Every criminal is a law-abiding citizen until he commits his first crime. Cox reminds us that the same is true of gun crime [emphasis mine]:
Among the 5,417 gun homicides in 2012 that the FBI assigns a circumstance to (3,438 are "unknown circumstances"), a mere 1,324 were committed in conjunction with another felony. Three times that (3,980) were committed by otherwise law-abiding citizens. Of that, over half (1,968) were the result of an argument that escalated fatally out of control.To put it another way: otherwise unpremeditated murders, where people kill out of momentary rage, are the single most common type of gun homicide in America. More than gangland killings (822); more than murders committed during robberies (505) and drug deals (311) combined.
But, armed with these facts, Americans still won't do anything about it because we'd rather be armed, period. We think we're the good guys, when we're really not. We're crazy about our little instruments of death.
By Ana Marie Cox
January 16, 2014 | Guardian