Accidental causes of death in the USA: Firearms are #7, behind suffocation, fires and burns, and drowning.
There are so many interesting ways to die in America, that we felt it was just wrong to limit it to the most frequent causes, which are all boring diseases and infections and stuff. (Except in Alaska, where suicide generally makes it into the top ten.) You want to hear about the terrible calamities, the tragic consequences of an error in judgment or a general lack of coordination. Do we ever disappoint?
Deaths per year: 350
We can thank the farmers of America for the inclusion of this particular misfortune as a cause of death. Between corn-huskers and wheat-threshers, is it a wonder? The reason it is last on the list is that there just aren't enough people in farming these days. Ironically, they have all been replaced by machines. Hmm accident, or deliberate act by wanton machinery? We may never know.
9. Medical & Surgical Complications and Misadventures
Deaths per year: 500
While we are incredibly insensitive people, we did not coin the term "medical misadventure"- the National Safety Council did. How is death by surgeon a "misadventure?" While we're not sure, we suspect that this number refers to elective surgeries that people undertake, such as liposuction. After all, the removal of a brain tumor is not usually considered to be an "adventure."
8. Poisoning by gases
Deaths per year: 700
There's nothing like the smell of napalm in the morning In this category, you mostly have deaths by carbon monoxide poisoning due to faulty operation of a heating or cooking appliance, or a standing automobile. We assume, however, that the noxious gasses emitted by Uncle Albert qualify too.
2. CAUSES OF DEATH 7 - 5
Deaths per year: 1,500
We can thank our second amendment rights for all 1500 of these deaths; call it the "right to die" amendment. You probably don't want to know how many countries in the world do not even have "accidental death by firearms" on their top ten, or their top twenty. Suffice it to say that it's most of them. Of the 1500, you're looking at about 75% young males between the age of 14 and 25 (and getting younger every year), who unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. For more information on the place of guns in society, click over to our pros and cons section.
Deaths per year: 3,300
Call this one the "Heimlich" section, as these deaths mostly resulted from blockages of the respiratory system by food or other objects.
5. Fires and burns
Deaths per year: 3,700
This would include deaths resulting from fires, such as smoke inhalation, falling beams, and sitting through Backdraft. Ironic that cancer is number two on the total deaths list, and a by-product of smoking is responsible for one of the top causes of accidental deaths. Are we getting the picture that this is a dangerous pastime? What kind of warnings do we have to put on these boxes, anyway?
3. CAUSES OF DEATH 4 - 2
Deaths per year: 4,000
This includes all sorts of drownings in boat accidents and those resulting from swimming, playing in the water, falling in, or even having a bath. The human body is what, 70% water? And we begin our lives in a watery environment, there's lots of oxygen in water what's the deal? Something for the scientists to work on.
3. Poisoning by solids and liquids
Deaths per year: 8,600
These would be all your commonly recognized poisons, as well as such items as mushrooms, shellfish, drug overdoses, and problems with medicines-which is a wide category, and why it is so high on the list. What they leave out is things like food poisoning or salmonella, which they classify as "disease deaths" and place on another list.
Deaths per year: 14,900
Then we come to the America's Funniest Home Videos category of accidental death, including falls from ladders, down stairs, over curbs, off buses, into manholes, and through plate glass windows.
4. THE MOST COMMON CAUSE OF ACCIDENTAL DEATH
1. Motor vehicle crashes
Deaths per year: 43,200
The winner, by a ridiculously huge (and ever-increasing) margin is: death by car wreck. Head on collision, sideswipe, single-vehicle smash-up, full car rollover, pedestrian takedown, choking on own carsick vomit, spontaneous combustion-the fun never stops for car owners. Try air travel instead; it's much safer. Do you see it anywhere on this list?
Click to view image: 'Beretta'
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