Powerful infographic from the FiveThirtyEight.com website (to whom all respect for numbers-led analysis and comment). Gives the question some context and perspective. And #ContextMatters. (Red dots are suicides, blue are homicides, yellow are accidents)
Overall, 33,000 people a year die from shootings in the USA. That IS a big number.
Take a set of numbers collected from “the wild”. You might take company profits, city population statistics, street numbers or odometer readings. How many of the numbers in your set start with “1″? how many with “2″? with “3″?, “4″? …
Amazing as it sounds, these leading digits are NOT evenly distributed but follow a pattern (30% “1″s, down to less than 5% “9″s). This pattern is so reliable, it’s been used in fraud detection, to trap companies cooking their books: the invented numbers did not follow Benford’s Law.
Follow the link for a fascinating explanation of why this is so.