Well, here we go again. Too much gun violence. The article about Dr. Garen Wintemute treating gunshot victims in the ER tosses out some numbers for both gun and motor vehicle deaths (in 2009, 31,228 firearm related deaths vs 33,808 motor vehicle related deaths http://www.sacbee.com/2011/04/11/354...n-look-at.html).
Every violent death is tragic, but given the number of guns (and automobiles) in existence in the US, are these numbers that high? No one disputes that these numbers would be zero if firearms and motor vehicles didn't exist, but they also could potentially be much higher. Oh, yeah: we had firearms long before we had motor vehicles.
Somewhere, someone has a breakdown of these numbers to show the causes of these deaths, i.e. crime (murder, robbery, etc.), self defense, suicide, accident. They will probably show that crime and suicide deaths due to firearms greatly outnumber those due to motor vehicles, with accidents being the bulk of those deaths. Motor vehicles are rarely used in self defense, so gun related deaths will likely dominate this category.
What such a breakdown might also show is that if we could keep guns out of the hands of criminals, both crime and self defense deaths would decrease dramatically, which would be a good thing. Unfortunately, this is only likely if criminals had no hands.
In the comment section of the above link, someone noted the annual number of self defense uses of firearms (1,029,615, estimated by the CDC). Of that number, some fraction of the 31,228 gun deaths were due to self defense. If they were all self defense deaths, the overall fraction would be (at most) 3.03%. This suggests that crime is a relatively safe occupation for the criminal.
BTW, if you're a Cox Cable subscriber, this airs at 9:30pm on 4/13/2011.