Where was I...?
Oh, yeah, the overlap of various demographics and their relation to the former states of the CSA.
So, there's a lot of overlap between places where the concept of "christian behavior" is highly valued and the practice of it are not cohabiting AND the areas that have the fewest inhibitions re: blowing away people that are, well, bad, for lack of a better word.
Since, I began this particular screed and today, the threads at most of the blogs I go to have heated up somewhat considerable with both pro and anti- firearms regulation comments. There are three basic sorts of comments/commentors.
The first, the people like myself, who make no secret about thinking that it's well past the time for some sort of genuine regulation of firearms in the U.S. That such a thing is unpopular with many, if not most gun owners is an assertion that I will accept as a fact, without any evidence to back them.
Those assertions I will not accept as fact, without evidence to back them, include, but are not limited to:
I am safer because others own guns.
More guns = less crime.
There are somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 million DGU's per annum.
Cars are more dangerous than guns and yet we don't want to outlaw cars.
There are just too damned many guns out there and NOTHING can be done about THAT, so there!
Gun owners are, as a group, more safety concious, less inclined to be criminals, drunkards, domestic abusers or other types of persons that are dangerous to be around--than those who don't own guns.
That the people who stockpile firearms and ammunition--especially those items that are designed, specifically, as anti-personnel (as in just for killing people)--are going to defend me and the rest of the commonweal from government abuse.
That the 2nd Amendment is well, just, like forever and any attempt at regulation is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, and, and, shut up, that's why!
Now, when I say, evidence is required to back up assertions like those I delineated above, I don't mean "evidence" that is either anecdotal or apochryphal, that has NO DATA TO BACK UP ITS CONCLUSIONS (Yes, John Lott, I've got you in my crosshairs!) or has incredible (as in, not believable*) "statistics" and "data".
There are dozens of published studies (if not hundreds) on firearms ownership and firearms crimes, accidents, injuries and fatalities in the U.S. and abroad that rely on the following conditions:
1.) Verifiable data which can be traced to primary sources (e.g.,government or other official publications, peer reviewed industrial/academic journals).
2.) Rational and widely accepted methodologies
3.) The input/findings/opinions of acknowledged authorities in the subject being studied.
4.) Unbiased, honest assessments and inclusion of both favorable and unfavorable (in the minds of the authors/underwriters) data. IOW, no cherry picking of data or starting the process with a desired outcome in mind and “working backwards”.
5.) A lack of reliance on funding/support by individuals/organizations with a financial or other stake in the outcome of such a study.
6.) Independence from any person or groups which might cause a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest in the gathering, assembling and publishing of the researchers/authors findings.
to arrive at conclusions which are falsifiable/refutable.
When those criteria are considered and the conditions of them met, the conclusions of such studies are likely to be honest, accurate and unbiased.
Exemplars of the studies that satisfy those conditions outlined above include such publications as the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports; reports by the Centers for Disease Control, the Journals of the AMA and similar publications from U.S. and international law enforcement and other governmental and medical organizations.
Exemplars of the “studies” which do not satisfy those conditions include the work of John Lott (baldface liar and fabricator of “facts” and “data” to support his conclusions), Gary Kleck, et al (apparently unfamiliar with the need to be rigorous in examining ALL data from a cited source, the NCVS and a guy whose methodology is extremely suspect) and James D. Agresti (complete fucking whackjob, conspiracy theorist, AGW denialist, historical revisionist and teabaggist apologist).
Unfortunately, the “studies” of those three persons are the ones most often used by the gunzloonz in their rationalization of and attempted defense for their delusional and dangerous proclivity for amassing quantities of firearms and ammunition far in excess of any genuine need for such.
Statements such as, “Every 13 seconds an American gun owner uses a firearm in defense against a criminal” are plastered on websites. The figure, 2.5 million, is used by many gunzloonz as a reliable statistic when talking about their need for gunz. That the numbers are not backed by anyone EXCEPT Gary Kleck and John Lott is not surprising to anyone who takes the time to look at the many critiques of their studies by sociologists, economists, law enforcement organizations and others who actually have considerable experience and expertise in the field.
So, what might we infer from teh gunzloonz use of, “iffy”—at best—conclusions drawn by people in studies that are critiqued, unfavorably, by many more people than critique those studies favorably—especially when those doing the critiquing are actually trained and experienced social scientists, statisticians, economists, law enforcement and medical professionals—are relying on faith, rather than empirical knowledge in the field.
Faith, while it may be a source of comfort to those who have it, is useless when the situaation at hand depends upon a rational inquiry of its nature to arrive at a clear conclusion about how to proceed in dealing with that situation.
NEXT: Gunzligion and Gunzilla