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“What did increase with gun ownership? The incidence in murders committed by loved ones, friends, and acquaintances, such as rival gang members. ‘Not only do guns not protect people from having strangers kill them but having those guns around puts them at greater risk for being killed in a situation with someone that they do know,’ said study co-author Dr. Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences at the BU School of Public Health.” – States with most gun owners have more ‘non-stranger’ homicides [via bostonglobe.com]

63 Responses to Quote of the Day: With Acquaintances Like That Who Needs Enemies? Edition

  1. Wait. So, assuming this is the first anti-gun study with valid data EVAR, states that have more gun owners have more people being killed WITHOUT guns? And how does the good Dr attempt to explain that? Or did he just stop there because the results matched his agenda?

    Correlation does not equal causation.

    • And houses with pools have more incidents of people drowning in pools than houses that don’t have pools…..
      People who own bicycles have higher rates of bike accidents than people who don’t own bicycles….

      I mean, really?

      The idea that it is huge news that more of something happens in areas where folks own the thing used to do that something is disingenuous at best…..

    • I wish the article included a link to the data used for the study. And is it just me or does the inclusion of “gang members” seem like a demographic that is piggybacked on to inflate the values for his “acquaintance” theory? Murders of family members can easily be fact checked through several methods.. Not so much for street violence. Even so, gang violence is an extenuation of underlying criminal enterprises, whereas domestic homicides seem like they would be crimes of passion, maybe? Just a hypothesis.

      Anyways, I’d be interested to see the data for my state. I live in one of the “murder capitals” and you’d be stupid not to own a gun here. The incidence of gun violence is committed with illegal firearms. Fortunately the state is fairly pro-gun. If New Orleans ever got hit with a nogunz ban, it would be a classic case of “if you outlaw guns, then only the outlaws would have guns.”

      • The use of statewide data is suspect, too. Aggregates have a lovely, convenient way of obscuring the most influential factors. I’m not suggesting parsing the data into hundreds of variables per homicide, but something a little more detailed that just the aggregate numbers is necessary to give the data some deoth, texture and context.

        One might find that high-homicide states are high for particular and durable reasons, Perhaps the high gun ownerships rates there, far from driving the homicide rates seen, rather serve to keep you from being the next homicide and to keep the overall homicide rate from being even higher.

        Either the write-up was weak, or it did the best it could with a lame study. Sounds like a “I proved what you wanted, with just enough loose ends remaining to justify further study, so please renew my grant now” type study.

  2. ” … friends, and acquaintances, such as rival gang members.” WTF?! So the violence in the middle east must just be a spat between friends. I guess ww2 was an argument between neighbors? Britain maybe didn’t return a weedeater or something…

  3. Yes, because criminals generally go after folks they believe to be armed and will put up a good fight. It’s only sporting of them to do so.

  4. Wait, did I misread that. Did he just equate “rival gang members,” with loved ones and acquaintances.

    I think his first amendment rights should be revoked until he learns to use rhetoric responsibly.

    • I think his first amendment rights should be revoked until he learns to use rhetoric responsibly.

      Okay, THAT was funny

    • I have always maintained the idea that the first amendment is far, far more dangerous than the second ever could be and this guy proves the point.

      • His study may actually be entirely correct. Studies are often misinterpreted and misrepresented by the media that report on them. Dr. Siegel is highly intelligent and a great person. I am familiar with him and his other work. The study is not inherently anti gun and it is ignorant to dismiss everything that we see that conflicts with our beliefs. It’s remarkably intellectually dishonest.

        It also does nothing to support the idea of gun control. No matter what any study finds the gun is not responsible, the person is. That is a point that anti gunners cannot get away from. By blaming the gun they fail to see the true cause and fail to address the issue of violence. The war on drugs is a perfect example. Anyway, just because we don’t care for the results of a study does not make it untrue or make the person behind the study have negative intentions, especially in peer reviewed and published studies.

        • Well, I doubt it. The study doesn’t seem to be linked. Further, it’s the inner city gangbangers who commit the lion’s share of gun violence: Chicago, LA, NYC, etc. The rural gun owners, and all gun owners, according to this statement taken out of context, are risking their own lives to a greater extent by owning firearms. The paraphrase: don’t own guns because you’ll just get killed, and your guns won’t be useful to protect you. Bullshit.

    • I love the way that these studies talk about “intimate” partner violence and “acquaintance” violence as if married couples are shooting each other and suburban neighbors go at it over barking dogs or fences. The intimate partner and acquaintance violence occurs among the same populations that commit crimes and conduct drive bys.

    • That would be funny if he was actually saying anything of the sort towards our Second Amendment rights. However, he has not and he is not using rhetoric. He published a peer reviewed study which is likely true, to a certain extent, but means absolutely nothing.

      A scientific study and a partisan article about guns are two different things and should be addressed in different ways. Responding to a study with hyperbole simply because you don’t care for the results is the epitomy of intellectual dishonesty. The study could be entirely accurate and still does nothing to support the concept of gun control. Submit your own paper or study for peer review and publication but don’t act like a tool simply because you don’t understand the methodology, don’t understand the science, or because you don’t like the results.

      The same applies to any scientific topic that has been politicized and as a result those who do not understand the complexities of the topic allow their simple minds to give in to partisan hyperbole because the results may require we change to address the issue. In this case I DO NOT mean change by giving up gun rights. I mean change by finding and addressing the root cause which IS NOT my guns, my drum magazines, my black rifles, my API ammo, or anything else that I own.

  5. Someone contact the editor to ask why he OK’ed this POS. I’d do it but I need to got a concussion from face palming too hard.

  6. More of th same bs from Boston gun banning professors. Boston has more murders than the rest of the state combined, possibly all of new England, and it’s all committed by gangbangers who do not own guns legally. They have been killing each other over the wrong colors, or the wrong street for decades. These idiots are trying to perpetuate the lie that everyone is just a stubbed toe away from murder.

  7. Analyzing this data at the state level is stupid. The guns and the crimes aren’t in the same counties.

    • Oh, it’s not stupid. You and I both know *exactly* why they did at the state level rather than by municipality.

    • But how likely are you to be shot with your own gun BY somebody else or by accident?
      They never show those stats. They I lmply that is what’s happening but it’s not. Yes gun owners are more likely to be victims of gun violence than non gun owners. This is because if you are a reasonable person and find yourself in danger you take steps to protect yourself. People with restraining orders, multiple door locks, pepper spray, etc may have similar statistical likelihood of being shot. This does not mean that the gun is the cause.

      Think of hypothermia. I bet a high percentage of people who died of hypothermia last year where wearing warm clothes. Very few where caught outside In a bikini for example. Does this mean that if you find yourself stranded roadside in a blizzard you strip down to your undies? No it means the people likely to be in a place where. They freeze to death are likely already wearing heavy ( just not heavy enough or dry enough) clothing.

  8. That globe article is absolutely terrible. Violent crime in texas and Florida plummeted after they changed their car tty laws. In places like chicago, ny and dc it’s still high because no one can protect themselves

  9. “The incidence in murders committed by loved ones, friends, and acquaintances, such as rival gang members”

    Got it! So, don’t hang out with thugs and gang bangers if you don’t want to be shot — thanks! Next brilliant find?

  10. Equating RIVAL gang members with Family friends and associates surely skews the data does it not?

    Can someone with that much brain be that obtuse? Have so much of a hate for guns that he has to stretch “family, friends and associates” to include RIVAL gang members… I bet you pull out rival gang members and his data is not so conclusive…

    • “…the number of people who die of covert poisoning by space aliens, anvils falling from the sky, and cardiovascular disease”

  11. Too much dumbery to unpack, but I love how he maligns Wyoming, a state that has a very low murder rate and a gun ownership rate of 74%.

    Unless you control for demographics, state to state comparisons are meaningless.

      • Yes.
        Also, now that I think about it, a state like Wyoming that has very few predatory criminals, is naturally going to have a higher percentage of its few murders committed by people who get angry with family or acquaintances, just as a factor of having a lower number of people in the criminal class.

        • Plus with a lower number of people, period, one event which is essentially an outlier will skew the whole sample.

    • Just basic statistical best practices should make one wary of digging in too far into stats for either Hawaii or Wyoming homicides, which were 29 and 14 for the 2012, the most recent complete data I could find.

      That means for Hawaii, one case is a 3.4% swing in the numbers, while for Wyoming, it’s even worse at 7.1%. Drawing strong conclusions from numbers where random chance could massively swing the results is statistical malpractice.

    • Nuts indeed. The only person shot where I live in the last ten years was a woman who came from Texas… and she was shot by the x-boyfriend who followed her. Had nothing to do with Wyoming gun owners. 🙂

      But crimes of passion can be committed with nearly anything as a weapon, including bare hands. A gun is simply the most effective way to defend yourself. One good reason so many of us have them.

      Thing is, outside of maybe the socialist city of Cheyenne, we don’t have any “home invasions.” Not a lot of other robbery either. Not too many criminals here THAT stupid.

  12. I work around people who have doctorates. If you take them out of their course of study, they are as dumb as rocks. At most colleges, a professor who is not a rabid leftist has no chance for promotion, and as we know, leftists will always adjust their “research” to prove their political ideology.

      • How does that saying go, “Higher education is learning more and more about less and less until you know everything there is to know about nothing at all,” or something like that?

  13. I guess it makes sense, in a way: in gun-friendly states, criminals might be less likely to attack strangers, who may be armed. So they would concentrate on attacking folks they know, and know to be unarmed. But really, this whole biz of rival gang members as “acquaintances” kind of throws the whole thing into the toilet.

  14. +1 New Chris…and how does the “doctor” explain the Chicago murder rate? It peaked out in the 1970’s at nearly 1000/year with a spike in the early 90’s. And yet all we hear about is things are worse than ever. Factor out the minority gang crap and you have an absurdly low crime rate. Lawful gun owners are the best and safest folks to be around.

  15. Statistics are perfect victims like the “professor.” They are unable to fight back when violently tortured.

  16. I guess that explains all the cops getting killed by their friends and family while off-duty. /sarc
    The only circumstance in which I am inclined to believe that having a gun makes somebody more likely to be killed by it than use it in self-defense is when it comes time for cops to clean their guns.

  17. The “bookending” in that article is classic:

    – Newtown
    – “Keeping guns out of the hands of homicidal maniacs”
    – Health reporter’s badly edited, non-fact-checked mischaracterization of a published study, irresponsibly using state-level data and conflating criminal enterprise committed with illegally owned guns with homicide by intimate acquaintance, that basically admits that it is inconclusive
    – Unqualified opinion by researcher speculating about the possible effectiveness of “we have to do something even if it won’t make a difference” laws targeting lawful gun owners, with such opinion having zero to do with the study
    – (Hasn’t happened yet, but inevitable) Hating on lawful gun owners by MDA hysterics and misinformed folks in the comments section, the vast majority of such hating having no connection to the study being referenced

  18. You know the best way to avoid being killed by a rival gang member? Not being a gang member in the first place.

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  19. So since John Lennon had met Mark Chapman earlier that day and autographed an album for him, was that a “non-stranger homicide”? I mean, if we’re going to count “rival gang members” as acquaintances and include pimps as “intimate partners”…

    • Yes and yes I believe. Certainly pimps would be classified that way.
      The system is usefull for what it’s intended. Figuring out how criminals are targeting victims and using that information to bust them. It’s not so useful as an accurate device to inform the polity about gun control. That is why the antis can use it.

  20. Don’t the majority of homicides involve people who know one another? Isn’t this a “study” of the known?

  21. As you rave on remember that you worked and paid taxes to fund this bs and the prof is probably making more than average and has cozy retirement and health care. Our tax dollars at work.

  22. So the takeaway then from this study is, if you live in a state with a high murder rate by people you know to have violent tendencies you are more likely to own a firearm for protection. Seems intuitive to me.

  23. As a resident of an island of red in the sea of blue that is Massachusetts, I think that I can say without fear of contradiction that Boston is home to some of the dumbest smart people in the known universe.

  24. Where the hell did he get his data from? He must have limited his data collection of data to the most gang infested neiborhoods in the world. What an ass.

    • Where the hell did he get that PICTURE from? Supposed to increase his credibility how…? Looks like something from “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” 🙂

  25. I have heard that states with more lenient gun laws have the highest numbers of gun homicides, don’t know how true that is though.

  26. Creating an arbitrary category of “non stranger” murders is intellectually corrupt. We already know there is zero correlation between gun ownership rates or gun control laws and total state homicde rates, the only rate that should count.

    I doubt the study considered the deterrent effect of gun ownership and murder. I’m also pretty confident that if you drilled down to county level data this would fall apart.

    And are these legal guns, or criminals with guns?

  27. In a recent study I just made up, it was found that in 99% of all gunshot incidents, shooters shot a friend, family member, loved one, aquantance, enemy, home invader, robber, rapist, homicidal maniac, or complete stranger. There was a 1% margin of error in this study.

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