Pick Better Statistics
I think anyone that read this blog knows my position on gun ownership, and most of you also know that I was polar opposite of my current views on gun ownership less than ten years ago. So I’m familiar with statistics from both sides of the equation. I caught this article from Mother Jones tonight though (this looks to be a just post-Newtown article by the way), and I have to comment… the statistics that both sides use have a lot of flaws. Given the example in front of me, let me make a couple comments:
Myth #4: More good guys with guns can stop rampaging bad guys.
Fact-check: Mass shootings stopped by armed civilians in the past 30 years: 0
So, um, how do you know that the bad guy that the good guy shot wasn’t about to go on a rampage? This just says that when an armed civilian has the opportunity to intervene, violence is typically deescalated. I can’t back mine up with statistics, but I can clarify the logic of your dumb statistic.
Most of these statistics miss the fact that gun ownership tends to be higher in higher-crime neighborhoods, which would of course have, um, higher crime rates.
Myth #6: Carrying a gun for self-defense makes you safer.
• A Philadelphia study found that the odds of an assault victim being shot were 4.5 times greater if he carried a gun. His odds of being killed were 4.2 times greater.
So all those people in high-crime areas carrying a gun (many of them probably illegally) get in trouble in gun fights. Check.
You could argue I’m cherry-picking the statistics that are dumb here. No, I was just skimming. The point is that statistics won’t help if they’re pretty easily seen as just talking points that can’t stand a couple questions. That goes for the pro side, too, by the way.
My term for stuff like this is: “Term Paper Marketing.” You decide on your conclusion and then only look for facts that back up your point. Yea, don’t do that, at least not if you want to try to reason with me.