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"More Guns means Safer" the nonsensical pro-NRA argument
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18-05-2015, 02:25 PM
RE: "More Guns means Safer" the nonsensical pro-NRA argument
(07-05-2015 05:43 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(07-05-2015 10:29 AM)Black Eagle Wrote:  Wow! This discussion has got my head spinning. I think I'll take some rifles and handguns over to my gun club for a couple hours and get it straightened out. Then I'll run down to my ranch and see if the coyotes are still trying to kill my beloved barn cats. If they are, and I see them, the coyotes can kiss their asses goodbye.

Them barn cats can probably take care of themselves against them coyotes. Ever seen a dog and a cat fight? Dog loses. You shouldn't be worried about the coyotes, them barn cats are probably sizing you up. Big Grin

I read Animal Farm. She's probably right.
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22-05-2015, 07:59 AM
RE: "More Guns means Safer" the nonsensical pro-NRA argument
May is a busy month for me as it turns out, haven't been active online for a while.

Bwolf74
"The problem with your methodology is that you can find datasets with high coefficient of determination that still have no real-world relation. Data correlation/causation is determined by using more than one tool to verify correlation, data bias, variance sensitivity, etc, etc. The attached chart is a good example.
In this case your data is equally good at supporting the reverse hypothesis of “guns do not increase violence”, so while the argument that guns necessarily increase safety is faulty, the argument that gun ownership is bad to society is not supported either. "


I am aware that one can find correlation where no causal factor exists (like the graph you posted. One minor quibble about that graph is that when reporting an r^2 value, the r should be lowercased. I assume someone else made the graph and did it in excel and for some reason excel always capitalizes it. It's a pet peeve of mine)

The point of using a specific set of data, and a simple statistic to test it, is to look for correlation. So, I didn't pick out two seemingly random pieces of data over similar timeframes, I picked datasets that would specifically address the question at hand.

The point is that with no correlation exhibited between numbers of guns and crime rates, it is completely incorrect to suggest that guns have a positive effect on reducing crime. Or at the very least, the most basal data provides no support for this claim in any general sense. As with any dataset, there are exceptions to the rule and that is ultimately what the debate over guns is about now. Do we consider specific instances where guns may have been used adequately for self-defense or prevention of crime to trump the data on how guns may generate significant harm in society? It all comes down to where someone places their values in that cost/benefit analysis and I think far too many people place there interests with the former and not with the latter.

"There were approximately 1,389,500 domestic fires in the U.S.[1]. If we look at the number of households in the census (est. 116.7MM)[2] there is a 1.14% provability my house will catch fire. I have fire insurance, smoke/CO detectors and a couple of fire extinguishers. Do you think I’m fear-mongering about domestic fires?"

Yes, you are using fear to make decisions about how to best protect your home. But it is worth pointing out that in this instance, your decisions for how to maintain a safe home, doesn't pose any threat to anyone.

"According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics [3] there is an annual estimate of 3.7 million homes burglarized each year, resulting in an estimate of 266,560 unfortunate victims who happen to be there when the crime occurred. This leaves a 0.08% of a chance that either I or a member of my family will be hurt in such an event. I have a monitored alarm system, good locks and yes; a firearm at the ready."

With a firearm at the ready, this still implies that you will be available to take up the gun and shoot the intruder before they shoot you. And this would be after the intruder (for some reason) continues to get past the locks with an alarm going. So, unless the intruder is coming to murder you (as opposed to robbing your house), my guess is that they aren't going to stick around.

But let's say they do. They get past the locks, the alarms are blaring, and you make it known that the house is occupied, and they still come in. I still don't believe a gun is the only option for defense and I would still weigh my concerns about the potential harm that gun could do (like use in a suicide or accidental death) over the rare possibility that a madman will burst through my door.

Or to put it another way, the odds of a home invader coming into my house are well under a percent per year, but my wife, my son, and myself are in the house ~365 days of the year. As unpredictable as a home invasion is, so are the actions of a 3 year old. Or the possibility that I (or my wife) may come into a particularly dark spot in our lives and become severely depressed. Or stress builds into an argument and one of us does something unimaginable. These are not pleasant thoughts (neither should the thought of a home invasion be), but they are entirely realistic, especially given the commonness of depression and the normalcy of suicidal thoughts while depressed.

"With a 10-year yearly average of 109 people killed by tornadoes [4], my chances of being killed by one are minuscule in comparison, but because I live in a place where tornadoes are likely, I have a tornado shelter in my garage. Is this fear-mongering too?"

Also yes, but once again, this utilization of fear to take preemptive measures doesn't offer up an opportunity for someone else to be harmed.

Keep in mind that fear can be utilized effectively to take reasonable preventative measures. The issue is how the fear is being used. (like pro-gun groups using the fear of having their guns taken away by Obama to help boost gun sales.)

"What would you judge to be a good probability cutoff to disregard a potential threat? 1% chance, 0.001%? When it comes to personal decisions about your well being and security, national statistics are meaningless because your are 100% affected if it happens to you. I don’t expect to have an accident or to die every day, but I have health and life insurance in case I do."

I don't have a specific number in mind (as I hinted at above), but I do weigh different possibilities differently. The odds of home invasion or encountering a hellbent murderer are very low. The odds of becoming depressed during the year or my son rummaging through my drawers, are much higher as these invariably happen every year.

"To finalize an already long response; Guns are not the cause of domestic violence or suicides, and I don’t think conflagrating these topics adds anything to this discussion. Moreover Suicides rates [5] and domestic violence rates [6] are higher in countries in which gun ownership may be more restricted than the US. This is a non-sequitur appeal to emotion."

Yeah, I didn't say guns are the cause of domestic violence or suicide, but that guns (when available) are commonly used in both cases. When a gun is used in either case, they perform as designed, and kill.

In the case of suicides for instance, many suicide attempts are done on compulsion (severe depression leads someone to grabbing for something to end their life). If given the time to think about it, or talk to someone, a large proportion of these attempted suicides either fail or are never attempted. But suicide by gun has a success rate in excess of 90%. Why? Because one typically does not survive the pull of the trigger whereas one might have time to call the suicide hotline or an ambulance or poison control if they swallow a bunch of advil at once.

cheers
TBDude

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22-05-2015, 08:10 AM
RE: "More Guns means Safer" the nonsensical pro-NRA argument
(06-05-2015 05:02 PM)Hypatia Wrote:  
(13-04-2015 03:10 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  I know, I know, this horse has been beaten to death at times, but I found myself back in this clusterfuck of a topic in the last couple of days and I've reencountered this moronic argument. So, I decided to look a little closer at this specific claim that "more guns means less crime, including murders and violent crime."

If this is indeed true, then gun ownership should highly correlate with reduced crime rates and lower murder rates. We will stick to just the US for the time being because trying to compare the US to other countries is a bit hairy because I don't know who to compare us to. Do I compare us to other countries with comparable intentional homicide rates as per (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cou...tion=ufi)? That puts the US (rate of 4.7 per 100,000 people) on par with places like Yemen (4.8) and Latvia (4.7). There are not really any comparable countries with similar cultures and governments to the US, because places like Finland (1.6), Australia (1.1), the UK (1.0), Canada (1.8), Sweden (0.7), etc, all have intentional homicide rates that are less than half of the US rate. I mean, even if we try and take the best case scenario of somewhere like Sweden, we find that their firearm laws are much more restrictive than ours (http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/sweden), even though they have a lot of guns per person, as we do in the US.

So, we can just look at within the US to try and get a sense of whether or not this correlation holds true. I have posted the graphs from this on the post, and the data comes from these sources (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violenc...ation=ufi) and (https://www.census.gov/statab/ranks/rank...tion=ufi).

So, what do we see in the plot of murder rate vs gun ownership? No trend (r^2 of 0.01). So, more guns does not mean a lower murder rate.

Violent crime v. murder rate? No trend (r^2 of 0.02)

It would seem that more guns most definitely does not mean less crime or murders.

The last two graphs are me looking for a trend. The one is population density vs gun ownership, and we see something curious. The lower the population density, the higher the gun ownership percentage. Now, typically I would make the case that lower population density correlates with reduced crime rates and murder rates. Primarily because the less dense the population, the lower the rate of incidence. So, population density should correlate with murder rate, but it doesn't (r^2 of 0.01). Which is very curious. As it turns out, the 4 states you see with the high population densities are New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and they all have abnormally low murder rates for their population density. Otherwise, there is no clear trend or abnormality. As such, my prediction that lower population density means lower murder rate also appears untrue.

I'll hypothesize then that there should be a lower murder rate with lower population density, but lower population density correlates with higher gun ownership rate, which may influence the murder rate such that it is elevated above what it might be otherwise.

To summarize, more guns doesn't mean safer.


First, and without sarcasm, I would ask that you find a more credible source for any claims you offer if you wish to be taken seriously. Wikipedia is usually footnoted with some legitimate primary source material, but generally dismissed in thoughtful discussion, owing to its inadmissability as a scholarly citation. Always find the primary source material for a..."bullet-proof" argument. (I do love a pun! Wink Wink

And THEN.... lets talk about a more specific statistic....like the per capita violent crime rate by CONCEALED WEAPON or OPEN CARRY regulations by state.

I do not entertain theories from NRA nutters or Leftists regarding the correlation/causation of such general concepts as "guns" to "crime" nor, likewise, theories on the relation of "spoons" to "obesity".

I used wikipedia in this case because the data in wikipedia was from credible sources, but wikipedia would be easy for people to navigate to. (I can access journals from behind a university firewall, but most on here would be unable to access any articles I used if I referenced them. I was trying to manage my data source for the audience at hand).

I did provide some data on gun ownership and crime rates, but once we start looking at more specific types of laws and restrictions it is not that straightforward fro me to know how to approach it. So, for instance, Massachusetts has fairly restrictive laws and licensing requirements and seems much safer than states with comparable numbers of guns but higher crime rates. I don't know which (if any) of the gun laws or requirements directly contribute to this, but I suspect it has more to do with the culture around the gun owners in places like MA. Which means that the conversation needs to be more direct and open among both sides, instead of reactionary where any time someone criticizes guns or gun laws (or wants to amend or add gun laws), they make straw man arguments and rally behind the NRA, etc.

"I do not entertain theories from NRA nutters or Leftists regarding the correlation/causation of such general concepts as "guns" to "crime" nor, likewise, theories on the relation of "spoons" to "obesity"."

I should hope not. If for no other reason than there would be no reason to assume that the spoon is the requirement for becoming obese. There would be much better datasets to look at. Like I said in the OP, I tried to think of stats that would enable to me to directly question the one specific claim.

cheers
TBDude

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22-05-2015, 08:13 AM
RE: "More Guns means Safer" the nonsensical pro-NRA argument
(30-04-2015 04:36 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  
(30-04-2015 06:00 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Asking me how many guns I've owned or what my experience level is with guns, is akin to a theist asking an atheist about their experience with the bible as a way of dismissing the atheist's opinion if they haven't read it or haven't read it as much as the theist. It's a flawed argument that has no actual bearing on the subject.

... except, that isn't why I asked, as you will have read by now.

Stop assuming you know the minds of people you don't know. You'll maintain your credibility and help foster a more-civil discussion.

But the reason you asked is that you were operating under the assumption that exposure to guns has some bearing on the credibility of the arguments someone is making. It simply isn't true. I don't need to have been exposed to cancer to be able to study it or look at its hazards.

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22-05-2015, 08:17 AM
RE: "More Guns means Safer" the nonsensical pro-NRA argument
(30-04-2015 11:18 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  
(30-04-2015 05:57 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  As far as the pissing contest where I point out the similarities between the pro-gun arguments and theist arguments, I've provided examples to back my interpretations up.

My point was that you haven't looked into the support for those points you disagree with.

(30-04-2015 05:57 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Once again, I don't know what the purpose is of asking how many guns I've owned, as if it's gun ownership itself that is the defining quality of being able to understand the subject at hand or to understand the statistics.

Let me make it plain for you, then. Very often, those people most adamant about restricting or removing the right to gun ownership base their positions on fear. They are afraid of guns, so afraid that they refuse to touch one or own one. I ask if you've owned a gun because I want to know if your shrill rhetoric is based on personal fear.

Also, it should be noted that I didn't assert that gun ownership is a requirement for understanding the debate, or the statistics. Please don't impute to me positions I don't hold, by direct language or (as is the case here) by insinuation.

(30-04-2015 05:57 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  As for pointing out the statistics for being assaulted or having your home invaded, it's clear you don't understand why I've posted these points. It has been claimed that guns are 1) necessary for self-defense 2) the most effective form and 3) that the threat is persistent enough to warrant constant armament.

And it's just as clear that while I do indeed understand your point, you either don't get mine, or you're deliberately glossing it over. Just so we can cross the first possibility off the list: All the statistics don't do you any good when the unlikely occurs.

(30-04-2015 05:57 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  When you have events that occur infrequently, like natural disasters, that produce some sort of chaotic scenario where it is presumed that you'll need a gun to protect yourself from the collapse of society. This is a fear-based tactic. I find it unconvincing as a real threat, and unconvincing as an argument that guns are a necessity.

Earthquakes are unlikely, but when I lived in SoCal, I kept an emergency bag together nonetheless -- not because I lived in daily fear of the Big One, but because such an occasion would be devastating enough that preparation seemed prudent.

Be it noted, my emergency kit did not include a gun. I didn't (and don't currently) own one.

(30-04-2015 05:57 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  And then, when you have rates of assault and home invasion that are on the order of 0.005% annually, that hardly warrants the notion that these threats are imminent and requires a constant armament as if this is the old west (I guess I should say hollywoods portrait of the old west).

Well, "constant armament as if this is the old west" isn't really apt in those cases, if by that phrase you mean open-carry or whatnot. Home invasions are an argument for having a gun in the home, though. And again, though statistically the risk is miniscule, if a home-invasion were to occur, the intruder(s) will not pay much mind to anyone telling them that they shouldn't be there according to the numbers. It isn't that the threat is "imminent", to my mind; it's that the consequences of being unprepared can be devastating, and perhaps even fatal.

If you don't want guns in your house, that's cool; I respect that decision you've made. I think criticizing others for taking precautions is a little silly; and denying them the ability to do so just ain't right.

(30-04-2015 05:57 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  And the other point is that there are other forms of self defense and protection of your property. Why are guns necessary when you have other less lethal options available?

Well, I live out in the country. Here we have plenty of dangerous animals -- mainly snakes, which don't much worry me, but also coyotes and cougars, which do. I found this one dead in the road (after having been hit by an auto) about 100 yards from my driveway:

[Image: wwngwl.jpg]

Now, I haven't seen any cougar tracks on the property, but with my neighbors having young children, if one is about, a gun is not only the ideal tool for the situation, it may perhaps be the only one. Animal control is about an hour's drive from here, and the nearest sheriff's substation is forty minutes' drive. We have to take care of ourselves.

(30-04-2015 05:57 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Are guns the best solution given the collateral damage they incur? (Things like the compulsory suicide rate with guns and domestic violence, points I've raised before)

"Compulsory suicide"? Suicide is a choice. What do you mean by that curious phrase of yours? Edit: saw your clarification, but I don't see how suicide is "compulsive". It may or may not be irresistible, but it is still a conscious decision.

I agree that DV involving guns is a problem. I think most abusers build a record on themselves before they resort to fatal violence. And I know that many states bar people with a violent conviction from gun ownership; I think that's sensible.

(30-04-2015 05:57 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  And at the end of all of this, I've still not supported the position that it is necessary to remove all guns from our society, but I keep getting flak and resistance when I point out alternatives (a litany of excuses why they aren't as good for one reason or another while ignoring the fact that a gun could jam or primer cap could fail to ignite, rendering the gun useless too) or when I ask questions that require more than anecdotes.

I don't think you support a complete ban, and I'm sorry if I came across as if I did.

(30-04-2015 05:57 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  If that's all that the pro-gun side has is anecdotes, then so be it. But, as I said earlier, that basically boils the argument back down to "fuck off, I like guns." Which is a fair opinion, just not a particularly strong one at all.

And here we are again: you're waving away sound arguments for owning guns as if you've rebutted them.

(30-04-2015 05:57 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  As for the "hot headed posts" comment, I don't recall being the one to tell people to "fuck off" because they didn't like what was being pointed out to them. If you think my posts were in anger, you'd hate to read my posts when they really were!

Perhaps I should have been clearer. Your rhetoric in this thread has certainly gotten overheated at points (and I don't have the time to dig through 17 pages of posts to link to specifics, this long reply is taking too much time as it is), and that overheated rhetoric (and not just from you, there are plenty of hot words flying from all PoVs) makes it harder to have a reasonable discussion.

"And here we are again: you're waving away sound arguments for owning guns as if you've rebutted them."

A lot in this post (that seems to miss the point o what statistics are at times), but I will address this one.

Not once have I claimed that I have effectively rebutted the need for guns or any arguments for guns. But I am arguing that these arguments are both unconvincing and place a higher value on someone's desire to play cop or cowboy than on the statistics that indicate that guns also provide an opportunity for increased harm to innocent people.

Ultimately the point is that if people want guns because they like guns, this is the only argument for which I don't have a rebuttal. It is the most compelling argument that the pro-gun side has, but even it I find unconvincing.

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28-05-2015, 06:09 PM (This post was last modified: 28-05-2015 06:12 PM by Thumpalumpacus.)
RE: "More Guns means Safer" the nonsensical pro-NRA argument
(22-05-2015 08:13 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  But the reason you asked is that you were operating under the assumption that exposure to guns has some bearing on the credibility of the arguments someone is making. It simply isn't true. I don't need to have been exposed to cancer to be able to study it or look at its hazards.

Gun owners tend to know more about gun ownership. Crazy, huh?

(22-05-2015 08:17 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Ultimately the point is that if people want guns because they like guns, this is the only argument for which I don't have a rebuttal. It is the most compelling argument that the pro-gun side has, but even it I find unconvincing.

The other point, which you missed, is that your rebuttals aren't very convincing to others. You don't know why others feel the need to own a gun. You don't understand others who do not have your living conditions. Yet you deign to criticize them on the basis of factors you don't understand.

That's great, here's a hearty golf-clap for your superiority.

Just don't mistake it for applause, because you're unconvincing.
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29-05-2015, 05:50 AM
"More Guns means Safer" the nonsensical pro-NRA argument
(28-05-2015 06:09 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  
(22-05-2015 08:13 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  But the reason you asked is that you were operating under the assumption that exposure to guns has some bearing on the credibility of the arguments someone is making. It simply isn't true. I don't need to have been exposed to cancer to be able to study it or look at its hazards.

Gun owners tend to know more about gun ownership. Crazy, huh?

(22-05-2015 08:17 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Ultimately the point is that if people want guns because they like guns, this is the only argument for which I don't have a rebuttal. It is the most compelling argument that the pro-gun side has, but even it I find unconvincing.

The other point, which you missed, is that your rebuttals aren't very convincing to others. You don't know why others feel the need to own a gun. You don't understand others who do not have your living conditions. Yet you deign to criticize them on the basis of factors you don't understand.

That's great, here's a hearty golf-clap for your superiority.

Just don't mistake it for applause, because you're unconvincing.

You assume I'm not a gun owner? Crazy, because it's incorrect. I don't currently have a loaded gun or ammunition for the gun in the house.


And keep in mind, I understand WHY people want guns, I don't particularly think they are convincing arguments.

As for the "being unconvincing" in my posts, I'm not under any delusion that my words alone are going to change people's minds. I do hope that I might say something or post something that makes someone think or causes someone to look for information that might better influence their opinion.

For instance, I'd hope that with some simple statistics that no one would be stupid enough to use such a general and ignorant statement as "the more guns there are, the safer society will be" as I've encountered before (not necessarily on the forum, I think the specific example I'm thinking of was from a political cartoon on a Facebook page, but even still there are at least a few people who have voted in the poll to ignore reality).

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29-05-2015, 06:00 AM
"More Guns means Safer" the nonsensical pro-NRA argument
And on the "unconvincing rebuttals" type comment, I considered myself firmly on the "pro-second amendment" side up until about 3 years or so ago. Until I started looking into guns and gun laws and statistics just a bit. I've posted these before but these were a couple of interesting articles I've read on the subject from Skeptic Magazine.

http://www.skeptic.com/tag/gun-control/

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29-05-2015, 06:22 AM
RE: "More Guns means Safer" the nonsensical pro-NRA argument
Sorry, one last flaw in your post to point out.

"Gun owners tend to know more about gun ownership. Crazy, huh?"

And christians claim all the time that because they are christian, they know the bible better. Do you think that being a christian automatically means that they tend to know more about the bible? Or do you believe that they have convinced themselves that it is true?

Because, as is often pointed out by atheists, one of the best ways to stop being a christian, is to start looking at the bible in more detail. For me, I found that my views on guns changed appreciably when I started looking at the arguments in more detail. After that, I couldn't reconcile any of my previously held "pro-second amendment" views, because they were not about my rights, those views were about wanting something and thinking I needed. My "pro-second amendment" views were really "pro-gun" or "pro-toy" views where I wanted them and then tried to justify that desire to have and use them. In much the same way that I will buy comics now.

Speaking of which, I started reading Marvel's "Civil War" the other day, it is pretty good. Thumbsup

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29-05-2015, 07:25 AM
RE: "More Guns means Safer" the nonsensical pro-NRA argument
Opinion polls and statistics.... ho hum. The following sums up my thoughts.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ZZJXw4MTA

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