No Mass

If you are losing, change the definition of the argument. There is a classic tale about Amtrak. They had a lousy on-time record. After months of investigation and planning, they implemented changes and quickly began boasting that their on-time record was fantastic. What they changed was the definition of “on-time” from plus or minus five minutes to 30 minutes. When empirical evidence does not support gun control, members of the gun control industry change definitions. It is a classic propaganda technique and one that has found new life in this election cycle. The news item which brought this to mind was when several reporters blindly echoed claims that mass public shootings were sharply on the rise. A quick dig into the data these reporters failed to vet showed that the definition of “mass public shooting” was itself inaccurate. The enduring and traditional definition of a mass shooting is one where … Continue reading

New York Inanity

  Prioritize New York! You are getting things mighty backwards. Two recent news stories show how lackadaisical thinking harms public policy. The first was the state’s Attorney general bragging that he had eliminated the plague of realistic-looking toy guns. The other headline was that half of the shootings and 40% of the 300 homicides in New York City alone thus far this year were gang related. Keep in mind that NYC homicides are up over 5% this year (this despite the so-called SAFE Act of 2013, which enacted a wealth of new gun control laws … which appear to be doing nothing). Ponder that. It is likely that toy guns resulted in zero deaths, yet gangs resulted in at least 120, not to mention the non-fatal stabbings, shootings, beatings and other pastimes gangs enjoy. With 375 different street gangs and a rising homicide rate, gangs would be an obvious priority … Continue reading

Kids, Carrying and Con Jobs

The media was lightly abuzz, echoing without critical review a study that said states with strict gun control laws had fewer kids carrying guns. As with all studies the media fails to study, there is far less here than meets the eye. The report itself has too many lapses to even consider it worthwhile, except perhaps as a case study in poor research methodology. The major defects to this study include: Raw data source and its collection are suspect. Major omissions of U.S. states and territories. Selection of specific years that ignore trends in juvenile gun misuse. Raw Data, Unintentionally Cooked Let’s ignore using the Brady Campaign Scorecard – unlike the authors of the study currently under my microscope – as the definition of good/strict gun control laws. We have repeatedly shown that Brady scores have no correlation to violent crime (while the Gun Facts Non-Brady Scorecard exposes a much … Continue reading

Kids, Cops and Guns

Children and guns - homicides by assailant trend

A talk radio host called me for some show prep. He had a guest coming on who planned on making the claim that in 2010 guns killed more children under age five than cops. She was right, but wrong at the same time. Indeed, in the year 2010, more Americans under age five died from bullets than police did. But this scary statistic was designed to scare, not to illuminate. When you look at two issues, the perspective gets very clear very quickly. Population Murdered Accidental Children (CDC) 54 25 Police (Officer Down) 59 2 Children (% pop) 0.0003% 0.0001% Police (% pop) 0.0131% 0.0004% Difference % pop  49:1  4:1 Foremost, there are a lot more kids than cops. In 2010, we had about 44 times as many crumb crushers than active duty officers (U.S. Census Bureau and the FBI Crime in the United States tally for 2009). Comparing these … Continue reading

Child Gun Deaths

When the gun control industry mentions children, it’s time to hunt for bunk. Our species would not have survived for long had we not acquired a knee-jerk response to keep kids safe. Politicos know this, which is why they hoist kids a high for everything from gun control to Head Start. Our communal desire to protect kids is used by the gun control industry to create fear that children are endangered by guns on every street corner. As with most gun control industry pronouncements, it is far from the truth. Age is the first thing First off, over time the gun control industry has modified their public utterance. They used to claim 13 children die each day from firearms, but that statistic included active gang members up to age 24 … not what you think of a “children”. In adult conversations, a “child” is one who has not yet reached … Continue reading

Children and handgun availability

Child Firearm Deaths and Handgun Availability

One bit of persistent good news is that very few children die from guns in the United States. There is no need to recite all the other statistics about things that kill kids. We know that suffocation, drowning, poisons and other life hazards are more dangerous to kids than guns. The rate of child gun deaths remains low, about one kid per day out of a population of 61 million such critters. But I had to look at the trends, because the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ annual Firearms in Commerce reports show that the number of guns keeps increasing steadily. Certain policy groups promote that gun availability is a danger to your offspring. Not the case. Peaking in 1993 (as most violent crime did), the rate of kids being killed with guns (regardless of the cause) has been falling fast, and leveling off around 2004 (around the same time that violent crime across … Continue reading

74 School Shootings Bunk

How you define a thing defines that thing. Recently the President of the United States, echoing without analysis a gun control group sound bite, talked about how there have been 74 school shootings since the Sandy Hook massacre. He did not elaborate on how he came by this number because, frankly, he doesn’t know what he is talking about (surprise). Like many criminological things, the definition of a “school shooting” is borderline nonsensical and defined by government criminologists. In the Bureau of Justice Statistics publication Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2013, they note: School associated violent deaths include those that occurred while the victim was on the way to or returning from regular sessions at school or while the victim was attending or traveling to or from an official school sponsored event. Ponder this for a moment. A kid wearing the wrong colors while dashing from school to home through a gang-infested … Continue reading

Only Scattered School Shootings

The scattered infrequency of school shootings

School shootings are actually pretty rare, though you would never know if you listened to gun control groups. USA Today recently illustrated the point, even while attempting to sensationalize the topic. In a story titled “Deadly school shootings since Columbine”, the paper created a timeline showing when such events occurred. I suspect their goal was to make each tragedy easy to find and read about. What it really showed was how infrequent such events are. In the slider bar at page top, there are multi-year gaps between such events. This matches data from the federal government that noted a low mortality rate and a steadily falling rate of school deaths. This is one point that needs to be stressed: Things have been getting better for the past couple of decades. Violence against children is falling, with the occasional lunatic mass murderer causing angst. Statistically speaking, your child is safer than … Continue reading