a source exists, but the numbers do not

In a previous post, I indicated that I was not aware that the FBI published crime statistics on a county-by-county basis. Thankfully, due to some helpful pointers, I have discovered that the UCR is broken out by county online.

However, the system does not break out firearm-related crime statistics by themselves; instead, it only tracks violent crime as a whole, and murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault individually.

In other words, there is absolutely no way to construct the map on the left side of that image, aside from going through each and every county’s individual yearly crime reports, assuming every county in the country published that information online… and this is all without again stressing the fact that the left map was simply the 2004 election map without the text saying as much.

Stick to the facts, folks. Making up such obvious fabrications as this one just gives ammunition to those who would deprive us of our rights, and they have enough to work with as it is.

that ugly "need" hydra

A few months ago, I happened to have a rather… interesting*… conversation with the warped and benighted mind behind the Twitter account of @1StopCity. A recurring theme in this particular conversation is that unless you have a particular "need" for something or to do something, you have absolutely no right to that thing or to do that thing, or, in his very own words, "Odds against you "needing" a gun negate your right to own one."

Oh, the places you could go with that kind of "logic". Obviously it is inherently and intrinsically incorrect – rights exist independent of any arbitrarily-defined concept of "need", and, furthermore, who is someone else to define what I need? – but let us examine its actual underpinnings for a moment.

In 2001, arguably our worst year for such things, 2926 people were killed due to terrorist’s actions, and at the time, there were 285,081,556 people living in the country. While not entirely accurate, one can therefore say you had about a 0.001026% chance of being killed by a terrorist or terrorist actions in 2001.

However, on the basis of that one-thousandth-of-a-percent chance, over the past 11 years, America has wasted in excess of sixty billion dollars (yes, with a "b") on a program that has never once caught a terrorist, has failed more times than we care to count, and is responsible for sexually assaulting and invading the privacy of millions of travelers a year… all in the names of "safety" and "security".

On the other hand, in 2001, 1,436,611 people were the victims of violent crimes – murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, so, again, while this is not entirely accurate, you can say you had about a 0.5039% chance of being the victim of a violent crime.

In other words, you were, more or less, five hundred times more likely to be a victim of violent crime than of terrorism.

So if the Thousands of Sexual Assaulters are the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread(TM) (and I am, admittedly, assuming 1StopCity would hold to that belief), then the notion of "self-defense" is a Totally Awesome and Earth-Shatteringly Necessary Thing, and, furthermore, the United States Government should subsidize it somewhere on the order of $30,000,000,000,000.

By my calculations, that works out to somewhere around one Glock 17, one middlingly-good AR-15, one tricked out Remington 870, and somewhere around 180,000 rounds of mixed ammunition for all three for every man, woman, and child in the country. I could live with that.

And this is why "gun control" extremists like 1StopCity have failed in the past, are failing today, and will invariably fail in the future – once you take apart their "logic" (and I use that term very loosely) and examine it for what it is, it dissolves like the Wicked Witch of the West swan-diving into the Pacific. Even looking past the disturbing and inherently flawed notion that you have no rights if he decides you do not "need" them, his position falls apart as soon as you consider it in light of actual, honest-to-God facts and figures, much less apply his "reasoning" to other concepts.

Of course, this is the same person who, in the same conversation, informed me that "There are no absolutes" so something tells me he would pull the standard anti-rights cultist tactic of wishing those facts away…

(* – "Interesting" because in response to the question, "would majority-approved slavery infringe on people’s rights?", his response was, and I quote, "As no one has any inherent rights, no, their rights wouldn’t be infringed. Would it be horrible? Yes."** This was the culmination of the above "you only have the rights the majority approves" conversation; at that point, I figured the discussion was over – how do you actually hold a conversation with someone with such a radically totalitarian position? – which is just as well, since he ended up blocking me for daring to have the gall to quote his own words back to him. Joe tried to continue the debate, but given that they were coming from such disparate starting points, it did not get far.

** – Speaking more specifically, this concept still befuddles me. If an action does not abridge a person’s rights, why or how could it be "horrible"? How do you determine the "horrible" nature of an action without some way of measuring – or even determining – if harm has been done to a person? After all, if a person has no right to be free of slavery, then slavery does not harm them, does it?)

graphics matter, external sources

As regular readers of this weblog are probably more than aware, I am quite fond of using relatively simple graphics to debunk long-standing myths adhered to by anti-rights nuts, including “more guns = more crime” and “more guns = more deaths“. However, no matter how simple and straightforward those graphics may be, they have always been supported by comprehensive research from authoritative sources, straightforward number-crunching that can be done by anyone with a copy of Microsoft Office, and an enduring thirst for the truth.

Unfortunately for me and my slight fame due to those graphics, but fortunately for all freedom-loving Americans, I have been outdone at my own game by none other than Michale Menkus of GeorgiaCarry.org, and his report, “Guns Good, Bans Bad” (*.pdf warning).

Throughout the course of his 26-page report, Mr. Menkus examines not only the trending of aggravated assaults and robberies when laws pertaining to the ownership and carrying of firearms change, but also factors in the relevant economic costs and benefits of such laws based on some recent research conducted by folks at Iowa State University – Ames. Even better, he chooses to focus on such hot-button topics as allowing students to carry firearms on campus (assuming they would be otherwise permitted to do so in public), concealed carry in general, the move from “may issue” to “shall issue”, “School Safety Zones”, handgun bans, bans on “Saturday Night Specials”, and so forth… and, unsurprisingly, at least to those who have been paying attention to the facts, the numbers do not look good for “gun control”.

For example, consider what happened at Colorado State University when they started allowing otherwise-legally-permitted students to carry their sidearms on campus – oh, sure, the usual useful idiots at the Brady Campaign decried the move as the beginning of the end for campus safety, but the numbers clearly show that assault plus robbery rates have “dropped by nearly one-half”:

On the other hand, consider what happened in Chicago, when, in 1982, the ruling class of the city decided to ban all handguns within the city limits – aggravated assault plus robbery rates increased by nearly four times in just three years:

I would not go so far to say that Mr. Menkus has proven a causality between the passing/repealing of “gun control” legislation and the change in crime rates, but I feel quite comfortable in saying that he has demonstrated a not-insignificant connection.

But now for the real clincher… anti-rights nuts enjoy waxing philosophical about how much firearms in the hands of citizens costs society as a whole, what with accidents, negligence, and crime due to those guns (even though, as we already have proven here at this weblog, historically speaking, there is no causal relationship between firearms and firearm-related crime or firearm-related deaths); however, I dare say it is well past time to turn that particular talking point around, and Mr. Menkus beat me to it.

Based on the aforementioned research, and his crunching of the numbers, Chicago’s obviously failed and quite unconstitutional handgun ban (assuming it was responsible for the change in crime rates, which seems valid from all observations of the data) potentially cost the residents of the city over $5,000,000,000… a year. Washington D.C.’s equally-failed and equally-unconstitutional firearm ban likely cost its residents somewhere over $400,000,000 a year.

On the other hand, then-Governor George Bush signing a law allowing Texas residents to lawfully carry firearms (only in a concealed fashion, which still blows my mind) has probably saved the state as much as Chicago lost a year, and Michigan progressing from “may issue” to “shall issue” potentially saved the residents of that state another billion.

And, yes, we are talking about billions, with a “b” and nine zeros – if that is not enough for your ears to perk up and for you to start grasping how much “gun control” is costing our society, I am not sure what is.

I will leave Mr. Menkus’ conclusion to his paper as an enticement for you to actually sit down and read it, but, trust me, it will be time well-spent – far too often, anti-rights nuts make far too much headway with “common sense” platitudes regarding how we pro-rights activists are “putting your children at risk” or “costing society millions”, but, as with so many of their catchy little talking points, those “arguments” are nothing more than specious speculation without a shred of evidence to support them. Now, we have evidence, we have the numbers, and we have pretty solid documentation of what “gun control” has cost certain areas here in America… it will be of no use against those borderline-cultists who are convinced that more legislation and tighter restrictions are the cure to everything, but for those fence-sitters out there who are still considering the sides… well, $5 billion is $5 billion.

(Note: All graphics and direct quotes were shamelessly stolen borrowed from the report “Guns Good, Bans Bad“, with the author’s express permission. Please do not replicate, copy, or repost them without his permission.)