So why credit the reduction in rape and burglary to the program? Oh I
see, you would claim this as an indirect effect, where rapists and
burglars gave up because they were worried about armed victims. Well,
what if some criminals instead armed themselves to help deal with this
threat. With-gun robberies are three times as likely as with-knife
robberies to be fatal to the victim, and it seems plausible that
this lethality extends to other crimes. Hence, the program could cause
more armed criminals and more homicides.
Geoff Miller said:
I had thought that Tim was restricting his argument to facts, but
unfortunately he’s spoilt his good record by descending to the
unprovable “what if” arguments. Perhaps the best counter to these
was provided by one Tim Lambert in another posting, where he wrote
“…. In any case, you will not
convince anyone unless you provide some evidence.”
Tim’s paragraph contains a “what if”, an “it seems plausible that”
and a “could” to justify his rejection of actual experience, and
I’m afraid that just isn’t convincing. Unfortunately the world is
not always the place we would wish it to be, but substituting wishful
thinking for a clear view of the facts is not the way to change it.
Which is precisely the point I was trying to make. You are quite
properly sceptical about the argument I presented above. Do you
regard the deterrence theory, which rests on equally shaky foundations,
with the same degree of scepticism? I don’t believe that gun training
program caused the increase in homicide. For the same reasons, I
don’t believe that it caused the decrease in burglary and rape.
…. It is interesting to note
that the “effect” of the the gun training program cited by Kleck (KC
in 67) was a 2% increase in robberies and a 48% increase in homicides.
“Effect”? This is obviously a new meaning to the word. As normally used,
it implies a causal relationship.
I put quotes around the word “effect” to indicate that I was using it
in the same way that the peddlers of the deterrence theory were. (The
effect on the robbery rate is “good” because a continuation of the
previous two year trend would be for an increase of 20%.)
Perhaps Tim would expand on what he sees as the causal
relationship between firearms training for law-abiding citizens and
an increase in crime,
The deterrence theory requires that criminals modify their behaviour
because of the possibility of encountering armed victims. It further
assumes that they will respond by abandoning crimes against persons,
rather than by arming themselves too. (And “more armed criminals” will
cause an increase in homicides.) I personally feel that the response
is mostly to rationalise away the risk.
and why he sees the training program as the sole “cause”.
I don’t think it “caused” either the increase in homicides or the
“failure to increase by as much as in the two previous years” for
robberies. Perhaps someone who believes in one but not the other
would like to comment.