Friday, November 24, 2023

CA v ND Newsome v Noem, Statistics and Disinformation

 Newsome image cropped from Wikipedia 


A recent invitation by Governor Noem of South Dakota, followed by a response from Governor Newsome of California illustrates how people use numbers to lie with statistics.

The Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, invited more gun manufacturers and gun owners to come to South Dakota and take up residence. From

PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem invited California gun manufacturers and law-abiding gun owners to move to South Dakota to escape California’s gun and ammunition tax , which Governor Gavin Newsom signed as the first such tax in the country.

“Why would anyone want to live in a state where your Second Amendment rights are infringed?” said Governor Noem. “South Dakota has been setting the standard as the most Second-Amendment friendly state in the nation for years. Our firearms industry is thriving. Unlike Governor Newsom, South Dakota respects our God-riven rights. So if you are a California gun manufacturer or law-abiding gun owner, we are ready to help you make the move!”

On X, formerly Twitter, Governor Gavin Newsom replied:

South Dakota has a 59% higher gun death rate than California.

California, as of 2020, the last year of available records, had a 33% higher homicide rate than South Dakota.

The two numbers are not contradictory.  "Gun deaths" is a propaganda term which lumps together murders, self-defense shootings, suicides, and a small number of fatal accidents, all of which have disparate causes and cures, for the purposes of promoting government restrictions on gun ownership and use.

Legal or illegal gun ownership rates are not correlated to homicide or suicide rates, because other instruments are easily substituted. It only takes a tiny number of firearms in society to supply criminal needs. 

Those who push for more restrictions on the ownership and use of firearms focus on homicides or suicides committed with guns. This is a false paradigm. Restrictions on gun access or use do not reduce overall homicides or suicides. People who want to disarm others focus on firearms because they dislike firearms. In this article on Vox, notice the focus on guns, not on homicide or suicide. No mention is made of the positive contributions of guns to society. From Vox:

Does gun control help reduce gun deaths? It's a crucially important question, but even for PhDs, it's a tough one. There's been a mountain of research on the subject, but these dozens of studies conducted over many years and in many different countries reach a broad and sometimes contradictory range of conclusions. It's hard to know what it really tells us, taken together, about whether gun laws can reduce gun violence.

Why does Vox consider "gun deaths" a crucially important question?

Reducing "gun violence" is unimportant if total homicides and/or suicides remain the same or go up. 

The study was inconclusive about whether overall homicide or suicide rates were reduced. People who were philosophically aligned with preventing people from accessing and using guns tend to produce studies tied to slightly lower rates of homicides and suicides committed with guns when laws are passed restricting access and use of guns.   People philosophically aligned with the freedom of people to access and keep weapons, tend to produce studies tied to slightly higher rates of overall homicides and no change in suicides after laws are passed restricting access and use of guns. The differences are small.  The point of view of the observer may skew the results more than what can be measured.

The philosophical difference is: Do people make their own decisions, or does the environment people are in control them? The left inverts the arrow of causation, and believes the trigger pulls the finger. Supporters of the Second Amendment believe people make decisions and should be responsible for them.

©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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