Thursday, June 27, 2013

THAT Is Going To Leave SUCH A Mark...

That study you keep quoting. I do not think it proves what you think it proves...

Report on Guns, Ordered by Obama, Says Self Defense is Common, Gun Carriers Less Likely to be Harmed
I wonder by the Obama administration and Joe “Double Barrels to the Sky” Biden aren’t touting this recent study done by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, under the directive of the Centers for Disease Control?

Oh could it because it actually contains facts and actually many of those facts contained in the report are actually positive reasons for gun ownership?!
Here's the actual study. It's 123 pages, and the first 20 or so are academic boilerplate. "We would like to acknowledge [blah]." "This was made possible by a grant from [blah]". I downloaded the PDF, you know, just to have as a reference - and just in case it disappears down the memory hole.

I want to reiterate something in the linked article:
Specifically, since 1983 there have been 78 events in which 4 or more individuals were killed by a single perpetrator in a day in the United States, resulting in 547 victims and 476 injured persons.”
Cogitate on that a moment. In thirty years, mass shootings have killed 547 people. Now, for those 547 people and their families it's a horrific tragedy, of course, but statistically? That's so far out on the fringe you might as well be talking about regulating 5 gallon buckets. Which, actually, more or less match mass shootings for killing people; it's estimated that anywhere between 10 and 40 children a year die from drowning in 5 gallon buckets - extrapolate using an average of 25 a year, that's more people killed from buckets than mass shootings.

The study also admits that there are defensive uses for guns as well, which is surprising, given that they cite the long-discredited Kellerman study (you're 5,000,0000,000 times more likely to be killed by your own gun). They also claim some bizarre link between owning a firearm and suicide, as though owning a firearm makes one more prone to killing one's self. There's also the expected handwringing about the restrictions on using tax money to fund studies ... just like the one they're participating in. Kinda had to scratch my head on that one. They do begrudgingly admit that defensive uses of guns occurs every year anywhere between 100K and 3M times.

Even at the low end, that's nothing short of amazing. A hundred thousand defensive gun uses a year? And we need to pass an "assault weapons" ban to stop mass shootings, which are less likely to kill someone that drowning in a 5 gallon plastic bucket? On what planet does this make any sense? You have a tool that is being used hundreds of thousands of times a year to save people from violence, and yet we need to ban them?

Here's another thing the study obliquely ignores. Guns are a subset of the problem; while they are used more often than other weapons, there is ample evidence that many other weapons are used to intimidate, hurt, and kill other people. We study the effect of firearms only and we miss the big picture - we don't need to know why [criminal A] used a gun to threaten/hurt/kill [victim B], we need to know why [criminal A] didn't fear punishment from detection of his crime to keep him from committing it. What he used in the commission of a crime DOESN'T MATTER.

Here's one more thing. The article admits that suicides account for the majority of gun deaths - some 60 percent. It also then goes on to admit that death by suffocation (I would assume hanging/asphyxiation/etc.) is just as lethal as a firearm - suicide by gun sees a success rate of 83% compared to 80% for suffocation. Why on earth doesn't this put to rest the canard that if we got rid of all guns, suicides would plummet?

So, let's recap, shall we? In the landmark study commissioned by Barack Obama in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, we find that mass shootings are less common than bucket drownings, that guns are used for self defense hundreds of thousands of times a year, and that suicides account for most of the deaths by firearms. And yet they conclude that smart gun technology, more safe storage requirements, and background checks are needed to reduce gun death. Gee, there's no agenda here, is there?

The major finding seemed to be that they needed more grant money to conduct more studies.

That is all.


Bubblehead Les. said...

"Since 1983..."

So it's ALL Reagan's Fault!

Stretch said...

"547 victims and 476 injured persons.”
Does that mean 71 Deaths? Or 547?
Typical fuzzy thinking academia.
Thanks for posting. I too have downloaded .pdf.

Daniel in Brookline said...

There are stats, and then there are stats.

I try to avoid, because it's a marvelous place to waste time (if you can stomach the politics). But I found this interesting:

In addition to the useful statistic (and phraseology) that "Two-Thirds of Gun Victims Live in the Same Body as the Murderer", it's also explained that, yes, not having a gun around when the urge hits you CAN reduce suicides. (The stats provided are for gas ovens, not guns; it would be interesting to see similar stats for suicides when guns are banned.)

For Cracked, it's a reasonably balanced article. Have a look.

Anonymous said...

Look up Australia suicides when they did gun confiscation. total suicide rate remained pretty level. Gun and hanging rates flip flopped. Just to show the gas oven phenomena is not set in stone.