Monday, January 18, 2016


Even When He's Conciliatory, Kristof is Still Lying

In a well titled piece recently, Nicholas Kristof ticks off here some very inconvenient facts for those who would take away our civil rights. But there is none so blind as he who will not see, and he who has a template for his anti-gun editorial, from which template he seems incapable of straying. Let me elucidate. Kristoff acknowledges the death knell for additional gun control legislation:
The number of guns in America has increased by more than 50 percent since 1993, and in that same period the gun homicide rate in the United States has dropped by half.
So the number of guns has nothing bad to do with gun violence. Despite a 50% increase in the number of guns, the gun homicide rate has been reduced by half. So what, exactly, is the crisis? But he seems to forget it just a few sentences later.

Move on to open-carry and conceal-carry laws: With some 13 million Americans now licensed to pack a concealed gun, many liberals expected gun battles to be erupting all around us. In fact, the most rigorous analysis suggests that all these gun permits caused neither a drop in crime (as conservatives had predicted) nor a spike in killings (as liberals had expected). Liberals were closer to the truth, for the increase in carrying loaded guns does appear to have led to more aggravated assaults with guns, but the fears were overblown.
Nick, during this period of expanding concealed carry, you just said the gun homicide rate dropped by half. Looks to me like the crime of homicide necessarily then went down. We didn't expect concealed carry to drop the rate of non-violent crimes like embezzlement or tax evasion. But according to Kristof there has been an increase in aggravated assaults with guns. What does the US Justice department say about non-fatal assaults with guns? Well, it says between 1993 and 2011, they declined 70% here (see figure 2). Since 2011, the rate has gone down a little--52.8 per 100,000 in 2012, 50.9 per 100,000 in 2013 and 52.3 per 100,000 in 2014. So he's not being straight with us about a general decline in gun assaults since 1993. They went down by 70% and are still down. Then he has this little nugget of semi-self awareness regarding the recent failure of additional federal gun control legislation.

One reason [for the failure of additional gun legislation] is that liberals often inadvertently antagonize gun owners and empower the National Rifle Association by coming across as supercilious, condescending and spectacularly uninformed about the guns they propose to regulate.
Yeah, the liberals often sound amazing like Kristof. Like when he inflates the supposed crisis by including suicides with gun murders. (Accidents will always happen with any tool, so I follow the safety rules and hope for the best--since 1971, so far so good).

Just since 1970, more Americans have died from guns than all the Americans who died in wars going back to the American Revolution (about 1.45 million vs. 1.4 million). That gun toll includes suicides, murders and accidents, and these days it amounts to 92 bodies a day.

Suicides, which account for 2/3 the toll, are not a problem liberals worry about. They support suicide and help pass laws to allow the helpless to accomplish it by proxy. Without suicides, our armed forces dead are 1.4 million to .45 million gun deaths at home in nearly a half century. Sounds a little less momentous, right?

We spend billions of dollars tackling terrorism, which killed 229 Americans worldwide from 2005 through 2014, according to the State Department. In the same 10 years, including suicides, some 310,000 Americans died from guns.

The number of Americans killed by terrorists is a lot higher for the period 2000 to 2015. But of the 310,000 he focuses on, 200,000 were suicides. Banning guns, as the Australians learned, doesn't stop suicides, it just affects the number of gun suicides. It kinda misses the point of lowering the number of suicides to focus in one method. Even if you ban guns or certain types of guns, the people intent on ending their lives just use a different method. This is the moronic point of Kristof's template, to conflate suicides with gun murders and then pretend that additional gun legislation will lower the suicide rate. Very moronic, and it sounds worse to me every time Kristof repeats it, which is every time he writes supporting gun legislation.

New Harvard research confirms a long-ago finding that 40 percent of firearms in the United States are acquired without a background check. That’s crazy. Why empower criminals to arm themselves?

The Harvard study did nothing of the sort, in fact, it's not out yet. The 40% figure is complete fiction for gun purchases; and for private sales and gifts we have to trust that the legal gun owner won't give or sell his or her gun to a criminal or insane person (just as we trust them to be responsible with firearms in all other respects, which they overwhelmingly are). Regarding the alleged need for additional background check legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, I like the recent Preventative Medicine study that says additional background checks would have no effect on criminals getting guns, as only 3% obtain them through transactions requiring a background check. Then Kristof goes completely inane regarding effective new gun control.

More than 10 percent of murders in the United States, for example, are by intimate partners. The riskiest moment is often after a violent breakup when a woman has won a restraining order against her ex. Prohibiting the subjects of those restraining orders from possessing a gun reduces these murders by 10 percent, one study found.
So the Lautenberg Amendment in 1997 which banned intimate partners from getting a gun if a restraining order has been issued, cut gun homicides by 1%. Forgive me if I'm underwhelmed by the "success" of that legislation. It just seems so small compared to the 49% overall drop in gun homicides over approximately the same period. Here's Kristof's big finish.

In short, let’s get smarter. Let’s make America’s gun battles less ideological and more driven by evidence of what works. If the left can drop the sanctimony, and the right can drop the obstructionism, if instead of wrestling with each other we can grapple with the evidence, we can save thousands of lives a year.
I'm all for being smarter. You first, Nick. What appears to work is more guns, more concealed carry permits so that good guys will have guns to thwart the criminal intent of bad guys with guns. That's an inconvenient fact that Kristof will never admit. It doesn't fit the template


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