A friend sent us this article (The Gun Challenge) with the following comment: “some stats, maybe it is not so difficult”
I fell off the chair laughing as I was reading the article:
“Australia is an excellent example. ……….
….The laws have worked. The American Journal of Law and Economics reported in 2010 that firearm homicides in Australia dropped 59 percent between 1995 and 2006.”
What made me laugh was the expression “firearm homicides”.
The first thing you learn growing up in a communist country is how to read the news. The friend who sent us the mail was a teenager when she left communism which may explain why she cannot read the New York Truth (Pravda) properly.
The Australians did a MASSIVE confiscation of guns after 1996 and since it is an ‘Island’ nation, replacing the guns was not easy. Naturally, the firearm homicides did go down, but look at this graph from the Australian government:
Can you see the 59% decline in the overall homicide rates? Neither can I.
There are other graphs on the site slicing the data in different ways but there is none to justify the number quoted in the NYT.
I do not know about you, but if I really must choose the way I die, I would probably prefer being shot to being beaten to pulp by a baseball bat or hacked to pieces by a machete, but the real question is: what difference does it make how a person dies to the ultimate effect?
If we take away pink baseball bats from people and only leave them with blue ones, rate of murders committed with pink baseball bats will indeed go down.
Unfortunately, the arguments on this subject are about this silly. The whole debate is grossly dishonest; the information is distorted beyond recognition and the response is vehemently partisan.
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.
There are studies everywhere but there is not much consensus.
This study about “Knife-crime: the reality and its implications” would deserve a study on its own with its clueless platitudes and non-answers.
Reading abstracts like this it is impossible not to notice the controls they had to apply to the samples to make them work. One would think that it is the simplest thing in the world. Before and after, one state to another. What’s there to control for?
“Our study extends previous work by using recent data, looking across both regions and all 50 states, disaggregating victims by age, and adjusting for potential confounders, including poverty, urbanization, unemployment, alcohol consumption, aggravated assault, forcible rape, and robbery”
Got it! We had to control for the ‘potential confounders’.
It is not enough that the studies are dishonest, the New York Truth article distorts it even further.
These are from the conclusions of the study quoted:
“ It does not appear that the Australian experience with gun buybacks is fully replicable in the United States.”
“For Australia, a difficulty with determining the effect of the law was that gun deaths were falling in the early 1990s”
All the while there is evidence that other types of crimes increased.
This turns into incontrovertible truth in the NYT.
The reaction of our friend was typical. I can picture how the mail was created – a quick cut and paste from a reliable source – as for the readers of the New York Truth that publication is as authoritative as it can get. Most people invest only a limited effort into determining what do they consider a reliable source mostly by what makes sense to them.
Once we determined what we trust, we tend to rely on them unquestioningly. Only a few ask how much sense the numbers they see actually make. Even fewer can notice the subtle hints such as the “firearms homicides” indicating manipulated data.
Finding good information these days is not that hard. Anybody, who wants to find out the facts can, yet very few do. We must wonder why.
The logic of the pro-gun argument seems to be much stronger but they do not have the emotional vehemence of the gun control advocates.
The source of gullibility is lack of knowledge and wishful thinking. If the wish is strong enough, then knowledge, information and logic is not needed at all. People who really want to believe will believe anything while actively shutting out any contrary information as noise.
A few days ago I got an e-mail with the following link: “England Considering Ban On Kitchen Knives” Note that the article is quoting the Wall Street Journal coming to a conclusion opposite to that of the NYT. I still could not believe my eyes so I googled the “causes of knife-violence” to find enough sources to convince me that it is not a joke. Since guns are heavily controlled, there was a sharp rise in crimes committed with knives. Who could have possibly predicted that?? Nevertheless, it is a problem they need to deal with, so we have the perfect liberal response: Let’s ban knives! We need to ask, what’s next? Scissors? Hammers? Fists? Shouldn’t we also consider chain-saws and automobiles?
After 9-11 one must seriously wonder how is it possible that box-cutters are still sold in stores…………. The left is clearly not vigilant enough.
Making sense of it.
The US ranks Number one in the world in household gun ownership. It ranks 28th in homicide by firearm.
Mexico has very strict gun control laws and more than three times the American rate of “firearm homicides”
When ‘gun crime’ goes down other types go up.
I could keep quoting facts ad nauseum, studies ad infinitum but what decides in the end is which of those facts and studies make sense to us.
I am in the middle of reading “The Better Angels Of Our Nature”, a systematic research into the fact and the causes of the historic decline of violence in our world.
The long term trends are down. Even in Australia, regardless of gun regulations. In front of this background of general downward trend, there are variations.
I don’t have this book (More guns, less crime) yet, but I am planning to get it. I did watch, however, some clips of the author being interviewed by the liberal media hosts with white foam coming out of their mouth. The general attitude is best expressed by this sentence from a book review: “This is too important a topic for such an idiotic contrarian stance.”
If a topic is important, nobody is allowed to disagree with the left. The kind of vehement, violent aggression coming from the gun-control advocates should make everybody take a step back to calmly rethink the issue. The left refuses to have any rational discussion. They just don’t want to let another perfectly good crisis to go to waste.
I fully share the sentiment expressed on this T shirt:
I never owned a gun in my life and I see no reason to buy one now, but the notion that guns create a safer world makes perfect sense to me.
All you need to consider is that the majority of people in this world are decent, and would use the gun only if it is justified. Protecting themselves and others is justified use. I do not want to live in a world where only criminals have guns – as is the case today in many gun controlled areas.
I want to be a gun parasite, someone who can afford not to have a gun knowing that I am surrounded by decent people who do.
I keep claiming that leftists do not like people. They look down on them, they do not trust them, their basic assumption is that people are bad and they need to be controlled. This is just another example. The left honestly believes that people disagreeing with them are bad people, because the very essence of their existence is the belief that they are good and what makes them good is the set of ideas they hold. This set of ideas function as religious dogma, completely unrelated to reality. The proof they use to justify their beliefs is about as tortured as the modern miracles of Christianity.
Our friend, like any other liberal leftist is only interested in justifying her believes with numbers, not in actually understanding what they mean, imply or suggest.
To be fair to her, I must admit that the other side of the argument is not much better. Few would really look into the numbers or read the books referenced above.
The real causes
The debate is so loudly focused on guns that little room is left to consider the actual causes. Who do I blame? Ken Kesey.
When he wrote his book, “One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest” it was meant as an allegory but society took it literally and started a fundamental change in how we deal with mental illness. The book is excellent, so is the Milos Forman movie, but that does not make the problem they created any better.
Did you ask yourself why the left wouldn’t even talk about THAT problem? Most of the mass murders in recent history were committed by deranged people who should have been in a mental hospital. Why are we only talking about guns and never the people using them? ……. Unless, of course, they have any kind of conservative affiliation………
If they do not, it is assumed and claimed anyway until the evidence makes it impossible to maintain the allegation. Strangely, if mass murderers have any political affiliation, it is overwhelmingly on the left. Maybe the answer should be to ban the Democratic Party of the USA. Just a thought. It could improve the world in more ways than I can count.
In the end, my answer to our friend is simple:
No, my friend, it is a little more difficult.
Gun control is NOT the answer, no matter how much the ideology driven “scientists” distort the data, no matter how much propaganda the liberal media is spewing about it. The answer is more guns in the hands of decent people, better law enforcement and most importantly a reconsideration of our attitude toward mental illness. You do not even need science to come to this conclusion, just some common sense and a little faith in the goodness of your fellow citizens.
Feel free to disagree, but please try to use some better ‘evidence’ to make your case than what can be found in the rag called the New York Truth (Pravda)
I am generally sceptical about numbers indicating spectacular results because they make little sense and often turn out to be bogus.
If you are serious about trying to understand the problem, you should read serious publications about it, such as this CATO study, the book I referenced above or even this congressional study that would be the closest to supporting your ideas.
Even if you do not have the time to look into a question seriously, sensationalist claims can be checked very easily and quickly. It took me less than 5 minutes to find the graph above from a completely reliable source: Australian Government Statistics.
There is no excuse for using propaganda in a reasonable discussion.