Friday, July 08, 2016

The Misleading Statistics of Gun Control

To an Instapundit reader who, on the subject of gun control, takes issue with my (longish) list of mass gun crimes in Western Europe over the past 20 years or so — "Maybe you don't realize but if you add all those victims up and that's a month in Chicago or Baltimore" writes ; "Those examples are rarities in those countries but not here" — I reply as follows:

You are making the mistake of using statistics
to conflate victims (American as well as foreign)
and make all of them (as well as all shooters) alike.
Like the cattle herd that statists and statisticians
alike think we members of the dirty masses are.

Typically, leftists will say that there are something
like 400 mass shootings every year in the U.S.
(I forget the exact number, it keeps changing, both
up and down). Why, then, do we not read about
every one of these shootings — in America proper
as well as abroad — and why aren't they given as
prominent news coverage as Newton or Orlando?

Because most of these mass shootings occur
between criminal gangs. To learn that a gangster
has been, or a group of gangsters have been,
shot dead will simply not touch the average
citizen — American or foreign — as much as
the innocent dead of Orlando or Utøya. And
rightly so, since violence is part of their calling,
of their chosen profession, if you will. (Which
is why — even left-leaning — journalists don't
mention those killings in the first place; except,
of course, as part of the respective city edition's
metro section.)

Here is where leftists, American as well as foreign,
start using their misleading Chicken Little statistics
coupled with Drama Queen melodramatics. They
come, like you do, saying there have been hundreds
more of "mass killings" in the USA than abroad, that
13,000 "Americans" (or whatever the number is) are
shot every year compared to the much lower foreign

Yes. Well, call me a hater all you like,
express as much indignation at my lack of humanity
as you will, I would say that it is easy to argue that
500 or 700 thugs ("Americans") killed by other thugs
in America (or in Europe, for that matter), in the
context of their "business" dealings, are not to be
compared to the 50 revelers shot in Florida or to the
70 teenagers gunned down over the space of an hour
or so on a Norway island…
Edited and updated to reflect the following post:
The statistics behind gun violence: Mass shootings
in the U.S. have fallen so much in the past century that
the political left has had to redefine what a mass shooting is

The Story of Five Men Gunned Down Becomes Perturbing When It Goes Against the Narrative