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View Diary: A closer look at DGU numbers (117 comments)

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  •  You've written on a topic I planned to address (33+ / 0-)

    I still might do my diary if I have time. But I'll make a note in yours about something that I have not seen noted as yet. First off, I'm not a statistician either, but I am a scientist who took statistics in college and who has used probability and statistics off and on in my professional career.

    One of the main points that Hemenway and Cook make is that, when you combine the very small number of positive responses in a sample, such as that Kleck took, that it would require to vastly overestimate the actual rate in the larger population as a whole, combined with the fact that there is an undeniable social positive response bias for gun owners among their community to have reported a defensive gun use (DGU), the chances of developing an overestimate as Kleck has done are very, very large.

    Kleck dismisses this by claiming that his surveyors would have noted discrepancies in stories, a response I find unconvincing.

    But I have not as yet seen anyone ask questions about the timing of Kleck's survey. Was there anything going on in society prior to, or at the time, of Kleck's survey that may have caused survey respondents to want to justify gun ownership by fabricating DGU incidents; thereby biasing Kleck's estimates high?

    Let's take a look at Kleck's survey. He states in his Method section:

    Interviewing was carried out from February through April of 1993.
    Hmmm...let's think back at highly-publicized events of that era that might cause gun owners to worry about the government taking their guns, and might spur them to exaggerate or fabricate incidents to justify gun ownership (such as DGU).

    There was Ruby Ridge, of course, in August 1993, in which Federal agents shot and killed Randy Weaver's wife and child over Weaver's pending illegal weapons charge.  

    That was certainly highly publicized.  And it happened only six months before Kleck's survey.

    And then there the introduction in February 1993 of the reviled (by anti-gun control folks) Brady Bill by Sen. Schumer, shortly after Bill Clinton (who had campaigned in part on gun control) was inaugurated as President. That happened during Kleck's survey.

    Anything else going on at that time, one wonders? Well, there was, of course, Super Bowl XXVII, but I doubt a snoozer blowout would have gotten anyone excited.

    Hey!  What about the Waco siege?  Didn't that happen around that time? Wasn't that highly publicized? And that certainly didn't turn out well for those who might feel the need to arm themselves against a tyrannical government, eh?

    Let's check: Waco siege: February 28, 1993 to April 19, 1993.  

    Huh. February to April 1993.  Where have I heard those dates before?

    Interviewing was carried out from February through April of 1993.
    Why thank you, professor Kleck.  That's right.  

    Now that you mention it, I wonder why you didn't bother to address that little factor in your paper?  

    In a way, Kleck's survey could be viewed as similar to a survey taken during a flood of whether people think flood insurance is a good idea.

    In short, I don't think any reasonable, objective person should view Kleck's 1993 survey as accurate.  Even ignoring its glaring statistical flaws and propensity for overestimating rates of DGU that have been clearly and repeatedly described by other researchers, it was taken during a veritable maelstrom of heightened sensitivity about guns, gun ownership, and government aggression against individuals. And I'm not exaggerating: that maelstrom led directly to the rise of the militia movement and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

    Kleck's survey, in my opinion, is deeply flawed. Don't trust anyone who cites it as an authoritative estimate.

    •  Imporant typo correction: (12+ / 0-)

      Ruby Ridge was August 1992, not August 1993.  

      August 1993 wouldn't have made any sense.

      Sorry about that.

    •  I do believe there was (9+ / 0-)

      a national conversation happening about a proposed Assault Weapons Ban at around the same time.

      That might tempt the opponents of legislation to amp up the rhetoric during debate.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:49:12 PM PST

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    •  These incidences (3+ / 0-)

      Go a very long way in understanding what drives the modern gun rights movement, esp for me, watching WACO unfold, from about 100 miles away.

       There were very distinct divisions on OJs guilt or innocence & the same can be said about WACO some think they committed suicide, some think the Govt deliberately set them on fire & killed them.

        Initially i thought it was funny, that the Govt had gone from killing Black Panthers to killing religious nut cases during my lifetime...

      Who is mighty ? One who turns an enemy into a friend !

      by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:40:21 PM PST

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    •  Reporting DGU is problamatic (11+ / 0-)

      There is really no good protocol for reporting DGU and capturing solid data. I would imagine most DGU events are not reported to the police, unless someone is injured. In many cases I would imagine that the person who uses a gun for defensive purposes, without firing a shot, is pleased the situation was resolved and has no interest in going through the paperwork and time of dealing with the police.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:53:52 PM PST

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      •  Depending on the jurisdiction and the cops? (7+ / 0-)

        It's entirely likely a "warning shot" will result in an arrest for negligent discharge or possibly reckless endangerment.

        Displaying a gun, after being told to "step off or face the consequences" is criminal threatening with a firearm.

        Bullshit you say?  Not so.

        A second article, and for clarity - NH has passed a Castle Law.  You may exit your house, say to the driveway with a firearm, and use up to deadly force in response to an assault.

        Certain police departments and local prosecutors have made it clear that they intend to arrest and prosecute all persons doing so, in hopes-for case law severely restricting legislative law.

        NH also passed a modified Stand Your Ground law - which is facing a likely repeal by the new legislature.
        The claim - still made a year later with no supporting incidents - is that a criminal will use SYG to evade prosecution for firing upon uniformed police officers in performance of their duty.
        Hasn't worked yet.

        Though I'm certain the new legislature will overturn SYG citing Police concerns, and thinking (rightly) about Trayvon Martin.

        I believe the Castle Law is just, and would have prevented a malicious prosecution, designed to further a career in politics.
        I wholly dislike SYG laws, as your duty to evade should remain for all but life-threatening circumstances.
        Assault, Sexual Assault, Robbery, Kidnap, Arson.
        Shooting a person over a TV, a iPod, your car?
        Not worth it.

      •  if it is not reported it may be fantasy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, tgrshark13, vcmvo2

        Suppose the sniper who murdered the kid who accidentally pulled into his driveway then tried to drive away had missed, or believed the kid had seen his gun and fled. He would have reported a DGU if asked. If he had genuinely been threatened, by a break in or confrontation or threat, it would also be reported to the police. Any reported DGUs are mostly in the mind of the beholder.

        •  Sandino - how could you possible know that? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc, fuzzyguy, ancblu

          Might it not be more appropriate to say "In my view any reported.............". Neither you nor I know the facts. My guess is that DGU incidents are under reported, but I have no facts, just like you.  

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:48:11 PM PST

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          •  I meant 'Any UNreported DGUs' (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coquiero, gramofsam1, MKinTN

            in my last sentence. My point was that people may well believe they defended themselves when there was no real threat, and people with a lot of fear will be more susceptible to this, as it is reassuring, and more likely to to have guns to protect themselves.  The reverse case seems much less likely for humans.

          •  so you think that 2.5 million figure is not only (0+ / 0-)

            inflated but actually too low?

            "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

            by joey c on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 10:41:56 AM PST

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            •  edited to fix (0+ / 0-)

              ought to have read "not only not inflated but actually too low?"


              "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

              by joey c on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 10:42:48 AM PST

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              •  I think the "2.5 million number" is likely fiction (0+ / 0-)

                However, I do believe that real data is impossible to determine because many people who use a gun in self defense, but never pull the trigger, don't report it to the police so there is no quality control on the data.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 10:49:53 AM PST

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                •  it's definitely a problematic subject to develop (0+ / 0-)

                  reliable data on - no way one can observe the events in question, many people have an incentive to over-report, no way to tell how real the "threat" was.

                  My personal suspicion is that it almost never happens amongst law-abiding citizens. The gun owners I know personally have a sum total of zero DGUs, meanwhile my mother-in-law scared off a burglar with a samurai sword even though she has a piece.

                  What I could see is what someone mentioned above in terms of this happening often in the criminal world, e.g. a stickup kid is cowed by a mark with a gun.

                  "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

                  by joey c on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 12:54:18 PM PST

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      •  Perhaps so (0+ / 0-)

        but you would also think that someone whose home was entered or an attempt was made to be thwarted by the presence of a gun would have a higher chance of still being reported - as opposed to a "you kidsget off my lawn" type deal.  I would think that in the former situation the home  owner would be more likely to  report ifonly to establish a record and aid in the potential thwarting of a potential crime in the future when homeowner may or may not be home.

        While the person may be pleased that the incident was thwarted it would make sense that they would think that the person may try again another time.  Or would be dialing 911 at the same time preparing to chase someone off.  Not to say that your point isn't valid I am thinking though there is more impetus to report.

        "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

        by newfie on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 11:52:50 AM PST

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