Folks occasionally write to me when they are considering moving to Ecuador from Canada, or the U.S. This is largely due to my writing commentary for CuencaHighLife. They often assume that I have both an inside track on unwinding the legal entanglements of moving here, as well as a detailed analysis of the differences between the U.S. and Ecuador, but I do not. My job is to write commentary on my personal experiences and observations gained from four years of living in Cuenca, and to call attention to newsworthy stories gleaned from the international press.
I am not immune to the news pouring like acid rain from the U.S. In fact, the deluge of stories often prompts me to look more carefully at various details of the countries’ distinctions, pro and con. With so many news sources focused on gun violence of late, it seemed an appropriate time to look at the numbers.
Here is what I learned.
- In 2018, the homicide rate for Ecuador was 5.8 cases per 100,000 people, one the lowest rates in Latin America. The annual murder rate has decreased in 19 of the last 20 years.
- In 2019, Cuenca’s murder rate per 100,000 was 2.4.
- Homicides by firearm in Ecuador fell from 11.3 cases per 100,000 people in 2006 to 2.7 cases per 100,000 in 2019.
- The U.S. recorded more deaths from firearms than car accidents in 2019.
- Nearly 2,000 people have been killed or injured in mass shootings in the U.S. since 1999
- There are more than 393 million legal civilian-owned firearms in the United States, or enough for every man, woman, and child to own one and still have 67 million guns left over.
- There are about 900,000 guns in Ecuador. The population of Ecuador is just over 17 million.
- There were 14,400 gun-related homicides in the U.S. in 2019, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all homicides.
- Percent of homicides that are gun-related by country: US 73%, England and Wales, 4%, Canada 39%, Australia 22%
Following is a list of communities riddled by mass murderers in the U.S. since 1999 and the number of victims they claimed.
2021 so far…
7 dead, at least 3 injured
Orange, Calif., Boulder, Colo., Atlanta, Ga., Rock Hill, SC.
Springfield, MO., Milwaukee, WI.
73 dead, at least 112 injured
Jersey City, N.J., Pensacola, Fla., Odessa, TX, Dayton, Ohio, El Paso, TX, Gilroy, Calif., Virginia Beach, VA., Aurora, Ill, State College, PA., Sebring, Fla.
80 dead, at least 70 injured
Chicago, Ill., Thousand Oaks, Calif., Pittsburgh, PA., Perryman, MD., Bakersfield, Calif., Cincinnati, OH., Annapolis, MD. – Santa Fe, TX., Nashville, Tenn., Yountville, Calif., Parkland, Fla. – Melcroft, PA.
117 dead, at least 587 injured
Rancho Tehama, Calif.,Sutherland Springs, TX., Thornton, Colo., Edgewood, Md., Las Vegas, Nev., San Francisco, Calif., Tunkhannock, Pa., Orlando, Fla., Kernersville, OH., Fresno, Calif., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
71 dead, at least 83 injured
Burlington, Wash., Baton Rouge, La., Dallas, TX., Orlando, Fla., Hesston, Kan., Kalamazoo County, Mich.
46 dead, at least 43 injured
San Bernardino, Calif., Colorado Springs, Colo., Roseburg, Ore., Chattanooga, Tenn. Charleston, S.C., Menasha, Wis.
18 dead, at least 28 injured
Marysville, Wash., Santa Barbara, Calif., Fort Hood, TX., Alturas, Calif.
35 dead, at least 13 injured
Washington, D.C. – Hialeah, Fla. – Santa Monica, Calif. – Federal Way, Wash.
Herkimer County, N.Y.
71 dead, at least 80 injured
Newtown, Conn. – Minneapolis, Mn. – Oak Creek, Wis. – Aurora, Colo.- Seattle, Wa.
Oakland, Calif. – Norcross, Ga.
19 dead, at least 21 injured
Seal Beach, Calif. – Carson City, Nev. – Tucson, Ariz.
9 dead, at least 2 injured
2009 39 dead, at least 39 injured
Parkland, Wash. – Fort Hood, Texas – Binghamton, N.Y. – Carthage, N.C.
17 dead, at least 24 injured
Henderson, Ky. – DeKalb, Ill. – Kirkwood, Mo.
53 dead, at least 32 injured
Omaha, Neb. – Crandon, Wis. – Blacksburg, Va. – Salt Lake City, Utah
21 dead, at least 7 injured
Lancaster County, Pa. – Seattle, Wash. – Goleta, Calif.
17 dead, at least 9 injured
Red Lake, Minn. – Brookfield, Wis.
5 dead, at least 7 injured
7 dead, at least 8 injured
5 dead, at least 4 injured
Melrose Park, Ill.
42 dead, at least 47 injured
Tampa, Fla. – Honolulu, Hi. – Fort Worth, Texas – Atlanta, Ga. – Littleton, Colo.
Note: This dataset uses the FBI’s definition of a mass shooting, which is an act of gun violence resulting in 4 or more deaths. The FBI standard was revised to 3 or more deaths after 2013. The FBI does not include gang-related homicides in its database.