Something to Watch for in Arguments

Robert Verbruggen has a great article in National Review that gets to a serious problem you will notice in research touted by anti-gun groups and people who really fucking love science. Let me quote:

We shouldn’t care about “gun murders” or “mass shootings”; we should care about murders in general and mass killings in general, regardless of how they’re accomplished. (Up to a point it’s essentially tautological to claim that more guns translates to more problems with guns, because a society with no guns by definition cannot have any problems with them.) As I’ve noted numerous times before, there is no simple, consistent correlation between gun ownership and murder or homicide rates in general, either among developed countries or among U.S. states. More sophisticated studies face a variety of serious methodological obstacles — I don’t find any of them that compelling — and have reached varying conclusions. The research on mass shootings in particular is in an even more primitive state.

There’s the old quote from Archie Bunker that comes to mind: “Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed out of windiz.”



7 thoughts on “Something to Watch for in Arguments”

  1. The assumption is that there will be no replacement of gun crime with non-gun crime, or that not every gun crime will be replaced with non-gun crime, so removing guns will remove the violent crime and murder.

    1. And that even if incidence remains the same, the per-incident deadliness will reduce.

      I don’t agree, but those are the main arguments.

    2. Yes, that’s their argument for using “gun deaths” or “gun homicides” as the metric. Of course, rather than assuming total murder rates will go down, why not just use murder rates as the freakin’ metric to begin with? It’s funny that any statistical examination they come up with on the efficacy of gun control is built in with the assumption that gun control works. I had this debate for years- YEARS with MikeB, and it left me stunned with how thick they can be. That’s how I realized that you can lead an Anti to the facts, but you can’t make them think.

  2. Considering how often the advocates of gun-control use the term “gun deaths” and deliberately mix up suicides and murders when making their comparisons between different States and Nations, exposes what calculating liars and sophists they really are.

    Whenever they claim States with higher gun ownership rates (and how did they ever determine even that any rigor?) have higher “gun death rates”, it always boils down to suicide rates and higher than average white male demographics, not murder rates. Yet when comparing homicide rates of Nations with different gun control laws like Japan, they never talk about suicide rates for obvious reasons.

    Whatever massaging of the numbers it takes to push their anti-gun agenda is what they do, even when they contradict themselves.

    Scientists? At best willing dupes in the service of con men, at worst con men themselves.

    That sort of “social science” flim-flam goes all the way back to the 1960’s and F. Zimring. Who crudely divided America into several regions with supposedly different gun ownership rates, and claimed those with higher rates also had higher murder rates, the South in particular. When the ugly truth is that the real difference in those regions was with the demographics, not the guns.

    The ugly truth is that the American murder-rate problem is a peculiarly racial problem, and has been for perhaps as far back as good records show, a century or more. And despite good faith efforts to solve our racial problems over the last sixty years, the differences in murder rates shows little abatement for reasons too complicated to go into here.

    Perhaps one of the worst aspects of the gun-control controversy, is how it diverts public energy and attention away from real possible solutions to the American murder-rate problem.

  3. I just had one of those w/ Japan being the comparison. Simply noted that the total suicide rate in Japan is ~2x that of the US and that their total homicide rate is lower than our non-firearm homicide rate.

    Most *civilized/industrialized/modern/whatever phrase* countries they compare to have similar numbers.

  4. comparing crime statistics across international borders is suspect in the first place, because of too many confounding problems. cultural issues confusing what crimes get recorded, how crimes and categories are defined, sociological and economical factors impacting crime rates in general differently, cultural issues impacting how people react to / are socially expected to react to crisis situations… i just don’t trust statisticians to control for all of those.

    1. Nomen, in response to your: “… i just don’t trust statisticians to control for all of those.” comment, It may be even worse than that.

      I thought I could use the statistical data that based many of the Anti’s arguments to show where they went off the rails. But someone on another forum pointed me to a GREAT book, “How to Lie with Statistics” By Darrell Huff. It’s an old book. And you may be able to find a pdf online somewhere. I found it an amazing read to understand how easy it is to make the data say what you want. I highly recommend the book. Know thy enemy.

Comments are closed.