Reason gets it wrong

Reason magazine got it wrong on Chicago violence

In a recent blog piece, the otherwise reasonable Reason magazine got the Chicago violence story wrong. In short, Reason was saying that things in Chicago are not bad … compared to other horrible places … and that violence is a lot less than at it’s peak. The problem with this … errrr … reasoning is that by any measure, Chicago violence is off the charts and not doing as well as the nation. This first chart shows the trends. You notice that the rest of America is much safer than Chicago, and had I the time I could run the same series for other major metro areas and get similar results. More to the point, most of Chicago’s “progress” echoes national trends (the second chart put the U.S. on a different axis so we can see trend tracked together). This means whatever minor good if happening in Chicago is likely unrelated … Continue reading

EveryCon and Your Child

Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group EveryTown should be renamed EveryCon. In a bit of email agitprop, they made the following two statements: I want you to imagine a chilling scenario: Your child is at friend’s house for a sleepover. While she’s there, her friend starts playing with a parent’s unsecured gun. All of a sudden, the gun fires. A child is unintentionally shot and killed. The intent of this first one is to frighten anyone who likes kids and wants them to be safe, which is basically everybody. To create fear, they invent a personalized scenario, then … Sadly, this sort of tragedy happens with frightening regularity in our country. In 2013, almost two kids per week were killed in shootings that involved unsecured guns. … they present that scenario is real. This is a common propaganda ploy, and one equally matched in shamelessness and ham-handedness. You would think that … Continue reading

Booze, not bullets

Comparison of gun, alcohol, automotive and poisoning deaths

Alcohol has always been fun, but deadly. Now we find out the the odds of dying from drinking is much larger than dying from guns. A recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) study determined that 88,000 working age Americans die from excessive drinking (not always from the booze itself, but tied to guzzling more than one should). This tally provides some perspective. We have long known that working-age adults were almost three times as likely to be killing by a motor vehicle, and almost five times more likely to get poisoned than to catch a bullet meant for them or someone they were standing close to. But consuming more than a couple of drinks a day is deadlier still. Why bring this up? For perspective’s sake. People picture guns as a huge daily threat when compared to other things – voluntary liver abuse and associated pancreatitis, hypertension, prostate cancer and cirrhosis – the risk … 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

Media Meddling

Since I work with the media to help them understand the realities about guns and public policy, I receive many media inquiries. One source is via Help A Reporter Out (HARO), a service where reporters can widely query experts. After the rampage in Santa Barbara, a reporter from the Arizona Republic nakedly asked for expert to help the gun control industry craft better market messages. We all accept there is bias in all media. We also accept that reporters, like the rest of us, often skew their work. But the request from Megan Finnerty goes beyond bias: she is actively aiding a political ideology, and thus abusing the very word “journalist”. Here is her request (minus some links she provided). Folks everywhere should call the “newspaper” (800-331-9303) and express their concerns: I am looking for thoughts on how Richard Martinez, the outspoken father of a young man killed in the Isla Vista, … Continue reading

Industrialized Data

International firearm ownership and homicide rates

During a CCTV televised discussion, an anti-gun agitator rebutted my statement that the United States had a lower firearm homicide rate than international averages (here is one of my favorite charts that proves the point and shows zero correlation between gun availability and gun homicides). His snarky remark (and I closely paraphrase) was “That’s easy when you compare us to places like Somalia!” Actually, the worst nations don’t report their homicide rates. If they did, the United States would look even better than it does now. His belabored point was that in “industrialized” countries with allegedly civil societies (sans guns), life is oh so much better. Someone should tell all the Swedish rape victims. But his challenge required some investigation. Here is what we can see from international data, which incidentally is not always of great quality or cross-border compatibility (click any chart to enlarge it). Firearm Homicides: The United States … Continue reading