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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:53 AM

On guns, and the way the discussions are conducted.

I don't want to go into the pros and cons of gun control. I just have some points to make about the proper way of using statistics. I am frustrated with the way math is being abused and misinterpreted. Please consider respecting the following rules (which should be no-brainers but apparently are not) when quoting statistics:

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1. Never quote absolute numbers. Always divide by population.

Worst offender: Michael Moore.

The fact that over ten thousand people die from guns each year contains zero usable information. Please give me per capita figures. In a hypothetical country consisting of one hundred billion people, 10k gun deaths are almost none. In a country consisting of 10k people it means everybody.

2. When discussing correlations, consider the base line.

This one is more tricky. I have seen figures thrown around that claim to show positive correlations between "gun possession" and "murders via gun". Also positive correlations between "suicide via gun" and "gun possession". These figures are misleading, because they ignore the baseline.

What one should do instead is investigate correlations between "murder rate" and "gun possession" or "suicide rate" and "gun possession". The fact that the availability of a tool to achieve a certain goal lead to this tool being used more often to achieve this goal is again a statement that is of little relevance to the debate. If one cannot show that the mere presence of the tool leads to a higher rate of the incident one wants to prevent, then one doesn't have an argument. Americans choose guns for suicide. Due to the availability of trains in Germany, Germans choose trains for suicide. One could find a positive correlation between "availability of trains" and "suicide by train", but it would be a fallacy to derive from this observation that there is a "train problem". What one would have to do instead in order to make such a point would be to show that "availability of trains" leads to "more suicides".

3. Please don't quote sums in a misleading way.

"30.000 shooting each year in America". This tells me nothing. How many of these were police operations? How many were suicides? How many were self-defense? How many were murders? How many were criminals killing each other over issues that were connected with other crimes they were committing? I want to know. Please consider being more specific.

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That would be a start I guess. I'm sure someone can come up with more rules.

A few personal notes: I am not a gun owner. Nor am I afraid of guns or their owners per se. I am more afraid of traffic than of guns, and I think I have every reason to. Also my personal gut feeling is that ending the drug war would do more to reduce "gun deaths" than any gun control measure, but that is just my un-informed intuition which I cannot currently back up with data.

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Arrow 69 replies Author Time Post
Reply On guns, and the way the discussions are conducted. (Original post)
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 OP
billh58 Dec 2012 #1
pipoman Dec 2012 #2
Scuba Jan 2013 #46
pipoman Jan 2013 #61
Lizzie Poppet Dec 2012 #28
Robb Dec 2012 #3
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #4
farminator3000 Jan 2013 #57
Iggo Dec 2012 #5
Hoyt Dec 2012 #11
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #6
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #8
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #12
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #16
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #17
billh58 Dec 2012 #20
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #21
LP2K12 Dec 2012 #7
99Forever Dec 2012 #9
jmg257 Dec 2012 #10
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #13
jmg257 Dec 2012 #14
Recursion Dec 2012 #19
redgreenandblue Jan 2013 #55
AldoLeopold Dec 2012 #29
Recursion Jan 2013 #58
ileus Dec 2012 #15
Robyn66 Dec 2012 #43
ileus Dec 2012 #44
Robyn66 Jan 2013 #47
DanTex Dec 2012 #18
billh58 Dec 2012 #22
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #23
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #24
billh58 Dec 2012 #30
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #38
DanTex Dec 2012 #32
Chorophyll Dec 2012 #34
farminator3000 Jan 2013 #50
Robyn66 Dec 2012 #25
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #26
Robyn66 Dec 2012 #33
billh58 Dec 2012 #35
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #39
billh58 Dec 2012 #42
redgreenandblue Jan 2013 #52
billh58 Jan 2013 #56
redgreenandblue Jan 2013 #54
Robyn66 Jan 2013 #60
redgreenandblue Jan 2013 #64
Robyn66 Jan 2013 #68
redgreenandblue Jan 2013 #69
DirkGently Dec 2012 #27
billh58 Dec 2012 #31
Chorophyll Dec 2012 #36
billh58 Dec 2012 #40
dsc Dec 2012 #37
L0oniX Dec 2012 #41
Scuba Jan 2013 #45
Robyn66 Jan 2013 #49
pipoman Jan 2013 #62
spanone Jan 2013 #48
Buzz Clik Jan 2013 #51
redgreenandblue Jan 2013 #53
Buzz Clik Jan 2013 #59
billh58 Jan 2013 #63
ehrenfeucht games Jan 2013 #65
redgreenandblue Jan 2013 #66
ehrenfeucht games Jan 2013 #67

Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:06 AM

1. Thanks for the inane advice

but 30,000 gun deaths a year makes the USA number one (by a large margin) among developed countries regardless of how the numbers are presented. Automobile deaths are mainly accidental (as opposed to intentional), gun deaths are mostly intentional.

Gun deaths are on pace to exceed automobile deaths. Easy access to guns, and a woeful lack of accountability and responsibility are the driving forces of too many gun deaths in the USA -- not the way the numbers are presented.

"Statistics" and their use is an NRA staple, and they twist them in many different ways in order to "prove" that guns are safe, and that no gun owner would ever, ever misuse a gun, or allow it to fall into the "wrong" hands.

Until we have regulations which will ensure the hollow promises made by the NRA crowd, we will continue to have an unacceptable number of gun deaths in this country. Until we start replacing politicians at all levels of government, and from both sides of the aisle, who have been "endorsed" (read: bought) by the NRA, we will never have meaningful gun control in this country.

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Response to billh58 (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:22 AM

2. The statistics twisting isn't isolated

to the pro-2nd amendment side..the pro gun control side is notorious for half truths and statistical gymnastics. A good example is on this recent thread..

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2101975

Yep, the Brady's are the royalty of creative statistical twisting.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:04 AM

46. Still trying to ascribe that chart to Brady, huh?

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Response to Scuba (Reply #46)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 04:04 PM

61. I can ascribe it to anyone I wish.

The point being that gun control groups, through their selective use of their own manufactured stats, truth stretching, and complete lies, do more harm for their cause than the NRA. Once their falsities are shown to prospective believers, they become disenfranchised...seen it happen many, many times right here on DU.

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Response to billh58 (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:13 AM

28. Yes, proper use of statistical data is "inane."

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:34 AM

3. Your post is a long-winded exercise in willful ignorance.

Pretending things which have been investigated and proven to be so, are not so, because of some misapprehension about the way studies are conducted, is the height of feigned ignorance, worthy of the tobacco lobby.

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Response to Robb (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:42 AM

4. Have you comprehended my post?

I'm not saying that studies were conducted in a wrong way. I am commenting on some of the data that I have been seeing thrown around since the latest school shooting.

Please show me a "murder rate" vs "gun possession" correlation plot. I'm interested to see it and open for what ever it shows.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:33 PM

57. plot this?

Please show me a "murder rate" vs "gun possession" correlation plot. I'm interested to see it and open for what ever it shows.

the article is about the complexities of data. but just look at the top 5 and bottom 5.
there's obviously something there...


20 Deadliest Gun States
Jan 10, 2011 8:13 PM EST
You're five times more likely to die from a gun in Arizona than Hawaii. In the wake of the Giffords massacre, The Daily Beast ranks which states have the worst record of gun fatalities.

"...But advocates for gun laws argue that restrictions prevent suicides, gun trafficking and domestic violence. A study commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns last year concluded that the states with the most lenient gun laws are responsible for the guns used in crimes across state lines at much higher rate than states with strict laws, concluding that "certain gun laws are an important component in reducing criminal access to firearms."..."

"Given the complexities involved in gun regulation and violence, The Daily Beast sought to determine which states are the most dangerous when it comes to firearms. Our methodology was simple: Rather than measure the number of guns, we measured the measure of gun deaths per capita in each state, using the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That counted for 75 percent of the ranking. The other 25 percent was derived from the Legal Community Against Violence's state-by-state comparison of firearm laws, which ranks all 50 states by their relatively severity, incorporating everything from policies on mental-health background checks to whether loaded guns are allowed in bars."

#1, Mississippi
Gun deaths per 100,000: 18.3
Permissive gun laws: 4th out of 50

#2, Arizona
Gun deaths per 100,000: 15
Permissive gun laws: 1st out of 50

#3, Alaska
Gun deaths per 100,000: 17.6
Permissive gun laws: 11th out of 50

#4, Arkansas
Gun deaths per 100,000: 15.1
Permissive gun laws: 7th out of 50

#5, Louisiana
Gun deaths per 100,000: 19.9
Permissive gun laws: 23rd out of 50

---

#46, New Jersey
Gun deaths per 100,000: 5.2
Permissive gun laws: 49th out of 50

#47, Connecticut
Gun deaths per 100,000: 4.3
Permissive gun laws: 46th out of 50

#48, Rhode Island
Gun deaths per 100,000: 3.5
Permissive gun laws: 42nd out of 50

#49, Massachusetts
Gun deaths per 100,000: 3.6
Permissive gun laws: 48th out of 50

#50, Hawaii
Gun deaths per 100,000: 2.8
Permissive gun laws: 47th out of 50

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/01/11/20-deadliest-gun-states-from-mississippi-to-arizona.html


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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:44 AM

5. Actually, 10,000 gun deaths is 10,000 more than nothing.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:04 AM

11. Good point, one that the gun culture misses.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:48 AM

6. Sometimes absolute numbers are interesting and revealing in and of themselves

How would you divide out this number for instance?

http://reason.com/blog/2012/12/05/east-cleveland-cops-fire-137-shots-in-20

East Cleveland Cops Fire 137 Shots In 20 Seconds Over Shot Heard Fired At or Near Officer

Police in East Cleveland say they found no gun and no shell casings in the car from which one unidentified officer said he heard a shot fired at or near him. Two people were killed, Timothy Ray Russell, the driver, and a passenger, Malissa Williams.

At the press conference, Cleveland Police Chief Mike McGrath said that the pursuit lasted 25 minutes, that 13 Cleveland police officers were involved in the situation, and 137 rounds were fired by police.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:57 AM

8. When something scales up with system size, you need to divide by system size.

Your example doesn't meet this criterium.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:10 AM

12. You said the numbers always had to divide by population

Now you are changing your tune.

You advise precision for others but state your case imprecisely.

Perhaps you could find some equation to correlate the story I posted before with this one.

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2012/05/german-police-used-only-85-bullets-against-people-2011/52162/

German Police Used Only 85 Bullets Against People in 2011

According to Germany's Der Spiegel, German police shot only 85 bullets in all of 2011, a stark reminder that not every country is as gun-crazy as the U.S. of A. As Boing Boing translates, most of those shots weren't even aimed anyone: "49 warning shots, 36 shots on suspects. 15 persons were injured, 6 were killed."


Evidently German police are horribly trained, they fired more warning shots than killing ones.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:19 AM

16. "Argumentum ad Logicam" i.e. "Fallacist's Fallacy"

I thought the point I was making was sufficiently explained i.e. that taking averages should be done when applicable. You are now attacking the idea that I didn't explain the point in a 100% unambiguous way rather than attacking the point itsself.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:33 AM

17. So you assumed that a group of mostly laymen would have your grasp of statistics immediately

And you attack me for pointing our a flaw in your presentation.

Wonderful.

Is there any sort of relationship you can make at all between the two stories I posted?










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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:46 AM

20. Exactly like the NRA assumes

that they can spread their bullshit through the use of twisted statistics because they believe that no one will understand that they use false equivalency arguments and apples-to-oranges comparisons in the first place.

Statistics, and the way they are presented are only meaningful to liars and statisticians. Plain numbers and facts are much harder to manipulate than numbers which have been "massaged."

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:48 AM

21. There may be a relationship, and I am not in fact claiming that America doesn't have a gun problem.

My OP does not make any hard statement regarding a gun problem. I have merely stated a personal intuition regarding the danger to my life from guns. There may be a gun problem. I'd like to be convinced of it using the correct metrics, that is all.

As for the flaw in my presentation, I'm glad we have clarified it.

So I should have added: "Divide by system size for any extensive quantity, i.e. quantity that scales up with system size."

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:51 AM

7. No...

Numbers are numbers and the proof is in the pudding.

Words can be spun and numbers can be falsified, but the truth is generally visible over time. That's why you can hide out nation's firearm dilemma.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:01 AM

9. Gun huggers hate absolute numbers.

It shows what a bunch of paranoid, lying, cowards they are.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:03 AM

10. Here's an easy enough rule...IF there were no guns, there could be no gun violence.

Now let's use math to create a correlation, or is that a causality?:

IF Number of Guns = X, and the Level of Gun Violence = Y
and as X goes to 0, Y goes to 0, then it seems logical to think that...

IF the number of guns the people possessed was severly reduced in this country, so would the levels of gun violence.

While many will feel X can never = 0, it can be substantially lowered.

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Response to jmg257 (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:11 AM

13. The graph you are looking for is this one:



You are absolutely correct that apparently there is a linear correlation. And yes, this is precisely a case of what I have discussed in rule #2.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:12 AM

14. Thanks! nt

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:43 AM

19. I do love that chart

The US is an outlier on both tails of that regression, you'll notice (re-do it without the US there and the best-fit line is actually well below Switzerland's data point -- it's important to remember with regressions that the line is created by the data points, not the other way around).

Interesting questions that come out of that are:
1. Why do we have more guns per 100 people than any other country, by far?
2. Why do we have so much more violence than our level of gun ownership suggests we should (eyeballing it, we and Canada are well over one sigma; only Argentina has a bigger variance)?
3. What policies can lower our rate of gun ownership? (before you suggest a prohibition regime, note that we have a higher rate of marijuana use than the Netherlands)
4. What policies can bring our gun violence rate down closer to the line suggested by the linear regression with other countries?

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Response to Recursion (Reply #19)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:12 PM

55. Very interesting.

So basically a counter-intuitive conclusion from this graph can be that there is in fact a "societal" contribution to the gun problem of the USA that is unrelated to gun possession itself.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:16 AM

29. Linear Corr is too subjective

I prefer ANOVA. Whats the SD/SE on that?

ANOVA and MANOVA are much more reliable analysis these days.

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Response to AldoLeopold (Reply #29)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:38 PM

58. It can be revealing despite its limitations

e.g. we can clearly see that the US is more than a sigma out on both tails.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:12 AM

15. Excellent post....

It will be lost on the "guns kill people" folks.

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Response to ileus (Reply #15)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 03:18 PM

43. What else do guns do to people? nt

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Response to Robyn66 (Reply #43)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 06:50 PM

44. Guns don't do anything to people?

???

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Response to ileus (Reply #44)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:09 PM

47. So the gun has nothing to do with people being shot?

What a relief, I bet there are a whole bunch of parents in Ct who would love to know that.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:42 AM

18. OK.

As to your first point, the number of gun deaths per year in the US is about 30,000. That breaks down to about 10K homicides and 20K suicides, plus about 1K accidents, and about 500 self-defense shootings. Just as a point of comparison, the total number of Americans who have died in Iraq, Afghanistan, and 9-11 combined is about 10,000. The number of US soldiers who died in the single worst year of Vietnam was about 16,000. So guns claim about twice as many American lives per year than Vietnam at its worst.

I wasn't alive during Vietnam, but here's a question for those who were. When people pointed out that we were sending young Americans to die by the tens of thousands, was it a popular argument to say that, really as a fraction of the whole population, ten thousand deaths is not that much, so stop making such a big fuss?

Anyway, if you want the rate, what you do is divide 30K by the population of 300M, or about one per 10,000. That's something like 10X higher than the average of other industrialized countries.

In fact, 1/10K actually understates the amount of damage guns do for a number of reasons. First, it doesn't take into account injuries and other side effects of gun violence -- social scientists have estimated the dollar cost of gun violence at $100B per year. Second, gun deaths usually strike younger people than other causes of death, which means that the amount of life expectancy loss is greater per death. The average American loses about 100 days of life to guns, whereas lung cancer, which claims a lot more lives, only accounts for a life expectancy loss of about 200 days.

As to your idea that the availability of a tool doesn't affect the amount of murder, this is completely false. Most murders don't start out with intent to kill. They start out either as arguments or as other crimes that end up escalating. Since guns are far more deadly than other weapons, such situations result in murder far more frequently if guns are available. This is one of the reasons why the US has by far the highest homicide rate among wealthy nations, even though our rates of violent crimes overall are not unusually high.

The situation is similar with suicides. A lot of suicidal impulses are temporary, and the availability of easy and lethal means (i.e. a gun) often means the difference between a completed suicide attempt and survival. This is why many studies have found that individual gun ownership significantly increases suicide risk.

Here are some links to research. Gun ownership correlates positively with both homicide and suicide rates. Not surprisingly, all of the correlation is due to increased gun homicides and gun suicides.
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/
http://home.uchicago.edu/~ludwigj/papers/JPubE_guns_2006FINAL.pdf
http://www.iansa.org/system/files/Risks%20and%20Benefits%20of%20a%20Gun%20in%20the%20Home%202011.pdf

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Response to DanTex (Reply #18)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:51 AM

22. +1000

And thank you very much for taking the time to do the real research.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #18)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:52 AM

23. Thanks.

Let's promote these data then, rather than what Michael Moore does in his movies

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Response to DanTex (Reply #18)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:03 AM

24. I think the comparison to Vietnam is not entirely valid.

There was an obvious one-to-one causality between the war and the losses. Ending the war directly reduced the number to zero. How much exactly the murder rate would go down if a strong gun control policy was enacted is harder to figure out. In any case, thanks, really, for doing the research

on edit: also, opposition to the Vietnam war should have come not only through concern for Americans but from concern for the harm done to Vietnamese.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #24)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:16 AM

30. I was there, and you're wrong.

"Ending the war directly reduced the number to zero," is total bullshit. Many of my brothers and sisters are still dying today, and thousands have died over the years, from the effects of that fucking war. Some of them died by guns that they should not have had access to.

Where does that fit into your neat easily manipulated statistics about causality?

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Response to billh58 (Reply #30)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 12:18 PM

38. I think you read my post the wrong way.

Ending the war directly reduced the number of additional people being directly affected by it to zero. Long-term consequences or delayed indirect consequences are another matter, but the cause obviously lied before the end of the war. Ending the war eliminated the cause but of course not the effects.

I actually thought it was clear what I meant

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #24)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:31 AM

32. Some fair points, but...

It's true that it is hard to tell how much the murder or suicide rate would drop with a strong gun control policy, but Vietnam/Iraq still serves as a fair point of comparison for getting a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

And, technically, in order to estimate the actual number of deaths attributable to the war, you'd have to first estimate the fraction of the soldiers that would have been killed anyway by other means had they stayed in the US. You are right that harm done to Vietnamese should be included in the cost of Vietnam. On the other hand, we also have to consider people killed in Mexico and Canada using guns purchased from US gun stores.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #18)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:59 AM

34. Great post. Thank you. nt

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Response to DanTex (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:21 PM

50. that's more than OK!

As to your idea that the availability of a tool doesn't affect the amount of murder, this is completely false. Most murders don't start out with intent to kill. They start out either as arguments or as other crimes that end up escalating. Since guns are far more deadly than other weapons, such situations result in murder far more frequently if guns are available. This is one of the reasons why the US has by far the highest homicide rate among wealthy nations, even though our rates of violent crimes overall are not unusually high.

The situation is similar with suicides. A lot of suicidal impulses are temporary, and the availability of easy and lethal means (i.e. a gun) often means the difference between a completed suicide attempt and survival. This is why many studies have found that individual gun ownership significantly increases suicide risk.

***

it just really comes down to boys playing with toys, doesn't it?

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:05 AM

25. I have a problem with this whole discussion

These aren't just statistics. You aren't counting how many people bought Soft Serve Ice-cream last summer. You are talking about how many people were killed

Killed

One person is too many.

One child, one battered wife or girl friend, one teen suicide using daddy or mommy's gun, one mass shooting because everyone's life matters.

The first responders who go to gun shot calls don't see a statistic bleeding on the ground, they don't try and keep a statistic alive that "doesn't count" because its insignificant.

30 shootings in one million people is too many.

Sorry if you think this is flame baiting but discussing this issue with cold statistics and saying things like "counts for nothing" really sound horrifying for humanity to me.

And, my husband hunts and I have no huge problem with guns except no one needs an assault rifle in my opinion.

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Response to Robyn66 (Reply #25)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:09 AM

26. Statistics are cold, but they are what matters when thinking about policy.

The effect of laws and policies is to alter probabilities.

"One terrorist attack is one too many."

This is correct, but no policy in the world, not even a totalitarian government that installs cameras in every home could provide 100% certainty that one will not occur.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #26)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:52 AM

33. Then why do you need to use statistics

Isnt it enough to know these things happen and use common sense to create policy? Maybe that sounds completely rediculous but we know it happens we know its bad, so maybe the focus should be more on what do we do to stop it. I dont think we need numbers to prove there is a problem.

I'm sorry I probably should not be participating in this conversation. I am far from unbiased. I was severely abused my my father who shot at me with blanks and I have had guns in my face more than I want to talk about so maybe that is why I have a hard time understanding why it is so important to nail the numbers down.

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Response to Robyn66 (Reply #33)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 12:03 PM

35. Because manipulated

"statistics" is the only argument the NRA and its sheep-like followers have to offer. They can't honestly answer questions like yours, or those from the many thousands of family members and friends of the 30,000 gun victims who die each year. This number does not include the many additional thousands of victims injured and maimed by guns in the USA each year, or their family members and friends -- after all they're just "statistics."

To the NRA and its rabid members, this "insignificant" number of deaths and injuries caused by guns in the USA each year is a small price to pay in order to protect their 2nd Amendment right to own any gun they choose, as many of them as they want (not need, but want), and to carry them anywhere they choose.

Madness.

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Response to billh58 (Reply #35)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 12:23 PM

39. It is often in a person's best interest to be treated as a statistic.

Statistics is not a bad word. I like my policies to be based on empirical evidence, objective scientifically sound analysis and math. What is wrong with that?

Again, people here seem to be getting the impression that I am opposed to gun control, which I am not per se. My point was entirely academic, aimed at improving the quality of the arguments that are being made.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #39)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 12:49 PM

42. But you ARE arguing in opposition to

completely valid gun control positions by insisting on using manipulated NRA false equivalency statistics. When I say USA gun deaths are 30,000 annually, I don't believe that I need to tell people on DU that there are approximately 300 million US citizens. I also don't believe that the cause or circumstances of these deaths (suicide, homicide, etc.) are meaningful in any way toward reducing the total number of deaths by gun in this country.

The remainder of your "helpful hints" follow almost to the letter the NRA talking points of meaningless statistics designed only to obscure the real result of too many guns in too many hands, for all the wrong reasons.

I'm sure that you mean well, in an anal-retentive kind of way, but your NRA bias is showing.

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Response to billh58 (Reply #42)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:00 PM

52. Can you argue a point without resorting to ad hominem attacks?

My personal biases are of no significance to the discussion. Yelling "NRA NRA" is not an argument.

What are "manipulated NRA false equivalency statistics" ?

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #52)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:26 PM

56. Of course your

Last edited Tue Jan 1, 2013, 06:15 PM - Edit history (1)

personal biases are significant, and this is not a discussion -- it is a lecture by you which follows to the letter significant NRA talking points. Contrary to your denials, you are indeed an "unlimited rights" gun supporter, and just like the NRA you are attempting to skew your arguments with meaningless statistics which have absolutely nothing to do with the FACTS: too many guns, in too many hands, resulting in too many deaths and injuries. Those are the "statistics" which matter.

You believe that by presenting yourself as someone who is only interested in the math, you are fooling anyone on DU? We have seen these "statistical" bullshit arguments ad nauseam, and your approach is no different from the NRA approach.

Yelling "NRA, NRA" IS an argument, because they have spent literally billions of dollars spouting the very same "statistics" that you espouse, and buying and bullying politicians to repeal sane gun laws in this country. Your discounting 10,000 gun deaths as being comparatively "insignificant" is an example of a common NRA false equivalency talking point. It's the "price we must pay for freedom" they say. Bullshit. Automobiles kill more people than guns -- another bullshit false equivalency comparison.

Now run along and peddle your statistical pro-gun bullshit elsewhere.

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Response to Robyn66 (Reply #33)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:07 PM

54. Because "common sense" can lead to wrong conclusions.

"Common sense" tells us that "Absolute, true and mathematical time, of itself, and from its own nature flows equably without regard to anything external".

Empirical evidence and objective analysis shows us that this is false.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #54)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 03:57 PM

60. That's great when you arent talking about lives being lost. (nt)

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Response to Robyn66 (Reply #60)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 05:58 AM

64. You are kidding, right?

When lives are on the line, it is all the more a reason to use sound methodology to find out what can be done. A surgeon does not save lives by being a compassionate, caring, human being. A surgeon saves lives by being competent and making the correct decisions based on facts.

If there is one thing that America doesn't need, it is calls for more irrationality and "common sense" approaches to complex problems. We have enough of that coming from all sides of every debate, to the point where the entire political discourse is completely dominated by it.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #64)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 11:33 AM

68. Ok I give up

I am not going to convince you that just the fact lives are lost is enough evidence that there is a problem and that I cant understand how any number of dead people can be considered "insignificant" I would love for you to go tell the parents of Sandy Hook children that their kids are an "insignificant" part of a percentage point.

You feel somehow there is some statistical way to qualify whether or not there is a gun problem in this country.

I disagree with you and cant even understand your reasoning when you are dealing with human lives. You seem to feel the same way about my point of view so there is no point in continuing.

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Response to Robyn66 (Reply #68)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 01:52 PM

69. I consider any life lost a tragedy.

Don't mistake my insistance on rigidity for discompassion.

Every murder is a tragedy. The big question is however what can be done about it. And to answer this question one needs to take a step back and examine the situation in an objective way. Otherwise one might end up designing measures that "feel good" but achieve little, or are in fact counter productive. That is really all I am saying.

You keep mentioning the Sandy Hook victims. They are not the only victims. There are plenty of shooting deaths daily. They aren't less relevant than the Sandy Hook victims. I think it is extremely hard, if not impossible, to prevent something like Sandy Hook with a 100% certainty. Norway has all the regulations, and still Breivik was able to do what he did.

What one can do however is bring the annual per capita rate of homicides down, through proper policies, only part of which are gun related policies per se. And the way to do this is through examining statistics objectively.

"Statistics" is just another way of saying that instead of focusing on one individual event, we should focus on all events in an equal way, which is in fact the most fair and compassionate thing one can do.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:12 AM

27. Why is per capita so critical, when the U.S. is 10th highest in the world?

10 deaths per 100,000 per year. Right behind Mexico. It's not terribly confusing either way, when the answer is "The U.S. has a horrible, ludicrous, insane number / rate / proportion of gun deaths."

It's not like "Michael Moore" is deliberately fooling anyone.

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Response to DirkGently (Reply #27)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:23 AM

31. There you go.

When the USA is ranked statistically against ALL countries in the world, we're "only" number 10 (or 14, depending on the stats you consult). This is because the countries that outrank us are either Third-World, under-developed, or in the throes of civil war.

When we are ranked against our economic and industrial equals, we are so far out in front that we will never be beaten. The OP's obvious dislike of Michael Moore shows a definite right-wing bent, hence the gobbledegook about how we should all follow his instructions and believe the NRA's statistical bullshit.

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Response to billh58 (Reply #31)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 12:09 PM

36. Among "developed" nations, we are the bottom of the barrel in more ways than one.

Highest rate of gun deaths, highest infant mortality rate. There is a correlation, and it comes down to our elected representatives being owned by wealthy donors, one of which is the NRA.

It saddens me that anyone on DU would continue to champion a way of life that other developed nations wouldn't tolerate.

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Response to Chorophyll (Reply #36)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 12:24 PM

40. Unfortunately, too true.

The same SCOTUS right-wing, neoconservative 5-4 majority that gave us Citizens United which weakened the First Amendment, also gave us Heller which weakened (and misinterpreted) the Second Amendment.

I'm afraid that until we can get at least one more impartial Justice on the SCOTUS, we will see more of these travesties of judicial activism and partisan rulings.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 12:16 PM

37. I don't think the per capita helps you here

We have way more gun deaths than nearly any other country and whole continents. Our 3.7 per 100,000 gun homicide rate is over ten times higher than any European Union country except Greece. We are fifteen times higher than France. Sixty times higher than Germany. Fourty times higher than Australia. We are five times higher than Canada.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 12:24 PM

41. I fear the other driver more than any terrorist or gun, plane crash, robber, home invaders, police,

CIA,FBI, DEA, tornado's, hurricanes, lightning, Monsanto, Dow Chemical, GE, floods, psychos, homeless people, starvation, knife throwers, Slayer, rabid dogs, ninja squirrels, ect.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:02 AM

45. "The fact that over ten thousand people die from guns each year contains zero usable information."

If that's true for you, then you're brain dead.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #45)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:13 PM

49. There is a disturbing trend on this site

The gun talk and the guns before people way of thinking is troubling, and has nothing to do with hunting.

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Response to Robyn66 (Reply #49)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 04:09 PM

62. Actually, the 2nd Amendment "has nothing to do with hunting"..n/t

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:10 PM

48. Worst offender: Michael Moore. BULLSHIT

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:26 PM

51. Only those supporting control of firearms are under this kind of scrutiny?

The endless parade of tales of someone preventing violence by brandishing a gun or killing someone is outside this request?

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Response to Buzz Clik (Reply #51)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:03 PM

53. No. The arguments in favor of gun posession should face the same scrutiny.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #53)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:45 PM

59. Good! I would love to see....

... someone present statistics of crimes being prevented by weapons or potential weapons other than firearms. I would like to know how many people using a gun to confront criminals fail in their attempt at intervention.

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Response to Buzz Clik (Reply #59)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 06:20 PM

63. Or the number of

intentional automobile, drowning, hospital, etc., deaths compared to the number of intentional gun deaths.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 07:02 AM

65. 0.0000000008.25 % of US population killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre.

 

> 1. Never quote absolute numbers. Always divide by population.

Do you feel any better now?

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Response to ehrenfeucht games (Reply #65)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 07:54 AM

66. No, because this is again an incorrect way to argue with statistics.

Sandy Hook is one incident, which is a quite untypical one and not examplary for the gun problem and/or violence problem in the US. If Sandy Hook where the only incident surrounding guns that happened in all of 2012, it would be quite correct to state that a drastic measure which affects the entire country is probably misdirected.

The USA had a homicide rate of 4.8 per 100.000 in 2010 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States , which is low compared to Russia but high compared to Germany or the Netherlands.
If there is a single drastic measure that can be taken to lower our rate to that of Germany or the Netherlands, it should be considered. That does not mean another Sandy Hook cannot happen. Nothing can ensure that.

on edit:

Something that might bring our homicide rate down is a combination of better education, better mental health programs, closing the social gap, ending the drug war and, yes, tighter gun laws.

But to suggest that unrealistic things such as making all gun posession illegal is going to be a cure-all, and smearing law abiding citizens by publishing "lists" online, is not helpful.

Norway is doing everything right, but that didn't stop Breivik.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #66)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 08:38 AM

67. We could talk in absolute numbers. 20 children. 6 women.

 

But numbers, whether absolute numbers or statistics obtained by dividing by the US population, are quite sterile, and really miss the mark when it comes to conveying the reality of what we allowed to happen.







- Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
- Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
- Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
- Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
- Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
- Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
- Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
- Dawn Hocksprung, 06/28/65, female
- Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
- Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
- Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
- Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
- James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
- Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
- Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
- Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
- Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
- Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
- Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
- Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
- Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
- Lauren Russeau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
- Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
- Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
- Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
- Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female





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