Thursday, June 26, 2008

Not shorter

Gun statistics:

Now the gun controllers pour out of the woodwork to claim that you're more likely to kill yourself or a family member with a gun than a criminal.
Some of the people deploying this statistic really ought to know better. Composition fallacy, anyone?
These are not double blind experiments. Guns may be the weapon of choice for all sorts of crimes; that does not mean that they cause the crimes.
Yes folks, Megan quite literally is about to argue that guns don't kill people, people do. And I'm a "gun controller", not opposed to gun violence.
Men like to kill themselves with guns. (This is not culture-specific; women tend to choose poison everywhere, presumably because of some deep fear of disfigurement). Gun suicides tend to be successful. But this does not mean that if you took away the guns, people wouldn't commit suicide. ... Think of it this way: most people who choose to wear high heels are women. That doesn't mean that if I threw out my Manolos, I would turn into a man.
2 questions. 1, Has Megan written this to so piss off her opponents on this issue that we want a gun? 2, did I just make an implicit threat that now allows Megan to shoot me in self-defense?
Similarly, (a small number of) men like to murder their families with guns. But they also like to murder their families with knives, baseball bats, and their fists. Taking away the guns might somewhat reduce the number of homicides (it might also increase it; you're more likely to recover from a fatal-looking gunshot wound to the stomach than from having your head banged against the floor 80 times). But spousal murder is plenty easy without a gun.
Now compare this to the actions of people who are not looking to commit homicide or kill themselves. What are they likely to do with a gun? Brandish it or fire a warning shot. If they do shoot someone, they are likely to stop as soon as that someone is disabled, and call for an ambulance.
What does this have to do with.... anything?
Most importantly, almost no homicides or shootings go undetected. On the other hand, many people who wave a gun at someone threatening, and thereby cause that person to go away, don't report it. How many? We don't know, because they don't report it. But I didn't report the mugging I foiled last January through strategically hunting for my keys in a well lighted portion of the street. I doubt I'd have been any more likely to do so if I'd waved a gun at him.
You've reported it on your blog at least twice now, Megan. And you do realize you just showed why a lethal device isn't necessary to foil a potential mugging?
Now, it is possible that having a gun is actually on net dangerous to you and your family. But we have no evidence to support this notion, because all the statistics on the subject are crap. The denominator is what criminologists call a "dark number": one where there is no way to arrive at any reasonably credible estimate of its value.
And because Megan is telling you this, a completely non-controversial claim, you will accept it. Facts, statistics, studies, and any other form of documentation and supporting evidence miss the point that guns don't kill people, people do.
Look at the good longitudinal data we do have: liberalizing concealed carry--the right to have a hidden gun on you at all times--hasn't resulted in the predicted rash of deaths. It turns out that suicides and would-be homicides weren't paying much attention to the legality of their actions. It also turns out that having a gun in your hands does not seem to turn a previously law-abiding citizen into a spur-of-the-moment killer. It wasn't totally unreasonable to fear that guns might turn altercations into homicide, but the evidence from states that have moved to shall issue models shows that they didn't.
Which makes it totally ok for people to be carrying loaded firearms around in public places, like, say, bars.
Megan cites, as evidence of all her bullshit claims, a very dull post by an academic about a disagreement between him and another academic written in academese. The disagreement does seem to be related to the veracity of commonly known gun statistics, but the post doesn't contain... facts, just assertions about the other academic's claimed mistakes.
People who shoot other people, or themselves, are not ordinary folks whose gun let them vent a moment of madness. They're mostly people with long histories of all sorts of violence towards either themselves, or others.
Which, of course, is why we should remain a society where such people have easy access to firearms.


NutellaonToast said...

I wonder how many deterred robberies equals a murder, in Megan's mind. Yeah, sure, not having guns might mean fewer murders, but it also means that more people would lose their really nice TV's. C'mon guys, it's a no-brainer!

Clever Pseudonym said...

"Men like to kill themselves with guns."

Christ. The idiocy. In general, I think men don't really like to kill themselves at all.

"women tend to choose poison everywhere, presumably because of some deep fear of disfigurement."

That's a stupid, generalized assumption. Why would a woman fear disfigurement when she knows she's going to be dead? "dude, I don't want to be ugly while the worms are eating what's left of me." What?

"Gun suicides tend to be successful."

Again...STUPID. And awkward. By definition, ALL suicides are "successful." If they aren't, it ISN'T FUCKING SUICIDE.

rickm said...

I have to say this may be one of her dumbest posts yet. Make me wanna go wack off in her comments section.

Susan of Texas said...

Guys, she has a post up that's practically wrapped up in shiny paper with a bow. The topic is how some other people are stuck in perpetual adolescence.

I'm in awe, but I can't post until later.

Clem said...

I think Megatron's gender breakdown is generally accurate; at the least, it jibes with the literature I've been exposed to. Female suicides skew towards the less disfiguring methods, which are also, generally speaking, the least efficient. It's very possible that body consciousness drives the choice, but it's also possible that slower-acting methods - poisoning, asphyxia, drowning - are chosen because they increase the likelihood of rescue or second thoughts, or because they leave behind a tidier crime scene that will be less upsetting to their loved ones than a blood-spattered wall. Women are also more likely to use less violently disfiguring methods when committing pre-meditated murder. Does that reflect empathy, or a cold awareness that poisoning or suffocation is less likely to be detected right away? I don't know.

Clever Pseudonym said...

Yeah, but Clem...Megan doesn't really cite the same reasons you do. Women undeniably lean towards the less messy/cry for help variety of suicide, but the only reason she gives is that we don't want to look ugly at our funerals. That implies that most women only value themselves for their looks, even in death. That's bullshit.

spencer said...

Well, cp, perhaps that's yet another unintentionally revealing tidbit about Megan's self-image. It would certainly fit with a lot of her other behavior.

Clem said...

No, CP, you're right, she ignored the reasons that relate to empathy, or require modicums of emotional intelligence to comprehend.

New poll idea:

What's Megan's preferred method for taking her own life?

a) Gun
b) Nyquil
c) Cuisinart
d) Morningstar
e) Poison Jeebus