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Non-natural death in contemporary history

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Non-natural death in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries describes the term unnatural death, which is death caused by external forces, not internal forces, and includes but is not exclusively expressed by the list of causes: motor vehicle accidents, falls, suicides, homicides, drowning, poisoning, complications from medical or surgical treatments, and exposure to smoke and fire. Unnatural death occurs from causes non-natural, natural causes being disease resulting in illness, or internal malfunction causing loss of homeostasis within the body.

The study of non-natural, or unnatural death, is part of the disciplines of Forensic Medicine, actuarial science, law, and statistics, and is useful to governmental agencies and the social sciences.

The periods twentieth and twenty first centuries are described as belonging to the period known as contemporary history,[1] after the earliest conceptualization of the periods in history, was made by the Institute of Contemporary History, based in the Netherlands during the 1930s.[2]

Figures for the years indicated within headings indicate statistical data for those years, statistics are included for years where statistics are made available in media sources or by governmental agencies. Some figures are approximate due to rounding up or down in sources.

Non-natural death in history[edit]

Non-natural or unnatural death is defined as being death caused by forces externally to the human body acting upon the body with sufficient force, to cause a cessation of vital processes, this being known as death. [3][4]

Accident[edit]

Drowning[edit]

In the professional opinion of the organisation for world health, the World Health Organisation surveying drowning deaths worldwide during 2018, drowning, as a sub-set of the group unintentional injury deaths, is proportionally the third most highest probable cause of death within this group, throughout the world, which corresponds to 7% of all deaths found to have resulted from injury sustained by individuals worldwide. This number accounts for a total approximated to 360, 000 deaths per annum. Occurrences of death by drowning in countries that have an average income per individual within the low- and middle-income range accounted for greater than 90% of all unintentional drowning deaths, while greater than half of the world's deaths occured in the World Health Organisation's designated Western Pacific Region and South-East Asia Regions. Drowning death rates were found to be highest in the World Health Organisation's designated African Region, and were at a rate of occurrence that is at 15 to 20 times higher than rates present within Germany or the United Kingdom, respectively. [5]

Electrocution[edit]

  • electrocuted by earphones - 1 known of incident of (in Malaysia)[6]
  • electrocuted by improvised apparatus for use as sexual stimulation - 2 known deaths (in North America) [7]

Falls[edit]

Death by falling was found to have occured in 2 patients admitted to hospital in the United Arab Emirates, in a study of records of 882 admitted to hospital in the period March 2003 to March 2006. [8]

Involving machines[edit]

Motive[edit]

Airplane (2006 - 2019)[edit]

Airplane accidents involve occasions principally where the aircraft is caused to fall down from the sky and crash, but includes in addition occasions where the craft is not airborne and crashes on take-off, while on the runway. Data for deaths for accidents is, for 2019: 157 dead, 2018: 525+, one passenger survived (six incidents), [9][10] 2017: 0 (no incidents),[10] 2016: 339 (five incidents) [11] [10], 2015: 513 (three incidents),[10] 2014: 950 (six incidents) [12][10] 2013: 99 (two incidents), 2012: 271 (two incidents), 2011: 195 (three incidents), [10] 2010: 747 (six incidents) [13][10] 2009: 695, one passenger survivor (five incidents) [10][14][15] 2008: 310 (three incidents), 2007: 568 (five incidents), 2006: 561 dead, 50 survive (four incidents) [16][10]

Helicopter[edit]

Decapitation by rotating blade of helicopter occurred in 1 known of incident within Florida, the United States. [17]

Locomotive[edit]

According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, 27,581 people died in train related accidents in the year 2014.[18]

Road traffic[edit]

Road traffic accidents (R.t.a's) resulting in death occuring per year, for all world is stated by Oxfam as being 1.209 million. [19] According to the World Health Organisation 1.35 million die per year in R.t.a.'s. (WHO, 2018), the organisation determined the number of deaths for 2000 as 1.15 million. [20]

Autonomous-driving car[edit]

In the situation of a motor vehicle in a mode of operation controlled autonomously by computer program, 1 known incident of death occurred during March 18th, 2018 within Tempe, Arizona, North America. [21][22]

Space exploration programs[edit]
United Socialist Soviet Republics (1967)[edit]

The first known death (of one individual) of the USSR program occurred on the April 24 1967. [23]

United States (1986, 2003)[edit]

Accidents resulting in deaths while crafts were in flight account for 14 deaths of astronauts of the United States program. Seven deaths were caused outbound during January 28, 1986, and another seven inbound during February the 1st 2003. [23]

Operative and manufacturing[edit]

  • meat-blender accident - 1 (known of incident of) [24]
  • chainsaw kick-back - 1 known of incident of (in England, Britain) [25]
  • as a result of injuries caused by a dumbwaiter - 1 known incident of (in Wisconsin, North America) [26]

Addiction[edit]

Multi-drug consumption in the context of drugs of addiction present in autopsied patients who had been in contact with the Addiction Centre in Malmö University Hospital from 1993 to 1997 inclusive, apart from alcohol, concurrent presence of drugs in individuals was positively correlated to likelihood of unnatural death of the same individuals, in a study made in Sweden during 2009. Drug abuse was investigated blindly in the case records and related to the cause of death in 387 subjects.[27]

Governmental services[edit]

Death penalty[edit]

Enactment in all countries with the penalty[edit]

Of the 195 existing countries of the world [28] 89 countries have the death penalty as part of their law, during 2017, of those 89, 53 are with jurisdiction to enforce the law in practice. During 2017 and 2016, 23 countries (for both years) are known to have enacted the law to kill members of their countries by the penalty (source: Amnesty international). [29]

United States of America[edit]

The death penalty exists in law in both jurisdictions of each state, in which the penalty is law, and in addition to federal law, that is by enaction of the government of the United States (based in Washington D.C.). [30]

Methods for execution used are of five types:[31]

  • hanging this is the first type of execution used in the history of execution in the United States, and is the method used until the 1890's
  • electrocution by electric chair was created within New York during 1888, and used to perform the first execution by this method during 1890.
  • gas chamber was first used in the United States, a method that was invented within the country, during 1924.
  • lethal injection as a method, was first used in the United states during 1977, and is the method in use in the present.
  • firing squad was reauthorized during 2015, for use if chemicals for lethal injection are found to be unavailable
By federal law (1988 - 2019)[edit]

The number of people executed by the federal death penalty in the United States for the period 1988 to 2019 is 3. [32]

Saudi Arabia (2007 - 2019)[edit]

By death penalty of the Saudi government: [33]

  • 2019 - 59
  • 2018 - 149
  • 2017 - 146+
  • 2016 - 153 or 154 or 154+
  • 2015 - 158
  • 2014 - 90+
  • 2013 - 79+
  • 2012 - 79+
  • 2011 - 82+
  • 2010 - 26 or 27
  • 2009 - 69+
  • 2008 - 102+
  • 2007 - 143+

Democide[edit]

Killing by Communist regime within the government of the United Soviet Socialist Republics from 1917 to 1987[edit]

R. J. Rummel, professor at University of Hawaii has identified 9 seperate periods of killing in the Soviet history producing a total of 143,822,000 deaths within the populus of the USSR, [34][35] as an indication of the relative loss of life as a proportion, compared to any countries population, as a comparison by land-mass, Russia has the largest landmass of any country of the world. [36]

Civilian deaths by policy of the political group of Germany the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei from 1941 - 1945[edit]

The number of deaths are for people who were not members of military organisations (civilians), who were killed by members of the military of the third reich (or other allied groups) of the second world war, the cause of death is given as either lethal gases in gas chambers or injuries from bullet wounds:[37]

The Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (known usually as the Nazi party) were a governing political party within Germany during the second world war. In the assessment of data of number deaths, death by mens rea killing, for the purposes of a pre-determined goal of eliminating members of a certain population (known as genocide), and responses to groups as a militant punishment for breach of law (known as reprisals [38]) is included:

Deaths in the previous Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were 7.4 million. [39]

  • people of jewish ethnicity - 6 million;
  • people of the Soviet Union - 7 million;
  • of Poland 1,8 million;
  • Serbians - 312,000,
  • disabled people - maximum of 250,000;
  • Romani gypsies - 196,000–220,000;
  • repeat crime offender and those designated "asocials" - at least 70,000;
  • Jehovah's Witnesses - about 1,900.

Third reich of the Nazi party during the second world war (beginning 1941) by gun-shot or asphyxiation by gas (people of Jewish ethnicity) - approximately (less than) 2.7 million (source: United States Holocaust memorial museum). [40]

iatrogenic (Medical services)[edit]

A study by Johns Hopkins University patient safety experts indicates that for the study period of 2000 to 2008, medical errors (iatrogenic) were the cause of the third most deaths within the United States of America, estimated at 251,454 per annum. The experts initially examined a study made during 1999 that provided an estimate of 100, 000 deaths per year from medical errors, that was considered not valid due to being out of date. [41][42][43]

Mental Health services[edit]

Britain[edit]
2010 - 2013[edit]

Between the years of 2010 and 2013, there were 72 deaths in mental hospital due to non-natural causes. [44]

2012/2013 - 2016/2017[edit]

The Agenda alliance for women and girls at risk, [45] using data gathered by the organisation known as Care Quality Commission ( responsible for ensuring adequate levels of care in hospitals of Britain), found that in a four to five year period (2012/2013 to 2016/2017) 32 deaths of women involved the use of force by restraint techniques performed by mental health service workers. [46]

Police services[edit]

In the situation of death by police services, death is presumed to have occurred predominantly from gun-shot injuries, [47] other causes of death include by weapons manufactured by Axon enterprises incorporated known as tazer guns [48] and restraint. [49]

Shot by police services[edit]

United States (2016-2019)[edit]

In the United States possession of guns is legally possible and officers of the police are empowered to carry guns.

According to the Washington Post, the number dead per year by shot from police officers is:[50][51]

  • 2019 : 270 (to April 20th)
  • 2018 : 992
  • 2017: 987
  • 2016: 963
Britain (2001 -2019)[edit]

The number of people killed during the twenty-first century is 46 people, of this number 19 were shot within the boundaries of London.

In possession of a gun or knife (2015-2017)[edit]

Data is taken from a report by The Washington Post: [51]

  • 2017:735
  • 2016:693
  • 2015:734
Not carrying a gun (2012, 2015 - 2017)[edit]

The number of people who were killed by injuries by bullets fired by police services, in situations where the dead was found to be unarmed (that is to not be in possession of a gun at the time of the individuals fatal shooting). : [51]

In the United States of America (during the period 2015-2017)

  • 2017: 68
  • 2016: 51
  • 2015: 94

Within Britain (2012)

Individuals killed by police error (2005)[edit]

Shot by the police services, found to be non-criminals after death - 1 known of (in London, England, 2005) [88]

Tazer gun[edit]

United States (1983 - 2017)[edit]

In cases where death involved use of a weapon designed by Axon Enterprises (previously Tazer Enterprises), the organisation Reuters scrutinized public records [89] and found, as a direct result or as contributory factor of use of Tazer gun 153 deaths occurred (a proportion of approximately 25% of the dead had either a diagnosed mental disorder of neurological disorder.) [48]

Britain (2016)[edit]

There is one incident of a death which occurred after the use of a tazer gun (approximately 90 minutes after the use) during August of 2016.[90]

By restraint[edit]

By restraint, is to use force to physically immobolize and control the movements of:

Death by restraint and Pava spray (a type of incapacitant) - 1 death (in Wales, Britain) [49]

Prison services[edit]

Deaths occurring in custody occurred in the example of the Canadian correctional services during the period of 2011/2012 to 2015/2016, less than half of an average of 58 per year were from non-natural causes. [91]

During the years 2010 to 2013, there were 295 deaths due to unnatural causes within the prison services of Britain. [44]

Homicide[edit]

Highest rates[edit]

About the time of 2007, data provided by the World Bank indicated the Carribean and the North American region Curacao were the most actively murderous places. [92][93]

From 2010 to 2016 inclusive, Honduras had amongst the highest number of homicides for any place in the world [94] Figures shown on the Overseas Security Advisory Council of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security of the U.S. Department of State showed the following datum: [95]

  • 2011 - 86.5 per 100,000 people
  • 2012 - 85.5 per 100,000 people
  • 2013 - 79.0 per 100,000 people
  • 2014 - 66.4 per 100,000 people
  • 2015 - 60.0 per 100,000 people
  • 2016 - 59.0 per 100,000 people

All cause[edit]

United States (2016)[edit]

Homicide (also known as murder) figures are for deaths within the United States only - 14, 415 (2016) [96]

Gun deaths[edit]

United States (1968 - 2016)[edit]

The total number of gun deaths for the year 1968 to 2016 within the United States is 1'567'451 [97][98]

Homicide for purposes other than the mens rea of the homicide being for the individual to be dead[edit]

Cannabilism[edit]

The first legal case of cannibalism to have occurred in German history, was during 2003 when [99] Bernd Brandes, was willingly slaughtered so that he could be butchered and eaten by aspiring cannibal Armin Meiwes. Brandes had responded to an internet advertisement which Meiwes had placed for this purpose. [99][100][101]

Nuclear power station disaster[edit]

Chernobyl[edit]

Since the disaster in Chernobyl during 1986 to 2016, less than 50 deaths have occurred attributed to nuclear radiation exposure. [102] Nine children died as a result of cancer resulting from exposure to nuclear radiation. [103] One of the dead was the father of the Klitschko brothers known for success in competitive boxing, . [104]

Fukushima[edit]

During 2011 the reactor of the station there melted down, the Japanese government informed public agencies that one death occurred due to nuclear radiation from the meltdown. [105]

Psychoactive substance[edit]

Of the three types of substance, tobacco and alcohol are the attributed cause to the greatest number of deaths globally, compared to death rates by other largely illegal substances (a number of countries have legalized certain substances classified as illegal in other countries). [106]

Tobacco (1990, 2010, 2015, 2017)[edit]

Tobacco is a natural substance which is indigenous to North and South America [107] and is addictive. [108] [109] The Global Burden of Disease Study found 5 million deaths minimum worldwide are attributable to smoking tobacco per year since 1990; this is a minimum of 140 million people who have died by causes attributable to tobacco smoking from 1990 to 2018. [110] The figures for deaths are presumed for all countries of the world unless indicated otherwise:


1990: estimated 1.0606 million, of 44 countries in the developed world (Peto et al 1996) [111]

2010: approximately 6 million (Oxfam) [19]

2015: estimated at more than 6 million (Britton 2017;Global Burden of Disease Study) [112] 6.4 million deaths attributed to tobacco smoking (Global Burden of Disease Study) [113]

2017: 7 million (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), national public health institute of the United States) [114][115]

Alcohol[edit]

According to the World Health Organisation, 3 million deaths (approximately) every year result from harmful use of alcohol, this represent 5.3 % of all deaths occurring worldwide. [116] Oxfam state the number of deaths globally for the year 2011 as 2,5 million. [19]

other drugs including illegal drugs[edit]

Premature death from illegal drugs, including cocaine and heroin are for all world - minimum of 190,900,[117] of a total of approximately 450,000, 160, 000 by drug-addiction, 118, 000 by opiate use (WHO, 2015)[118]

China (2014)[edit]

49, 000 deaths [119][120]

European Union (2000 - 2010)[edit]

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction estimates for the described period found a figure of 70, 000 drug-overdose deaths. [121][120]

England and Wales (2015)[edit]

The cause of death being drug poisoning was found to be the cause in 3,674 situations of death. [120]

Suicide[edit]

United states (2016)[edit]

Suicide, figures are for the United States only - 22, 938 [96]

Terrorism[edit]

Terrorism is a term to describe hostile action by militant individuals or groups of militant individuals, against civilians.

Deaths By groups[edit]

The groups shown are those attacking most worldwide during the year 2017.

Mortality from groups [122]
Group Deaths
2016 2017
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria: 4350 9180
Taliban 3654 3620
Al-Shabaab 1464 736
Maoist, Communist political party of India 206 177
Boko Haram 1287 1090
Total 11,181 14,843

Mode of attack utilized[edit]

During the year 2017, for example, the different modes of attack were of the types (with 100% being all attacks) : 47 % by bomb, 22% by assault with deadly weapon, 12% facility / infastructure attack, 10% the kidnapping of people to hostage status, 8% assassination. [122]

2010[edit]

The total number killed is 13,186 dead (source: Oxfam). [19]

2016[edit]

The dead for 2016 is 25,722, the dead perpetrators was 6,745. [122]

2017[edit]

While the total number of terrorist attacks decreased by approximately 23% during 2017, from 2016, the number of deaths decreased by 27%, being 18,753. Dead perpetrators was 4,430. [122]

Unintentional poisoning[edit]

In the United States, poisoning causing death was found to have occurred from the following substances, during 1999 to 2004: Non-opiod analgesiacs, psychotherapeutic drugs, Narcotics and hallucinogens; other types of drugs acting on the central nervous system, deaths resulting from multiple drug consumption or specified by medical examiner as "drug overdose", alcohol, organic solvents and halogenated hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and other gases, pesticides, any other cause including corrosives, metals, plants and detergents. [123]

War[edit]

1900 - 1944[edit]

There were 160 separately identified wars or conflicts globally during the years 1900 to 1919, the number of deaths caused were:

There were 80 separately identified wars or conflicts globally during the years 1920 to 1929, the number of deaths caused were:

There were 91 separately identified wars or conflicts globally during the years 1930 to 1944, the number of deaths caused were:

Second world war (1939 - 1945)[edit]

Nuclear device use in Japan (1945)[edit]

The military of the United States used two nuclear devices, detonated at two cities of Japan during 1945:[124]

  • Hiroshima - 80, 000 dead from heat produced by the nuclear blast, an additional 112,020 dead from radiation poisoning and other lethal factors resulting from the initial blast.
  • Nagasaki - 70,000 + died from the heat produced by the nuclear blast.

2010[edit]

By use of weapons in the context of war - 63, 910 (Oxfam, figure for 2010) [19]

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References[edit]


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