Just the facts. Just the evidence, and science. In other words...something most Americans are very good at ignoring.
It’s been quite laughable what people have been trying to post this week, once some gun nuts took objection to an old post. The common characteristics of the attempted posts were:
1) Inability to communicate. My god. I’m insulated from it a bit given where I work. A scientist HAS to be able to write well, as you certainly won’t get published if you aren’t a capable writer. However, I always knew that basic writing was a skill lost on most Americans. If you try to post something, I’m not going to take your arguments seriously if you’re incapable of writing a coherent sentence, or are incapable of writing a sentence without 3 misspellings.
2) Vulgarity - Sorry folks, if you start a post by calling me an asshole (or worse)…it isn’t going to be posted. The automatic filtering alone will make sure that those posts are directed right to the trash bin.
3) Complete rejection of reality. My god it’s scary what people believe. Looked through the trash bin, and saw all kinds of wonderful attempted posts about citizens with guns being more important than police, that more people are saved by civilians with guns than are killed, etc. It’s scary to read posts from people who think of THEMSELVES as America’s TRUE policemen (an EXACT phrase used by one guy…god that’s scary). I guess it goes back to a previous post of mine, about peope’s insecurity and carrying guns as a way to pump up their ego or feelings of self-worth.
Fortunately, as with most phenomena, you CAN actually take a scientific approach to the issue, and look at the data. The data are pretty damned clear:
1) Kellermann, A., and Reay, D.T., 1986. “Protection or peril? An analysis of firearm-related deaths in the home.” New England Journal of Medicine 314(24): 1557-1560. This research found that a homeowner with a gun is 43 times more likely to kill a FAMILY member, than a home intruder.
2) Kellerman, A., Rivara, F.P., Rushforth, N.B., Banton, J.G., Reay, D.T., Francisco, J.T., Locci, A.B., Prodzinski, J., Hackman, B.B., and Somes, G., 1993. “Gun ownership as a risk factor for homicide in the home.” New England Journal of Medicine 329: 1084-1091. Households owning guns are three times as likely to be a victim of homicide as non gun owners.
3) Miller, M., Hemenway, D., and Zarael, D., 2007. State-level homicide victimization rates in the U.S. in relation to survey measures of household firearm ownership., 2001-2003. Soc. Sci. Med. 64(3): 656-664. This study found that homicide rates, including homicide of children, were directly correlated to regions with higher proportions of home gun ownership. The top 25% of states with highest gun ownership had homicide rates 114% higher than the states with lowest gun ownership.
As this last study ponts out…it’s simply easier for criminals to obtain guns in areas where more guns are present. One study found 90% of guns used for crime were obtained illegally. Gun proponents thus say criminals are “going to get guns anyway”, so they too need legal means of obtaining guns to “defend” themselves. However, these and other studies note the direct correlation between gun availability/ownership, and violent crime. In areas where guns are more easily obtained through legal means, there are also more guns available illegally, and crime rates are much higher.
The facts are pretty straightforward. But those on the right seem little interested in fact nowadays, be it gun owners…global warming denialists…Obama “birthers”…etc.
And none of this even addresses the wacko “Right to Carry” groups who have been filling up my trash bin. Consider this research:
Branas, C.C., Richmand, T.S., Culhane, D.P., Ten Have, T.R., and Wiebe., D.J., 2009. “Investigating the link between gun possession and gun assault”. American Journal of Public Health 99(11): 2034-2040. – This study found that those carrying a gun are FAR likelier to be both shot, and killed, than unarmed crime victims. People who carry are 4.5 times as likely to be shot compared to unarmed crime victims. As Branas notes, it may be the “type of people” who carry firearms, but it also is likely due to the “sense of empowerment” gun carriers have. For those wackos who think they can carry a gun and use it defend themselves (seemingly EVERY wacko who tried to post fits this category), the study also notes that in the cases where a gun-carrying victim has some chance to defend themselves, they are even MORE likely to be shot…5.5 times as likely to be shot than an unarmed victim.
Yes, even this study notes that there are some successful defensive gun uses each year, but they note “the probability of success may be low for civilian gun users”. The study notes that you’re in far MORE danger when you carry, than if you don’t.
Just the facts! Scientific, peer-reviewed literature!! Not some wacko gun nut sending me a profane email, with a link to a pro-gun website touting all the “benefits” of carrying a gun. And you wonder why your posts don’t make it past the trash bin?