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View Diary: The NRA's solution to gun violence is... (250 comments)

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  •  The Brady Bunch believe a gun is only actually (7+ / 0-)

    used in self-defense if the intruder/attacker is shot or killed.

    Apparently warning the intruder/attacker off without firing a shot isn't good enough for them. Which, I believe, makes them bloodthirsty ghouls by definition.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:30:48 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  And how does one actually count this? (0+ / 0-)

      I would be interested to know how exactly a researcher can answer the question of how often a crime or assault is averted because of a gun when no shots have been fired.

      It is relatively easy for researchers to figure out when a crime or assault has been averted due to gunshot or using the gun as a blunt instrument.  The research can count the wounds on the assailant.

      It is much harder for a researcher to fignure out if a crime or assault has been averted by a gun without the gun being used to cause an injury.  To do so, the researcher has to get inside the assailant's mind to try and understand what made the assailant break off the attack.  This is obviously much harder to do and to quantify.

      I would like to hear any suggestions you have for how such research could be done.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 10:17:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Easy. (6+ / 0-)

        You count incidents in which an offender egresses proximate to the brandishing of a defender's weapon.  As has been done twice.

        •  So only two defensive uses of a gun? (0+ / 0-)
          You count incidents in which an offender egresses proximate to the brandishing of a defender's weapon.  As has been done twice.
          So there are only two recorded defensive uses of a gun?  Yes, I'm joking (grin).

          Can you cite the two studies so we can all see them?

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 10:42:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Two studies. (6+ / 0-)

            Kleck and Gertz,  Armed Resistance to Crime

            Cook and Ludwig, "The Private American Arsenal: Results of a Comprehensive National Survey on Firearms Ownership and Use"

            •  Thank you - I'll take a look n/t (0+ / 0-)

              "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

              by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 10:54:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Huh (0+ / 0-)

              You're citing Jens Ludwig on guns? Interesting. He does not share your views.

              •  You don't get it, do you? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                erush1345, ban nock, PavePusher

                Real progressives don't cherry pick.

                •  Ok then (0+ / 0-)

                  Kellermann is a good source as well.

                  Too funny that you are the "real progressive" in this conversation...

                  •  Of course. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    oldpunk, kestrel9000, PavePusher

                    Kellermann found that the presence of a firearm increased the risk by one thousandth of one percent.

                    •  Not really (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      tytalus, oldpunk

                      The risk was elevated by more than a factor of two (odds ratio was over 2). Mortality rates are not calculated in percentages; they are calculated in deaths per 100,000, not per 100. Of course if you want to recalculate a mortality rate as an absolute percent of the population it is going to be a small number no matter what the cause is. Heart disease, the leading cause, kills 195 per 100,000 (citing NCHS here) which is only 0.2 percent of the population per year. In any case, the elevation was statistically significant and an OR over 2 is pretty large.

                      •  Odds ratios tend to be large (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        PavePusher

                        Especially with rare events.  Which is why you compare absolute risk of distinct events to see whether or not you're just playing around the margins.

                        •  Well (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          oldpunk

                          ORs can overstate the relative risk in the case of rare events. But they don't "tend to be large." More often than not, they are under 2.0. Most epidemiologic analyses are dealing with risks of events that are not a lot more common than homicide. If you want to express the odds of a risk factor for a given mortality cause (say, lymphoma) it is going to look similar to the Kellermann results if you expressed it as an absolute percentage of the population. But epidemologists don't typically minimize an excess risk by saying, "Well, that only affects 0.001 percent of the population in a given year anyway."

                          •  Compared to the rate of rare events? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            oldpunk, PavePusher

                            ORs are often two or more orders of magnitude larger.

                            Most epidemiologists don't obsess over subset of events that occur orders of magnitude less frequently than the general problem.  Otherwise, we wouldn't have vaccination.

                          •  ? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            oldpunk

                            I'm in this field and don't agree.

                            Vaccination is a great example actually of a large 'reaction' over a relatively rare event (look at HiB for example).

                          •  Isn't that a good example? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            oldpunk, PavePusher

                            Would you end vaccination that admits incidence in one thousandth of a percent of children?

                          •  Not based on (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pete Cortez, tytalus, oldpunk

                            our current practice. (I assume you mean end a vaccine where the incidence is less than 0.001%.) For example kids are still getting polio vaccines in the US and there hasn't been a case here in decades. The reason they haven't stopped it is that if someone from a place where it still exists flew in it could cause a terrible outbreak if there still isn't residual immunity.

                            Chickenpox is another example. Everybody used to get chickenpox before the vaccine, and it caused about 50 deaths a year in children in the US IIRC. There are 4 million births a year so that means 0.00125% of children died from it. The percent hospitalized was higher obviously but the same is true with gunshots. In any case, they thought that was worth a vaccine even with a similar percentage mortality.

                          •  No, I mean end it when incidence is greater. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            oldpunk, PavePusher
                          •  ...you mean (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            oldpunk

                            end it because the vaccine caused the disease?

                            Sorry, I am not following.

                          •  Precisely. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            oldpunk, PavePusher

                            But you've already made my point.  You accept the mortality rate for applying...say...the HiB vaccine, because incidence is one to two three orders of magnitude greater.  You do not obsess over the marginal cost.

                            I imagine this is less obvious to epidemiologists when they get into areas outside of their expertise--particularly crime--where treatments can be fanciful as you can imagine.

                          •  Not really (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            oldpunk

                            I meant the mortality from HiB was relatively low as a percentage of all infants, but even though it was low, we made a vaccine anyway. The fact that it was a small percentage of infants who died didn't stop us from acting, and really on a grand scale relative to the number of deaths.

                            The mortality from the vaccine (if any) is lower than the mortality from the disease. They do worry about the marginal cost actually. Costs and benefits are assessed as part of the vaccine approval process.

                            I don't really see firearms death as being different from that. I do approach it from a public health perspective. Like HiB, it's an unnecessary set of deaths (much larger than the number of HiB deaths) that may be preventable. HiB didn't have the NRA behind it though.

                          •  HiB had a vaccine (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            oldpunk, PavePusher

                            And your approach suffers some extraordinary defects.  One, a disease by definition is undesirable; the only way you get to that point with guns is from a position of personal disgust, a dismissal of excess deaths prevented from defensive use, or an unjustified conflation of firearm injury with the implements themselves.  Two, intentional homicide and suicide are not pathogenic and directionless; they are purposeful.  You have additional burden to show that your proposed treatment actually defeats intelligent efforts to surmount it; not one study by the epidemiologists bears out any such conclusion about any sort of proposed policy impacting any subset of firearm death and injury.

                            Otherwise, you leave well enough alone.

                          •  It's not that guns (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            tytalus, oldpunk

                            per se are undesirable. Firearm deaths are (in my view). It is not the object itself, it is the killing people part that I have a problem with. It's all costs and benefits; personally I do not value the enjoyment of guns as highly as the lives that would be saved without them. The value of defensive use would be irrelevant if nobody had them (eg: the UK).

                            However, I agree that the "treatment" of this problem isn't straightforward given how awash in guns our country is. The gun lobby has been very smart in creating a situation where there would be no other practical option other than going their way. I would love to see more restriction, but I realize it is not going to happen any time soon.

                          •  "...the lives that would be saved without them." (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PavePusher, Robobagpiper

                            That's the issue.  If it's not the "guns per se," but firearms mortality and injury that concerns you (or, in my view, violent crime in general), why focus on the tool?  The same reasoning has been applied to recreational drug use with similar (lack of) success.  

                            Your epidemiology is also immature.  The UK and Colombia have effectively the same rates of gun ownership, yet vastly different outcomes in intentional homicide overall and firearms homicide in particular.  South Korea and Japan have extraordinarily low rates of gun ownership, yet lead the world in suicide rates.  With a small enough sample and set of covariates, you can conclude just about anything; and this is before you even cover the question of excess deaths due to inhibiting laws against self-defense.

                            So that's where we stand today.  Gun rights activists have no reason to accept your point of view because there's little to no evidence for it, and none whatsoever favoring any specific prescriptions the Brady bunch has devised.  On the other hand, there is a powerful argument for self defense, and it only requires counting to make.  What does that leave your side with?

      •  dangerous homeowners (4+ / 0-)

        Oklahoma Didn't work out so well.

        Kentucky.  Same result.

        Springtown, Texas Far better.

        Houston, TX.  No gun?  Still not safe breaking in.

        Portland, Oregon  Dogs! Lady, I'm just here for the toiletries!

        Here's how it works:
        You call - We come and do the police work.
        You.  Are not a cop.

        •  The trouble with anecdotal evidence (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tytalus, erush1345

          You have nicely provided 6 examples of crimes/assaults that show how guns were used or not used as self-denfense.

          The anecdotal evidence is of limited use, being specific for those specific instances.  F'instance, based on the empiric evidence you have produced, guns have only been used five times to prevent crimes.  This is probably an underestimation of defensive gun use in the USA.

          What is needed is a method that can be used to quantify defensive guns uses for a region of the nation as a whole.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 11:06:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  the difficulty HGB is how many folks (5+ / 0-)

            have the door beaten on, which is answered by the clatter of the shotgun being loaded?

            "Holy shit dude... let's get outta here!  Someone's home and they're loading the shotgun!"

            So you call the cops.

            "Nine one one what is your emergency?"
            "Are they still there?"
            "Was anyone injured?"
            "Stand by, an officer will be there to take a statement."

            Now this makes the news only-if there's an arrest, same goes for reliable, law-enforcement provided, statistics.

            •  I agree entirely (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              43north

              I agree with your assessment.  I am sure the scenerio you have described occurs, and is an example of a defensive use of a gun.  

              This shows the difficulty involved of trying to properly count instances of defensive gun use in the absence of a shooting injury or an arrest.  After such an excounter, there may or may not be a police report standing as objective evidence of an instance of defensive gun use.  

              So we could count up all such police reports, and this would give us some idea of the incidence of defensive gun uses.  Do you know of any studies that have relied on police reports to estimate defensive gun use?

              "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

              by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:15:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Unfortunately no. (3+ / 0-)

                I haven't the time, nor desire to undertake this effort.
                Not that I'm disinterested - more like unfunded.

                Not every incident (back in the paper paper-trail days) made it to the report stage.

                You had an "activity sheet" which documented your patrol, incident-by-incident, or task by task.  Numbers are time of dispatch, time of resumption of patrol.  Dispatch records time-on-scene.  Here's an example:

                2120: Report of unknown car in driveway, 212 Birch Drive.  Unfounded:  2128
                2130: Report of disturbance at 221 Birch Drive.  Encountered two white males accosting the resident.  Obtained IDs, car registration.  Advised to leave premises or face arrest.  See report:  2150
                2200: Meal Break
                2219: Dispatched from meal to alarm call, Ace Hardware.  Encountered Acme Floor Cleaners, who set-off the alarm.  Store manager Edwards reset the alarm, returned to patrol: 2232
                Now, with computer dispatch?  You'd think the 9-1-1 dispatch records would have the broadest scope of recorded incidents, which should be cross-linked to actual field reports and arrests.

                There will be local/officer discretion used.  Say you exit the house, rack the shotgun, and say:  

                "Who the hell are you?  Get off my property!"
                That's a Felony Menacing arrest in one jurisdiction.

                In a neighboring state, county or town it may just be:
                "Did you get a look at them Hugh?"
                The first is a report, the second probably just a radio call back to dispatch:
                "No one here, homeowner will contact the station should anything be found missing, or should they return."

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