Super Bowl Ads of Cartoonish Violence, Perhaps Reflecting Toll of War

From a NY Times article of the same title by Stuart Elliott about the Super Bowl ads:

More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.

I don't know about a connection to Iraq, but I did notice this myself: an abundance of gratuitously violent commercials that left me wincing.


I noticed that as well. I personally believe there is a causal connection between the proliferation of violence on all levels of the American psyche.

That's what Michael Moore was trying to get at in Bowling for Columbine: why is there such a disparity in gun violence levels between the US and Canada when there are such similar levels of gun ownership.

Gun ownership in Canada? What is that? More blame should be put on the proliferation of violence in music videos, video games, movies, tv, etc. Not gun ownership.

Right, that is the point I was making. You can't simply blame it on gun proliferation (like some might be tempted to do) because gun ownership in Canada is similar to what it is in the US yet gun violence is a much bigger problem in the US than in Canada. Of course, high levels of violence in the media are also present in Canada like they are in the US, so I don't think there are simple answers.

I don't think there are as many gun owners in Canada.

There are definitely fewer gun owners in Canada, in large part because the population of Canada is much smaller.I couldn't easily find a neutral site with the statistics I wanted, so I'm going to cite statistics from this gun control site: number of guns per person is about 4 times higher in the US, but the number of murders with guns (per 100,000 people) is 8 to 15 times higher in the US.By other measures, like % of households with guns (which I think is about 10 times higher in the US), the number of murders doesn't seem so disproportionate.That same gun control site shows a graph from a study indicating a pretty darn good correlation between the number of gun deaths and the percentage of households with guns:

Are Canada's gun laws effective? Here are some figures from the Canadian Firearms Centre:There are an estimated 7.4 million firearms in Canada, about 1.2 million of which are restricted firearms (mostly handguns). In the U.S., there are approximately 222 million firearms; 76 million of the firearms in circulation are handguns.For 1987-96, on average, 65% of homicides in the U.S. involved firearms, compared to 32% for CanadaFor 1987-96, the average firearm homicide rate was 5.7 per 100,000 in the U.S., compared to 0.7 per 100,000 for Canada.For 1989-95, the average handgun homicide rate was 4.8 per 100,000 in the U.S., compared to 0.3 per 100,000 for Canada. Handguns were involved in more than half (52%) of the homicides in the U.S., compared to 14% in Canada.For 1989-95, the average non-firearm homicide rate was 3.1 per 100,000 people in the U.S., compared to 1.6 per 100,000 for Canada.Does this mean Canadian firearms laws are more effective at preventing gun-related crime than U.S. laws?Should the U.S. Enact Gun Laws Similar to Canada's?Before you decide remember that 31 million people live in all of Canada while 32 million people live in California, U.S.A. alone. The current population of United States is just over 274.3 million. In Canada, an average of 3.4 persons live in each square kilometer of land. In the Unites States, an average of 29.8 persons live in each square kilometer of land.It's quite a bit different.

The disproportionately higher rates of handgun and firearm homicides in the US is evidence that Canada is doing something right. On the other hand, that assumes that the number of gun homicides should scale linearly with gun ownership and population. Those aren't necessarily good assumptions. As you pointed, the population density is much higher in the US, which could be a significant contributer.