links for 2007-04-23

2 thoughts on “links for 2007-04-23”

  1. The WorldNetDaily article is typical of the closed minded foolishness that is hampering a real analysis and debate of guns in our country. It opens promisingly enough with the interesting case of Kennesaw. And the author is quite right to criticize those who claimed that Kennesaw would turn into a free-fire zone. But the article presents suspicious numbers without enough context, ignores the differences between different cities, and ultimately makes a completely irrelevant connection to the Virginia Tech massacre.

    First, the numbers. So, crime in down in Kennesaw. The implication is that we have the prevalence of guns to thank. However, this is simply “crime,” not “violent crime” or “theft of property crimes.” Are we to really conclude that the prevalence of guns has reduced drunk driving, or fraud? Unfortunately for a town as small as Kennesaw, the number of violent crimes is probably so small as to be useless statistically. Still, more information would have been welcome and supported the author’s case, making it less likely that he cherry picked the best numbers. Similarly, The article notes a complete lack of fatal shootings since the law passed. However, how many fatal shootings where there before? I’m guessing the number was probably zero; if not it was likely very small, so small that dropping to zero could be a statistical fluke. I find it interesting that the author cherry picked the fatal shooting number. If crimes are down, certainly the number of people shot period should be down. Given the absence of information, it’s entirely possible that gun violence has skyrocketed, but people have been lucky and survived. (I doubt it, but it’s possible.)

    The author is comparing three very different cities. Morton Grove, Illinois (which passed a handgun ban), is part of the Chicago-land area, an area with serious gang and crime problems. It’s in the path between Chicago and Milwaukee, an area that has had increased crime and gang problems. I can’t be sure about Kennesaw, Georgia, but it looks to be an extended suburb Atlanta. I have no idea what sorts of crime problems Atlanta has, or of they spill out as far as Kennesaw. That the population recently exploded suggests it’s not as old of an urban area as Morton Grove. Finally there is Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Virginia Tech. It’s slightly larger than the other cities (about 38,000 compared to the other two at just a bit less than 30,000). It has a university, probably adding 10,000 or so population in students during the main academic year. The presence of such a large college almost certainly changes the social dynamics of the area.

    Ultimately, what the hell does any of this have to do with the Virginia Tech massacres? The incident was hardly a regular thing; anyone more worried about mass murderers instead of gang violence is a fool. Mass murders are exceptionally rare. And as for the claim that gun-free zones, as VT apparently is, might encourage mentally disturbed people, the hell? The shooter was student on campus. One of the first people he killed was an ex-girlfriend. He was hardly going to look up gun-free zones and head to one before starting his spree. Crazy people generally do crazy things where they live. They don’t bother checking local ordnances to see where would be easiest to commit their crime.

    Ultimately, WorldNetDaily is pro-gun, and they’re going to interpret the facts however best fits their position. They have no interest in a serious analysis of the situation.

  2. Personally, I trust no side’s “facts” in this, your side or WorldNetDaily’s. One side says that all hell will break loose if we pass a concealed-carry law (I haven’t seen any examples that support those claims), the other side has very specific examples that look suspicious to some (mainly the other side).

    I do trust, though, that if there had been a rise in violent crime because of a concealed carry law we’d have heard about it by now. But we haven’t.

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