Shooting at CT Elementary School

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby EMTP » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:33 pm UTC

You're unfairly snipping my argument into two parts and replying to this part separately in such a way that ignores my overall point.


No, I don't think so. Identifying one specific way your argument fails is not "sniping."

Here you argue against my normative claim. However, recall that I'm claiming that it's appropriate to have evidence that a class of people is dangerous when imposing restrictions on them, rather than demand evidence that a class of people is safe.


No, I'm specifically arguing that if you have evidence of danger, withholding firearms doesn't constitute "discrimination against" a given group. That's a loaded term, and it's use isn't justified here.

And it is absolutely discrimination. It's discrimination not to give blind people driver's licenses; it just happens to be amply justified.


Nope. Is arresting someone for tagging discrimination against graffiti artists? Is withholding alcohol from 12-year-olds discriminating against children? No.

And I would like to see some evidence that there is no reason to restrict teenagers' access to Dungeons and Dragons.


If someone made that assertion as part of an argument, you'd be perfectly reasonable in asking for that. Again, grammatically framing an assertion as a negative doesn't constitute a magic shield from the need to support your arguments.
Last edited by EMTP on Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:43 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Brace » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:33 pm UTC

engr wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:I have been suffering with mental illness most of my life, with serious problems arising by age 8, and I was 35 when I first received a diagnose. I'm confident that if I had easy access to firearms during my adolescence that myself and many of my peers would be dead. I know that many of the people I knew tried to find help for me, but there was little education centred around early diagnosis and treatment at the time and I'm grateful for the help I've received. I hopeful some of the stigma and discrimination towards mental illness can be addressed with education and early intervention. Paranoia in all it's forms can quickly escalate into violence, and I've seen a perfectly normal man go suddenly enraged at a phantom and kick the air during a med change. The worst part of mental illness I think, is that you almost always hurt the people you love the most.


So you basically admit that due to your mental illness you would kill a lot of people, given the opportunity, and in the same paragraph you complain about the stigma and discrimination towards people like you?


Because it prevents substantively addressing the illness (which would incidentally get rid of the killmurder desires). Seems reasonable.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Brace » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:34 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:
You're unfairly snipping my argument into two parts and replying to this part separately in such a way that ignores my overall point.


No, I don't think so. Identifying one specific way your argument fails is not "sniping."


wow

Edit: The above was the entirety of the original post.

EMTP wrote:No, I'm specifically arguing that if you have evidence of danger, withholding firearms doesn't constitute "discrimination against" a given group. That's a loaded term, and it's use isn't justified here.


But you don't have that evidence. Instead you're demanding evidence that said group is safe and assuming the contrary arbitrarily.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby K-R » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:57 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:
You made an unqualified, sweeping statement about mental illness.


In your imaginary conversation, maybe. Out here in the real world, didn't happen.

EMTP wrote:Perhaps there is no reason to restrict gun ownership to people who have personality disorders or are autistic. However, since you are describing the person who carried out the second worst mass shooting inAmerican history, perhaps you should elucidate your reasons to think so.


Your earlier post makes no sense except as a sweeping statement about mental illness: specifically, that it should be a disqualifying factor unless evidence can be provided to the contrary.






engr wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:I have been suffering with mental illness most of my life, with serious problems arising by age 8, and I was 35 when I first received a diagnose. I'm confident that if I had easy access to firearms during my adolescence that myself and many of my peers would be dead. I know that many of the people I knew tried to find help for me, but there was little education centred around early diagnosis and treatment at the time and I'm grateful for the help I've received. I hopeful some of the stigma and discrimination towards mental illness can be addressed with education and early intervention. Paranoia in all it's forms can quickly escalate into violence, and I've seen a perfectly normal man go suddenly enraged at a phantom and kick the air during a med change. The worst part of mental illness I think, is that you almost always hurt the people you love the most.


So you basically admit that due to your mental illness you would kill a lot of people, given the opportunity, and in the same paragraph you complain about the stigma and discrimination towards people like you?

Yeah, because I'd hate to live in a world where these people are comfortable confronting their issues and getting help.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby EMTP » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:17 pm UTC

koberulz wrote:[
EMTP wrote:Perhaps there is no reason to restrict gun ownership to people who have personality disorders or are autistic. However, since you are describing the person who carried out the second worst mass shooting inAmerican history, perhaps you should elucidate your reasons to think so.


Your earlier post makes no sense except as a sweeping statement about mental illness: specifically, that it should be a disqualifying factor unless evidence can be provided to the contrary.


Uh -- no. You're having a reading comprehension problem. "Perhaps you should elucidate your reasons to think so" is an extremely gentle request for more information.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby K-R » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:22 pm UTC

The only reason to request such information is if you doubt the conclusion.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby EMTP » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:36 pm UTC

koberulz wrote:The only reason to request such information is if you doubt the conclusion.


So you're having a problem understanding the difference between "doubt" or uncertainty and a positive assertion or a "a sweeping statement"?
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby addams » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:11 pm UTC

Oh me yarm.
Do you have any idea what it is like to send the 'apple of your eye's the 'light
Of your life's off to a mundane task, like learning the seven times tables, Then,he or she IS no more?
Well; I do.
Those last conversations. It is a rule in some homes, 'Part in love.'
I don't know what happens to the dead. The living are suffering.
The messy rooms.
The Christmas gifts for someone that is not coming home.
Who is planing the services?
Will they take a credit card for the Box?
For the people standing in rooms filled with the 'thing's used by a person
Filled with life only yesterday; I am so sorry.

Mental Illness? I listen to people. I watch them. Mean and nasty are cultural norms.
It will be easier for families that...No.. This not be easy for anyone.
It will be easier for the families that have someone to turn to.
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They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby EMTP » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:21 pm UTC

I remember the last patient of mine who was shot to death. He was 19. He was in better shape than I have ever been in in my life. Slim, ripped, no scars, the picture of youth. Shot five times. We lined him up, gave blood, put in chest tubes, and got him to the OR, but he bled to death there. The surgeons said his kidneys and liver had been blown to shreds.

Looking at him, you saw the incredible machine of his body and mind; it's complexity, beauty, and perfection. And you could imagine the effort and energy that went into that machine, all the thousands of hours teaching him to walk and tie his shoes and read and whatever else. The family that invested so much love and time into him. How someone destroyed all that in seconds with a few ounces of metal. It's a feeling of tragedy but mostly of such a brutal, senseless waste.
"Reasonable – that is, human – men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life."
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Brace » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:35 pm UTC

Then again, the complexity and power of the human mind is what allowed for the creation of guns. Pretty much every animal species raises young. A gun is a testament to the human ability to think. A child is a testament to the human ability to breed, something shared in common with every rodent or stray dog.

There's something perverse about only having words for a dead child. If you'd met him while he was living you would have been looking down at him in smug superiority instead of this elevated polemical respect. You worship the dead because they can't challenge you.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby sardia » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:33 pm UTC

yoni45 wrote:
eculc wrote:I think what people are failing to realize is that (generally) the kind of people who would shoot up a children's school aren't (generally) the kind of people that are intending to follow gun control laws.


Perhaps, but when is the last time you saw one of these attacks happen with a missile launcher or with a heavy machine gun? Difficulty of acquisition is going to significantly decrease likelihood of incidence, whether or not they intend to follow the law -- it's at least somewhat telling that this guy, for example, had to use firearms registered to his mother to do what he did.

Couple points, how valid is the prevalence argument? It's not like we can seize guns left and right. In addition, there aren't as many factories for missiles, nor the demand for it. There's also ease of use, compactness, and utility. Totalitarian governments show that we can restrict guns, but can we really emulate the same results without radically changing our government?

The progun people will always say that more gun control isn't worth it, or that we are using a tragedy to push an agenda. It's a shame too, since they could give good advice as to where legislation should go. Maybe there should be a dividing line between big urban areas, vs rural outposts with regard to gun control laws.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby EMTP » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:46 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Couple points, how valid is the prevalence argument? It's not like we can seize guns left and right. In addition, there aren't as many factories for missiles, nor the demand for it. There's also ease of use, compactness, and utility. Totalitarian governments show that we can restrict guns, but can we really emulate the same results without radically changing our government?


The Democracy in America blog made some points apropos of this:

After a couple of horrible mass shootings in Britain, handguns and automatic weapons have been effectively banned. It is possible to own shotguns, and rifles if you can demonstrate to the police that you have a good reason to own one, such as target shooting at a gun club, or deer stalking, say. The firearms-ownership rules are onerous, involving hours of paperwork. You must provide a referee who has to answer nosy questions about the applicant's mental state, home life (including family or domestic tensions) and their attitude towards guns. In addition to criminal-record checks, the police talk to applicants’ family doctors and ask about any histories of alcohol or drug abuse or personality disorders.

Vitally, it is also very hard to get hold of ammunition. Just before leaving Britain in the summer, I had lunch with a member of parliament whose constituency is plagued with gang violence and drug gangs. She told me of a shooting, and how it had not led to a death, because the gang had had to make its own bullets, which did not work well, and how this was very common, according to her local police commander. Even hardened criminals willing to pay for a handgun in Britain are often getting only an illegally modified starter’s pistol turned into a single-shot weapon.

And, to be crude, having few guns does mean that few people get shot. In 2008-2009, there were 39 fatal injuries from crimes involving firearms in England and Wales, with a population about one sixth the size of America’s. In America, there were 12,000 gun-related homicides in 2008.


http://www.economist.com/blogs/lexingto ... un-control

We may or may not want to enact such restrictions, but apart from the legal, Constitutional, and practical difficulties, reducing the prevalence of guns does seem to reduce gun violence, as you would predict. Nor has Britain become a totalitarian state as a result of or as a prerequisite to greatly reducing the prevalence of gun crime.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby sardia » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:18 pm UTC

Bleh, that's really disheartening to hear, after reading the article. I was hoping that the gun control solutions were more gradual instead of this black and white of all guns or no guns for anyone. At best, he's implying that the only gun control would be to remove all guns and ammo in a large geographical area. However, his idea on restricting ammo is intriguing. Still, anything that even sounds like this would be a conspiracy theorist's wet dream come true. "See, I told you they were coming for our guns!!"

http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/201 ... ?ref=world
I find it amusing, that there's evidence that the NRA is trying to protect the international gun manufacturers, who would be hurt by the treaty to restrict international gun control. Or in other words, the NRA is trying to make an international anti-warlord treaty about domestic gun seizing so it can pad the bottom line of weapon manufacturers.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:56 pm UTC

reducing the prevalence of guns does seem to reduce gun violence, as you would predict


Actual studies (as opposed to politically charged anecdotes) do not actually support this.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby jareds » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:08 am UTC

EMTP wrote:
You're unfairly snipping my argument into two parts and replying to this part separately in such a way that ignores my overall point.


No, I don't think so. Identifying one specific way your argument fails is not "sniping."

(BTW, "snipping" is an actual English word. It's a synonym for "cutting". I admit it was perhaps not the best choice.)

However, if nothing else, the above response ("No, I don't think so...") is unequivocal sniping. In response to your:
EMTP wrote:I'm certainly not any kind of an expert in the rules of argument, but to my understanding, you don't get a free pass to argue by assertion by framing your statements as negatives.

I took the effort of responding substantively:
jareds wrote:You're unfairly snipping my argument into two parts and replying to this part separately in such a way that ignores my overall point.

I am:
1. Pointing out that the original statement was a negative.
2. Making a normative claim that the burden of proof thereby implied is totally appropriate when discussing whether certain people should have legal restrictions imposed on them on the grounds that they are dangerous.

I'm not making a general claim that allows me to flip the burden of proof in any circumstance.

You quoted only the least important part of my response and responded only to that.


EMTP wrote:
Here you argue against my normative claim. However, recall that I'm claiming that it's appropriate to have evidence that a class of people is dangerous when imposing restrictions on them, rather than demand evidence that a class of people is safe.


No, I'm specifically arguing that if you have evidence of danger, withholding firearms doesn't constitute "discrimination against" a given group. That's a loaded term, and it's use isn't justified here.

That's nice. I have not been arguing that, if you have evidence of danger, withholding firearms is wrongful; so I'm not sure why you feel it's important to argue about what term to use to describe circumstances that I'm not discussing.

EMTP wrote:
And it is absolutely discrimination. It's discrimination not to give blind people driver's licenses; it just happens to be amply justified.


Nope. Is arresting someone for tagging discrimination against graffiti artists? Is withholding alcohol from 12-year-olds discriminating against children? No.

But, ultimately, I'm not interested in semantic quibbling--I will simply repeat myself in language that doesn't bother you.

Are you, or are not, prepared to argue against the following proposition?
"It is morally wrong to split people into groups and place extra legal restrictions on some groups without a good reason."

(Note that repeatedly bringing up scenarios where there are very good reasons for such differing legal restrictions between groups does not constitute arguing against this proposition.)

If you're not willing to argue against this proposition, why is it wrong to assert that there is no good reason and leave it to anyone who thinks there is to give one?

EMTP wrote:Again, grammatically framing an assertion as a negative doesn't constitute a magic shield from the need to support your arguments.

As you say, you're repeating yourself. I responded to this sentiment once and you responded by true quote sniping, as described at the beginning of this post.

But, what the hell? Here is a more extensive response.

1. Sometimes you are shielded from the need to provide evidence for your arguments when arguing for a negative. If not, you're left in the position of saying that "there is no reason to believe that a teapot is orbiting Pluto" is an unsupportable thing to say unless there is evidence that there is no teapot orbiting Pluto. [edit: added "un"]

2. It is not a grammatical trick because the re-framing changes the meaning of the statement, weakening it substantially. "There is no reason to believe that I did not have eggs for breakfast" is a much weaker claim than, "I had eggs for breakfast." The former is a very weak claim. Only such weak forms of claims are shielded by the inability to prove a negative.

3. The use of such weak claims is appropriate for some situations, such as arguing against placing extra legal restrictions on people without evidence for the restrictions.
Last edited by jareds on Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:25 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby mike-l » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:21 am UTC

EMTP wrote:The assertion was that this class of people is safe, and there is no reason to restrict their access to firearms. I would like to see some evidence for that.

Me too. Let's start with the class of people that are human.

EdgarJPublius wrote:
reducing the prevalence of guns does seem to reduce gun violence, as you would predict


Actual studies (as opposed to politically charged anecdotes) do not actually support this.


Controlling for things like GDP/HDI, there is only a slight correlation between gun ownership and violent crime. I've done up graphs a few times, I'll see if I can dig one out later. The US is an unbelievable outlier, but also in general you can't do things like an above poster did where you compare just 2 countries. Canada and Norway have roughly equal gun ownership per capita, while Poland has about 5% of either of them. Canada has 60% more murders per capita than Poland, obviously because guns cause crime. But the Poland has 60% more murders per capita than Norway, obviously because guns prevent crime.
Last edited by mike-l on Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:40 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby sardia » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:31 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
reducing the prevalence of guns does seem to reduce gun violence, as you would predict


Actual studies (as opposed to politically charged anecdotes) do not actually support this.

Can you provide a link? I'm curious if there's a critical number or if the effect is completely linear.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby mike-l » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:44 am UTC

sardia wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:
reducing the prevalence of guns does seem to reduce gun violence, as you would predict


Actual studies (as opposed to politically charged anecdotes) do not actually support this.

Can you provide a link? I'm curious if there's a critical number or if the effect is completely linear.


It's not a well behaved correlation at all, things are all over the place. The correlation between poverty and violence is much much much stronger than between gun ownership and violence. Sadly it looks like the charts I've made got thrown away with my last computer, but I do have this summary

"In the top 20% of GDP per capita countries, there is a slight positive correlation between gun ownership and homicide rate. It's small though, and the variance is enormous. The 2nd highest gun ownership rate in the group is in the 81st percentile for lowest homicide rate. The lowest homicide rate is in the 79th percentile for high gun ownership."
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Hawknc » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:45 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
reducing the prevalence of guns does seem to reduce gun violence, as you would predict


Actual studies (as opposed to politically charged anecdotes) do not actually support this.

I'm going to hate myself for wading into this, but...can you link those studies? The experience we've had here in Australia, where most weapons that weren't for legitimate purposes (e.g. hunting, sport shooting) have been banned, is that mass shootings like Newtown have been a rarity since the most restrictive laws were introduced in 1996.

Edit: totally missed the above. Still, it would be interesting to see the effect of gun control laws on gun crime within a culture, rather than trying to compare vastly disparate laws across cultures.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:08 am UTC

http://rechten.uvt.nl/icvs/pdffiles/Gun ... steren.pdf

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/ ... ?ID=145285

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_contro ... _mortality

The evidence seems to indicate that Gun control has an impact on suicide and homicide committed with firearms, but not on the over-all rates of suicide or homicide.

It's a very complex correlation though, some studies have found conflicting results (to either side) Part of the issue is that the U.S. has such a high population and such a high rate of firearm ownership, that it can skew the correlation by quite a bit if not controlled for.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby mike-l » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:57 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:Edit: totally missed the above. Still, it would be interesting to see the effect of gun control laws on gun crime within a culture, rather than trying to compare vastly disparate laws across cultures.

The implementation of stricter gun control in various counties is usually correlated to an INCREASE in gun crime in that county. Possible explanations are that stricter gun control laws are passed in response to growing gun violence, and also that making a gun 'deadzone' surrounded by high gun areas encourages criminals to commit crimes in the lower gun area vs the higher gun area right across the street.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby EMTP » Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:24 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:http://rechten.uvt.nl/icvs/pdffiles/Guns_Killias_vanKesteren.pdf

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/ ... ?ID=145285

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_contro ... _mortality

The evidence seems to indicate that Gun control has an impact on suicide and homicide committed with firearms, but not on the over-all rates of suicide or homicide.

It's a very complex correlation though, some studies have found conflicting results (to either side) Part of the issue is that the U.S. has such a high population and such a high rate of firearm ownership, that it can skew the correlation by quite a bit if not controlled for.


That doesn't seem to be what most of the sources you are citing are saying, for example (Wikipedia): "There was also a significant though lesser correlation between gun ownership and total homicide rates." And again: "a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries."

I would characterize this sources as saying that fewer guns usually means less violence, although some studies do not find an effect.

It seems you need a huge dose of confirmation bias to think that the >30,000 gun killings in the United States yearly (1) would not be reduced by gun laws like Britain's. We could ask Nancy Lanza about it, but unfortunately she recently joined the thousands of Americans each year killed with their own guns.


1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violen ... ted_States
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:36 am UTC

Also just some more information involving charts and graphs about gun violence.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/201 ... estigation
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Shivahn » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:54 am UTC

The ad on that article, presumably because of the content, was for drum magazines for assault rifles.

Uh, yeah. Fantastic advertising algorithm, that.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:00 am UTC

For a while there the ad algorithm had pro-life missives popping up between feministing.com's blog posts.
Good times.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Thesh » Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:19 am UTC

EMTP wrote:It seems you need a huge dose of confirmation bias to think that the >30,000 gun killings in the United States yearly (1) would not be reduced by gun laws like Britain's. We could ask Nancy Lanza about it, but unfortunately she recently joined the thousands of Americans each year killed with their own guns.


Funny, you mention confirmation bias but you choose to include suicides in your statistics for "gun killings". Sounds like someone is cherry picking numbers to make their argument look better.

For every two gun homicides there is one non-gun homicide in the US. Let's say you completely eliminated guns, those non-gun homicides would not go away and many of those who don't have access to guns will move on to other methods. You also have to take into account that it's going to be impossible to confiscate all guns in the US and there will still be smuggling. So you would notice a drop in homicides with a complete ban, but it wouldn't be dramatic.

Now, no way are we ever going to pass gun control in the United States that prevents most people from owning guns entirely, so that conversation is purely academic. Despite the strict gun control, there are still mass shootings and gun homicides in Europe. Hell, Russia has a lower gun ownership rate than most of Europe, but one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Of course, trying to compare the US to Europe is a little silly since even our non-firearm homicide rates are higher than the total homicide rates in most European countries. Point is, there are other factors involved that have much more of an effect. You can go over the statistics all you want, but there is no obvious correlation between gun ownership rates and homicide rates. For example, Belgium's homicide rate is 50% higher than France's but has nearly half the gun ownership rate.

We do this every fucking time. We debate and we debate and we debate, we come up with no gun control laws that can actually get passed that would actually reduce the homicide rate. There may be gun control laws passed, but it won't accomplish anything except for annoying gun owners; it will probably only ban certain rifles, even though handgun homicides outnumber rifle homicides by over fifteen to one. Why not focus on what we can do? Reduce poverty, provide better access to mental health care, reduce bullying, and start teaching people to accept each other instead of hating everyone who is different. Yes, it will take decades to accomplish some of those goals, but the effort will be worth it.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:45 am UTC

Thesh wrote:For every two gun homicides there is one non-gun homicide in the US. Let's say you completely eliminated guns, those non-gun homicides would not go away and many of those who don't have access to guns will move on to other methods.

I think you're assuming that all homicides constitute premeditated and willful murder. Some measure of homicide occur by accident, which is more difficult to do with a baseball bat than with a gun, which would in part explain why gun homicides outnumber non-gun homicides. Likewise, if 'other methods' are less convenient than guns then potential murderers may find other ways to solve their conflicts. To murder you need the motive, opportunity and means: it follows that if you put more obstacles towards allowing people to have the means that there will be less murder.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Thesh » Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:57 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Some measure of homicide occur by accident, which is more difficult to do with a baseball bat than with a gun, which would in part explain why gun homicides outnumber non-gun homicides


I was actually looking at murder statistics:

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/cr ... rtbl09.xls

There is something like 700 accidental gun deaths in the country every year on average; make what you will from that. Numbers based on memory, as I'm too lazy to look it up.

As for the means, sure, but how are you going to reduce the means? Just making it more of a hassle to buy guns probably isn't going to change that; you would have to actually prevent more people from being able to legally own a firearm, which I find unrealistic in the US.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:28 am UTC

EMTP wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:http://rechten.uvt.nl/icvs/pdffiles/Guns_Killias_vanKesteren.pdf

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/ ... ?ID=145285

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_contro ... _mortality

The evidence seems to indicate that Gun control has an impact on suicide and homicide committed with firearms, but not on the over-all rates of suicide or homicide.

It's a very complex correlation though, some studies have found conflicting results (to either side) Part of the issue is that the U.S. has such a high population and such a high rate of firearm ownership, that it can skew the correlation by quite a bit if not controlled for.


That doesn't seem to be what most of the sources you are citing are saying, for example (Wikipedia): "There was also a significant though lesser correlation between gun ownership and total homicide rates."



You are intentionally misquoting the source. The very next sentence reads:

A later study published by Killias in 2001, based on a larger sample of countries, reported that... no significant correlations with total suicide or homicide rates were found, leaving open the question of possible substitution effects." In short, there was no significant correlation between national gun ownership rates and the total number of people murdered or the total number who killed themselves


If you are interested, that later study is the first one I linked.

I like how one sentence of a Wikipedia article is suddenly 'most of [my] sources'. When the two peer-reviewed studies I posted and the rest of the Wikipedia article directly contradict that sentence.

Pez Dispens3r wrote:I think you're assuming that all homicides constitute premeditated and willful murder.



That is rather the definition of 'homicide'. Manslaughter and accidental death are tracked separately, and make up less than 4% of firearm related deaths (In the U.S.).
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:40 am UTC

Why, exactly, do we care about suicide statistics when it comes to gun control anyway? Not that either of those things have too much to do with the occasional mass killings anyway...
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:10 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
Thesh wrote:For every two gun homicides there is one non-gun homicide in the US. Let's say you completely eliminated guns, those non-gun homicides would not go away and many of those who don't have access to guns will move on to other methods.

I think you're assuming that all homicides constitute premeditated and willful murder. Some measure of homicide occur by accident, which is more difficult to do with a baseball bat than with a gun, which would in part explain why gun homicides outnumber non-gun homicides. Likewise, if 'other methods' are less convenient than guns then potential murderers may find other ways to solve their conflicts. To murder you need the motive, opportunity and means: it follows that if you put more obstacles towards allowing people to have the means that there will be less murder.

Also let's be sure to discount that 'many' is not the same as 'all' and therefore we can ignore that actually, some violence will be reduced when people don't, in fact, move on to other methods and instead do nothing. Or maybe throw a punch, instead. There's a big difference between a punch and a bullet.
But hey, it's all or nothing, right, and if we aren't going to accomplish everything with attempting a reform of automatic weaponry laws, then let's not even try.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Thesh » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:16 am UTC

I think the main point I was trying to make is this:

we come up with no gun control laws that can actually get passed that would actually reduce the homicide rate.


By that I mean "at all".
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Diagoras » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:20 am UTC

Everyone posting random Wikipedia links as statistical evidence: National Academy of Science's 2004 Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review is, AFAIK, the latest comprehensive meta-analysis of this issue, superseding the earlier CDC First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws.

We have actual, systematic, peer reviewed, broad meta-analysis to draw from when deciding public policy on this issue. We don't need to reinvent the wheel.

People citing meta-analysis, however, are good to go. They're just probably in the NAS report already.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby sardia » Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:07 am UTC

I was wondering why people were asking about the "paper tiger NRA" reference, so I checked up on it. Turns out, I was the one who made that reference, and I forgot. =,=

Since I originally posted the paper tiger line, I googled where it came from, and got this:
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/0 ... ?mobile=nc

Summary: It's hard to differentiate NRA spending from random noise, or to find where NRA endorsement made a difference.

I'm pretty skeptical about this, much like you guys. I'll believe the NRA is a paper tiger when I see a politician tell the NRA to go to hell and win any nonliberal bastion seat.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby EMTP » Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:06 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Why, exactly, do we care about suicide statistics when it comes to gun control anyway? Not that either of those things have too much to do with the occasional mass killings anyway...


You have about 17,000 suicides each year in the US with guns -- why wouldn't we care about that?

People who attempt suicide with guns are far more likely to die. Compared to the most common method, taking poison or an overdose of pills, suicide attempts with firearms are 270 times more lethal: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... p00120.pdf (Table 3, pg 3).

You are intentionally misquoting the source


No, I'm not. That paragraph cites three studies, two of which found a significant effect and one of which didn't. You cherry-picked the one you liked and ignored the others. You did the same with the other sources, as I said. There's nothing wrong with your sources but you aren't presenting their findings accurately.

Funny, you mention confirmation bias but you choose to include suicides in your statistics for "gun killings". Sounds like someone is cherry picking numbers to make their argument look better.


People who die by their own hand are just as dead. Those are gun killings as well -- that's why it's called "killing yourself."

Now, no way are we ever going to pass gun control in the United States that prevents most people from owning guns entirely, so that conversation is purely academic.


Ah, the last refuge of a weak argument -- "I may be wrong, but you'll never overcome the might of the NRA/Israeli lobby/fossil fuel companies/etc.!"

Better to discuss things on their merits and recognize that political consensus can at times shift rapidly.

Diagoras wrote:We have actual, systematic, peer reviewed, broad meta-analysis to draw from when deciding public policy on this issue. We don't need to reinvent the wheel.


A good single study is still a single study. Taking one study (especially one from eight years ago) and ignoring the rest of the peer-reviewed literature is bad practice, and ignoring other peer-reviewed papers because they are cited on wikipedia is misguided and unjustified.

A nice quote from your favorite study:

. . . the vast majority of these studies conclude that homicides and availability are closely associated (Lester, 1990; Killias, 1993a, 1993b; Hemenway and Miller, 2000), the methodological problems in this research (measurement of key variables is of questionable validity, the use of nation-states as the unit of analysis may mask subnational variability, and models tested are poorly specified) do not encourage us to place much weight on this research. However, as noted earlier, the level of nongun homicide is much higher in the United States than it is in other countries. A high level of violence may be a cause of a high level of firearms availability instead of the other way around. Further work with better measures and more complete samples might be useful; for now this literature can be considered suggestive but not conclusive.


I don't know how familiar you are with meta-analyses, but out of hundreds that I've used, I can count on the fingers of one hand the studies whose authors were happy with the scope, quantity, and quality of the underlying research. "More and better studies!" is ever their mournful cry. So I would not lay too much stress upon "suggestive but not conclusive" and rather more with the vast majority of these studies conclude that homicides and availability are closely associated.

---------------------------
Some later studies:
Spoiler:
Homicide, Suicide, and Unintentional Firearm Fatality: Comparing the United States With Other High-Income Countries, 2003
The US homicide rates were 6.9 times higher than rates in the other high-income countries, driven by firearm homicide rates that were 19.5 times higher. For 15-year olds to 24-year olds, firearm homicide rates in the United States were 42.7 times higher than in the other countries.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20571454


Firearms and Homicide in Europe


http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.100 ... 16?LI=true

Preventing suicide and homicide in the United States: The potential benefit in human lives
Almost 27% (12,942 lives per year) of the 288,222 suicide and homicide deaths during the study period might have been avoided if all US regions achieved the mortality rate reported by the Northeast. A firearm was used in 55% of all suicides and 66% of all homicides. In the total estimate of avoidable deaths, firearm suicides (90%) and firearm homicides (75%) were overrepresented. The Northeast had the lowest access to firearms (20%) contrasted to almost double in the other regions, whereas greater firearms availability was related to unrestricted firearm legislation. Measures to restrict firearms availability should be highly prioritized in the public health agenda in order to achieve an impressive benefit in human lives.


http://journals.lww.com/jtrauma/Abstrac ... rm.35.aspx


Krugman has an excellent column out today, which among many good points cites the example of Australia:
Other countries offer a road map. In Australia in 1996, a mass killing of 35 people galvanized the nation’s conservative prime minister to ban certain rapid-fire long guns. The “national firearms agreement,” as it was known, led to the buyback of 650,000 guns and to tighter rules for licensing and safe storage of those remaining in public hands.

The law did not end gun ownership in Australia. It reduced the number of firearms in private hands by one-fifth, and they were the kinds most likely to be used in mass shootings.

In the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings — but not one in the 14 years after the law took full effect. The murder rate with firearms has dropped by more than 40 percent, according to data compiled by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and the suicide rate with firearms has dropped by more than half.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/opini ... inion&_r=0
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Nomic » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:14 pm UTC

Now, implementing a Britain-style gun ban in USA would be nearly impossible, as so many people own guns that confiscating them all would cost huge amounts of time and money. However, having some kind of laws in place to make firearms harder to acquire would be a good idea, and would help to reduce shooting-related crimes (less guns generally means less people getting shot at with guns). Sure, the criminals would probably switch to stabbing people instead so overall crime rate might not change much, but it would help against things like school shootings (if you go to a school and start stabbing people, you probably won't get nearly the same bodycount than with a gun).
Around here to get a gun you must join a shooting club and practice on a firing range untill they deem you good enough to get a gun lisence. Then you can go buy a gun. Now, it doesn't completely eliminate gun-related crimes (infact, there was a school shooting a few years back that got a lot of people talking about banning handguns completely), but we have far less per capita than USA does. And unlike banning guns completely, a law like that would still allow people to own a gun for self-defence (which as I understand is the main reason many people in USA are against gun controll). A person with no criminal record or mental problems can get a gun license with no problems if he's willing to spend the time and effort. Meanwhile obtaining a gun would be difficult for somebody with a criminal record, reducing the amount of criminals with guns (sure, they can get guns illegally, but that tends to be more difficult than legally obtaining one).

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Technical Ben » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:45 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
reducing the prevalence of guns does seem to reduce gun violence, as you would predict


Actual studies (as opposed to politically charged anecdotes) do not actually support this.

True. I think most people just want to stop this type of event though. It's very sad and some way to help is usually desired. I would agree we would not give a 2 year old a gun, likewise others should be limited to what they can and can no have. Although usually there are other ways to help too, such as education etc.
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Diagoras » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:50 pm UTC

A good single study is still a single study.


So...any specific problems with its methodology and conclusion, or are you just arm waving? You realize that it's a massive review of the literature (more of a meta-meta-analysis than anything else) comparable to the earlier First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws? This isn't just some twenty page review of studies surrounding a single issue, but a broad analysis of the entire breadth of laws and firearms data we have.

Taking one study (especially one from eight years ago) and ignoring the rest of the peer-reviewed literature is bad practice, and ignoring other peer-reviewed papers because they are cited on wikipedia is misguided and unjustified.


My issue is with citing Wikipedia, not studies being cited on Wikipedia. I specifically indicated that citing actual meta-analysis was fine.

Just pointing out that a broad-based meta-analysis came out a while ago does not mean anything. Is there some radical new evidence that wasn't available in 2004 which would have changed the entire committee's results? If so, could you show it?

A nice quote from your favorite study:


Yes, did you read it? First, it is talking about "the relationship between firearm-related homicides and firearms availability", rather than between overall homicide and firearm availability. Second, it explicitly notes the methodological errors with those studies in your very quote: "the methodological problems in this research (measurement of key variables is of questionable validity, the use of nation-states as the unit of analysis may mask subnational variability, and models tested are poorly specified) do not encourage us to place much weight on this research." Finally, it notes that these fail to prove correlation between firearm violence and firearm availability, but are merely suggestive. Considering that we are still light years away from establishing a causal relationship between overall violence and firearm availability, I have no idea why you think that means anything for bans on guns reducing violent crime rates.

Seriously, it looks like you just went through the meta-analysis, cherry-picked a quote that you thought would support your position, and didn't even read the bit immediately before it or the bit in the middle of it. That's not very reassuring.

I don't know how familiar you are with meta-analyses, but out of hundreds that I've used, I can count on the fingers of one hand the studies whose authors were happy with the scope, quantity, and quality of the underlying research. "More and better studies!" is ever their mournful cry.


This seems like a fancy way to just reject a conclusion you don't like. The next time something I think is happening gets shot down, I'll just pull this one out and be right as rain.

And considering this meta-analysis in question focuses intently on the widespread methodological concerns in most firearm/violence research, I have no idea what you're saying. Most of its executive summary is taken up on addressing the widespread methodology issues at play. But apparently that can all be ignored, because you once read a meta-analysis that wanted more data.

So I would not lay too much stress upon "suggestive but not conclusive" and rather more with the vast majority of these studies conclude that homicides and availability are closely associated.


Yes, the vast majority of the methodologically flawed studies suggested a correlation between firearm violence and firearm availability. And?

Homicide, Suicide, and Unintentional Firearm Fatality: Comparing the United States With Other High-Income Countries, 2003


All this does is conclude that the US has a higher firearms death rate. That's it. It doesn't even posit a correlation between US firearm availability and firearm homicide - it just states that the firearm death rate and overall homicide rate are higher. It's also from 2003, so it's older than the NAS meta-analysis. Why did you even link this? It doesn't even remotely address the question we're trying to deal with.

Firearms and Homicide in Europe


This is a single meta-analysis, not even remotely comparable to a broad, in-depth review of the literature like the NAS report or the CDC report. Neither its conclusions nor its methodology are available. And, from what I could read in the introduction, the most it purports to do is correlate female firearm homicide and firearm availability (short of a limited 1990 survey which it itself downplays). This does not address the public policy question we are asking: what is the relationship between gun control/gun ownership and overall violent crime rates? Again, why did you even link this?

Preventing suicide and homicide in the United States: The potential benefit in human lives


You didn't link this. You just linked the first one again.

In the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings — but not one in the 14 years after the law took full effect. The murder rate with firearms has dropped by more than 40 percent, according to data compiled by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and the suicide rate with firearms has dropped by more than half.


Are you serious? The NAS report is wrong, because Krugman says that Australia had less murders with firearms after it passed a law against them? Of course, post hoc ergo propter hoc!

So, to summarize: you dismissed a 250 page review of the literature by the National Academy of Sciences because it is singular and from 2004, selectively quoted a section that is unrelated to the policy question we're asking, ignored its reservations regarding methodological errors in the studies it was describing, and then decided that suggests = concludes because meta-analysis you've read are careful to remain scientific and stick to the evidence available.

Then you linked a study that simply described that the US has higher firearm death rates that was released before the NAS report that you criticized for being too old, followed by a gated study that talks about possible correlations between firearm violence and firearm ownership, ie. not the question we're addressing. Then you quoted Paul Krugman using his divine powers to figure out the causality around a single event in which firearm regulations lowered firearm crime - again not the question we're asking.

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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:02 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:I think you're assuming that all homicides constitute premeditated and willful murder.

That is rather the definition of 'homicide'. Manslaughter and accidental death are tracked separately, and make up less than 4% of firearm related deaths (In the U.S.).

I dunno, I'm not an expert on legal definitions. As far as I could understand through Google, 'homicide' is broader in scope than murder; homicide is not necessarily a crime. Do you have a cite or something?

(For the record, my main point is something along the lines of what Meau expressed: "I would have killed them but I couldn't get a gun. So I thought, maybe I'll kick them to death. And then I thought, maybe I'll have dinner. In the end I went with dinner.")
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Re: 27 dead in Shooting at CT Elementary School

Postby Alder » Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:29 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:I think you're assuming that all homicides constitute premeditated and willful murder.

That is rather the definition of 'homicide'. Manslaughter and accidental death are tracked separately, and make up less than 4% of firearm related deaths (In the U.S.).

I dunno, I'm not an expert on legal definitions. As far as I could understand through Google, 'homicide' is broader in scope than murder; homicide is not necessarily a crime. Do you have a cite or something?

You're actually right there, Pez, homicide literally just means killing another person. That's why it's often added to, so you get say, negligent homicide - where through carelessness or other negligence your actions lead to another person's death. The wiki article also mentions vehicular homicide and justifiable homicide, to name two others.
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