Saturday, April 21, 2007

James Q. Wilson is a bullsh*tter:

In the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting, gun advocate Wilson pens an op ed in the Los Angeles Times. This post will examine one component of his essay. Mid-way through the piece Wilson brings up the different attitudes towards guns, essentially between Europe and the U.S. He writes: (emp add throughout)
Leading British, French, German, Italian and Spanish newspapers have blamed the United States for listening to Charlton Heston and the National Rifle Assn. [...]
Let's take a deep breath and think about what we know about gun violence and gun control. [...]
If we want to guess by how much the U.S. murder rate would fall if civilians had no guns ...
Okay. We are, presumably, going to learn what the murder rate would be (if guns were banished). Wilson (continuing directly):
we should begin by realizing — as criminologists Franklin Zimring and Gordon Hawkins have shown — that the non-gun homicide rate in this country is three times higher than the non-gun homicide rate in England.

For historical and cultural reasons, Americans are a more violent people than the English, even when they can't use a gun.

This fact sets a floor below which the murder rate won't be reduced even if, by some constitutional or political miracle, we became gun-free.
Okay now, what is this "floor"? What would the murder rate be?

Wilson doesn't say. He literally walks away from the issue after providing a non-explanation explanation ("American's are more violent").

Wilson is totally dishonest when he writes that way.

ADDENDUM: As long as this week has been devoted to "sensible news judgement", I'll say that because the op-ed was inherently dishonest (by not really answering a pertinent question about murder rates), it should not have been published.


You should change commenting systems, since I have to click "Post a Comment" and then "Post a Comment" again to actually post a comment.

Americans aren't more violent, on average, today, Americans are more violent. As if we aren't predominantly English in ancestry, anyway (ok, if you add German, (and Germany has a lower violent crime rate, too), we are talking a big majority).

Sometimes, though, it is clear that the gun control side goes too far. For instance, they will cite the true figure that there are 30,000 gun deaths a year, but not mention that fully half are suicides. 15,000 deaths puts it at, what, 5% of the deaths caused by obesity? And I'm sure some of those 15K (although not the majority) are self-defense or caused by honest cops in the line of duty.

I think Kevorkian style suicides are OK, and am against the principle that the government can tell you that you can't take your own life (but they, via executions, can).

Is it your life if you can't take it?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/23/2007 2:57 AM  

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