Anti-gun people lying with statistics

One of the books on my shelf is How to Lie with Statistics. I found it very useful to help me identify the errors in the reports from anti-gun people. They apparently subscribe to the claim by the author, “A well-wrapped statistic is better than Hitler’s “big Lie”; it misleads,
yet it cannot be pinned on you.”

For example NYC Mayor Bloomberg reported the other day:

The report shows that total crime decreased by 5.1 percent in New York City
during 2009, outpacing national trends. Murders fell by 9.9 percent, compared to
7.2 percent nationwide. According to NYPD Compstat data, crime is down an
additional 1.5 percent citywide for the first five months of the year when
compared to 2009 levels

What is not said is that (as pointed out by Linoge) NYC uses a biased sample for the statistics. They deliberately do not report all the crime.

Of course that is such a brute force approach it doesn’t take any great skill or reading of a book to accomplish.

The Brady Campaign and Violence Policy Center are generally a little more subtle in their statistical lies.

As I wrote in my last paragraph in my post Alan Gura v. Paul Helmke Helmke and company talk about “gun violence” and concentrate on the “one component of violence”. The unmentioned assumption is that violent crime committed with guns is independent of all violent crime. If this were true then you would expect that one could, conceivably, eliminate all the guns in society and have a decrease in violent crime. This isn’t what happens in real life. It tends to be true that the rate of crimes committed with firearms goes down when there are exceedingly strict restriction in place. But other violent crime has a strong tendency to increase when those restrictions occur. The presumed reasons for this are: 1) If criminals cannot get access to a firearm they substitute a different weapons and; 2) Potential victims are disarmed which encourages predators because of the reduced risk of getting hurt and/or caught.

The VPC feeds the press information on “gun death rates” and they eat it up. But the VPC appears to include suicides and justifiable homicide by police and private citizens! According to their numbers it is just as bad for a wheelchair bound elderly woman to kill the man who broke into her home to rape her as it for the home invader to kill an entire family including the toddlers. And they ignore violent crime in general.

Their statistics tells us nothing about whether places with strict gun laws make the average person safer. They do tell us where we can live if you would rather die by being beaten to death than a gunshot wound and where violent predators can find disarmed prey. One should conclude that VPC is more appropriately named the Violent Predator Compendium.

6 thoughts on “Anti-gun people lying with statistics

  1. A long time ago when the kids were still in grade school they were subjected by their evil father to all kinds of mental abuse which included math after school, American as well as World History at the dinner table, book reviews at breakfast and worst of all quotes of truth from the past at bed time (psalms are a good start if you are a new parent).

    Well one night the girl out of the blue on her own steam says “got a new one for you pa..Who said and I quote.. STATISTICS ARE WHAT EXPERTS USE TO FORGE BULLSHIT INTO BULLETS.”

    Low and behold the 11 year old had managed to stump the wizard and use a cuss word at the same time and get away with it. Whats a father to do? “Well young lady you got me on that one. Whom are you quoting?”..Young wizard to father, “go to bed Pa and maybe it will come to you in the morning. Good night, still love ya Pa.”

    Got up the next morning to find a note from the young lady to her father:

    “Got you. Rose is #1. Now all you have to do is read Sergi Khrushchev to find his fathers quote.”

    I know it is hard for a father to take instruction from an abused juvenile brain. But I did and on occasion still quote Nakita.

  2. Let’s see; if there were a Fraud Policy Center (FPC) I wonder what stats they’d be giving on the number of printing presses and computers verses the number of fraud cases. They’d have to disregard cases of word-of-mouth criminal deception and disregard the good that comes from the right of free speech. Oops: I made a mistake. I mentioned a “right”. We’re not supposed to talk about rights anymore, unless it’s the “right” to someone else’s property or the “right” of the State to coerce.

  3. Perhaps an important component reason for violent crime increases in locations where guns are more and more restricted is that self defense is considered illegitimate in those same locales. As gun restrictions increase, generally (speaking just out of my, er, hat) the government decreases legitimate self defense by citizens simultaneously.

    After all, if the tools for self defense are restricted from the citizenry, won’t the right of self defense be similarly limited?

    Violence prevails where rights are restricted.

  4. More than one third of all incarcerated criminals were under the influence of alcohol when they committed their offense. Two thirds of domestic violence occurs when the offender is drunk, and one quarter of all murders. [source]

    So who thinks we can cut crime by at least 25% if you just outlaw alcohol?

  5. So who thinks we can cut crime by at least 25% if you just outlaw alcohol?

    Assuming you’re making a serious suggestion… the crime wave resulting from black market alcohol production and distribution would swamp any minor reduction in alcohol-related violence resulting from a change in behavior of the small portion of the drinking public that would actually obey such a law. Prohibition and the War on Drugs have amply demonstrated the futility of attempting to legislate morality.

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