Hunt Stilwell asks:

since the gun lobby’s statistical claims have been debunked so thoroughly and so often, why do they continue to use them, and why do people continue to buy them?

Brian Linse thinks there has been some progress, since not many progun bloggers linked to Lott’s piece, whereas

I remember the days when Instantman would have linked it within seconds of it being posted.

John Ray boasts that he quoted Lott in an attempt to bait me. He also offers an explanation for his earlier conduct in refusing to link to my post that he was responding to. Apparently it was “too intemperate” and “rage-filled”. Ray conveniently forgets to link or quote from this “rage-filled” posting so his readers aren’t able to see if his characterization is accurate: judge for yourself. Ray then attempts to side step the whole cherry-picking issue by asserting “almost any use of statistics has to be selective”. Well, yes, but if you do as Lott does and just select the statistics favourable to your position, then that’s cherry picking.

Comments

  1. #1 ben
    May 26, 2004

    since the gun lobby’s statistical claims have been debunked so thoroughly and so often, why do they continue to use them, and why do people continue to buy them?

    Good question. As Tim notes, many of us pro gunners will not cite Lott anymore (thanks mostly to Tim, in my case). However, you can ask THE EXACT SAME THING of the gun control lobby. They cite bogus statistics all the time with no criticism whatsoever on this page or any other pro gun control page (the “a gun in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a family member than to kill a criminal” for example).

    Apparently, the statistics on firearm suicide don’t matter much either. Although gun control does seem to lower suicide by firearm, it doesn’t lower the total rate of suicide; those wishing to end their lives find other means.

    So Tim, you seem to be very good at debunking bad statistics, and you say you are not anti-gun (“anti-gun, moi?”). How about a little criticism of the bradycampaign bullshit too?

  2. #2 Dano
    May 27, 2004

    Now, THAT’s rich. Tim as intemperate.

    Tim has got to be way up there in the top percentiles as far as being patient goes.

    When your opponent uses those tactics, they don’t have much.

    And ben, many, many interests use inflated statistics or findings.

    I just got done with a lit review where my employer insisted I play up one thing over another. It’s not dishonest – the lit review was to set a research agenda – but I had a heckuva time chasing down original sources for a few particular subtopics because one aspect was picked up and ran with, with no consideration for overall meaning – thus making it into the culture and the importance inflated.

    Mind you, the world isn’t going to stop over this inflation (it’s a good inflation IMHO, but not backed well empirically), but if someone wanted to complain about it, like what you did above, then it could be an issue.

    Anyway, I see it in many topics. I think it is human nature.

    D

  3. #3 Tim Lambert
    May 27, 2004

    Ben, I searched for “43 times more likely to kill a family member than to kill a criminal” and there were about a hundred pages debunking it and about two advancing it. I really don’t think it needs more debunking, but if you can find the Brady campaign using it, I’ll critique it for you.

  4. #4 ben
    May 27, 2004

    oh yeah, they don’t use the “43 times more likely anymore.” I guess that was too obvious even for bradycampaign. Now it’s “22 times more likely.” You can see that here. It’s still the same nonsense by Kellermann, where, among other things, he (and subsequently bradycampaign) totally neglects that a gun used in self defense is less likely to be fired than not.

    Whatever, that’s not realy the issue anyway. Guns can be kept out of kids hands with a little care taken to think it out. It’s not as if gun rights people advocate running through your house firing wildly while naked and intoxicated every time someone knocks at the door or you hear the telephone ring, but to read the bradycampaign website you’d think this was the case. There are much more common and grave dangers to children than guns in the home, e.g. five gallon buckets and toddlers left unattended for short periods of time.

    Yeah, it’s also true that this is debunked on the web in other places. I’d like to see it come from you too, lends legitimacy to that side, and to you being fair to both sides.

    …and you deleted my “uh… Bush is a wimp” post on the other thread. That was from “Bloom County” where Opus is running for vice president (with Bill the Cat) and he has to give a rebuttle at a practice debate session. You see, it was a reference to a funny joke about the old Pres Bush (not a political comment). Didn’t you read Bloom County a decade ago???

  5. #5 Toby
    May 28, 2004

    It’s still the same nonsense by Kellermann, where, among other things, he (and subsequently bradycampaign) totally neglects that a gun used in self defense is less likely to be fired than not.

    If the comparison is ‘chance a gun will kill a family member’ vs. ‘chance a gun will kill a criminal’, then cases where a gun is brandished but not fired have no bearing on this comparison. a brandished gun will neither kill a criminal, nor a family member.

    Also, the purpose of the Kellerman study was to look at the overall outcomes for people who owned guns compared with people who didn’t. If people who owned guns were able to deter criminals by brandishing their guns, and were more likely to live as a result, the effect of this would have shown up in the study.

    Tim has posted extensively on the Kellerman study. Click on the ‘Kellerman’ link.

    Didn’t you read Bloom County a decade ago???

    Tim is Australian. We don’t get Bloom County here.

  6. #6 ben
    May 28, 2004

    You don’t get Bloom County?? I know Tim is Australian, but it’s Bloom County for God’s sake! No reason why you can’t enjoy Bloom County while snacking on Vegemite crackers and what not.

    If the comparison is ‘chance a gun will kill a family member’ vs. ‘chance a gun will kill a criminal’

    How can that be a legitimate comparison? The purpose of a gun in the home is not to kill criminals, it is to prevent harm to your family and your property. The comparison is nearly pointless.

    And what does it matter in Australia anyway? This is America, and if we wish to keep and bear arms and the Australians don’t, well, what’s the problem? Why even bother with the discussion? I’m going to check out the posts here on Kellermann now, we’ll see…

  7. #7 ben
    May 28, 2004

    OK, it was Kellermann who originally put forth the “43 times more likely” bunk (which was debunked). The 2.7 times study seems better, and I followed the links Tim gave. However, there’s a more convincing debunking of Kellermann’s 2.7 times stuff here on http://www.guncite.com.

    It doesn’t matter much to me anyway, since I am confident that my gun in my home is more likely to protect my family than to hurt them. If you think I’m wrong, tough. In the end, I am the person responsible for my family, and you for yours. Since those wishing to take my gun away cannot and will not provide the immediate protection we would need in the event of an armed intruder, anything they have to say is essentially irrelevant.

  8. #8 Andrew
    May 28, 2004

    As long as your criminal deterring bullet doesn’t continue on its way through my wall and into my children’s heads.

    If you wish to take the “screw everybody else” point of view, don’t be surprised if people want to take guns off you for their own protection.

  9. #9 ben
    May 28, 2004

    Andrew, I do not take the “screw everybody else” point of view that you refer to. Yes, keeping a gun requires that you be responsible for what happens with it. Having to use my gun in self defense wouldn’t exuse me from accidents either. Do you expect criminals to take the same point of view when using a weapon for criminal activity? Furthermore, my remark was in response to what the Kellermann study supposedly addresses: that a gun in the home is such a risk to people in THAT home, which I contend is irrelevant to me. You brought up an entirely different point.

    Do you expect that because I keep a car that I will be out running your children over with it? The odds are certainly better that that will happen than that one of your children will be accidentally shot. You have more to fear from a neighbor keeping 5-gallon buckets out in the open than you do from having an armed neighbor.

    Finally, if you see my earlier comment, it’s as if you think I advocate

    running through your house firing wildly while naked and intoxicated every time someone knocks at the door or you hear the telephone ring

  10. #10 Toby
    May 31, 2004

    And what does it matter in Australia anyway? This is America, and if we wish to keep and bear arms and the Australians don’t, well, what’s the problem? Why even bother with the discussion? I’m going to check out the posts here on Kellermann now, we’ll see…

    The post we’re commenting on here is a continuation of a previous post by Tim, where he commented on John Lott’s assertions regarding gun control in Australia and Britain. While you aren’t really bothered what Australia or Britain does (which sounds a good attitude to me – I’m not particularly bothered with what the US does) John Lott doesn’t have this attitude, and he twists the statistics to make things look bad in Australia and Britain when in fact they are not. This was the point of Tim’s original post.

  11. #11 ben
    May 31, 2004

    very well

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