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Response to slackmaster (Reply #125)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 02:24 PM

127. Hello, slackmaster

Where have you been? I would have expected your reply ages ago or not at all. In response, I would ask a question. I will cheerfully concede that fatal shootings are not the only measure of so called successful uses of a firearm; they are but one indicator of how many incidents are found to be lawful. My question, though, is what makes you believe that non-fatal uses of firearms are significantly different? What the percentage of fatal shootings found to to be lawful demonstrates is that only 1 tenth of 1% of the time that someone used a gun and somebody died, it constituted a lawful use of deadly force. Granted, I have no figures on the percentage of instances where someone uses a gun and it doesn't result in a death that are ultimately found to be lawful uses of deadly force. But what reason do we have to assume that that percentage - whatever it is - would be substantially different? Wouldn't it stand to reason that, if such numbers were available, we would see more or less the same trend, i.e., only a tiny fraction of those cases being considered lawful interventions?

We get into a murky area here with regard to statistics in that, when someone kills someone with a gun, there is at least an investigation and the opportunity for the law to make an impartial determination on whether or not the use of force was appropriate. I think one of the reasons that statistics on nonlethal use of guns are harder to come by is that many will go unreported and, even when they are reported, they may go uninvestigated, because nobody got hurt. In the absence of any outside investigation, how is one ever to know whether those uses of a gun were, in fact, necessary? E.g., you see someone whom you perceive to be menacing approach you on the street, you flash your gun, he goes away. Was that an appropriate and necessary use of your firearm, or was the guy just looking for a light? You'll never know for sure, but that won't stop you from going and telling everyone that your gun just saved your life from someone you mistakenly perceived to be a threat. It's consequently hard for me to imagine how nonfatal instances of self-defense could not be be riddled with one-sided, subjective, anecdotal accounts that would render any overall statistic virtually worthless. So we come back to my original statistic of 300-400 lawful interventions out of 30,000 occurrences where the gun use resulted in a fatality and was investigated. It may not be a perfect reflection of what the results of investigation might be in nonfatal gun uses, but I perceive no reason to anticipate that it would be radically different. Do you? Why?

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LineLineLineLineLineNew Reply Hello, slackmaster
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