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Subdeacon Joe

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A major fallacy in the analogy between motor-vehicle crashes and shootings is that crashes are almost always accidental, and shootings almost always intentional. Thus, in the former the safety characteristics of cars and roads are highly pertinent, whereas in the latter the main issue is why a shooter decides to pull the trigger. Traffic safety experts appropriately focus on things related to crashes, such as the center of gravity in sport-utility vehicles, but don’t concern themselves with how many cars there are, who owns them, or where they are kept. Gun violence researchers place a lot of emphasis on the guns and apparently have limited interest in factors related to violent behavior, aside from mental illness.




NCIPC’s self-described agenda is to “find a socially acceptable form of gun control.” As its former director Mark Rosenberg stated, he envisioned a “long-term campaign…to convince Americans that guns are, first and foremost, a public health menace.”11 The end goal was not to find truth or to reduce injury and death, but to disarm civilians, and research was simply a tool to support political advocacy. By 1997, the AMA had already directed its lobbyists to “strongly advocate” to restore funding for gun research to NPIPC.11 The “43 times” fallacy derived from this CDC-funded research is still being cited by organized medicine. In 2011, David Hemenway writes: “For every self-defense homicide[emphasis added] involving a firearm kept in the house, there were 1.3 accidental deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides and 37 firearm suicides,” 15 quoting a 1986 article by Kellermann and Reay.16 In the same article, Hemenway also quotes the “22 times” fallacy from a 1998 article by Kellermann et al.: “Home guns were 4 times more likely to be involved in an accident, 7 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault or homicide, and 11 times more likely to be used in an attempted or completed suicide than to be used to injure or kill in selfdefense [emphasis added].” 17 The purpose of the defensive use of firearms is to stop a criminal, not to shoot him. In most cases, it is not necessary to fire the weapon. Using only the body count underestimates the protective effects of firearms by a factor of 500 to 1,000.


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