Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Amarillo By Morning (Smith and Wesson on My Mind)
By criminologist Mike Adams
I never travel without a loaded gun. I usually carry a Smith and Wesson Model 640 in a bucket in the trunk of my car. Sometimes I carry a Glock Model 23 instead. I was really happy I was carrying the former when I arrived at my hotel room in Amarillo last week shortly after midnight. As I was unpacking my trunk, a man came walking across the parking lot from an adjacent hotel. His largely incoherent introduction began something like this:
“Hey, I’m a big scary black man and I need some help. Won’t nobody help me ‘cause I’m a big scary black man. I ain’t gonna hurt ya (pulls out wallet). See? Here’s my ID. I’m a preacher and I got kicked outa my room. I ain’t no beggar. I just need $12 or I’m gonna have to sleep in the parking lot. I’m stayin’ right over there (points to adjacent hotel). Theys a woman and a child that’s gonna have to sleep in a car if don’t get $12.”
I detected a slight stumble as the man was walking toward me talking. It took very little insight to detect that he was no preacher and that the money was not needed to pay off a $12 balance in order to get re-admitted to his hotel room. So I turned back toward my trunk and continued unpacking.
The final part of my unpacking ritual involves securing my firearm, which I always take with me into the hotel room. I always reach into the bucket, take the gun out of the holster, and slip it in my pocket on my left hand side (I ‘m a southpaw). It just so happened that the stumbling “preacher” was approaching from my left hand side and could see my hands clearly as I was unpacking.
Shortly after I secured all of the items from my trunk, the stumbling “preacher” shouted, “Oh, mercy! Can’t a black man get a break?” He threw his hands in the air and then turned around and walked hurriedly towards the adjacent parking lot. I had substantially more than $12 worth of cash on me that evening (actually it was early morning). I made it to the hotel room before I had to pull either the wallet or the gun out of my pocket.
The man who approached me in the parking lot that evening did three things that I consider to be morally reprehensible. Although he did not split a single infinitive, his actions are worthy of condemnation for the following reasons:
1. He invoked race where it was irrelevant.
2. He falsely claimed to be a member of a noble profession.
3. He pretended to be acting on others’ behalf while he was acting in his own selfish interests.
Fortunately, I have been a handgun owner since 1993. I also obtained my concealed weapon permit in 1997. At no time since then have I been robbed or assaulted. Nor have I even had to fire a shot, point a gun, or verbally threaten a person to secure my safety.
My experiences as a handgun owner have been no aberration. States passing concealed carry laws have seen significant decreases in predatory crime. Academic studies have also demonstrated that these decreases are statistically significant even after controlling for variables that might otherwise explain the reductions in crime.
To date, there have been 16 refereed studies that have concluded that violent crime goes down as a result of concealed carry laws. About 10 refereed studies have shown the results of concealed carry laws to be inconclusive with regard to violent crime. No refereed studies – I repeat, zero refereed studies – have shown that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons increases the rate of violent crime.
Sadly, most of these refereed studies have been conducted by economists interested in cost/benefit analysis on matters of public policy. I used the word “sadly” because the question of the effects of gun laws on crime is a matter that falls squarely within the discipline of criminology, which is a branch of the larger discipline of sociology. Yet criminologists and sociologists generally shy away from the issue. Their inactions are worthy of condemnation for the following reasons:
1. They invoke race where it is irrelevant. Too many “social scientists” ignore citizens’ legitimate concerns over their safety and well-being. Those who would like to carry a gun lawfully are often dismissed as having an irrational fear of people or color.
2. They falsely claim to be members of a noble profession. In addition to avoiding doing research on gun ownership, most “social scientists” are not familiar with the results of studies on the topic. To ignore science and hold oneself out as a scientist is simply wrong.
3. They pretend to be acting on others’ behalf while acting in their own selfish interests. Sociologists are opposed to rape. But they are overwhelmingly opposed to concealed carry laws that reduce rape. Clearly, they have decided that they are more interested in preventing an assault on their worldview than in preventing assaults on innocent women.
Put simply, the time has come for these “social scientists” to stop acting like bums and become productive members of society. It may be true that they have families to feed and nowhere else to go. But we can’t keep giving them handouts forever.
[I can think of one reason why sociologists normally avoid research on the effect of gun ownership. In 1974, Gordon Tullock did a survey of early statistical research into the effect of punishment (particularly the death sentence) on deterring crime. He noted that economists started out from the assumption that deterrence would work and sociologists started out confident that it would not work. Both groups did statistical research to test their assumptions. Sadly for the sociologists, their research showed that they were wrong. They obviously don't want to repeat that "mistake"]
Killing Americans: Guns and Cars
Lying with statistics
On Friday, a link to an article on Alternet appeared in my e-mail (from a friend): Since Colorado was listed as one of the ten states where “guns killed” more people than “cars killed” (actually, motor vehicles, including trucks and buses and motorcycles), and since I do a lot of work in Colorado, I decided to see if this was indeed true (I have a naturally suspicious mind). So I did a quick search on the topic.
Here is information from that 2010 article:
The number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Colorado roads last year dropped to what is likely the lowest level in 30 years, authorities said.
"It's difficult to call it 'good news' when so many people still died last year on Colorado roadways, but the progress the state has made in saving lives is truly encouraging," Gov. Bill Ritter said in a statement.
In 2009, 464 people were killed in traffic crashes in Colorado, a 15 percent drop from 2008, when 548 people died on state roadways, said Heather Halpape, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
That same report states that there were 579 deaths in Colorado in 2009 which were “Injury by Firearm” and lower than the VPC’s 583 claim. You have to go to another CDPHE web page to see a breakout.
For 2009, there were 7 unintentional firearm deaths, 105 firearm homicides, 6 firearm deaths from “undetermined intent,” 8 that were “legal intervention” and 453 that were suicide by firearm.
This information shows (1) the VPC is not careful about their data being accurate (the 464 versus 553 versus 565 number AND the 579 versus 583 number. (2) The VPC comparison is an apples and oranges one. First off, although we know people DO commit suicide by automobile, and DO commit vehicular homicide, it is reasonable to assume that the vast majority of motor vehicle fatalities are “unintended” – that is, accidents.
On the other hand, the vast majority (566 of 579) firearms deaths can be assumed to be INTENTIONAL (yes, some homicides and suicides are accidental, but it is not a large number). Comparing unintentional (or undetermined) causes of death in Colorado in 2009, firearms were “responsible” for a mere 13; motor vehicles for 553.
Obviously, Mr. Whaley is far from the only newspaper or media type who edits a press release and publishes it under his byline, when it seemingly supports his position on firearms, liberty, and self defense. And if VPC has one state's data wrong, I think it reasonable to assume that they might have more than one - and we all know how statistics lie. But they have a big voice: page after page of search results have this lying piece of trash featured.
But we can overcome it, in part, with truth.
WV: Police ID Dead Robbery Suspect: "West Virginia State Police on Tuesday identified Kevin Lee Walnoha as the man who was shot and killed by a store employee while attempting to rob the Elm Grove Pharmacy on Friday. Walnoha, 37, of Wellsburg jumped over the pharmacy counter, brandished a handgun and demanded pills from a pharmacy worker about 5 p.m. Friday, police said. He then reportedly pointed the gun at a second employee who appeared from a back office. The first employee had access to a gun and shot Walnoha during the incident. Walnoha died at the scene."
Suspect shot in downtown LA jewelry robberies: "A suspected robber was shot by an off-duty reserve sheriff's deputy while two other robbers escaped Tuesday during a brazen daytime attempt to hold up two jewelers at the same time in downtown Los Angeles, according to police. At about 2:30 p.m., the three suspected robbers split up to rob two neighboring stores in the city's jewelry district. When a single robber pulled a gun in a jewelry store on the 600 block of Broadway, the off-duty deputy shot him in the leg, said Borihanh. The suspect was taken to a hospital and was listed in stable condition, said Borihanh. While robbing the neighboring store, the two other robbers heard the gunfire and ran out to escape in a dark colored sedan. Police were continuing to search for them Tuesday evening."