Comments from almost_uptown

Replying to pcbowen, here. Apologies, re-reading what I wrote, I definitely conflated this study (as represented) with a lot of the sort of “analyses” you see where someone points out that gun ownership went up in a year or two as crime went down, which (as you noted) if done without accounting for economic, legislative and other impact factors are pretty much irrelevant. I did read the summary, which was one of the reasons I was looking for the full study. As you noted they use a sample size of roughly 50,000 gun crimes and “almost ” gun crimes which (depending on how they count an ‘almost’ crime) is one or two years of national data, but they’re looking at longitudinal patterns, so I was curious how they selected the samples they used for analysis. Not implying there’s anything untoward about their scholarship, but (as I’m sure you can tell) I’m pretty firmly convinced of the research on the other side and curious how they reached their conclusions. I’d also note that self-defense usage is a very questionable area of the law (as the Trayvon case is highlighting). The WSJ has a piece today that opens: “At a time when the overall U.S. homicide rate is declining, more civilians are killing each other and claiming self-defense—a trend that is most pronounced in states with new "stand your ground" laws.” Which reinforces the existing data on the subject that gun owners are very likely to misrepresent confrontations as self-defense (which is a rational behavior if the police are asking you how a situation occurred and you don’t want to get into trouble). Like you, I grew up with guns and lived in DC during the sniper shootings and on the Hill (I’m guessing you’re a former staffer too?). And I recognize the difference between belief in a rational policy and a sense of comfort in a bad neighborhood. I lived in Columbia Heights during the middle of a drug war and saw the cops cleaning up bodies when I’d be going home. That said, I never felt that I’d be safer introducing a gun into the mix. I was once mugged by three guys, one of whom flashed a gun. I lost an iPod, my wallet and a watch. It sucked. But I can’t believe I’d have felt better about the outcome even if I’d successfully shot even one of the three men to prevent the robbery, much less started a gunfight. As for suicide, it’s certainly more complicated than assuming that if someone has a gun, they want to kill themselves. Hopefully I didn’t imply that. I think the data shows though, that gun owners are more likely to channel self-destructive urges into suicidal impulses, and are far more likely to be fatally injured as a result. The veterans’ study is really on point here, since it’s a group with (generalizing somewhat) comparable backgrounds/experiences/attitudes and the presence of firearms ownership is indicative of elevated levels of suicide attempts. Ultimately, my point isn’t that guns cause suicide directly, but that a better public policy would recognize that guns make the problem of suicide worse for society, and is another reason to rationalize our gun laws.
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April 2, 2012 on Woman Terrorized By Spike Lee’s Tweets Is Selfish Monster
Oddly, I’m not able to reply directly to bananrama’s comments, which is probably for the best. As badidea noted below, this is not a rational person, so further dialogue seems pointless, and inappropriate for a pop culture blog anyway, don’t feed the trolls, etc.). That said, I didn’t want to leave the impression that I had ceded the ground to this illogical fool. Just a quick overview of the continuing patterns of invented evidence and misrepresentation needed to try and manufacture a counter argument to common sense. “Gun related crime has risen 90% in the UK in the past decade" True, but the gun ban went into effect well before that, so you’ve selected an arbitrary period of time and noted an increase in crime. How exactly is that related to gun control? That’s like saying that abortion has risen significantly since fluoride was introduced into drinking water, thus fluoride causes abortion. Just nonsense. Besides, the point I challenged was your contention the the English gun ban precipitated an equivalent rise in knife crimes, that led to the banning of knives (which is so absurd as to be truly amusing – how do the Brits cook???). Still waiting on that evidence. “Sure, I said arguably, didn’t I? Still not worth giving up my rights in my opinion.” Glad to see you can admit you’re wrong. “LOOOOOOOOOOOL speaking of references, would love to see where that one comes from.” From the CDC’s database of violent deaths ( which depends on data reported by the FBI from their annual compilation of crime statistics. But, I guess that’s not a reputable source? “Obviously you have no understanding of why the 2nd amendment is so important.” As a veteran who grew up hunting and shooting recreationally, please lecture me on the nature of the 2nd amendment. Reasonable people (and no, that doesn’t include you) can actually believe the grave societal harm caused by unfettered access to handguns outweighs the value of a hobby or the fear that Queen Elizabeth will attempt to retake the colonies. -Among the 15 states with the highest homicide rates, 10 have restrictive or very restrictive gun laws. Did it ever occur to you that they tightened gun laws in response to a surge of violent crime, and that the easy availability of legal guns in bordering states (VA for DC, PA for NY and NJ, etc) may account for some of that? The Washington Post examined the history of hundreds of guns used in violent crimes, esp. those used to kill cops, and found overwhelmingly, they were legally purchased. As for your other “facts,” where you pick one example from 1966-1968, one from a city that had no positive or negative correlation to crime in relation to their gun control laws and one (DC) where the data doesn’t support the conclusion (try charting violent crime in DC since 1976 against the tax and population base of the city, and don’t stop looking in 1992) and they’re pretty much the definition of cherry picking. Unlike the comprehensive, longitudinal, rigorously tested and analyzed data I cited. But then, you have no real arguments, no real facts and never did, so cherry picking and invention is all you have left. Still waiting on you to cite data supporting your statement that 90% of all firearms crime are done by criminals to criminals. -The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report ranking of cities over 40,000 in population by violent crime rates (per 100,000 population) finds that the ten cities with the highest violent crime rates for 2003 include three cities in the very strict state of New Jersey, one in the fairly restrictive state of Massachusetts. So the majority are from states with loose gun laws? So much for the deterrent value of concealed carry laws. Thanks again. “Also a fun note, this is all academic anyways because there are literally hundreds of millions in America already. Even if you banned guns, it would be impossible to get rid of them.” Fascinating theory. So b/c it would be difficult to do the right thing, we shouldn’t even try? Why enforce any law to begin with, then. People still break them despite the threat of the death penalty in many states, etc. You really just come off as an insecure sociopath with some deep-seated violent fantasies. Your prized “debate skills” are just unfounded, unproven assertions and inventions shouted at high volume. You’re not rational on the issue, and obviously never will be, and I feel terrible for those who may come across you when you’re armed and angry (as you seem prone to be).
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March 31, 2012 on Woman Terrorized By Spike Lee’s Tweets Is Selfish Monster
If you're familiar with the concept of causation vs. correlation, than you understand broad studies of societal impact can often be described as correlational. The studies I cite though, go to extensive pains to isolate variables and account for them. The study you cite for instance (and similar accounts where crime drops over time are attributed to a legislative change years or decades earlier) that don't account for factors like increased sentencing guidelines, demographic and economic shifts, etc are really very correlational. NYC has tightened gun laws over time and has also experienced massive decreases in violent crime and crime generally, but no one makes the argument that that is solely attributable to gun laws. Likewise, DC's surging crime and murder rates had a lot more to do with the gutting of the city's economic base and collapse of social services in the period cited. Likewise, the same gun laws were in place over the last decade as DC's violent crime rates dropped significantly (as the economic health of the city improved),and the repeal of the gun control laws corresponded with a recent upsurge in crime. But the gun laws aren't the determinant. What is clear is that when you isolate other factors, the presence of legally owned firearms elevates the incidence of violent crime, suicide and accidental death and injury. That's true across the industrialized world, and has been demonstrated repeatedly in varied contexts. Cherry picking examples where it may not apply doesn't change that overwhelming truth. Finally, just curious, but the article you link cites what appears to be an unpublished study mentioned on a pro-gun blog, and I'd be interested in actually seeing the methodology of the study. Do you know if it has been published anywhere?
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March 30, 2012 on Woman Terrorized By Spike Lee’s Tweets Is Selfish Monster
Do you have any to offer other than inventions and threadbare platitudes? You don’t offer anything sourceable, citaeable or objectively accurate except one study that (as noted below) contradicts your own argument even when taken at face value, which more recent and extensive research shows it shouldn’t be. Anyway, in order: “First, despite what the Brady campaign says, there is no statistical correlation between gun control laws and gun related crime, period. Not even going to bother googling it.” “Second, the suicides. So, because people are killing themselves with guns (and stupid parents who aren’t using gun safes) we should ban guns, right? I guess we’ll have to ban ropes, and pills, and heights (that will be difficult), swimming (because they might want to drown themselves). This won’t be easy. “ I can guess why you don’t bother looking it up. Facts are inconvenient things, esp. when you’d prefer to simply invent your own statistics. Again, here’s some actual facts: “A broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries. Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.” So despite your genius conclusion, no, eliminating guns doesn’t mean equivalent numbers of homicides (or suicides) are committed by other means, they don’t happen. And if you’re too dense to understand the far-greater possibility of lethal outcomes from usage of a firearm as compared to other methods of committing a crime…well, nevermind. “But we’ll never ban a person’s right to own a firearm in their own home (unless we go the route of the UK which saw a huge increase in knife crime, then they banned knives and now there’s a TV camera on every corner that is equally ineffective at stopping crime, yay!),.” Again, do you have any actual evidence or citations to back this up? It’s simply invented and untrue. “Still, I’m not willing to give up my rights because of a small percentage of people killing themselves (who would arguably still kill themselves even if guns were banned).” Except again, facts seem to disagree with you: “States with higher levels of household gun ownership had higher rates of firearm suicide and overall suicide. This relationship held for both genders and all age groups. It remained true after accounting for poverty, urbanization and unemployment. There was no association between gun prevalence and non-firearm suicide.” So yes, there is absolutely reduced rates of suicide where gun ownership is lower or curtailed, despite the possibility of other methods. “Second, the accidental deaths. There are like 500-1000 of those a year. Definitely not going to re-write the constitution for 500-1000 lives, end of story (also, hate to say it, but it’s natural selection at work).” Umm, while only (only?) 592 people were killed by accidents (the majority of them children, but I guess that’s just evolution at work, right?) over 18,000 were shot and injured in a year. Just curious, what is the acceptable level of violence for you to justify the roughly 200 self-defense usages of firearms annually (statistics from those pinko liberals, the FBI)? I mean, you clearly don’t care about the 13,000 criminal firearm fatalities and 45,000 criminal firearm injuries annually, because you like to pretend that 90% of those are criminals killing criminals (and can you cite that, just curious?), so what number works for you? 100,000? 1 million? Just curious? I mean, I know you feel like a big man showing your gun off if some kid hassles you, just curious how many have to die to preserve that ‘right.’ “Also, here’s an article where they found that guns are used in self defense around 60,000 times annually.” Did you actually read this article? Did you miss this conclusion (it’s in the executive summary, no need to hurt your head digging too deep): “Firearm self-defense is rare compared with gun crimes.” It also notes that the data is complied from self-reporting, which study after study has shown to be wildly inaccurate. Again, here’s a sampling of conclusions from other articles on how gun owners overwhelmingly use their weapons (all from the same link I posted above): • The claim of many millions of annual self-defense gun uses by American citizens appears to be invalid • Criminal court judges who read the self-reported accounts of the purported self-defense gun use rated a majority as being illegal. • Firearms are used far more often to frighten and intimidate than they are used in self-defense. All reported cases of criminal gun use, as well as many of the so-called self-defense gun uses, appear to be socially undesirable. • Recent gun owners were 8 times more likely to have threatened their partners with a gun than non-gun owners. Four main types of gun threat against partners were (a) threatening to shoot then, (b) threatening to shoot a pet or person the victim cares about, (c) cleaning, holding or loading a gun during an argument, and (d) shooting a gun during an argument. Yawn, this would be more fun if it weren’t so easy. Now make up some more statistics about how you need a gun because everyone is a criminal and they all have them and you can’t possibly deal with a mugging without whipping out a gun and tapping into your Dirty Harry fantasies. Deal with that.
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March 30, 2012 on Woman Terrorized By Spike Lee’s Tweets Is Selfish Monster
Sigh, let the ignorance flow. Setting aside the obvious flaws in your thinking about this specific case (using the argument that “again, even though he doesn’t even know the complete story of the Zimmerman shooting” as an excuse to not have an opinion when what is already known is more than sufficient for a reasonable person to draw some conclusions about the damaging twin effects of unfettered gun ownership and racism), the screamingly ignorant and factually untrue statement: “AKA the typical liberal, knee-jerk emotional reaction without knowing the facts of the case and definitely not any studies or data that justifies re-writing the constitution (because they don’t exist).” …really can’t be allowed to stand. It’s not hard (try spending 5 mins. googling) to find an overwhelming body of rigorously tested and authenticated research studies reinforcing what everyone with any common sense already knows: any purported successful self-defense usage of a firearm is drastically outweighed by the enormously elevated rates of homicide, suicide and accidental death among legal firearms owners. Just for a quick primer, here’s the link to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center’s listing of studies on firearms just since 2009: A brief sampling of the studies gives you a flavor of it. • Recent science continues to affirm the guns-suicide connection • Veterans might have lower suicide rates without easy gun access • Adolescents use the family gun to kill themselves • High rates of homicide followed by suicide in U.S. likely due to easy access to firearms • The evidence indicates that for most people a gun increases rather than reduces the risk of tragedy And again, that’s just studies published since 2009. But I guess you wouldn’t accept that since they’re not funded by the NRA.
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March 30, 2012 on Woman Terrorized By Spike Lee’s Tweets Is Selfish Monster