I’m not going to link to Brady Campaign board member and all around lunatic Joan Peterson’s blog. I had to stop reading her blithering maunderings a long time ago. There’s only so much crazy I can deal with, and she’s over the line. But Weer’d Beard reads her so I don’t have to.
I have been writing about things that can go wrong when the wrong people are able to get their hands on loaded guns. But it’s not just the wrong ( prohibited buyers) who do bad things with guns and bullets. It’s sometimes those who can legally buy guns who have no intent to kill anyone but do anyway in a moment of anger, depression, jealousy, during a relationship separation, after too much alcohol, or while believing, sometimes falsely, that another is out to harm them. Occasionally a shooting is justified to save one’s life. But most of the shootings in America are not for that reason. The majority of gun deaths are among people who know each other( pg. 10)
Link is safe, it goes to Weer’d.
Let’s discuss the last statement, and the unwarranted inferences she draws.
The majority of gun deaths are among people who know each other (pg.10)
She links to this Bureau of Justice Statistics PDF. In addition to mischaracterizing it as a chart on “Gun Deaths™,” she fails to take into account is this statement at the bottom of the BJS chart.
Note: Detail may not sum to total due to rounding. The percentages of victim/offender
relationships are based on the 63.1% of homicides from 1980 through 2008 for which the victim/
offender relationships were known. The percentages of homicides involving multiple victims or
offenders were known for 69.1% of incidents.
That’s quite an omission, isn’t it? They’re leaving out the more than one third of single victim/single offender relationship data.
Let’s go to the source. The FBI’s Crime in the United States 2012. I took the top line data and made a pie chart to show the victims in each category of relationship,
Look at the first three largest categories of relationships. “Unknown,” “Acquaintance,” and “Stranger.” We can even see, by process of elimination, what the FBI considers an “Acquaintance.” The FBI defines “Acquaintance” as a person who is not a “Stranger,” but is also not a
- “Other Family”
So it’s basically someone who you’re not related to, not friends with, don’t live near nor have some employment relationship with, but you still know. Somehow.
You know who comes to mind when I try to come up with a person who is none of the things above? Drug dealers. Rival gang members. Criminal associates. Not related, not friends, not neighbors, and not in some sort of employer/employee relationship.
Clearly, “Acquaintance” is a very broad category of people you don’t really know all that well, but just don’t happen to be perfect strangers. And when you add up all the “Unknown,” “Stranger,” and “Acquaintance” murders, they represent 79.65% of all murders in the US during 2012. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the myth that it’s just family members murdering each other in a fit of pique.
Moving on, let’s look at the unwarranted inference Joan Peterson draws from this data.
Occasionally a shooting is justified to save one’s life. But most of the shootings in America are not for that reason. The majority of gun deaths are among people who know each other.
So in Joan Peterson’s tiny little mind, the fact that people involved in homicides (sort of) know each other means that using a gun to defend your own life against a person you (sort of) know is wrong.
Does that even make sense? Is that even rational? This is what I call the “Reverse Rumplestiltskin Defense.” In Rumplestiltskin, the woman gets hauled off to a dungeon and forced to spin straw into gold, which, of course, she cannot do. Rumplestiltskin offers to do the spinning for her in exchange for her first born child. Later, after marriage and now that she’s pregnant, she resists. Rumplestiltskin, for some reason, offers her a deal. Figure out my name and I’ll give up my claim to your child. On her third guess, she gets the name and Rumplestiltskin vanishes, without taking the child. Joan’s view is the exact inverse of the story.
In Joan Peterson’s view, it might be OK for me to shoot a perfect stranger in self defense. But as soon as I know the guy’s name (or, as is probably the case in most of the murders, his “street” name) I’m not allowed to shoot him? Is that even sane?
What we’re dealing with here is the same thing that causes the gun haters to come out of the woodwork to decry guns after school shootings but to refuse to acknowledge the common everyday killings. They know that if they went on TV and talked about Ice Dog shooting Ray-Ray, no one would ever call them back. The reality is that most murders are among and between criminals or are criminals killing family members. It’s rare that those murders leap out into what we might call “polite society.” We tend not to care if criminals kill each other. As long as they are killing each other, they’re not bothering us. It’s cold, but true.
Joan misuses incomplete statistics to draw an unwarranted inference. And that, plus her enormous lack of sense, is why I stopped reading her.