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?)

like a plan coming together

I do so love it when people take one of my very few good ideas and put them into practice, and, yes, I do mean that quite literally without a shred of sarcasm implied or stated. 

Everyone knows my particular fondness for pretty pictures to simplify and express otherwise complicated concepts, but I will freely admit that I exclusively focus on things that are specifically of interest to me, and I only have so much time.  Thankfully, others have realized the utility of such graphics as well, and run with the idea. 

For instance, Sean Sorrentino (of Gunwalker T-Shirt fame) went back and looked at the overall crime, property crime, and violent crime statistics and rates over the past 25 years; he did not go into the same level of statistical analysis I subject you, my readers to, but the trends of the graphs are pretty clear to anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together (and that trend is made even more clear in a later post). 

In plain language, North Carolina’s population has been steadily increasing, its concealed carry permit numbers have also been increasing, and it is probably fair to say (though we have no demonstrable evidence of this) that the number of privately owned firearms in the state have also been increasing… but despite* all of this, every single crime rate you care to track has been trending downwards since the early ‘90s. 

Funny how that works. 

Now, as always, this trending in no way “proves” that the increased number of concealed carry permits or firearms are responsible for the decrease in all crime rates across the board, but it certainly is interesting, no? 

(* – I use that word with malice aforethought, since according to “gun control” extremists, more guns in private hands invariably leads to more firearm-related crime; we, of course, know otherwise.) 

keeping score on their irrelevance

Speaking of graphics, it would appear as though the hoplophobic "gun control" extremists at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Ownership has released another one of their yearly "scorecards"*. What does that have to do with pretty pictures? Not a darned thing, but Barron’s analysis of that scorecard generated some nice graphs that I am going to steal, along with their explanations, below:

Here is the straight comparison of the score versus the violent crimes per 100k.

bradycorrelation1

R2 dropped again to a value of 0.0016 and the correlation was calculated out to be 0.040117, while it did increase by 0.01, it is still completely insignificant and indicates there is no correlation between the Brady Score and violent crime. Moving forward though lets just limit this to the top 10 Brady Scores.

bradycorrelation2

Again the correlation is non-existent with it coming in at –0.047. Anything that could be indicated by the trend line is irrelevant due to the very low correlation.

bradycorrelation3

All scores above 50 had a correlation of 0.78 while the sample size renders it truthfully statistically irrelevant, it is trending in the direction opposite to which the Brady Campaign would claim. Next up though is all those with low murder rates.

bradycorrelation4

There are 20 states who’s violent crime rate is below 300 per 100k. The average Brady Score is 11.85. Only three states have a score above 20, and those with crime rates below 200, the lowest in the country, all have scores below 10.

The short story, for the statistically-challenged, is that the Brady Campaign’s "scorecard" is completely meaningless. There is absolutely no correlation between the wholly arbitrary and fabricated "Brady Score" and a state’s violent crime rate, indicating that there cannot be any causality either (remember: correlation does not mean causation, but causation cannot exist without correlation). Amusingly, you only find meaningful correlation when you limit the sample size to the six states with scores above 50, and then those states with higher scores actually end up having higher violent crime rates (though a sample size of six is far too small to have any statistical significance).

Given that the specious "Brady Score" is entirely based on whether or not a state has passed the current authoritarians’-wet-dream laws that the Brady Bunch are currently salivating after, it likewise follows that those laws have absolutely no guarantee of having any salutary impact on violent crime.

So why pass them? As the saying goes, "gun control" was never about the guns; it was always about the control.

Speaking of geopolitical bodies with high scores, one omission from this "scorecard" has likewise been omitted from every single "scorecard" before it, and this glaring empty spot has always amused me, given the situation – where is Washington D.C.? After all, their laws are almost the very embodiment of what the Brady Bunch wants to force on the rest of the country, and yet they are invariably, mysteriously absent. Granted, D.C. is not, strictly speaking, a "state", but when have anti-rights cultists ever troubled themselves with anything as trifling as "definitions"? Something tells me, in this particular case, they are far more motivated by the fact that the small boost in scores would be over-counter-balanced by the absurd increase in violent crime, and the potential that a correlation they would not like at all might develop…

And even better than all of this, Barron discovered something of an Easter Egg when he was comparing the 2010 Brady "scorecard" against the 2011 edition, but you will have to head over to his place for the full story on that one.

As with all the previous "scorecards", this one embodies nothing more than the Brady Campaign desperately clawing and scratching for anything even approximating "relevance", while, all the while, they destroy any credibility they might have had. If they were not so rabidly trying to destroy my individual rights, I might almost feel sorry for them…

(* – On a purely subjective point, speaking personally, I would be ashamed to publicly release an Excel spreadsheet that ugly. Their formatting is inconsistent, the border lines randomly vary as to whether or not they exist and their thicknesses, sometimes they put "0" and sometimes they leave a cell blank, and the whole thing rather looks like a high school jock threw it together in the last five minutes before class just so he could avoid getting a 0 for the assignment. Considering that this is an official product of the only remaining "gun control" extremist organization with any actual membership or money, this, indeed, shows the dire straits their movement is in.)

the suicide of gun control

“Gun control” is a dying cause, and rightfully so.  You know it, I know it, and even the anti-rights cultists themselves know it (which could explain why their tactics are becoming increasingly vicious, abusive, and thuggish).  But the interesting thing is how many of those anti-rights cultists (aka “gun control” supporters) are acknowledging their failure and rationalizing it to themselves

WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR the strange death of gun control? Paradoxically, the story begins with two supposed victories for the gun-control movement, both during the Clinton administration. The first was the Brady Act, which established a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases, to be replaced by instant background checks when a system for those checks was developed (which occurred in 1998). The second victory for gun control was the assault-weapons ban, which prohibited domestic manufacturers from producing 19 specified models of guns and other weapons with certain characteristics such as bayonet mounts and pistol grips.

[…]

But for interrelated reasons involving politics, policy, and law, both the Brady Act and assault-weapons ban turned out to be Pyrrhic victories.

In this regard, Carl Bogus (er…?) is correct – the last two major victories, such as they were, the anti-rights cultists have had were the Brady Bill and the Ban on Evil-Looking Firearms.  Unfortunately for the, there is simply no evidence to support the notion that the Brady Bill had any significant impact on overall crime rates, and not only did the Assault Weapon Ban not get renewed, the very administration that initially supported it admitted it failed to affect violent crime

“Pyrrhic victories” is, dare I say, an understatement. 

Since then, “gun control” supporters have suffered failure after failure after failure – permitted concealed carry is allowed, to some degree, in almost every state in the union; permitless carry has grown from one state to four; open carry is being normalized in those states where it is legal; the AWB has failed to make it out of committee any time a lame-brained politician has thought to bring it up; and we now have not one, but two separate Supreme Court cases setting the juridical precedent that the Second Amendment protects a pre-existing, individual right.  And through all of this time, society has demonstrated that not only is there a strong, negative correlation between firearm ownership and firearm-related fatalities, there is also a strong, negative correlation between firearm-ownership and firearm-related crime

“But wait,” cries Carl, “I have some statistics of my own!” 

Epidemiologists and social scientists have been studying different schemes of gun regulation for years. Gun availability varies markedly by region and state—for example, handguns are present in about 11 percent of New York households and 30 percent of Texas households—and these differences have allowed cross-state comparisons. Researchers report that homicide rates in high-gun states are triple those of low-gun states. Studies have also tracked the impact of the adoption of new gun-control laws. For example, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, during the nine years after the District of Columbia enacted a handgun ban, D.C. saw gun-related homicides fall 25 percent compared with contiguous areas in Maryland and Virginia. International comparisons yield similar results. One study found that stringent gun control works, while modest regulation does not.

Uh, no, Carl, you have nothing, and I will tell you why.  First, you failed to cite your sources, and you and I both know that naming the New England Journal of Medicine does not constitute a “cite”.  Second, “gun deaths” is a meaningless, made-up statistic fabricated by anti-rights cultists to maliciously limit the debate to the point where neither the salutary effects of private firearm ownership nor the detrimental effects of disarming victims can be considered.  And, third, your numbers are bulldren. 

You name Texas and New York as “high-gun” and “low-gun” states – the former had a murder rate of 5.4 in 2009, and the latter was at 4.0.  Yes, Texas’ was higher than New York’s, but nowhere near “triple”, and New York does not have an unsecure border with a drug-cartel-run, violent country to deal with. 

Moving on, the DC handgun ban (formally known as the Firearms Control Regulations Act) was passed in 1975 when the District of Columbia had a murder rate of 32.8 and a violent crime rate of 1774.3.  Ignoring your creatively editorial geography and self-serving “gun death” metrics, Virginia’s murder rate was 11.5 and its violent crime rate was 380.9, with Maryland’s numbers being 10.7 and 709.8.  Already DC’s murder rate was 2.8 times higher than its worst neighbor, and its violent crime rate was almost 2.5 times higher.  Moving forward to 1984, DC’s numbers were 28.1 and 1721.5, Virginia weighed in at 7.7 and 295.6, and Maryland “scored” 8.1 and 792.3.  DC’s murder rate was thus 3.6 times higher than VA’s and 3.5 times higher than MD’s, and DC’s crime rate was 5.8 times higher than VA’s and 2.2 times higher than MD’s. 

To break it out a little better: 

  D.C       Virginia       Maryland      
  Murder Violent Crime Murder Violent Crime Murder Violent Crime
1975 32.8 1774.3 11.5 380.9 10.7 709.8
1984 28.1 -14.3% 1721.5 -3.0% 7.7 -33.0% 295.6 -22.4% 8.1 -24.3% 792.3 +10.4%

In short, the only place the District of Columbia did better than its neighbors in those nine years was when you compare its violent crime rate against Maryland’s, which means its handgun ban accomplished no appreciable decrease in crime whatsoever.  And given that these are rates, this takes into account the precipitous drop in population the District suffered from during this time… a population that, no doubt, migrated to VA and MD, and thus affected those state’s rates as well.  All of my numbers for this comparison and the previous one came from Disaster Center, who pulls data from the FBI.  See, Carl, that, along with the links above, is a citation. 

Finally, your “international comparisons” fall short as well – not only is the very slight correlation between firearm ownership rates and murder rates overseas negative, but there is also no discernable correlation between firearm ownership rates and suicide rates. 

Whoops.  That would be three strikes; you are outta here! 

Of course, none of this matters – my individual rights are not subject to your interpretations of whatever ham-handed statistics you bring forward

So what is Carl’s solution to “gun control” failing to accomplish anything it purported to achieve?  Why, do it again, only harder, of course! 

Whatever significantly reduces the number of handguns in general circulation—-whether through culture or regulation—reduces homicides. Other measures such as waiting periods, required training for gun owners, and enhanced sentences for criminals have no discernable effect.

[…]

Under the Court’s ruling, however, laws designed to reduce the prevalence of handguns in general circulation may now be unconstitutional. At the moment, no strong form of gun control is going to get enacted anyway. But circumstances change, and Heller may permanently bar the only kinds of regulation that work.

Ah, no, D.C. v. Heller specifically and clearly labels any ban of any weapon “in common use for lawful purposes” as unconstitutional; there is “may be” involved.  That test was applied to the DC’s handgun ban, and it failed, and I dare say that the same would happen to a new Assault Weapon Ban, given how prevalent “evil black rifles” have become amongst the recreational shooters and hunters of our country. 

So, yes, you, as an anti-rights advocate, are specifically and Constitutionally limited to “commonsense gun regulation” that has been historically proven to fail at worst, and be completely irrelevant at best.  It must suck to be a “gun control” supporter with that albatross hanging about your neck, eh?  Of course, speaking of, how is something “commonsense” if even its supporter admits that it generally fails?  Oh right

Carl indirectly brings up an interesting point, though: “gun control” supporters are the “extremists”.  The Supreme Court has made it very clear that the Constitution protects the right to own and use firearms that are “in common use for lawful purposes”, which specifically included handguns.  On the other hand, anti-rights cultists like Carl here and Michael Bonomo and MissMarciaC want to explicitly and totally ban those handguns from civilian ownership.  By definition, the “ban” position is the extreme opposite of the Supreme Court’s ruling, which makes anti-rights cultists extremists. 

Ok, you have to admit – that is just damned high-larious! 

This revelation adequately illustrates and describes the fashion in which the “gun control” movement has been murdering itself for decades, though – they have consistently adopted positions that run contrary to the Constitution, contrary to jurisprudence, and contrary to the notion of protecting and preserving individual rights and liberties.  When compared to the beliefs that our country was founded on and still continues to loosely operate upon, “gun control” is about as extreme a position as you can take, and it is no wonder it has been suffering a slow death by its own hands as it progressively alienates the American people and loses ground in the courtrooms and legislatures around the country. 

I do wish the anti-rights cultists would acknowledge and act upon the writing that is clearly on the wall, though… there is yet time for them to abandon their blatantly anti-rights, anti-Constitutional, anti-freedom, and anti-liberty campaign and try to accomplish something actually meaningful with their lives… 

[Update] Amusingly, I was not permitted to post a comment linking back to this post, despite providing a summary of it in the comment and pointing out all of the ways Carl was mistaken/wrong in his article. I guess the moderators at The Prospect have something against people accurately observing that their authors’ articles are riddled with glaring factual errors… [/Update]

of course not, you dozy git

About the only positive thing I could ever say about MikeB302000 is that he has prompted a significant number of folks to pen a significant number of truly outstanding posts… kind like how overbearing, authoritarian, abusive governments prompted the founding of our great nation. At any rate, Joe Huffman has yet another amazing post up wherein he takes MikeB’s points out to the woodshed and beats them like the proverbial red-headed step-child, and I definitely believe you should give it a thorough read-through, especially with lines like this buried in it:

I think of people advocating gun control similar to people still claiming the earth is flat. They are absolutely correct that evidence to support their belief is all around us. It’s easy to see they are correct. It’s obvious if you just look around your neighborhoods and cities. But as soon as you look at the question from a little higher altitude you see the curvature of the earth and then you see the earth is unmistakably round and that gun control is not a net win for society.

However, today, I really want to highlight this comment from Gareth A in response to Joe’s post, and I hope neither of them will mind my republishing it in its entirety:

Thing is, the “idea that the best way is to severely restrict and control guns” is absolute bollocks.

I should know – I supported it in my youth, to my eternal shame.

We across the pond in the UK don’t have a progressive attitude towards firearms as groups like the American NRA or other gun owners do. As long as I’ve been alive, we’ve required permits, the bullshit “proof of need” that only the truly unscrupulous can support, and various storage restrictions and transfer rules.

Did that help stop crime? Correct answer: “No” (“Of course not, you dozy git” is also acceptable).

When I was little, we had a shooting at Dunblane Primary School, a short train trip from where I lived. Seventeen children and a teacher were murdered at Dunblane by a man who was believed to be a paedophile.

We banned handguns on the basis that he was believed to be a “law-abiding gun owner”.

The Cullen Enquiry proved that was shite. He lied on every application, he violated the conditions of his certificate, and would never have owned his guns if the police had actually done their job. Our quite irresponsible laws did nothing to stop him.

So what did we do? Passed even more irresponsible laws, of course, and to hell with what’s right! Mike and Joan would be proud.

We attacked almost seventy thousand innocent gun owners, banned their hobby and forced them to turn their property in. (I could do the whole “monsters” thing I like to say, but this is already getting too long)

The criminals over here weren’t affected. Indeed, gun crime has increased by a huge amount over here, so our evil acts did nothing to prevent criminals getting guns. To our shame, a number of my countrymen are still proud of what they accomplished – as if lying about and stealing from the innocent is something to be proud of.

The idea that the law-abiding should accept unnecessary and irresponsible restrictions for the greater bad has been tried. It has failed, here as well as several of your states and D.C. The idea that they should be punished for the actions of criminals – and that is what we’re talking about here, let’s admit it – is dishonest and evil. There is literally no good in such a suggestion.

You really cannot get a more-damning condemnation of “gun control” than a once-Great British subject and ex-“gun control”-supporter saying the above.

Of course, it helps that he is demonstrably correct as well: there is no causal relationship between firearms and firearm-related fatalities (the more-accurate term to describe the hallowed-by-anti-rights-cultists “gun deaths”), just like there is no causal relationship between firearms and firearm-related crimes in general. Additionally, once-Great Britain currently “enjoys” a violent crime rate that is over four times higher than that of America’s, despite, or perhaps because of (in some small part), the draconian and wholly ineffective “gun control” laws enacted in that country. Likewise, the violent crime rate here in America is decreasing from a peak in the ’90s despite (or, again, in some small part because of) the number of firearms in civilian hands steadily increasing, while the same cannot be said of countries still “experimenting” with “gun control”.

Time and time again, “gun control” has failed at its advertised purpose of increasing “public safety”. Time and time again, “gun control” has failed at its advertised purpose of “keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals”. Time and time again, “gun control” has been accurately and factually denounced by those who used to be amongst its faithful. And yet anti-rights cultists just continue to put forward variations on the them of, “Oh, it just has not been done right, yet!”

Sorry, folks – you have been screwing around with “gun control” for the past century or so, and if you have not gotten it “right” by now, you never are going to. Even worse, we have no shortage of countries currently attempting to get “gun control” “right”, and there is precisely no reason we have to follow them down that particular rabbit hole just to prove how ineffective the end result is.

Joe is absolutely correct – the time for experimenting with “gun control” is well and truly past, and the death toll from the previous attempts go far beyond the pale. Thankfully, our society seems to have a growing interest in respecting the rights of all people to engage in commerce, own private property, lead their lives as they see fit so long as it damages no one else, and defend themselves from aggressors; rather than imposing the non-existent “right” to force other people to be victims against their will… which is just as well, given how many folks share my opinion regarding their rights

quote of the day

Anti-rights cultists have a long-standing history of focusing their efforts exclusively on firearm-related crimes, often to the detriment of the societies they are working in – one need only consider the history of once-Great Britain, and its current status as “most violent nation in Europe” to see how that particular train of thought ends. However, I have had the suspicion, especially of late, that those same “gun control” advocates would consider a decrease in firearm-related crime, but an overall increase in total violent crime, to be a “success”, even if the increase in violent crime was sufficiently large to overwhelm any corresponding decrease.

Well, the Gift That Just Keeps on Giving, Joan Peterson, went and confirmed that belief for me:

I give you the argument of the guys with the “man pants” on ladies and gentlemen-” We’re saying that we’d rather have more gun deaths and lower overall violent crime, than zero gun deaths and higher rates of violent crime if given the choice” And there you have it. Nothing more to say here except “Wow” and “unbelievable”.

“Wow” indeed.

In 2007, America had a violent crime rate of 472 incidents per 100,000 people, and a firearm-related murder rate of 4.19 per 100,000. Comparatively speaking, in 2009, once-Great Britain had a violent crime rate of 2,034 incidents per 100,000 people, but a firearm-related murder rate of 0.102 per 100,000. What Joan is saying is that she would be willing to trade 4 murders for 1500 violent crime incidents, and she would consider that kind of trade to be a Very Good Thing (TM).

I guess it would be, so long as she planned on not being one of those 1500.

This is the value anti-rights cultists place on your life – if yours is not another “gun death” that they can use as a statistical feather in their cap, you simply do not matter. Talk about “unbelievable”…

And lest you have forgotten, Joan Peterson is the face of modern “gun control”, and a duly-appointed representative of the Brady Campaign itself, and she is publicly admitting that she would prefer a higher violent crime rate if the firearm-related crime rate decreased. Remind me again why anyone should listen to impassioned pleas for “gun control”, especially when she has the nerve to couch them in terms of “public safety”? In addition to “common sense”, it would appear as though Joan Peterson’s aphasia and other mental afflictions appear to have destroyed her ability to judge cost-benefit analyses accurately, in addition to making her come off sounding like the blood dancer we already knew her to be.

I have said it more times than I care to count, but Joan Peterson may be the single greatest gift to the pro-rights weblogging community in recent history, and we should all be thankful for her seemingly incessant stream of positively ludicrous soundbytes.