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View Diary: GunFAIL IV (199 comments)

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  •  DGUs do exist, of course. (8+ / 0-)

    And probably in large numbers. But they're hard to find in anything approaching the numbers claimed, and that's probably because no one really knows what survey respondents think a DGU actually is.

    Shooting a burglar? Well, that's clearly a DGU, right?

    Shooting a burglar in the back? Well, in this week's story, local law enforcement would disagree. Not a legitimate DGU. But how would the respondent to an anonymous telephone survey respond? "Yes! Absolutely!"

    But how about, "Well, I carry my gun in the rough part of town, and nobody's bothered me yet. So if your question is, 'Have I used my gun to defend myself in the past year?' my answer is 'Yes! Absolutely!'"

    But is that right?

    The problem is that the overwhelming number of DGUs claimed don't involve actually shooting anyone. That part isn't the problem, of course! The problem is that there's no traditional media reporting of non-events. Occasionally you'll see a story in a local paper about a claim from a homeowner to have scared off a prowler. But if there's no shooting involved, you'll only see that in local police blotter reporting. And even then, only maybe.

    How do we know the vast majority of DGUs claimed don't involve shooting anyone? Because there aren't anywhere near 2.5 million people a year showing up in hospitals with gunshot wounds. And among those who do show up, only a tiny fraction of them are the victims of DGUs.

    So documentation of DGU stories is going to take some real detective work. Someone who's interested in the subject can surely take it up, and if they provide links to each story, they'd be doing us a real service, no matter what their numbers are.

    •  Did a diary on this recently (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nominalize, ColoTim, gof

      and with the help of the comments mostly cut through the bullshit.

      Basically boils down to:

      in the study that came up with 2.5 million DGU, 8% of time defender wounded or killed attacker.

      Gunshots have ~20% mortality rate.

      There are recorded ~300 cases of justifiable homicides by civilians each year.

      so 300 / 0.2 / 0.08 ~ 20k DGU per year.

      You can play with the number a little bit to get between 10-30k reasonably, but hard to justify much outside of that.

    •  If I yell "Hey! Get off my lawn!" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kharma, mrkvica

      and I have a gun in the closet, is that DGU? What about if I turn on the porch light and scare away some up-to-no-good kids who were prowling around the neighborhood?

    •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nominalize, kharma, gof

      Yes, I agree that defensive gun uses occur.

      And yes, I agree that defensive gun uses are much harder to document than are gunshot injuries and deaths.

      I don't know for a fact, but I suspect the vast majority of documented defensive gun uses are done by law enforcement officers.  If the cops pull their guns to apprehend a fleeing bank robber, I think we can all agree that a documented defensive gun use has occurred.

      But what about that shooting a couple of weeks ago at Lone Star State College librabry?  Two guys get in a tiff, both pull guns and start blazing away.  Both claim they used their guns in self-defense.  So is this two instances of a defensive gun use?  No, this should more properly be documented as two criminal uses of a gun.

      Or what about the woman walking a city street late at night?  She fears the guy walking behind her is going to do her some harm, so she turns around and shows the guy her gun.  The guy runs away.  Is this a defensive use of a gun?  Maybe, and maybe not, because we can never know for certain what that guy was planning or going to do.

      So, I for one do not believe that defensive gun uses occur with the great frequency claimed by gun enthusiasts.  If the gun enthusiasts want to convince me I am wrong, they need to show the many documented defensive gun uses.  And I have never seen that proof.

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

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 09:47:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Free speech enthusiasts... (0+ / 0-)

        ...have very few proven cases where free speech saved lives in the United States in recent years. Similar for the other aspects of most provisions of the BoR.

        Sorry, the burden of proof is on the party who wants to deny a right, not on the one who wants to retain the ability to exercise it.

    •  I would counter that... (0+ / 0-)

      ...people who own guns may be very unlikely to respond truthfully to an "anonymous" telephone survey about past gun usages -- esp. if they failed to report the incident to the police and don't know if that is illegal or if they don't know if a gun law passed recently which they were unaware of may have rendered their guns illegal in some way. They don't, for example, know if the alleged survey monkey is actually a detective or if their answers and phone number will be published somewhere (either intentionally, or after a FOIA request, or by hackers who get to the data illegitimately).

      As well, most people who own guns in most urban areas would be very suspicious of anyone who called asking them about ownership (and, usage, is obviously strongly correlated to ownership).

      Most people who own guns that I know are more likely to know about an overly aggressive recall of eggs due to contamination than a newly enacted gun law -- simply because the former appears on the "front page" for many days while the latter may be there for a few hours (if it ever makes it there). Thus, they are very cautious because most aren't aware of the details of every gun law (any more than any licensed driver is aware of every traffic law in states with extensive vehicle codes).

      Many gun owners that I know don't think it's anyone's business what happens in their bedroom or what's in their gun safe.

      If someone calls me and starts asking questions about firearm ownership, I may hang up on them or, more likely, under report (claiming to own none) even if I actually owned a gun. Why would I want to tell a criminal that may be "casing" my house posing a telephone survey monkey what firearms, coins, jewelry, paintings I might have?

      If I carried a gun illegally (I don't) in a bad part of town, I certainly wouldn't admit to it in any form of survey, let alone claim I had used it for self defense. I'm not an idiot and I don't think most people are. It's not illegal to mislead a survey monkey (or, even a Federal official posing as one -- you have to know the official you are lying to is an official to be nailed by the Martha Stewart crime).

      Anyway, what does/does not get reported in the media is not a reliable way to even begin to form public policy because it's not reliable.

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