Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Part Trey--Gunzligion and Gunzilla

Gunzloonz need some gunzligion.

So much of gunzloonznation's attempt at justification for wanting to have the AWESOME power of life and death over their fellow man is based on oft-debunked "facts" from people like Kleck and Lott; outright lies from the NRA, and the "analysis" by FuckTheNew'sCorpse, talkingshitheads on the radio and the rest of the ReiKKKwing noise machine.

The number of DGU's (ranging from 1.5--2.5 million per annum, depending upon which Gunzgospel one is reading) are an established fact, in the hivemind of gunzloonz nation, despite their having been criticized by statisticians, LEO organizations, including the U.S. DoJ and professional pollsters for their lack of empiricism and shoddy methodology*.

When asked to explain how Kleck's/Lott's wildly inflated numbers for annual DGU's are justified they say, "it's a peer reviewed study", peer reviewed by an eminent criminiologist, Marvin Wolfgang, at that. Well, aside from the fact that Marvin Wolfgang might have been a little overfocused on race being a PRIMARY cause of violence, he didn't say that Kleck's "research" was perfect. Quite the opposite in fact. Wolfgang did say this:

""I am as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country. If I were Mustapha Mond of Brave New World, I would eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe even from the police ... What troubles me is the article by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. The reason I am troubled is that they have provided an almost clearcut case of methodologically sound research in support of something I have theoretically opposed for years, namely, the use of a gun in defense against a criminal perpetrator. ...I have to admit my admiration for the care and caution expressed in this article and this research. Can it be true that about two million instances occur each year in which a gun was used as a defensive measure against crime? It is hard to believe. Yet, it is hard to challenge the data collected. We do not have contrary evidence. The National Crime Victim Survey does not directly contravene this latest survey, nor do the Mauser and Hart Studies. ... the methodological soundness of the current Kleck and Gertz study is clear. I cannot further debate it. ... The Kleck and Gertz study impresses me for the caution the authors exercise and the elaborate nuances they examine methodologically. I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. They have tried earnestly to meet all objections in advance and have done exceedingly well."

(source: http://jneilschulman.rationalreview.com/2010/05/j-neil-schulmans-stopping-power-q-a-on-gun-defenses/***

and he also said this:

"“The usual criticisms of survey research, such as that done by Kleck
and Gertz, also apply to their research. The problems of small
numbers and extrapolating from relatively small samples to the
universe are common criticisms of all survey research, including
theirs. I did not mention this specifically in my printed comments)because I thought that this was obvious; within the specific
limitations of their research is what I meant by a lack of criticism
methodologically.”--J of Criminal Law and Criminology 86:2 p617-8"source:  http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/1996/12/16/dgu-

by way of clarification when asked about his earlier statement.

Kleck has never been able to convince a lot of non gunzloonz types that his data and methodologies are beyond reproach. Lott, afaia, has never convinced ANY non gunzloonz types that his data and methodologies are beyond reproach. In Lott's case he doesn't even HAVE the data on which he claims to have based his conclusions (the infamous 1997 study)****. These two "researchers" are the authors of most of what teh gunzloonz rely on to justify their insane avidity for firearms.

The writings of Kleck, Lott and a few other authors, friends and heroes of the gunzloonz and NRA are countered by numerous peer reviewed/government conducted studies which refute (and have the data to back up their refutations) the findings of the Pro-gun authors.

The gish galloping,  cherry picking of statistics, willful misinterpretation of the plain language of the U.S. Constitution's 2nd amendment and all of the rest of their denialism is much like that seen in the anti-evolution, anti-AGW, anti-gay, anti-immigrant and anti-woman's rights communities. They believe what they believe--DESPITE clear and convincing evidence that debunks their "gut  feelings" about these things.

In that regard the various groups are akin to fundamentalist religioinists. No amount of evidence will ever be enough to satisfy their demands for "proof"; witness the "Birther", "Truther" and anti-AGW movements, for just a few examples.

Their "religion" in this case is the set of beliefs--which they hold as incontrovertible truth--that they are qualified to own and operate any projectile weaponry that they might be able to afford. Further, they believe that they are guaranteed (and that the guarantee is unqualified and absolute) their 2nd Amendment RIGHT to own weapons, without impediment, limitation or registration.

To the gunzloonz, their faith--gunligion--trumps all else in the legal, moral or social sphere. Many of them believe themselves qualified to decide when a government has overstepped its bounds and become the oppressor. Curiously few, if any, of those gunzloonz that I've encountered believe in submitting to a central authority and performing as a member of a militia. This is because, they maintain, the phrase:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,"

has NOTHING to do with what follows:

"the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.".

Maybe it's just me, but it seems downright odd that the Founders would have put a clause on the FRONT END OF THE SENTENCE that has nothing to do with the rest of it. Especially when one considers that none of the other nine of the Amendments contained in the Bill of Rights have, in their opening sentences a "throwaway" irrealevant clause. Don't take my word for it, take the time to read all ten of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights and let me know which ones have opening sentences which start with clauses that are not germane to the substance of the Amendment. When you have satisfied yourself that it is ONLY the 2nd Amendment that features this anomoly then we can move on.

So, in addition to believing that ONLY the 2nd Amendment has a meaningless clause attached--at its beginning--one that is in no way related to the enumerated right contained in the SAME SENTENCE, gunzloon also believe that ONLY the 2nd Amendment is worthy of the protections that they insist it have. I say this because it's not been my experience in my dealings with the gunzligious that they spend any time arguing in defense of the other nine Amendments in the BoR or, for that matter, the other 18 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. They are, of course, strict constructionists and "originalists" who want only for the "intent" of the Founders to be honored. That  the Founders were men who owned slaves--and resisted efforts to change the status quo , considered wives and children chattel ?  those men? Okay.

So, following the logic of gunzligionistaz there should still be slaves and legislation that forbade the exploitation of child labor and guaranteed the rights of women, non-whites and others should never have been passed. After all, none of those things were even in the minds of the Founders. There are those gunzloonz who, reading this, would nod their heads in sober agreement--not publicly, of course, but still...

It is quite clear that the 2nd Amendment says what it says. What  is exceedingly unclear is WHAT any of the authors or signatories "intended" at the time of it's writing, signing or ratification. This is why the Supreme Court has had to consider "texture" and "intent" in their deliberations. Oddly enough, when the SCotUS is less conservative a linkage of the two parts of the ONE sentence that comprises the 2nd Amendment is obvious; when the Court is more conservative, the first clause becomes an orphan.

As has been the case with christianity in the U.S., there are schisms, political divisions really, between those who think that the 2nd Amendment is inviolable and immutable and those who think that sane firearms policy, of a national nature is required.

Next post, soon; and, yes, we will get into the gunzilla meme.

*           http://vacps.org/public-policy/the-contradictions-of-kleck

**         http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/trigger/trigger1.htm

***        another fat, angry, white man, wit teh gunz

****     http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2003/04/10/duncan3/