More "Turtles all the way down".

In my original “Turtles All The Way Down” post, I discussed the argumentum ad populem and how people can be wrong. Despite holding incorrect opinions, the masses refuse to see reason. This is despite being shown their opinions are wrong.

Needless to say, we have this love of long discredited statistics concerning defensive gun use by the gun cretin crowd.

They insist that Lott and Kleck are “peer reviewed”. Well, yes, they are peer reviewed and found to be seriously flawed. Yet, the gun cretin crowd will trot them out to try and refute more accurate statistics.

The New England Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence blog post Say what? How many defensive gun uses? Points out a sidebar in an Article called “Who is the Armed Citizen?” in the National Rifle Association’s magazine America’s 1st Freedom highlights one of the gun lobby’s favorite pieces of research – a 1995 study by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz that reported an astounding 2.5 million defense gun uses each year in the United States. But for some curious reason the author neglected to mention the numerous, peer reviewed, refereed, academic articles that have been published over the last decade that clearly refute Kleck’s astronomical claim.

Never mind it’s well known that applying Kleck and Gertz’s methodology to a 1994 ABC News/ Washington Post survey of 1500 adults of which 10 percent answered affirmatively as to whether they had ever seen an alien spacecraft. Of these, six percent stated they had come into contact with a space alien. If extrapolated to the national population using Kleck and Gertz’s methodology, this would translate into almost 20 million Americans who had seen a spacecraft from another planet and more than a million who had actually met space aliens.

You can Read some of the other refutations of Kleck and Gertz’s methodology for yourself:

* “The gun debate’s new mythical number: How many defensive uses per year?” Journal of Police Analysis and Management, 1997
* “The myth of millions of annual self-defense gun use: A case study of survey overestimates of rare events” Chance – American Statistical Association, 1997
* “Defensive Gun Uses: New Evidence from a National Survey” Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 1998
* “The Relative Frequency of Offensive and Defensive Gun Uses: Results from a National Survey”, Violence and Victims, 2000
* “Myths about Defensive Gun Use and Permissive Gun Carry Laws” Berkeley Media Studies Group, 2000
* “Comparing the Incidence of Self-Defense Gun Use and Criminal Gun Use” Harvard Injury Control Research Center, 2009
* And the list goes on…….

But perhaps the most egregious part of this article is the reference to the work of researchers Phillip Cook and Jens Judwig. In a 1997 article in the National Institute of Justice Research in Brief titled “Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms”, Cook and Ludwig conclude “The NSPOF-based estimate of millions of defensive gun uses each year greatly exaggerates the true number, as do other estimates based on similar surveys. Evidence suggests that this survey and others like it overestimate the frequency with which firearms were used by private citizens to defend against criminal attack.” Yet in the sidebar article the NRA inexplicitly claims “researchers Cook and Ludwig confirmed the results of the Kleck/Gertz study.”

That doesn’t really surprise me since the gun cretin crowd will grasp at straws to try and buttress their position. For example the following quote:

It must be made a sacred maxim, that the militia obey the executive power, which represents the whole people in the execution of laws. To suppose arms in the hands of the citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self defense, or by partial orders of towns, counties, or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed, and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws. Adams, John, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America,1787-88, p. 474-5

The gun cretin will see the phrase “To suppose arms in the hands of the citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self defense”. Nevermind that the entire quote supports the concept of the militia. In fact, the first quote is only a part of the whole sentence which is:

To suppose arms in the hands of the citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self defense, or by partial orders of towns, counties, or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man is a dissolution of the government.

Which sounds pretty negative about “arms in the hands of the citizens” to me.

Anyway, I have a really hard time accepting the arguments from the gun lobby.

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