A popular message circulating the internet claims that “guns don’t kill people, doctors do,” based on statistics that theoretically show that doctors are responsible for more accidental deaths every year than firearms.
Like many urban legends that cross the internet, it has a lot of “facts” for its readers, but it is unlike most urban legends in that it quotes a source: “Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.” The message was even recounted in an article by Nathan Tabor. The letter claims that:
— There are 700,000 physicians in the United States.
— There are 120,000 accidental deaths in the United States caused by physicians every year, and the accidental death percentage per physician is 0.171.
— There are 80 million gun owners in the United States.
— There are 1,500 accidental deaths from guns every year, regardless of age group, and the accidental death percentage per gun owner is 0.0000188.
This means, the letter points out, that doctors are 9,000 times more deadly than gun owners.
ugh. The number of people with access to firearms is 80 mil. The number of people with access to doctors is like 250 million, so a 9000x factor of gun ownership vs doctors is a ridiculous exaggeration. Considering that the proper ratio would be like 25x more likely to die accidentally if you have access to a doctor, vs if access to a gun. You would get something similar with automobiles, poisonous household cleaning supplies, or even fatty foods.