(courtesy psychologytoday.com)

Psychology Today offers readers a look at “the psychological principles behind gun ownership.” I’d prefer a look at the psychological principles behind gun control advocacy (especially the influence of “projection”). But that would involve too much introspection for Doctors Gorman and Gorman [above]. It’s clear from the get-go that the husband-and-wife headshrinkers would like gun ownership included in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

One of the most striking conclusions of this research is that the person most likely to be shot by a gun at home is a member of the owner’s household, not an armed intruder.

We might expect this finding to dramatically change the discourse around gun ownership from one about the right to protect oneself from intruders to one about the complex issues, such as domestic violence and suicide, that lead to the bulk of gun deaths in this country.

These scientific facts, however, have not only failed to change the conversation but have also been largely unsuccessful at convincing people that on the whole gun ownership makes you less safe. In light of these failures, perhaps we should change the question from “how do we get guns away from people?” to “why do they want to own guns in the first place?”

If people have been given all the information they need to make a rational decision about gun ownership, why do they persist in arguing that guns will keep them safe?

The doctors Gorman ignore a simple fact: there are at least 55k estimated defensive gun uses per year. Other studies show over a million. Even if you compare the smaller number to the total number of deaths by firearm per year (~30k), some half of which are suicides, gun ownership is still a net positive.

All of which means the Gormans are basing their article on a deeply flawed, indeed highly biased thesis. You’d be forgiven for not reading a single word. So it’s just as well that PT considers brevity the soul of alleged insight.

In addition to our difficulty with risk perception, it is clear that we humans are terrible at changing our minds. Psychologists and neuroscientists have shown that our brains are wired to reject change.

Not only does confrontation with an idea that challenges a firmly held belief provoke activity in the fear centers of our brains but agreeing with people who share our beliefs actually stimulates the reward centers.

Hence, being confronted with facts about the dangers of gun ownership when we have already been convinced that owning a gun will make us safer may actually cause our fear centers to fire, producing ferocious resistance. On the contrary, satisfying our pre-conceived notion that gun ownership will make us safer is actually pleasurable.

If the Gorman duo reckon Americans who defend their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms find arguing the case pleasurable, they should spend a little time at the range. Talk about satisfaction!

After comparing gun ownership to cigarette smoking, the Gorman duo end their PC rant with a plea to armchair psychologists to ask the “why” rather than the “how” of gun ownership. Until they do, “we will not be able to avert potentially dangerous decisions that put all of us at risk.”

As jpfo.org reported, “According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), gang homicides accounted for roughly 8,900 of 11,100 gun murders in both 2010 and 2011. How about asking why so many urban youths join gangs? As the Dixie Chicks sing, there’s your trouble.

131 Responses to Psychology Today: Why People Buy Guns

      • I had a coworker once ask me if shooting USPSA matches every month was expensive. I bet him it was cheaper than golf, his preferred pastime. We sat down and figured up the entry cost of a middle of the road set up (clubs, bag, proper attire, etc vs gun and gear) and the recurring cost of practicing and competing. The entry cost was close enough to call it even while the recurring cost for golf was much higher.

        Now 3gun on the other hand… entry is definitely much higher than golf. Recurring may be the same or higher, it would really depend on how much live fire practice you do.

        • Be fair. Golf also gets expensive, if you choose to compete on a different continent every weekend. With shooting, if you just compete with yourself, it can be VERY inexpensive, especially if you choose to seek ballistic perfection through handloading. And still great fun!

        • Check it again. He said golf, not guns, was more expensive in the first place, as far as recurring costs go. No need to leave the continent or even the city.

        • I paid $100 for my golf clubs, $25 for a round (with cart), and wear the same clothes that I do if I were going to the range.

          Golf is A LOT cheaper, AND I can drink and play golf at the same time.

    • When’s the last time that you met or heard of a shrink that was a Constitutional conservative? They’re as rare as hen’s teeth. Most of them are card carrying leftists who believe in a fantasy world based on pseudo science.

      • Indubitably. I’m sure that’s a statement backed up by considerable evidence and not a baseless fabrication from a ‘fantasy world’.

        • Greg is correct, in my experience with dozens of shrinks. They are bat-shit crazy for the most part. Some of the oddest ducks you will meet. Fifth/fifty that they odder than their patients.

  1. People like them is the reason why I own firearms. Spite.

    Next time anyone says “You are more likely to shoot yourself…blah blah” just say, “You are more likely to drown in your own pool if you own one than not” or “You are more likely to be killed in a car wreck if you own a car than not”, etc etc.

    • The study they’re likely referring to, without citing, was by Kleck (I think). He “proved” that houses that have guns are more likely to have shootings. And he didn’t let pesky facts or basic cause vs. effect logic get in his way.
      He surveyed houses that had shootings in a crime-ridden neighborhood and found that their gun ownership rate was very high. He surveyed the houses that didn’t have shootings and discovered that their gun ownership rate was much lower. Oddly enough, the vast majority of those household members shot were shot by an external gun, not one kept in the home.
      So what he really proved is that the people getting shot at in these crime-ridden neighborhoods (i.e. gang members) were more likely to own guns than their peaceful neighbors.
      But even though his evidence showed B -> A, he claimed A -> B in his results. And once a soundbite is born, no amount of evidence will kill it. So a gun in the home is more likely to be used against you than an intruder, 40% of all gun sales happen without a background check, and 92% of Americans support stricter gun laws.

      • Not Kleck; he’s a criminologist who has done some really solid work on estimating guns in self-defense vs. criminal usage.

        Kellerman is the culprit, and he actually repudiated his own findings later as the result of flawed methodology. But the statist progs like his spurious numbers too much to give them up.

      • I am sure you are right. I merely assumed that they were padding the statistics. They claimed that “One of the most striking conclusions of this research is that the person most likely to be shot by a gun at home is a member of the owner’s household, not an armed intruder.” This is inconsistent with your statement that most are people shot with external guns, but is still false. “Shot by a gun at home” “by a member of the owner’s household” would, I presume, include all suicides in which a gun was used, which is a number nearly twice as high as the murder rate, and would also presumably include all of the domestic violence killings, i.e., the 2000 or so non-gang related homicides. So the statement is literally “true” but entirely misleading since it lumps in the apples with the oranges to come to a preconceived conclusion. And of course it does not, as others have commented, include all of the defensive gun uses in the home. So the truth of what they are saying is that people who own guns are more likely to use a gun, or have a member of their family use that gun, to commit suicide, which is an issue that has nothing to do with the principle question of “risk,” since the risk is of the suicide’s own making. But to jump to the conclusion that guns cause suici8des, I think even these idiots would agree, is a road too far.

        • The anti-gun researchers linking guns and suicide also tend to ignore the fact that many guns used for suicides are recently purchased, presumably just for that purpose. These people analyzed their options and chose firearms as more certain and less painful than the many other options available to those who wish to kill themselves.

    • At various times in my life, I’ve collected mechanical watches, camera gear, stereo equipment, tools, and guns. Also have two old “money pit” sports cars I like to tinker with (good way to justify tools). I like guns for the same reason I like the other stuff — I like mechanical toys. But I agree, there is a “spite” aspect to buying guns lacking in the others. The minute somebody tells me I can’t or shouldn’t own something, I wanna go out and buy it just as a big FU.

    • There is one MAJOR flaw in the frequent contention that “you are more likely to be killed in your home by your own gun…” They always include the suicides. They never consider how many of those suicides would have occurred by other means if the gun was not in the home and it is obviously impossible to calculate how many suicides would NOT have occurred if there had not been a gun in the home.

      It is too much to ask, I suppose, for a study that quantifies the number of people actually shot by their own gun in their own home as a percentage of actual murders, or even those who are shot under those circumstances who do not die.

  2. Argument based on a false premise is false. You are not more likely to be shot with a gun then to use your gun to defend yourself. A scientist that ignores inconvenient data is not a scientist, he’s a politician.

      • Yep. No ‘science” in pshrinkology. Even less than in “man caused global warming/climate change/cooling”.

    • The entire premise of that argument 1) ignores any and all data on the frequency of defensive gun uses and 2) relies almost entirely on intentional suicide figures, but always neglects to mention this. You get people like my father who spit the sound bite back and say, “statistically you’re less safe having a gun in your house” and then switch to “oh, well that changes things” when I inform him that 2/3 of those incidents are intentional suicides. Everyone assumes that “risk” due to gun ownership is unintentional risk — accidents or having the gun used against you by a criminal or family member [criminal] and THAT’S what’s scary. The folks pushing the anti-gun agenda want it to be scary, of course. When you learn that it’s typically self-inflicted, it’s no longer a concern. It’s now in your control to either kill yourself or not. We aren’t afraid of things that are in our control, even if they’re dangerous. I can choose not to skydive or do other risky things just like I can choose not to shoot myself.

      We’ve also seen time and time again that suicide rates appear to be largely independent of method. Access to a firearm means that it’s highly likely to be used in a suicide and, indeed, the U.S. has the highest firearms-related suicide rate because of that, but it doesn’t seem to affect the actual suicide rate. Of course, the antis don’t care about suicides. Or about murders. They care about “gun suicides” and “gun murders” and “gun violence” (into which they lump suicides). Sure, the U.S. has a pretty darn low suicide rate among developed nations and many totally gun-free countries like Japan and South Korea have suicide rates orders of magnitude higher, but since none of those are committed with a gun we apparently should emulate them and we’d all be better off. And they mean it. They’d happily take a higher suicide rate or a higher murder rate if it simply meant less of them were done with a gun. Which is absolutely horrible.

      But it suits their cause and they’ll go on telling us how a gun in the home puts us at a higher risk of death while purposefully neglecting to mention that most of that risk is intentionally self-inflicted and, if we’ve decided to commit suicide, we’re almost exactly as likely to go through with it whether or not we have access to a gun anyway. Talk about pre-conceived notions and firmly held beliefs! These people are so committed to “guns = bad” that they can’t even recognize the fact that they don’t seem to affect suicide rates or murder rates at all. In their minds, every single suicide or murder in which a gun was used would not have happened at all if the gun didn’t exist, and everyone would be a shiny happy person. It’s literally insane to think that. And the stats and the studies bear this out. Yet we’re the ones supposed to make a “rational decision?” How about they stop sweeping half of the data under the table?

      • The other key phrase (besides self-inflicted) that keeps being omitted from articles such as this is, “legally owned guns.” Remove suicides and households where the gun was not legally possessed, and the likelihood of a firearm being used against a member of the owner’s household drops precipitously.

  3. We don’t have children, don’t have an impulse control problem, are not involved with crime (other than the Orwellian type), and are not suicidal, so what is the likelihood that my wife and I will be shot with our own guns?

    • The damn things are evil. They’re possessed by demons. They’ll take your soul and make you stomp kittens. 🙂

      These 2 “scientists” would have been tying heretics to stakes in an earlier time.

      • They would have been “Witchsmellers pursuivant” following the latest scientific trends in King James 1st’s time.

  4. These morons who claim you are “50x more likely to get shot if you have a gun in your house” or whatever always fail to comprehend that
    1)You keep all the guns locked up in an impenetrable metal box when not taking them to a range or defending yourself and your home.
    2)The gun(s) (be they multiple silenced short-barreled lightning-linked AR15s or a 9mm Series 80, or a fuddly coach gun) that you have designated as your “defensive weapons” should remain entirely under your control, (holstered, slung, or in-hand) when they are not in the metal box.
    This is what “common sense gun control” really means. No inspections, no bans, and no “safe storage” BS. Home-carry if you will, or get a Rapid-Safe or Gunbox, and keep everything else locked up and you shouldn’t have any problems. Heck, if you don’t have kids or an abusive SO (protip: LEAVE him or her if he or she is abusive) then you should never have anything to worry about and can keep all your guns lying about the house without anything to worry about. Libbies love “statistics” but fail completely when you put the real statistics into context and debunk their pseudoscience.

    • No, no. Doctor’s kill and maim far more people than guns do.

      But what about all the lives they save? (Taking a cue from Shannon) That never happens. 😉

    • JimPA,

      How about this: a 30-ish year old female married to a 60-ish year old male is neither healthy nor normal … and tells us that the female has significant father issues. And to make matters worse, the 60-ish year old male knows this and took advantage of the situation anyway.

      So we have a husband and wife team consisting of a woman with significant mental health issues and a man who is a scoundrel. Tell me again why I should consider anything coming from their “professional” side?

      • A big age gap does not make him a scoundrel. The older I get, and still find young women attractive the more I feel that way.

        On the other hand, if he took advantage of his position, or her emotional instability, that would make him a scoundrel. Likewise, if he dumped his faithful and loving wife of 20-30 years in order to hook up with his hot young student, that would make him a scoundrel.

        Therefore, I do not know if he is a scoundrel (in regard to his marriage). I do believe him (and her) to be a scoundrel for promoting his antigun and anti-freedom pseudoscience (almost certainly bought and paid for by the establishment) as legitimate research.

      • ^^^ This……. She should do a study on why moderately attractive women have such pathetic “daddy issues” that they marry someone as old(if not older) than “Dear Old Dad”…….. And; NEVER call a PhD a “Dr”; that pisses them off more than anything else in the world….. 🙂

        • Pedantic note:
          In England (the mother country) a person with a PhD is called “Doctor”.
          A person with a medical degree is called “Physician”
          A person who dispensed drugs via what we call a pharmacy is a “Chemist”.

    • The wife is a Ph.D. psychologist. The husband is an M.D. psychiatrist and chairman of the Columbia University Dept. of Psychiatry for the past twenty-five years. May he talk to you now?

      • Chairman of the department since the time his wife was seated in a high-chair?

        Fancy credentials don’t make politically motivated hack research any more credible.

        • Oh I think they’re both hacks and whores, but that’s not the point of my post. The OP discounted this duo’s views because they’re only psychologists and not medical doctors, suggesting that if they were they’d have credibility with him. Well.

          Turns out, one of the actually is a physician. So there.

          I’m just illustrating the importance of getting the facts and thinking before speaking. That has nothing to do with these two and their politically-driven drivel.

      • MD? Is he qualified to operate on or treat an actual physical ailment? Or just in the rooster waving voodoo business?

        • A registered psychiatrist needs to be an M.D. (all those meds they’re prescribing), but a psychologist doesn’t. Don’t let either of them anywhere near anyone you love. Unless they have obvious mental issues. Even then, choose with care.

  5. One of the most striking conclusions of this research is that the person most likely to be drown in a pool at home is a member of the owner’s household.

    We might expect this finding to dramatically change the discourse around pool ownership from one about the right to swim in one’s own backyard to one about the complex issues, such as unsecured gates and slipping accidents, that lead to the bulk of pool deaths in this country.

    These scientific facts, however, have not only failed to change the conversation but have also been largely unsuccessful at convincing people that on the whole pool ownership makes you more likely to drown. In light of these failures, perhaps we should change the question from “how do we get pools away from people?” to “why do they want to own pools in the first place?”

  6. “Even if you compare the smaller number to the total number of firearms-related homicides per year (40k), some half of which are suicides,”

    I think “homicides” should be “gun-related deaths”.

    • Yep. Suicides are not homicides.

      Also, I thought gun deaths were at 32k . According to the FBI UCR for the last reported year, homicides were around 8k. That number continues to decline, in spite of, or because of, increased gun ownership.

        • A pedantic note: Utes are a native American tribe located in Utah and Colorado. Obama’s inner-city “children” are yoots.

        • In Australasia (Oz and NZ) a ute is a pickup truck. GM are trying to force the “truck” Americanism on us, but they can go fuck themselves, harshly and severely.

  7. Well duh, gun ownership DOES substantially increase the risk of a gun accident or suicide by gun. Ownership of a car also substantially increases the risk of an auto accident. Ownership of a knife, ditto the risk of cuts.

    We own guns DESPITE the risk of accident, the difficulty of safe storage, because either the benefits now outweigh the risks, or one day they might. Because if you every really need a gun, nothing else will do.

    In the meantime, guns are fun! Sport shooting, plinking, competitions, hunting, even just collecting. Does that even factor for people like this? Or is it just that reptilian “whatever makes us safest is best” mentality?

  8. Just more of the same crap you’d get from any other progressive: “You’re too stupid to pick your own lifestyle choices, especially if they’re at odds with our beliefs. Conform or die.”

    • Bryan1980,

      Actually, I will make a very simple argument that I, in fact, know very well what is best for myself. Here goes:
      (1) There are no known risk factors in my household for suicide.
      (2) There are no known risk factors in my household for domestic abuse.
      (3) There are no known risk factors in my household for a negligent firearm injury.
      And when I say there are no known risk factors, that does not mean that I have no idea what risk factors are and have no idea whether I have such risk factors. It means that I know what the risk factors are and they don’t exist in my household.

      Now that we got that out of the way, we can say with certainty that the risk of a family member using one of our firearms to harm someone in our home is statistically zero. How about the risk of violent attack and needing to use a firearm for self-defense? Well, violent crime victims reported more than 1 million violent crimes to law enforcement agencies in the United States in the most recent year for which we have data. That means, on average, that I have about a 1 in 300 chance of being the victim of a violent crime. Last time I checked, 1/300 is MUCH larger than 0 (the risk that someone uses a firearm to harm someone in my home). That being the case, there is a much greater probability that my household will use a firearm to protect rather than harm someone in our household.

      The husband and wife team have failed.

    • That is the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the photo, and read that they are husband and wife. I was just about ready to comment on it, and thought I better read through the comments first to see if anybody else had mentioned it.

      I spent five years in grad. school, and saw a number of such relationships. Sometimes they were actually great matches between people with very similar interests. Other times, a degree of “home wrecking” was involved.

      They ask “why people buy guns”. I have another, and perhaps more interesting question. Here it is. Why would a reasonably cute young woman such as this marry an old broken down old professor?

      Unkind personal attack – perhaps

      • I assumed she was his daughter till informed otherwise. So, yeah looks like the prof was raiding the student body until one decided to stick around for more than one semesters grade!

  9. There are literally an infinite number of reasons people own firearms. Defense of oneself or others is just one. I feel it’s my patriotic duty as a citizen to own at least one. Same reason as to why I vote or why I give my opinion. Exercising our freedoms help keep us free. When people stop voting, owning firearms and speaking out, history will repeat itself. Anyone that knows human history knows why people want to own guns. And should.

  10. Psychology is a pseudo science. The only way they could come up with anything meaningful to say is to apply pseudo statistics. Empirical data? None.

    Might as well be climate scientists for as much actual science went into this.

  11. ANYBODY OF ANY CONSEQUENCE FING ASK??? Didn’t think so.

    New article in “GUNS TODAY” why idiot psychologists think people are listening to them. Narcissistic putzs.

  12. Its a great tool to add to the toolbox that allows me flexibility to protect myself and family. Didn’t need a $250/hr shrink to get to the root of that mystery.

  13. “One of the most striking conclusions of this research is that the person most likely to be shot by a gun at home is a member of the owner’s household, not an armed intruder.”

    That sounds like the debunked “three times fallacy” from the 1993 New England Journal of Medicine article by Arthur Kellermann, et al.

    Ever since it was published, journalists have seized on its main conclusion (see below), condensing it to this: “Having a gun in your home makes you three times more likely to be a homicide victim”. Hence, the “three times” fallacy, which has been repeated endlessly ever since in the media and by gun prohibitionists. It’s based on this conclusion from the abstract of the article, which actually claims an odds ratio of 2.7, not 3:

    “After controlling for these characteristics, we found that keeping a gun in the home was strongly and independently associated with an increased risk of homicide (adjusted odds ratio, 2.7; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 4.4).”

    Kellerman’s article has fatal flaws that have been roundly criticized by numerous commentators:

    1) Inappropriate use of the case control method. This is an epidemiology research tool used to roughly identify possible connections between population characteristics and pathogens. It is not conclusive, and is not designed to study criminology questions such as firearm crime. But using the case control method, an epidemiology tool, makes crazy sense in the context of the public health’s politically motivated tactic of “reframing the debate” to consider guns a deadly virus.

    2) Generalization from a highly crime-prone inner city population of people who were murdered in their own homes to American gun owners in general.

    Arthur Przebinda, MD
    Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership

  14. As jpfo.org reported, “According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), gang homicides accounted for roughly 8,900 of 11,100 gun murders in both 2010 and 2011.

    The linked CDC report doesn’t even mention gangs, and the linked JPFO article doesn’t offer any other source. Looks pretty fishy.

    • You see, there’s a clear correlation between carrying a full-auto M4 and being injured or killed by an IED, versus the control group of unarmed 2nd-graders. Therefore the obvious conclusion is that carrying an M4 causes IED strikes, and disarming our troops overseas will render Afghanistan as safe as Mrs. Murphy’s Story Circle. At least, that’s what my advanced degree in psychology taught me.

  15. People buy guns because spears are dumb and are for posers. ;^)

    Somewhat more seriously, …
    “We might expect this finding to dramatically change the discourse around gun ownership…”

    I “expect” that this “change in discourse” was the prewired outcome and not a “finding.” That is, the doctors likely has a goal in mind and picked some ready figures to support it. There are too many times when a homeowner hears a noise outside or comes home to a burgled household. Of course every person has a right to peace and self defense. The shrinks probably don’t get it, but not everyone lives in a high-rise with a door guard.

    • “People buy guns because spears are dumb and are for posers. ;^)”

      from the guy who was all upset that Alberta banned spear hunting

  16. A good case in point, the article didn’t change any of your minds on the subject. Claiming that 20,000 annual gun suicides is a “net positive” for gun ownership demonstrates considerable blind bias for ownership. It’s important to consider the mindsets of individuals that purchase firearms for illogical reasons because it’s part of a set of factors that eventually leads that person to commit suicide with them. Suicide ideation is a big symptom of mental illness. You might not agree with the conclusions but we should absolutely ask the questions of how these things are interrelated. A firearm, empirically, is just a mechanical tool. What is important for this topic is recognizing that it also carries a symbolic representation of power. The question is why people actively seek out that perceived power and if their reasoning is misdirected or solution is misattributed. The answer to “feeling” powerless for too many misguided people is to “use” a gun. If you want to stem the mentally ill from using firearms for random violence and avoid blanket legislation against the 2nd Amendment this is the direction both advocates and detractors have to follow.

    • I don’t think anyone here would suggest that the number of suicides is a net positive for anything but unless you’re willing to also remove all high places, dangerous medications, bathtubs, ropes, kitchen knives, swimming pools… from society in order to prevent suicide, your assertion is rather silly.

      And if you ARE willing to remove all those things, you may be mentally deranged. /;-)

  17. “…These scientific facts, however, have not only failed to change the conversation but have also been largely unsuccessful at convincing people that on the whole gun ownership makes you less safe.”

    You might want to pay attention to that large lack of success, it probably means something. You might want to go back and take a look at your ‘scientific facts’ because if they were truly facts then your success rate would be much different.

    Just saying.

    • they cant, because…

      “Not only does confrontation with an idea that challenges a firmly held belief provoke activity in the fear centers of our brains but agreeing with people who share our beliefs actually stimulates the reward centers.”

      the irony is just delicious.

  18. Psychology Today is a rag. Always has been, getting published in it means you have written an article that is not necessarily peer reviewed or meaningful.

    Leave this stuff to Criminologists please (I know, I’m biased) 🙂

    • I used to read it occasionally in junior high school. Apparently, their level of discourse hasn’t really changed over the years.

  19. “All of which means the Gormans are basing their article on a deeply flawed, indeed highly biased thesis.”

    They know that the statistics they are quoting are bald-faced lies. They are simply two leftist Socialist-Nationalist who have an agenda and they are using their topic of study as an excuse to extinguish their opposition. This is not that different than the Nazi’s using phrenology to claim that Jews were sub-humans or the Nazi’s using the eugenics movement as an excuse to murder millions of people. Unfortunately, history shows that if these kinds of people are granted the power they seek, they will continue to follow it to its brutal conclusion…just like the Nazi’s. (And yes, I compared them to fascists. I studied history rather extensively in college, I am an avid history buff, and I call it as I see it. Do a deep dive into the beliefs of the Nazi inner circle at the tail end of the Weimer Republic. It is scary how similar they were to today’s Progressives.)

  20. Ladies and gentlemen, we are approaching our last station for The Magic Kingdom of Contrived Realities – gateway to the themed lands like Boulevard of Liberal Normalcy Bias, The Courtyard of Utopian Delusion, The Island of Safe Spaces, Treasure Cove of Moral High Ground, The Lost River of Logical Fallacies, Micro-aggression Plaza and my favorite, Tomorrowland of the Social Justice Warrior. Thinking is not permitted in the Magic Kingdom, except in designated areas only reachable by deductive, analytical reasoning. Please consult your guide map, or ask a neurotic, neo-fascist for bad directions.
    We are arriving at our destination – please hold on to the handrail and your sugar-free, non-fat, hazelnut soy latte until the monorail stops completely. Please collect your sophistry and obtuse hysterics, and take all nonsensical false cause and anecdotal arguments by the hand as you exit. Thank you for traveling with us.

  21. I am surprised that people still use the Kellerman study after Kellerman admitted that his conclusions really are that having a felon in the house is the factor in determining if someone is murdered in the home. There are those pesky suicides but dollars to donuts you can bet pair supports physcian assisted suicide.

  22. Well, the first that pop into my head before jumping to the psychology website was of course common left-wing agitprop, and political propaganda. As I arrived, I skimmed about and noticed that these folks write about “Global Mental Health !” Then, Bingo! I got it ! They mouthpieces for “Big Brother/NWO-EU /One-World Global Governance types ” because their Globalists! Duh!

    • I have worked with and hired numerous shrinks. Only one was what I would consider normal, and he got his MD in the Bahamas.

  23. I’m not really seeing anything about why people purchase guns. I’m seeing an article opinion piece about why they shouldn’t purchase guns…

  24. People buy guns for many different reasons. What really interests me is why people pay attention to dimwits like the Gormans.

  25. It is free choice, These NWO Fascist types can go F**K themselves, if they get into a situation where they need a firearm, I hope turn the other cheek works for them!

  26. Sorry, couldn’t handle it. I only got as far as “psychologists” talking to me about “scientific evidence” before I puked a little and had to quit reading. Psychology is pseudo-science, in reality simple superstitious nonsense, and here are TWO people advocating that the world should simply sit back and let *them* tell us what is the truth. See, I also am a psychologist, and my qualifications (absolutely none) are every bit as valid as theirs, possibly even more valid since I was not stupid enough to spend any money on my psych “education”, or tutoring on “scientific evidence”. Fortunately for you all, I don’t feel like telling you my real feelings on the subject.

    • When I was 18 I went to college and studied, among other things, Psychology. It was early in my first semester when I realized that Psychology is not actually any form of science. We were given a series of half-assed exercises in perception vs reality, but every time they tried to prove they had something, they proved they didn’t. They were a bunch of liars. But I did learn that I have perfect recall. Eventually I came to the conclusion that college was an employment program for incompetent academic hacks, as well as a kindergarten for over-privileged, over-aged adolescents who would have perished in the real world. So I grew up and got a job. All the skills I needed were provided by on the job training. This included pursuing cases in Court, so my intended Law degree would have been wasted too. BTW, I never lost a case, and had over 30 successes in court. And I have never needed the services of a Psychiatrist. Others may feel differently. And the reason I bought firearms was because I had a cataract operation and could finally see properly for the first time in my life. It was a family tradition, and I love it. My house is as safe as it’s always been. And I don’t expect my firearms to wake up in the night and decide to do me in. I sleep well.

  27. “Not only does confrontation with an idea that challenges a firmly held belief provoke activity in the fear centers of our brains but agreeing with people who share our beliefs actually stimulates the reward centers.”

    Don’t they see that this applies to anti-gun zealots far more than it applies to gun owners?

  28. Once you have universal, single-payer (government) healthcare, every aspect of your life can be controlled as a “health issue”. This commentary by mental health people is just more indication that the government will eventually control guns and gun owners via “health issues”.

  29. Not that this makes their article any more or less valid, but he got his Bachelors’ degree in 1973. She got her Bachelor’s degree in 2007. They graduated college 34 years apart. I *really* hope he’s her father.

  30. The most telling and important line from the article was missed — ” Buying a gun IS an IRRATIONAL act. ” —
    Period . The ‘ experts ‘ have spoken. ….. If you argue , you MUST be crazy , …. ha-ha , nice try.
    Go back and read it.

    • As psychologists, they ought to know that almost every decision we make is largely irrational. People are irrational. Reason is like one of those little birds that rides on top of an elephant, thinking that it’s telling the elephant what to do.

  31. Psychologically, I’d say that most people who own guns, especially for home defense, have made a balanced trade-off calculation, notably un-stampeeded by the (emotional) discomfort of having a powerful object around, the anticipated (emotional) discomfort should they have to use it in earnest, and the (emotional) discomfort of the risk in their situation. People in neighborhoods with thugs, predators, terrorists and crazies don’t have the luxury of “emotional” responses. They have to think clearly, or suffer real harm.

    Along with trade-offs, these people also show a nuanced understanding, making nuanced decisions. For example: “A gun in the home of a thug or etc. is not a gun in my home, as I’m not a thug.”

    The diminishment by implication of people who choose to own guns in the quotes above — that they’re irrational, that they are indistinguishable, all, from the worst of gun owners — is really pretty crappy behavior. There’s a term in the study of psychology — several, actually — for the stuff that goes on in that article. None of it healthy.

    I almost hope the twin projectors get what it seems they wish. Trying to list “gun ownership” in the DSM would throw this nonsense right into the distinction between *behavior* and *pathology*. One symptom commonly identified in the DSM under various names is the inability to distinguish between *behavior* and *pathology.* Not all who wander are lost. That’s a symptom of various *pathologies*.

    Inability to distinguish agency, for example assigning action and therefore risk to inanimate objects (like guns) is another common symptom of various *pathologies*. Colloquially it’s called “magical thinking.”

  32. “One of the most striking conclusions of this research is that the person most likely to be shot by a gun at home is a member of the owner’s household, not an armed intruder.”

    Let me stop you right there.

    Bullsh!t. Not that it isn’t true, but B.S. that they were struck by this finding.

    One of fundamental factors guiding human behavior is plain old “propinquity”, as psychologists call it, or simple proximity, as the unpretentious call it.

    Physical closeness is a precursor for romantic relationships, transference of cultural values, social cues, as well as interpersonal disputes. There’s nothing striking, shocking, surprising or in any way interesting in the fact that people in close proximiy and regular contact with each other would constitute the majority of observed interactions.

    Their finding warrants, at best, a big fat “Duh!”, and that’s being charitable. What they’re really doing is prostituting their scientific credentials and feigning shock, (shock, I tell you!) at this patently obvious observation.

    Then comes the infamous dot-dot-dot argument (I coined that phrase years ago still hasn’t caught on), whereby they make an obvious observation, then jump to a panoply of unproven conclusions about causes. Meanwhile, they fill the space in between, where the evidence should be, with just ellipses, and invite you to believe every fact-free assertion on the basis of their expertise alone. No, no, no, Gormans. It won’t do.

  33. I love how anti-gunners always use “fear” like it’s a bad word. They love to point fingers at the gun community and imply that we’re a bunch of terrified children who suckle our guns like pacifiers. I’m sure it gives them an overwhelming sense of satisfaction because in calling us weak for owning guns, they in turn, can get a brief (and false) sense of courage for not owning them. Are we to believe that these people are incapable of feeling fear?

    If “fear” compels me to own a gun, then it is the same fear that compels me to use a seat belt when I drive; the same fear that compels me to keep a fire extinguisher in my kitchen. If that’s fear, then yes, I admit that I do have some fear. But if you think that I should feel ashamed for having it, I’ll remind you that I’ve lived a very happy, healthy life with seat belts, fire extinguishers, and guns.

    • Yes, the people you describe know real “fear”. It is obvious in all their attempts to believe it is possible to totally remove guns from the earth. They fear guns and gun owners. Everything they do is out of fear. Not for you, or any other gun owner, but fear for their own fantasy lives (the fantasy that a risk-free life is the norm).

    • Yea, we’re either pathetic, scared children or ultra-violent insurrectionists. Well which one is it? Kind of reminds me of that Dr. Spock meme that goes something like, “Logic dictates: if gun-owners were as violent as anti-gunners say they are, then there would be no anti-gunners.”

  34. Since when do we have 40k firearm homicides a year in the United States!? It you include suicides (which you seem to be doing), the number is around 32,500. When you pull out suicides, which seems appropriate to arrive at a homicides number, the number is around 11,200. My understanding is that even that number includes justifiable shootings like self-defense scenarios.

    What gives?

    • “What gives?” ????

      If you do not have a firearm in the domicile, your chance of committing suicide in your home, using a gun, approaches zero.

      If you do not have a firearm in the domicile, your chance of injury from accident/negligence from handling a gun approaches zero,
      domicile, the chances of anyone using that gun to commit suicide, or mishandle approaches zero.

      More guns equals more shootings. No guns means no shootings (forget the criminal element. you don’t have anything to do with those people, and you only hang around “the right people”, so your chances of being killed or injured by a criminal is near zero).

      See how that works?

  35. Hence, being confronted with facts about the dangers of gun ownership when we have already been convinced that owning a gun will make us safer may actually cause our fear centers to fire, producing ferocious resistance. On the contrary, satisfying our pre-conceived notion that gun ownership will make us safer is actually pleasurable.

    I wonder if the Gormans are capable of recognizing this mechanism at work in their own behavior. Their anti-gun psychoanalysis is really just mental masturbation. They avoid confronting the potential falsehood of their cherished beliefs and make themselves feel better by demonstrating their own virtue to their like-minded peers.

    When I bought my first pistol, I wondered if I had made a dangerously irrational decision — I used to believe the risk assessment peddled by the Gormans and their ilk. But I did a lot of research, and found that their claim is absolutely bogus. Unsupported by the facts. Irrational, you might say.

    What I found out is that the risk is not in the object. The risk is in the behavior of the people who possess it — and being a reasonably rational, peaceful person who doesn’t consort with criminals, I’m in far less danger of “gun death” than I am from (say) cars or baseball bats or rogue psychologists.

    Physicians, heal thyselves.

    • Some would say you entirely missed the point. Rational, safe, responsible, reasonable people with guns are an existential threat…they might snap at any moment and go on a shooting spree. So, question: “Is it possible that every person on the planet could “snap” and go on a killing spree?” Answer: “No one can prevent every person on the planet from “snapping”. Rejoinder: “I was right all along. People with guns might snap and go on killing sprees.”

      • “Is it possible that every person on the planet could “snap” and go on a killing spree?” No.

        It’s possible that any given person could snap at any moment, yes. With or without a gun. And yet somehow, 324 million-plus U.S. citizens manage not to snap every day. On a global basis, virtually all human beings go their entire lives without snapping and going on killing sprees.

        When it comes to guns, the problem is also the cure; the same item that could take an innocent life also routinely saves lives when in the hands of the innocent. The risk is individual and variable, not existential. Fear is also individual. (That would be my rejoinder, anyway.)

        If projection of disproportionate fear is the entire point, then I guess I did miss it.

        • Yes, projection of fears is what the anti-gun children are all about.

          “I am a reasonable person.”
          “Guns are dangerous; they kill innocent people.”
          “I don’t have/want/need a gun.”
          “Because I, a reasonable person do not want a gun, no other reasonable person wants one either.”
          “If you want a gun, you are unreasonable, if not unhinged.”
          “If reasonable people don’t need/want guns, unreasonable people should never be allowed to have a gun.”

  36. If you want to talk about risk perception, then why do people want to drive automobiles? Based on actual vs. perceived risk that is where their tirade should be placed. But then, they don’t have an agenda against automobiles.

  37. “If people have been given all the information they need to make a rational decision about gun ownership, why do they persist in arguing that guns will keep them safe?”

    Probably because they have been given all the information they need to make a rational decision about gun ownership.

  38. I buy guns because they are all-around awesome and cool. The fact that they can save my life is one contributing factor to their overall coolness/awesomeness. No mental illness (family or personal), drug use, criminal behavior or children in my house…so the odds of me or the wife hurting each other with them are negligible. Their theory may have some validity for a family with a wife-beater husband and clinically depressed, drug-addicted child, but not for my family.

  39. My Brain is the gun!

    And if somebody brakes in, i get his gun.. simple and that is it.
    And for the rest, a normal 357 Magnum does it…if.
    You have the control..nothing else… tell it is cool.. boylipantiwettsweater.. 🙂

    it s made to kill in first shot…nothing else..

  40. I got a Bachelors degree in Psychology. I got the degree mainly because I started it. But by the middle of my second year, it became clear that the whole field is a rat-maze. First of all, a whole lot of psychologists enter the field because they have emotional problems and want to get themselves fixed.

    But the thing that killed it for me was that in psychology you have several different mutually exclusive theories about human thought & behavior that are all considered equally valid. How can anything like that be a science?!?

    I blame intellectuals. If Sigmund Freud had posited his theories to a pub full of half drunk guys, he’d have gotten his teeth knocked in. “Wot? You say I want to have sex with me mum?!? Have at you!!!” Instead, he posited his theories to intellectuals and academics, and the rest is history.

  41. Here you go, answers every single question you have about right/left wing politics, and basically makes it plain that the left needs to have it’s voting rights taken away before they can get us all killed{no, REALLY, they subconsciously are trying to get us KILLED to remove us from the gene pool}.

    The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics: How Conservatism and Liberalism Evolved Within Humans Paperback – July 17, 2014
    by Anonymous Conservative (Author)
    https://www.amazon.com/Evolutionary-Psychology-Behind-Politics-Conservatism/dp/0982947933/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472002674&sr=8-1&keywords=psychology+behind+politics+selection+theory

  42. This is a fun game. Let’s examine why they married each other. He married for looks and youth and she married for the will.

    • Too genetically similar to be anything other than father/daughter. So he bred his own echo chamber. The only way to find anyone dumb enough to agree with him.

  43. Those of you who are bashing Psychologists, would you hold the same opinion of those Psychologists who assist private citizens or LE in recovery from the aftermath of critical incidents? Who provide testimony on behalf of murdered LE when the shooter is up for retrial because shooter’s state has eliminated the death penalty shooter so richly deserved? Who provide hard data to assist a family with understanding the effects of brain injury in a 13 year old boy secondary to being the only survivor of an airplane accident? Who assist a family in lobbying a school district for permission to allow a child with cystic fibrosis to manage his/her own medication administration? Who provide LE with evidence-based suicide intervention to forestall impending suicide? Who assist individuals recovering from heart attacks in developing evidence based physical fitness training protocols; or, in developing strength training protocols to aid in aged individuals recovery from hip replacement surgery?

    It looks to me from reading the posts above that many of you have a very narrow understanding of what Psychologists do and how they can contribute to the welfare of many persons who seek out such assistance. And notice I have not mentioned those Psychologists who contribute to the understanding of the neuropsychological and behavioral correlates of deadly force encounters or who examine the role played by sleep deprivation in the context of length of time of a shift tour; the efficacy of direction of shift rotation; or who look at the effects of psychophysiological cascade secondary to police work on the addictive response TO police work and it’s correlated effect on the intimate relationships the LE is involved with, married to, etc. For those of you who have an open enough mind, do a Google Scholar search and see what comes up when you look for Police Psychologists. I’m old enough to have been blessed with the opportunity to have profited from knowing Ted Blau, PhD. I can further assure you that many of us who work with the above issues do so at either pro bono or at reduced rate and refuse to take insurance out of concern for the impact on the person’s privacy rights HIPAA notwithstanding. Last, for those of you with an open enough mind, I can guarantee you that we have more than a Bachelor’s degree, indeed a Master’s degree (on occasion two ), a rigorous dissertation with open defense, and many of us have also completed Post-Doctoral work subsequent to 4 to 6 years of PhD and Internship. So, yes, we are entitled to appellation “Doctor.” (Although as I tell the members of my PD, you can call me anything you want, PROVIDED you mention my name in passing.) LOL

  44. So help me out here. Your article for some bizarre reason links to the JPFO as a citation that 8,900 of our murders are gang related. The JPFO then links to an enormous CDC pdf as IT’S citation for that claim, and word searching and browsing that very CDC PDF I can’t seem to find a shred of evidence for this claim.

    If this is true, that’s very useful information in the debate. I’m frankly skeptical of this because why not link to the specific page or directly quote the source instead of just linking to a 52 page small font study that barely covers gun homicides at all other than giving the 11,000 number?

    Can anybody help me find this specific data point?

    • Since i can’t edit. TTAG also links to the pdf that doesn’t seem to support this claim in any way.
      I read every section where the word homicide appears, the word gang appears zero times in the pdf.

    • The best attempts i can find to quantify the statistics of gang related homicide numbers, which are not tracked nationally but only in a select few cities appears to be from the national gang center and the national youth gang center. Both clarify that there’s such little data out there and ZERO national data so a ton of assumptions have to be made to come up with any figure, they’re being honest.

      One puts the figure at 2000 murders a year and one puts it at roughly 15% of all murders nationally.

      The JPFO just appears to be straight up lying. We need better arguments than this guys.

  45. 983777 1084Ive just been talking to Sean Gallagher about his upcoming Instant Income Cash Machine course, and hes been kind enough to fill me in on a couple of details regarding his upcoming course. 158314

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