Don B Kates, Jr. writes:
Having been out of town on two different trips, I have not had a chance to
finish my response to Mr. Lambert’s latest screed to me. But I note his
comment that Ed Suter has offered, “the same incorrect citation as in
Kates’ paper. Doesn’t anyone check their references these days?”
As I have noted, this is a mere quibble. Because of editorial
error, the LAW REVIEW’s editors dropped the citation I supplied them. I
have supplied it to Mr. L who, however reluctantly, has been forced to
acknowledge that Dr. Schetky made the remark which I (and, following me, Ed
Suter) attributed to her. So what difference does the reference make.
The point of my remark was that Dr Suter should have checked the
reference for himself. Let me recommend Mary-Claire van Leunen’s
excellent book “A Handbook for Scholars”, which describes good
scholarly practice and is eloquent on this very point.
This is in no way comparable to Dr. S making up the statement we
have quoted, containing a multitude of statements
I assume that “a multitude of” is your hyperbolic way of saying
which are either false or for which
she could find no reference, so instead she fabricated a reference to the
FBI UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS which said nothing to support her.
Both you and Schetky gave incorrect citations. You have no evidence to
support your claim that she fabricated her citation.
Writing in 1986, Dr. S falsely asserted that handguns are only 20%
of all guns. Mr. L attempts to excuse this, asserting: “One of the studies
summarized by Kleck in table 2.3 of “Point Blank” did indicate that
handguns were 20% of all guns.”
The operative word in Mr. L’s sentence is DID. It is doubtless a
merely inadvertent oversight which caused Mr. L to omit mentioning that the
20% figure was as of 1968. There is no evidence that Dr. S was even aware
of it when she falsified her 20% statistic.
According to Kleck, the 20% figure comes from “Firearms and Violence
in American Life”, which Dr Schetky cited in support of some other
claim in her article, so there most definitely IS evidence that she
was aware of it. Furthermore, according to Zimring’s book,
table 8-1 on page 49 of “Firearms and Violence in American Life”
gives the percentage involvement of handguns in several crimes:
homicide 76%, aggravated assault 86% and robbery 96%. Since
aggravated assault and robbery are much more common than homicide, it
would not be unreasonable for Dr Schetky to summarize this table by
asserting that handguns are used in 90% of gun crimes. The source for
table 8-1 is given as Uniform Crime Reports and police departments in
10 large cities. Presumably the UCR supplied the statistic about
homicides and the police departments the ones about aggravated assault
and robbery. If Dr Schetky was unaware of this, she may have made the
error of believing that the aggravated assault and robbery figures
came from the UCR and hence given an incorrect citation.
To summarize: The 20% figure, the 90% of gun crimes AND the UCR
citation could all have come from “Firearms and Violence in American
Life” a reference that Dr Schetky was familiar with.
Please note, by the way, that I do not regard this evidence as
conclusive, but you have not given any evidence at all in support of
your claim that Dr Schetky invented the statistics.
P.S. After the above was written I came across the following comment by Mr.
Lambert: “Let me make a general comment here: Some posters seem to
respond to my writings with standard pro-gun ripostes to anti-gun
arguments, even though I have never advanced any of these anti-gun
arguments. Please carefully read what I write before you dash off your
reply. If my writing is unclear, you should email me for a clarification,
rather than add to the volume on this list.”
I am reminded of the observation (was it Seneca’s?) that the
advantage of self-praise is that who knows better than the person who
praises himself where the favorable comments will be best appreciated,
though the disadvantage is the danger of laying it on too thick.
One can certainly appreciate Mr. Lambert’s concern to prevent the
forum here being cluttered with what he deems inapposite criticism of his
Let me repeat myself, with extra emphasis this time: Please carefully
read what i write before you dash off your reply. I have no objection
to criticism of my views. I do object to criticisms of views that I
do not hold and have not expressed from people who apparently have
possessed themselves of the notion that these views were mine. For
example, what prompted my comment was a poster who seemed to
mistakenly believe that I was arguing that guns were morally
responsible for crimes.
 “The citizen’s guide to gun control”, Franklin E. Zimring and
Gordon Hawkins, MacMillan, New York, 1987.