Crime

Why Skydivers Would Be Better Off Without Parachutes

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In Philadelphia, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania find, possessing a gun is strongly associated with getting shot. Since "guns did not protect those who possessed them," they conclude, "people should rethink their possession of guns." This is like noting that possessing a parachute is strongly associated with being injured while jumping from a plane, then concluding that skydivers would be better off unencumbered by safety equipment designed to slow their descent. "Can this study possibly be as stupid as it sounds?" asks Stewart Baker at Skating on Stilts. Having shelled out $30 for the privilege of reading the entire article, which appears in the November American Journal of Public Health, I can confirm that the answer is yes.

The authors, led by epidemiologist Charles C. Branas, paired 677 randomly chosen gun assault cases with "population-based control participants" who were contacted by phone shortly after the attacks and matched for age group, gender, and race. They found that "people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun." Branas et al. suggest several possible explanations for this association:

A gun may falsely empower its possessor to overreact, instigating and losing otherwise tractable conflicts with similarly armed persons. Along the same lines, individuals who are in possession of a gun may increase their risk of gun assault by entering dangerous environments that they would have normally avoided. Alternatively, an individual may bring a gun to an otherwise gun-free conflict only to have that gun wrested away and turned on them.

The one explanation the researchers don't mention is the one that will occur first to defenders of the right to armed self-defense: Maybe people who anticipate violent confrontations—such as drug dealers, frequently robbed bodega owners, and women with angry ex-boyfriends—are especially likely to possess guns, just as people who jump out of airplanes are especially likely to possess parachutes. The closest Branas et al. come to acknowledging that tendency is their admission, toward the end of the article, that they "did not account for the potential of reverse causation between gun possession and gun assault"—that is, the possibility that a high risk of being shot "causes" gun ownership, as opposed to the other way around. While the reseachers took into account a few confounding variables related to this tendency (including having an arrest record, living in a rough neighborhood, and having a high-risk occupation), they cannot possibly have considered all the factors that might make people more prone to violent attack and therefore more likely to have a gun as a defense against that hazard. To take just one example, not every criminal has an arrest record. Yet it seems fair to assume that criminals in Philadelphia are a) more likely than noncriminals to be armed and b) more likely than noncriminals to be shot. That does not mean having a gun increases their chance of being shot. Certainly they believe (as police officers do) that having a gun makes them safer than they otherwise would be. Nothing in this study contradicts that belief.

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  1. If guns are such horrible, dangerous devices that only end up with the gun owner being injured, then why do we issue them to our police? Why do politicians hate the police?

    1. Or the military.

      Almost everyone killed by an IED in Iraq or Afghanistan was carrying an M-16.

      Therefore, if they did not carry M-16’S…

  2. Hospitals suck too. Everyone there is either sick or injured!

    1. People in hospitals are more likely to die, which is why I avoid them entirely.

  3. Having an advanced degree in public health is tightly correlated with being a useless busybody.

  4. What we need is a control group of drug dealers to not carry guns for a few years.

    Picked randomly, of course.

  5. Does anyone know what’s behind the university’s decision to fund this odd and unintuitive study? As with polls, there is, instead of scientific clarity or general enlightenment, usually a strong bias at work when such “resolving” studies see light of day.

    1. This “study” was funded by the Joyce Foundation which bankrolls many gun control organizations. They have done a great deal of this over the years.

      Most criminologists who seriously study the issue find that widespread ownership of guns makes little difference to the crime rate or lowers it to a small extent.

      Public health activists on the other hand, start with the premise that owning guns is immoral, conduct studies to “find” the effects of owning guns, and voila! find that guns are bad!

      Read this interesting article by criminologists – and physicians – on public health studies of guns:
      Guns and Public Health: Epidemic of Violence or Pandemic of Propaganda?

      Interesting excerpts:

      In 1979 the American public health community adopted the “objective to reduce the number of handguns in private ownership,” the initial target being a 25% reduction by the year 2000.[3] Based on studies, and propelled by leadership from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the objective has broadened so that it now includes banning and confiscation of all handguns, restrictive licensing of owners of other firearms, and eventual elimination of firearms from American life, excepting (perhaps) only a small elite of extremely wealthy collectors, hunters, or target shooters.

      … and …

      We believe we have documented an emotional anti-gun agenda in the treatment of firearms issues in the medical and public health literature. While the anti-gun editorials and articles discussed had the superficial form of academic discourse, the basic tenets of science and scholarship have too often been lacking. We call them “anti-gun health advocacy literature” because they are so biased and contain so many errors of fact, logic, and procedure that we can not regard them as having a legitimate claim to be treated as scholarly or scientific literature.

      1. Thanks, Kevin P.!

      2. “Most criminologists who seriously study the issue find that widespread ownership of guns makes little difference to the crime rate or lowers it to a small extent.”

        That kind of debunks the deterrence argument for gun ownership, doesn’t it?

        1. Not when you start looking at survival rates of armed victims vs unarmed victims…

  6. Actually, the control group of drug dealers without guns might actually yield a lower rate of gunshot deaths.

    After all, it’s hard to confirm a gunshot death in a body that’s at the bottom of the river.

  7. Me thinks this study is just a little demographically skewed and liberally biased.

  8. OF COURSE, there are assholes out there that think “I gotta, sucka, I can do whatever I want”. Or like in the movie “The Outsiders”, when Matt Dillon holds a gun up to the doctor’s head and says ‘I can go anywhere I want”. Sure, these idiots are more likely to be shot.

    The problem is, many gun owners don’t understand the responsibility that goes along with owning a gun. First rule, don’t pull a gun unless you are ready to use it. Never use a gun to try to scare someone. Shoot to kill. Etc, etc.

    1. insert “gun” between gotta and sucka.

      1. You mean between gotta and the comma!

      2. That could be dangerous. A recent study shows that both suckas and gottas who are armed are at higher risk for being shot.

  9. So did they just call people who were safe in their homes to ask them if they were carrying a gun at that moment? Or were they really expecting Johnny Drive-By to answer his cell?

  10. Gravity is a hoax perpetrated by the Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy to prop up the aerospace industry. Go ahead and fly, people! The only thing holding you down is in your mind!

    1. LOL thats the best thing i have read in a while, way funny and hope you don’t mind I’m going to use that one in the near future

  11. There is a huge number of studies like this being produced to order to justify a pre-existing political agenda. The three lancet Iraqi mortality studies (all of which contradicted each other) would be the most glaring examples but many others have cropped up.

    Another variety is the study that tries to show why anyone who isn’t a leftist is simply crazy. For example, one recent “study” tried to show that conservatives where driven by a sense of disgust while leftist where driven by pure, saintly reason.

    This is what happens when crypt-fascist post-modernism took over academia and enslaved our public intellectuals to politics.

    1. I’ve discovered that a study can be used to justify almost ANY sort of interpretation if you try hard enough. I keep waiting for someone to cite a study in order to support a policy that’s not even tangentially related.

      You know, something like “Study shows people who are obese more likely to eat at McDonald’s: Doctors and politicians call for ban on hate speech.”

      I’m sure there’s a way to make the data seem relevant.

      1. Well that example is easy. We need to ban hatespeech to keep people from making fun of the McFatties.

        I think you needed to go even further out-there, like a ban on chewing gum or Pitbulls. Now THERE’S a connection I’d like to see them explain. Using the underpants gnome school of economics:

        1. McDonalds and Obesity
        2. Ban on Chewing Gum
        3. Profit

  12. Does anybody seriously doubt, however, that if the study had found that gun owners were less likely than non-owners to be shot that Reason wouldn’t be cr-cr-crowing that from the rooftops? The study does show that people with guns are more likely to be shot than people without guns. Now, yes, it is possible and quite plausible that this is for the reasons Sullum gives. Of course it is also possible and plausible that it is for the reasons the researchers give too.

    It occurred to me that a lot of people who are into guns are also into acting tough and “macho” and the latter can end up with the “macho” guy getting shot a lot.

    The better answer to gun control folks is just to say that the ownership of the vast majority of guns is not involved in shooting anyone or being shot. That’s just a fact.

    1. In all fairness, I can’t quibble much with the idea (highly generalized– and really, just speculation on the part of the authors) that carrying a gun might give you a false sense of security when traveling in areas which are more dangerous. Or getting involved in a conflict you might just as quickly have passed by or avoided. But that’s applying an intuitive conclusion to a numerical outcome. That might account for 90% of the reason law abiding people are shot with guns, but I don’t see how this study could be correct in that I (a gun owner) am 4.5 x more likely to be shot. I mean, the stupidity of taking a highly circumstantial outcome and painting “gun owners” with it… dubious.

      And in the end… so what? Exercising freedom of speech makes you 7x more likely to be popped in the mouth. Riiight?

    2. Of course it could be possible that calling people at home to see if they are out carrying a gun is incredibly stupid.

    3. A better way is to compare gun related deaths and injuries to those by dogs. Something like a million people a year seek medical attention every year for dog bites. Dozens of people die every year from dog attacks. And worldwide roughly 60,000 people a year die from rabies as a result of dog bites. So, should we outlaw dogs?

      Deaths associated with guns for some people are just morally repugnant, and I think that is the main deal with them.

      1. “”Dozens of people die every year from dog attacks. And worldwide roughly 60,000 people a year die from rabies as a result of dog bites. So, should we outlaw dogs?””

        That is the reason for pit bull bans. It’s already happening.

    4. It occurred to me that a lot of people who are into guns are also into acting tough and “macho” and the latter can end up with the “macho” guy getting shot a lot.

      How many such people have you actually met? What is “a lot” and how did you arrive at that figure?

    5. I suppose you could “say” that a majority of gun owners are more inclined to act macho.

      But that doesn’t mean you aren’t full of shit.

  13. I’m still confused here. Are they talking about carrying a gun or the mere ownership of a gun? I own a gun, but don’t really carry it. So, the gun in my desk drawer next to the cigars and whiskey flask makes me 4.5 x more likely to be shot?

    1. I think that is exactly what they want people to perceive. The headline that would appear in the MSM would read:

      “people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun”

      That’s what they want people to see, knowing that most will not even read past the headline.

      Their clear motive is to help the lobby against gun ownership.

    2. ‘So, the gun in my desk drawer next to the cigars and whiskey flask makes me 4.5 x more likely to be shot?’

      Yeah – by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

      1. Or by the orchid police.

  14. that they “did not account for the potential of reverse causation between gun possession and gun assault”

    Yo, statisticians: Doesn’t that negate the whole study?

    And what goes clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop, BANG?

    1. An Amish drive-by shooting.

  15. They found that “people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun.”

    This is a rather incomplete study. The researchers should fill in the blanks in “people with a _X_ were _Y_ times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a _X_.”

    1. Q: Your money or your life!

      A: I’m thinking …

      So, X = insufficient money, Y > 1.

      So, X = bad attitude, Y > 1.

      So, X = penis, Y > 1.

      1. Yeah, J L — that’s sort of what I had in mind.

        Another might be X=dog, Y

        1. Yeah, J L — that’s sort of what I had in mind.

          Another might be X=dog, Y < 1. [Clobbered by the spacing.]

          Of course, all *need citation*!

  16. “The authors, led by epidemiologist Charles C. Branas”

    At the University of Pennsylvania, don’t they require the research of crack-pots like Branas to be reviewed by some type of Board to make sure the research is not skewed or distorted before the results are published?

    To make the study fair and balanced, let’s eliminate the following things:

    1. People who were shot while carrying an illegal weapon at the time.

    2. People who were shot that were engaging in any kind of illegal activity.

    3. People who have any record of violent behavior.

    4. People who were shot that are members of gangs or other crime related groups.

    Now, instead of cherry picking 677 incidents which I would bet all occured in the inner city, let’s take a look at all the owners of legally registerd guns in the country, excluding any in group 2, 3, or 4 above(which I’m guessing most would already be eliminated by being in group 1) and see how many were shot compared to how many non gun owners were shot, in a given period of time, say the last 5 years.

    After all, we need to stick to the basis of the finding, that:

    “people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun”

    I don’t have to be an expert in any field of study to see how distorted and skewed they had to make their samplings to come to the conclusion that they did. This is blatantly dishonest on the part of Branas.

    1. This is precisely the correct kind of correlation that needs to be established. What these authors did was absurd. They may as well as telephoned random people, interviewed them about driving a car, and then correlated that to the people who were killed in a car accident that day.

  17. A gun may falsely empower its possessor to overreact, instigating and losing otherwise tractable conflicts with similarly armed persons. Along the same lines, individuals who are in possession of a gun may increase their risk of gun assault by entering dangerous environments that they would have normally avoided. Alternatively, an individual may bring a gun to an otherwise gun-free conflict only to have that gun wrested away and turned on them.

    But what about the people who bring a knife to a gun fight? Huh? Huh? I bet you didn’t think about them in your “study.”

  18. So gun violence is now a health issue.

    This will all get settled once the government makes your healthcare decisions for you.

    1. YES! An outSTANDING point! The demagogues of AMA are a scary lot. Too bad to see University of Pennsylvania joining with Harvard (David Hemenway) in discrediting the whole concept of academic research by supporting this kind of tripe.

  19. The first question to ask with any study is “who commissioned it?”

    It stands to reason, as Sullum points out, that people living in dangerous areas, employed in dangerous professions, or engaged in dangerous or illicit activities arm themselves for those very reasons. Without controlling for those variables, the study is worthless to support its hypothesis. To attempt to do so anyway is a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. The report admits it, so why then, even publish such an inherently flawed study?

    Of course, it is probably true that some irresponsible armed people get themselves in situations they should avoid and end up getting shot. But the study also neglected the question of whether the number of people shot is greater than the number of people prevented from being shot by armed individuals.

    This kind of shoddy approach to the scientific method is all too commonplace in these kinds of studies, especially when they are politically motivated.

    It is somewhat similar to the DOT mandate of rear passenger head restraints. It is easy to calculate the number of injuries that occur in cars without them, but it is impossible to measure the number of accidents caused by the obstruction of drivers’ fields of vision by the placement of those rear head restraints.

  20. What J said.

    Along those lines, do we know how many of the people shot were the *perps*? (I ain’t shelling out $30.)

    1. I’m not paying for it either, but the abstract says the study looked at 677 shootings in Philadelphia (a city usually in the running for highest murder rate in the country). Certainly, almost all of those are probably related to drug activity (and therefore likely involved illegal firearms).

      The report also says (emphasis mine):

      “To identify the controls, trained phone canvassers called random Philadelphians soon after a reported shooting and asked about their possession of a gun at the time of the shooting. These random Philadelphians had not been shot and had nothing to do with the shooting.”

      That seems pretty ridiculous. First of all, how many people are going to admit to possessing a handgun at the time of a shooting??

      1. We catch a lot of creeps with this little gambit.

      2. The non-gun owners how were called and had been shot didn’t answer the phone. That must have skewed their results too.

  21. I would like to send these stupid fucks all covered in chum into northwest Montana in grizzly country and as I am kicking them out telling them of all the animals that might want to eat them, “remember, that gun would only make ‘feel’ safer.”

  22. If I want advice on self-defense, I’ll talk to an expert on self-defense, not some egghead who twiddles with statistics. Self-defense is a highly personal matter; if I am confronted by an attacker the statistics are meaningless. A human-on-human confrontation has far too many variables to be cooked down to a mathematical equation.

  23. While this is not gun related, it is self defense related. I would like to hear Branas comment on this(not), maybe he can do a study:

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/ne…..4199.story

    I found the following comment by one of of Balmers finest, particularly amusing:

    “The police spokesman said the student who wielded the weapon had no advanced sword training. “He wasn’t a ninja,” Guglielmi said.” RFLMAO! Classic!

    1. “Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.”

    2. Maybe he just wasn’t letting on that he was a ninja. Element of surprise, you know.

  24. Here’s another thing. It says “Six percent of [the 677 sampled people shot in an assault] were in possession of a gun (such as in a holster, pocket, waistband, or vehicle) when they were shot.”

    Wouldn’t it make sense, instead of doing some half-assed phone survey of who had a gun at the time of the shooting, to take a random sample of the armed-to-unarmed people in the population, and compare that to the ratio of armed-to-unarmed people shot in an assault?

  25. In Philadelphia, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania find, possessing a gun is strongly associated with getting shot.

    Just goes to prove that you can have a PhD and still be an idiot.

    1. Every Marxist with tenure proves that.

      -jcr

  26. “Just goes to prove that you can have a PhD and still be an idiot.”

    After you have worked in a university environment for several years, you won’t even need to ponder that one any longer.

  27. “If I want advice on self-defense, I’ll talk to an expert on self-defense, not some egghead who twiddles with statistics. Self-defense is a highly personal matter; if I am confronted by an attacker the statistics are meaningless.”

    I agree with that. I have and carry guns because they make me feel safer, and that’s certainly logical to think despite the findings (and I’m assuming the findings are accurate). Maybe having a gun makes people act in such a way they get shot more, but how does that fact contradict the logic that in MY case having a weapon that can more than equalize factors like size and numbers is going to make me MORE vulnerable?

  28. And to gun control folks I know I say “hey, you know me, I’ve never hurt anyone with my guns, and statistically I almost certainly never will, why do you want to take that feeling of security I just explained away from me when you know I’m never going to shoot harm anyone in doing this?” I find this works much better than calling them fools, Nazis and such. Most of them are not bad people, they just want to see less people shot, are often irrationally afraid of guns, and just cannot understand the feeling of safety and enjoyment most gun owners get from ownership.

    1. I find football to be an utterly ridiculous sport. On top of that, the number of children and adults injured every year while playing football is a large number (much, much larger than the number of injuries incurred by those participating in the shooting sports).

      However, you don’t see me calling for a ban on football.

  29. “Wouldn’t it make sense, instead of doing some half-assed phone survey of who had a gun at the time of the shooting, to take a random sample of the armed-to-unarmed people in the population”

    Er, how would you do that without using, well, some half-assed phone survey? Is there a master list of armed and unarmed people in an area? You would have to collect this data somehow I should think…

    1. Calling random people and asking if they were in possession of a handgun at the time of a shooting is probably not the preferred method, MNG.

      1. Well, you never replied as to how they would do “what makes sense” to you. Researchers live in the real world and try to get info the best they can, their studies will always have limitations, but the best we can ask is they tell us about them, which this study clearly did.

        1. As I said above, they should have never published the survey in the first place because it violates very basic principles of the scientific method, and its findings are based on a logical fallacy, which they themselves admitted parenthetically at the end of the report.

      2. Sample telephone conversation:

        Branas: Tyrone, this is Charles Branas with Univerity of Pennsylvania, we’re conducting a research study and…

        Tyrone: Research?, what the fuck! I’m bleedin mutherfuker! I’ve been shot!

        Branas: Yes, I know Tyrone, that’s why I’m calling, we’re conducting some research and I’d like to ask you a couple of quest…

        Tyrone: Questions? what is this shit man?! If this shit is bout that biiatch Jina, I ain’t the one that knocked her up man, it was her cousin Kevin man!, he’s been bangin that biattch for …

        Branas: No, no, calm down Tyrone, I need to ask if you had a gun when y…

        Tyrone: I’m bleedin to death here mutherfucka!, I didn’t have no gun, and that crack wasn’t mine either, it was… Nurse, I need more of that Morphine, I’m in pain here biattch…

        Branas: Um, never mind…

  30. Questions like this are asked in phone surveys all the time, people are probably more honest about this than you think. And think about it, according to your theory then people who were shot but had guns UNDER-reported themselves, so the ratio was actually HIGHER than what the researchers found.

    1. You’re right. People probably are pretty honest about potentially implicating themselves in homicide.

      And a large percentage of the sampled people that were shot, were killed, meaning that it was known with 100% certainty whether they were in possession of a gun or not.

      1. Well, so the # of people shot who actually did have a gun at the time is actually higher than the researchers found. Nice going Sherlock, you clobbered them with that logic…

      2. Also, this seems like a victim survey, so they were asking people about THEIR getting shot (“victims of gun assaults”), so they weren’t implicating themselves in homicide by admiting they were packing when they were shot…

        1. Well, you seem to have the reading comprehension of a rhesus monkey, so, I’m not too shaken up by my failure to sway you through logic.

          “To identify the controls, trained phone canvassers called random Philadelphians soon after a reported shooting and asked about their possession of a gun at the time of the shooting. These random Philadelphians had not been shot and had nothing to do with the shooting.”

        2. They could certainly be implicating themselves in illegally posessing a firearm, with the intent to do who knows what, if they were in fact in posession. In this case, it is doubtful they are going to readily admit that.

          1. Right. Because it’s illegal to possess and handgun in Philly. So…only a moron would say Yes, I am in possession of said illegal item.

  31. Again, according to the theory, people who were shot who had guns with them lied and said they did not. And yet even with that under-reporting the owners of guns were found to be shot many more times than the non-owners! If you’re theory is correct the actual ratio is much higher…

    1. You have it backwards. The study said 6% of the people shot had a handgun. They extrapolated the percentage of people not shot with or without a handgun from the flawed phone surveys.

      So if 1% of those in the phone survey are stupid enough to say they had a gun on them during a shooting, the study then says, “People with handguns are six times more likely to be shot!”

      If you assume both people shot (who lived) and people phone-surveyed are going to underreport their possession of a handgun equally, then the number will still skew higher in the people shot category, because 20% of them were killed, and therefore it is known with certainty as to whether they had a handgun or not.

      It is really irrelevant though, because it seems pretty clear that the criminal element will: (1) make up a proportionately small percentage of the population, (2) be involved in a proportionately large percentage of the violent crimes, and (3) be in possession of a firearm at a far higher proportion than the general populace.

      1. Hmm, good point there, I thought they got all the information from phone surveys. Comparing data from actual occurences and phone surveys about “similar’ occurences is pretty fraught with fucked up problems…

        1. I wonder who would exploit or exaggerate that?

  32. Anybody notice preview is back?

    The researchers don’t seem to know that the idea is keeping and using your gun, not letting someone else use it on you.

    1. So, would you rather do without preview, or live in Gaza?

      1. Gaza sucks because of the scum that populates it. I would rather be here with or without preview until Israel beats some sense into them, the same way the Romans straightened up the Med.

        1. How do you really feel Suki? I was actually called an Elitist on here yesterday for disrepecting UAW workers, and you don’t even get called an Anti-Palestinianite? Would you rather live in Gaza or work for the UAW?

        2. What did the Romans ever do for us?

          1. They built the aqueduct.

  33. Now, instead of cherry picking 677 incidents which I would bet all occured in the inner city, let’s take a look at all the owners of legally registerd guns in the country, excluding any in group 2, 3, or 4 above(which I’m guessing most would already be eliminated by being in group 1) and see how many were shot compared to how many non gun owners were shot, in a given period of time, say the last 5 years.

  34. I agree with that. I have and carry guns because they make me feel safer, and that’s certainly logical to think despite the findings (and I’m assuming the findings are accurate). Maybe having a gun makes people act in such a way they get shot more, but how does that fact contradict the logic that in MY case having a weapon that can more than equalize factors like size and numbers is going to make me MORE vulnerable?

  35. Hmm, looking at only legally registered owners would factor in that they are law abiding enough to own their guns legally. However, that group would probably be different from the class of all gun owners in many likely important ways…

    1. If that’s true, the conclusions would have to be changed to “people with illegal guns are 6 times more likely to be shot” which doesn’t have the desired implications. And it would still be screwed up vis a vis causation vs correlation issues.

    2. Nobody should have to register any weapon that a common infantryman would be issued.

  36. looking at only legally registered owners

    What the hell is a “legally registered owner”?Neither me or my guns are “registered” with anyone.

    1. That is so cute when responding that the last post pops right up. Perfect for anonymity spammer guy!

      Same with me and my gun too. I wish I were in VA, where it is all easier and stuff.

    2. Seriously, fuck registration.

      You want to put me on a government list? Go fuck yourself.

  37. Recent studies revealed that 99% of people found to have a bullet in them were within proximity to a gun. Legislation is now being drafted to curb proximity.

    1. This was followed by a study that found that people driving blue cars were 40 times more likely to die in a vehicle accident than those who were sitting on their couch at the time. More money is being requested to study the dangers associated with blue cars.

      1. Ever since engineers realized that it was too cost prohibitive to replace bucket seats with La-Z-Boys, they are now swapping out airbags with couch cushions.

    2. Colon Bowell!! I’m pretty sure that’s the best name ever.

      1. Colon Bowell thanks DJK in third person speak.

  38. their studies will always have limitations, but the best we can ask is they tell us about them, which this study clearly did
    Actually they didn’t. The basic problem is that they didn’t explain where the people who got shot were and where the people they surveyed were when they were called. If 90% of the people who were shot while carrying a gun were away from their houses but 100% of the people they called were in their homes when called then the study is pretty useless.

  39. Plainly, the study is absolute bullshit, at least insofar as the implications it has for those who are law-abiding firearms owners.

    Nowhere have I seen a study that seeks to differentiate between responsible gun owners (let’s say, those with no felony convictions, and are in possession of a concealed weapons permit, and can verify that they practice at least six times a year) from your average gang member crackhead.

    In nearly any concealed weapons permit certification class de-escalation strategies will make up a significant portion of the class, and the students will be made keenly aware of the legal implications resulting from shooting someone in self-defense.

    Suffice it to say, your average gang member may not give a shit about Problem #2, but your average person in possession of a concealed carry permit certainly does.

  40. I carry a gun every day (legally) and there isn’t the tiniest thing that makes me even remotely more likely to get shot. Shit, I have to struggle to remember not to reach for shit on the top shelf so that I don’t brandish.

    The last thing in the world I ever want to have to do is pull that piece. Ever.

    1. I knew you were a cop!

      1. He’s not a cop…he has a CCW. Cops are above the laws against brandishing.

    2. The last thing in the world I ever want to have to do is pull that piece.

      That’s the thing that the gun grabbers don’t understand. They imagine how they’d behave if they were carrying, and assume that every gun owner has their neuroses.

      -jcr

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  42. It is not a “Yes” or “No” answer. It’s the opposite.

  43. Note to Charles C. Branas: I have a rock that keeps tigers away. Let me know if you’d like to buy it. There have been no tigers in my neighborhood since I bought it, but I’ve since acquired another one so selling my older one won’t be a problem.

  44. What I don’t understand is that lefties will often express a distrust of the police and military, yet on the other hand, lefties think the police and the military should be the only ones armed in this country. It’s absolutely baffling to me.

    1. They also don’t want anyone to tell them what they can/can’t do with their bodies but want the government to be in control of all of their medical records and healthcare. BRILLIANT!

  45. “It occurred to me that a lot of people who are into guns are also into acting tough and “macho” and the latter can end up with the “macho” guy getting shot a lot.”

    Coincidentally, it occurred to me that a lot of gun owners are rational actors with an actual set of, you know, balls who have no problem with the concept of meeting force with force when necessary.

    This attitude of confidence in their ability to defend themselves can unfortunately often be misinterpreted by vaginites as acting “macho” ;^)

  46. Ya know, I hear you have a one in five chance of being born Asian, but after about 40 cousins on both sides of my family, not a single one has turned out to be asian. WTF? That’s gotta be at least 3 or 4 standard deviations from the mean.

  47. This is why when people jizz themselves ‘because SCIENTISTS said so!!!1!’ I laugh at the retards. Scientists are people and most people are stupid. That means most scientists are stupid.

  48. It’s not fair to cherry pick evidence on either side of this discussion.

    A gun doesn’t make you safer by itself; there’s pretty strong evidence that if you take a random person and give him a gun, he will act more irresponsibly and end up with a larger probability of getting hurt. In fact, there’s strong evidence that even just mentioning a gun out loud (or otherwise reminding an unarmed person that guns exist) serves to make that person more aggressive. Guns taken alone absolutely do not make you safer.

    One response, if you like having guns around, is to point out that a gun, used responsibly, can make you safer in some situations. This is certainly true. However, people overestimate the prevalence of these rare situations. It’s actually extremely improbable that you will ever be in some kind of gunfight at the OK corral, where if you are without a firearm, you will be at a disadvantage. You can have a nuke in your pocket if you want, but you won’t be able to use it if you get shot in the back, and someone who threatens you from the front is less likely than many people think to have killed you in any case. Meanwhile, the situations in which the presence of a gun will change your behavior to be less responsible are myriad and constant.

    Even if a gun only creates a little more danger when it creates danger, and it creates great additional safety when it creates safety, it can still be dangerous on the balance.

    Some have pointed out that it’s difficult to count how many times some would-be murderer, dissuaded by a gun, leaves without a shot being fired. I would respond that it is also difficult to know, of the situations in which a potential victim draws a gun and ends up safe, how many times that potential victim would have died. Contrary to the beliefs of people who learn about deadly violence mostly from movies and the news (which is almost everyone), when someone draws a gun on you, it’s not a guarantee that he plans to kill you with it.

    Another possible response to the gun->aggression link is to point out that nobody is advocating /irresponsible/ use of guns. In the world envisioned by these objectors, people who choose to own guns are universally well-educated about combat tactics with small arms, target discrimination, and so forth. This is a public education program on an untenably grand scale, especially given that we can (apparently) barely teach cops these things. In reality, no such outcome is probable. More likely, we have a hundred schmucks taking potshots at squirrels in their backyard for every one Massad Ayoob.

    I mean, I get the Second Amendment, really I do, but it’s hilariously overrated. Police can obviously only barely contain G-20 protesters armed primarily with incoherent signs and the occasional thrown rock. The idea that there could be some hypothetical American police state against which guns would be warranted, and against which they would be, not just effective, but more effective than peaceful protesting, sabotage, etc. is not supported by evidence.

    1. You are totally wrong. Go read some history (or newspaper articles). People using only small arms have been very effective. There are other tools, but at a base level firearms allow you to have a response when there are jack-booted thugs at the door.

      Go look at the recent post on orchids to see the very obvious need to be prepared for jack-booted thugs.

      Also in 7 paragraphs you leave out the glaring fact that many criminals are dissuaded from going after someone who they think might be armed. That uncertainty is a huge benefit to the law-abiding citizenry. Many, many times criminals will avoid someone who is aware of their surroundings and who is near them. They are even more wary when they think a person might be armed.

      Only those who favor criminals want to disarm law-abiding citizens.

    2. there’s pretty strong evidence that if you take a random person and give him a gun, he will act more irresponsibly

      Project much?

      Interesting line of bullshit you just made up there. Got a shred of evidence to support it?

      -jcr

  49. to an earlier poster: the CDC has already taken steps to include shootings as an environmental health hazard (one which requires additional funding to study and combat, he he)

    1. Fuck the CDC and their Leftist mission-creep.

  50. Isn’t this study designed ass-backwards?

    If you want to find out if gun ownership increases the risk of getting shot, wouldn’t you start with a group of gun owners, rather than a group of people who have been shot?

    All they’ve really proven here is that people likely to get shot are also more likely to have guns. Which kind of isn’t at all what they are trying to claim they’ve shown.

    A gun doesn’t make you safer by itself; there’s pretty strong evidence that if you take a random person and give him a gun, he will act more irresponsibly and end up with a larger probability of getting hurt.

    [citation needed]

    In fact, there’s strong evidence that even just mentioning a gun out loud (or otherwise reminding an unarmed person that guns exist) serves to make that person more aggressive.

    [citation needed]

    Guns taken alone absolutely do not make you safer.

    Well, no. A gun is just an inert piece of metal. Its how you use it that makes you safer.

  51. >>”There’s pretty strong evidence that if you take a random person and give him a gun, he will act more irresponsibly and end up with a larger probability of getting hurt.”

    Bulls#$t. Cite your “evidence” for this claim.

    Even stipulating that what you are saying is true (that handing out guns randomly to people would increase their risk of getting shot), that’s clearly NOT what this study looked at.

    It just showed that people who got shot were more likely to have guns than the general population. It didn’t even purport to determine the reasons why this might be true, only speculating on why.

    >>. . .a gun, used responsibly, can make you safer in some situations. This is certainly true. However, people overestimate the prevalence of these rare situations.

    You’re right, there is no good reason to put life preservers in airplanes.

    And hey, the likelihood of having your life saved by a car airbag is pretty small too.

    But again, I question the premise of this statement as well.

    Depending on where you live and travel, the likelihood of being assaulted or robbed can be a lot greater than negligible.

    The funny thing about these “rare” situations is that when they happen to you, the likelihood of them happening suddenly turns into 100%.

    >>Contrary to the beliefs of people who learn about deadly violence mostly from movies and the news (which is almost everyone), when someone draws a gun on you, it’s not a guarantee that he plans to kill you with it.

    Right, they’re threatening you with deadly force because they’re really shy and want to ask you on a date. . .

  52. If you want to find out if gun ownership increases the risk of getting shot, wouldn’t you start with a group of gun owners, rather than a group of people who have been shot?

    Yep. You would find pairs of people who were very similar other than gun ownership and create a large group of owners and non-owners. Then you would follow them for 20 years. Then publish results.

    1. Well, that’s what a scientist would do. The author of the paper in question is obviously an advocate, not a scientist.

      -jcr

  53. Consider what happens if you are carrying a concealed weapon, and you’re at the local Walmart, and a lunatic comes in brandishing an AK-47. If you are a decent person, and I’m betting you are, you are going to challenge that guy. Who will that lunatic try to shoot first?

    We always say “self defense” but what we more commonly mean is something more than that. So, in addition to the obvious sampling errors in this study, I think it is safe to say that even if it were done right, this conclusion would be uninteresting without a lot more information.

    Further: How many of the shooting victims were armed police? How many were shot by the police?

    1. Challenge? If the threat is real and imminent, there’s no challenge–only a termination of the threat. Better make sure it’s real, though.

      1. You see my point though. You have to draw. As soon as you are a threat, you are the most likely target. Even if you hit him on the first shot, he’s still likely to be able to return fire at least a couple of times. This means that the law-abiding gun owner who protects his community from a criminal is more likely to be shot than people who were there but were unarmed.

  54. ah, bloggers having to do the work of scientists because they can’t.

    seriously does no one take logic classes, or even believe in any peer review at all? Or peer review by people who either have no interest in the outcome, or have an opposite interest?

    used to be the day when that’s how science progressed

  55. Not only did they NOT screen for unlawful possession, they didn’t screen for drugs/alcohol in blood at time of assault, nor for gang membership. Those ARE the three variables that crop up most often in violent crimes (just ask the Criminologists). They MD’s always cherry pick their data base in order to secure the desired result. This seems to be just another version of the original Kellerman study (43 times) with all the same flaws.

  56. “what happens if you are carrying a concealed weapon, and you’re at the local Walmart, and a lunatic comes in brandishing an AK-47. If you are a decent person, and I’m betting you are, you are going to challenge that guy.”

    No way!

    Just like everyone else, I duck down behind a counter or shelf, and then, I get my gun out and ready.

    If the bad guy comes toward me in the open, he is fired on before he realizes that not everyone is unarmed.

  57. Puh-lease, “Joyce Foundation” sponsorship says everything you need to know.

    This is nothing more but a stupid attempt from the usual suspects to create an “October Surprise” to influence the Supreme Court as they consider the constitutionality of state and city gun bans.

  58. The fatality rate for those that own a gun is 100%. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!!!!

  59. Gun Control = Using both effing hands

  60. According to the study, only 6% of the 677 people shot in an assault were in possession of a gun. In other words, 636 of the 677 people who were shot were unarmed. If you disregard the idiotic “control” technique of calling random Philadelphians and asking them if they were packing a gun that day, this study indicates that unarmed people subjected to an armed assault in Philadelphia were at least 15.5 times more likely to be shot than armed people. I say “at least” because the shootings averted by the brandishing of a gun by a would-be victim are not counted.

  61. Edward writes, “…when someone draws a gun on you, it’s not a guarantee that he plans to kill you with it.”

    Correct. However, when someone draws a gun on you, it absolutely is a threat to use deadly force against you.

    I contend that self defense is an inherent human right, and that self defense is moral and justified when faced with a threat of deadly force.

    Edward, feel free to take appropriate measures to avoid the need for self defense, and even the ability for self defense, in your own life. I will not argue that it is not your choice, it is. However, that you abjure self defense does not place any burden on me to do likewise.

    Please allow me the free exercise of my inherent human right of self defense, using tools designed specifically for the exercise of that right.

  62. This study is flawed; In the immortal words of my fiancee, “Its not that guns make you less safe, its that safe makes you less guns.”

  63. WOW! Does the University of Pennsylvania have a math department?
    This little visual aid should quickly show this report to be nothing but Obama Reasoning (BS): 90,000,000 (ninety-MILLION) U.S. gun owners and there is what? Thirty-five THOUSAND gun incidences (we’ll err on the side of the “UP researcher” since many victims were NOT armed)? The Zeros represent gun owners that were NOT harmed though armed and the X represents the victims of guns. This little visual should allow, even a University of Pennsylvania researcher, to see the stupidity of their little report:
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    Get a REAL education DON’T ATTEND THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA!

  64. Unfortunately UPenn has an absolutely fantastic mathematics department as well as plenty of statistical expertise. These fellows simply decided to operate w/o any “outside interference” that might lead one away from the result desired by the agenda driving the study in the first place.

    It’s absurd, lazy, irresponsible, asinine non-science. Imsgine if you gathered some scientists in another field (say climate science maybe?)specifically based upon unanimity of opinion on a given scientific topic(say anthropromorphic cuasation of global warming maybe?), then handed them a corrupted and unverifiable data set, and they then created truly comically ineptly poor examples of highly complex computer models w/o engaging the expertise of the countless brilliant mathematicians, statisticians, and engineering/modeling experts who would gleefully volunteer their participation and then pretended as if these awful, awful amateurish garbage models were some variety of science and then used them as the basis to declare any debate over global warming over and then lazy and scientifically ignorant individuals and opportunistic and ignorant politicians embraced the fraudulent “science” as the basis for a global political crusade.

    That would make just as littlte sense.

  65. I understand that logic and research isn’t these “researcher’s” strong suit. But why didn’t they research a group of people that encounter criminals, are armed and there is an accurate number of recorded incidences? Why didn’t they research how many of the 1,000,000+ law enforcement officers are shot and killed each year? They are all armed for their protection; just as the premise of the “research” claims.
    Oh! I see! 24 officers, out of a MILLION PLUS, shot and killed in 2008 kinda makes these “researcher” look like, well, fools.
    Well if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, thinks like a duck . . .

  66. A better way is to compare gun related deaths and injuries to those by dogs. Something like a million people a year seek medical attention every year for dog bites. Dozens of people die every year from dog attacks. And worldwide roughly 60,000 people a year die from rabies as a result of dog bites. So, should we outlaw dogs?

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