January 15, 2013

NICK GILLESPIE ON JON STEWART ON GUNS: “Stewart makes a lot of good points, or at least points worth thinking about. In the end, though, he comes up well short of proposing meaningful reforms. In that failure, too, he’s capturing the anti-gun zeitgeist.”

Plus, peddling bogus numbers:

That 30,000 number stood out to me because it seemed very high. According to the FBI, in 2011, there was a total of 8,583 firearm homicides in the U.S. That may well be 8,583 gun murders too many, but it’s nowhere near 30,000 (the total number of murders by all methods came to 12,664). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses a different method and found about 11,000 gun-related murders in 2011 and the total number of homicides to be around 16,000 (see table 2). So How did Stewart get to 30,000? By adding the number of gun-related suicides to the number of homicides.

Wait, why include suicides? I thought we had a right to die? Also:

Once you strip away the raw emotionalism of the carnage at Sandy Hook, or the Aurora theater, or Columbine, or Luby’s, or whatever, you’re left with a series of inconvenient truths for gun-control advocates: Over the past 20 years or so, more guns are in circulation and violent crime is down. So is violent crime that uses guns. Murders are down, too, even as video games and movies and music and everything else are filled with more fantasy violence than ever. For god’s sake, even mass shootings are not becoming more common. If ever there was a case to stand pat in terms of public policy, the state of gun control provides it (and that’s without even delving into the fact that Supreme Court has recently validated a personal right to own guns in two landmark cases). It’s probably always been the case but certainly since the start of 21st century, it seems like we legislate only by crisis-mongering and the results have not been good.

Well, we do have the worst political class ever, which is probably an argument for not doing much of anything.