Even irregular readers of my weblog should be familiar with my "graphics matter" series of posts wherein I attempt to dispel the more-pernicious lies and misrepresentations of the anti-rights cultists by employing something understandable by everyone and threatening to no one – pretty pictures. However, unless you read into those posts and get into the nitty-gritty details of them, you may have overlooked something; to be specific, on those posts where actual number-crunching is necessary (such as my debunking of "more guns = more gun violence" and "more guns = more guns deaths"), I not only tell you what my sources are, I actually provide you the exact spreadsheet I used to create the graphics.
No joke. The *.xlsx sheet, complete with all of my raw numbers, my formulas, my charts, and my background number-crunching are all right there, on my site, available for anyone to download and scrutinize at their leisure. On occasion, a fellow pro-rights activist will point out where I fumbled a number somewhere or just did a bad job typing something out, but here is an interesting observation for you: in all my years of writing those posts, and in all my years of being attacked by "gun control" extremists for those charts, those who disagree with me have never been able to point out where I did anything wrong in any of my sourcing of the information, calculations, or representations of the conclusions. Their objections have invariably been of the "woman with the earrings" variety.
So after all my hard work, and after taking the time to put all of that stuff together, why would I go to the effort of making it public to anyone who would want to steal or misuse it? Well, on the one hand, I want to know if I made a mistake – our arguments are only as good as the facts they are based on, and if my bases are flawed, I need to address that. On the other hand, it keeps me honest – if I know external sources will be reviewing my data, I will not even feel so much as tempted to "tinker" with it to give me an outcome I might prefer. And, on the gripping hand, it is simply the right thing to do – a study is meaningless without the data to support it, and "showing your work" is not just something that was beaten into us throughout our early school years, but it is also simply an axiom of life.
An axiom that, apparently, Michael Luo never bothered to remember.
This morning, I received the following email from Sean Sorrentino:
Gun owners all know the damage that Michael Luo did to us with his one sided story in the New York Times where he claimed to have found "more than 2,400" criminals who have North Carolina Concealed Handgun Permits. Here’s what you don’t know.
I got him to respond via email. I sent him a request for the data, and after much wrangling, he ultimately refused. After telling me he would offer the data to a lawmaker or a police agency, he refused the primary gun rights legislator in the NC General Assembly. This wasn’t a single email, or two emails, there were quite a few emails before he googled my name and realized he was talking to a gun blogger.
The best part were his admissions. He admitted in writing that the misdemeanor crimes that made up 2200 (or so) of the 2400 (or so) total were mostly not crimes that would disqualify a permitholder.
I passed all this info along to Paul Valone, President of Grass Roots North Carolina, our best gun rights organization, and he included it all in his video response to Luo and the New York Times.
Please link this so that it gets the wide distribution that it deserves. We can’t hope that the anti-gun MSM will be as excited to report this info as they were to report Luo’s biased story, but we can at least get this video in front of the opinion leaders.
Mark my words, when HR822, National Concealed Carry Reciprocity, gets into the Senate, Luo’s story will be the centerpiece of the anti-822 forces. We need to get this to all the rest.
Sean D Sorrentino
And the video he mentions is here:
The Cliff’s Notes version is that Grass Roots North Carolina and Sean now have evidence in their possession, up to and including emails from Michael himself, indicating that Michael Luo fabricated his numbers for his New York Times hit piece against North Carolina concealed carry permit holders, speciously conflated misdemeanors with permit-disqualifying criminal actions (specifically, felonies), lied about whether or not sheriffs were appropriately revoking permits, and generally did everything in his power to hide how he came to his conclusions. To provide something of a counterpoint, when I compared the number of lawbreakers amongst the Mayors Against
Illegal Guns to those amongst the Tennessee handgun carry permit holder and Florida concealed carry permit holder populations, I laid it all out there for everyone to see.
How disappointing – and unsurprising – it is that a part-time, unpaid, recreational weblogger has a stronger sense of personal morals, professional ethics, honesty, and integrity than a bought-and-paid for "authorized journalist".
Regardless, as Sean says, when this propaganda-masquerading-as-science gets held up by the next "gun control" extremist as "proof" that we peons are too dangerous to allow to carry firearms, remember the long train of abuses of mathematics and honesty Michael Luo subjected us to, and remember how easy it is to point out.
(Helpful Note to Those Who Do Such Things: If you are going to take the time to produce a 10+ minute documenting how a report in the New York Times is fraught with lies, misdirections, inaccuracies, and abuses of statistics, please also take the time to type it all out – not only does that rank higher on Google searches than a video (more keywords), but people like me can read it in about a tenth the time it takes you to enunciate it. This is pretty much why I do not do podcasts – I read far faster than most people talk, and have better things to do with my time.)