself cited now presumptive Democratic presidential nominee — and likely next President of the United States — Hillary Clinton.
Clinton’s campaign website spells out the gun safety plan she intends to implement as president. Her site reads:
‘As president, Hillary will expand background checks… Take on the gun lobby… Keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill.’
Time will tell if Clinton will have the opportunity to implement her plans — and if her plans will, in fact, take the United States out of the same category as nations like Mexico in terms of gun violence.
Featured Image is via Sgt. 1st Class Gordon Hyde on Wikimedia Commons. It is public domain.