The Trace is a pseudo-journalistic enterprise backed by gun control crusader Michael Bloomberg. Despite its supposed aversion to “fake news,” members of the mainstream media have taken to republishing The Trace’s disarmament disinformation, or basing their own coverage upon it. For example . . .

When the Driver Who Just Cut You Off Also Has a Gun, thetrace.org headline proclaims. “Road rage incidents involving firearms have more than doubled since 2014, our analysis shows.” Analysis that CBS News has bought hook, line and sinker.

Naturally any time The Trace starts throwing statistics around I get suspicious. A closer look at The Trace‘s take on road rage proves that they’ve provided yet another wonderful example of one of Mark Twain’s favorite sayings: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

The Trace starts off with the usual blood-drenched anecdote, then heads straight into their thesis: gun-related road rage incidents are on the rise!

Law enforcement agencies do not collect data on road rage episodes as a specific category. But an analysis by The Trace of cases logged by the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive indicates that drivers are pulling guns on each other more and more, and that the number of people killed or wounded by a bullet on America’s streets and highways is on the rise.

As FactCheck.org points out, America’s violent crime and murder rate has been dropping for the last couple decades — despite the removal of numerous onerous restrictions on firearms ownership, leading to greater numbers of firearms owners and guns. So how big is this problem exactly?

The Trace’s analysis found that incidents categorized as road rage — broadly, where someone in a car brandished a gun in a threatening manner or fired a gun at another driver or passenger — have more than doubled in the last three years, from 247 in 2014 to 620 in 2016.

All told, there were at least 1,319 road rage episodes involving firearms over that span. Nationwide, at least 354 people were wounded and 136 people were killed.

As noted by The Trace, police departments don’t normally keep track of road rage incidents as a specific category — it gets lumped in with other categories of crimes. The numbers are just too small to merit individual attention.

So where did The Trace get those stats? Writer Aviva Shen turned to our old friends at the Gun Violence Archive; an organization that “uses news and police reports to track incidents of gun violence in the U.S.”

Using police reports as a basis for analysis is one thing. We can assume that, in general, an increase in reported crime is equal to an increase in actual crime. (Except in New York City.) When you use news reports to collect data the resulting analysis loses any notion of credibility.

That’s because all media organizations have an editorial bias. They report some stories and exclude others. If it’s “sweeps week” (when ratings are gathered for advertising sales), TV news may amp-up sensational coverage. If it’s a busy news day nationally, they may spike a smaller local news story.

As for the “rise” in firearms-related road rage by the Archive — parroted by The Trace, accepted by its partners — it may simply reflect editors’ decision to report this type of crime more than before. Based on the increased availability of cell phone video, a change in their state’s “stand your ground” law, or some other factor.

Equally, the Gun Violence Archive reads 2,000 sources to compile their data. I’m pretty sure there are more than 2,000 news publications in the United States. Is it possible that they missed some data because they were ignoring it? Definitely.

I’m more inclined to believe The Trace’s analysis of firearms-involved road rage incidents where people were killed or wounded. But The Trace does not provide any links to the source data for verification. Which renders any claims about the accuracy of the trend analysis more laughable than a Patton Oswalt bit.

Naturally, The Trace goes on to claim that this data is proof that road rage incidents are becoming more violent, that the prevalence of concealed carry is to blame, and that increased gun control is the panacea that we should be striving to implement to save us from this scourge of road rage related deaths.

Even if we take these numbers seriously, you have a 0.0002% chance each year of being involved in a road rage incident involving a firearm. The probability of being wounded or killed is even lower; easily rounded down to zero. In fact, you’re more likely to win more than a million dollars in the lottery than die in a road rage incident.

Every death is a tragedy. Preventable deaths even more so. But when acting on this large a scale the question should never be “can we save one life with this change”? It should be “how can we best save lives in general“?

Every year, more lives are saved through the use of firearms than are lost during road rage incidents. [Note: when it comes to the Gun Violence Archive’s stats on defensive gun use, “only verified incidents are reported.”] The cost of reducing firearms availability outweighs the benefit of possibly fewer fatal road rage incidents. And that’s a fact.

27 Responses to Firearms-Related Road Rage Rampant? Bloomberg’s ‘The Trace’ Sounds the Alarm!

  1. Then of course there’s the incidents of road rage where it’s the road rager themselves that gets zapped for getting violent….

    • ^This. Thanks for leading off with this one. Like all anti-2a statistics they dont draw a distinction between a criminal act and a DGU.

      • In the mind of the liberal media all gun use is criminal, DGU, police gun use, military gun use, hunting gun use, sporting….

    • It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Trace and its sources lumped those DGUs in with everything else, so’s to make the total even more deplorable.

    • When the Driver Whom You Wanted To Beat To Pulp For Disrespecting You By Honking When You Cut Him Off Also Has a Gun.
      Fixed.

  2. Their own chart shoots the their theory in the foot. If all instances of road rage are increasing, then instances involving a gun are increasing too – duh.

    I’m going to hazard a guess that the reason they don’t show seperate categories for incidnets with and without guns involved is that it either doesn’t support and perhaps counters their premise, that gun related road rage is increasing at a faster rate than road-rage incidents in general.

  3. “We can assume that, in general, an increase in reported crime is equal to an increase in actual crime…”

    lol.

    If you know nothing else about police statistics, know that you can’t assume that a reported anything means a real anything else. Except maybe homicide rates.

  4. This thing fails at the headline. Isn’t the raging driver usually the one who was just cut off not the one doing the cutting off?

    So dude cuts me off, I rage, pull up on him and start flailing wildly or whatever it is raging people do and he draws on me. Seems like I deserved it for charging up and confronting a complete stranger who may have not even noticed he cut me off in the first place.

    If there’s one lesson I wish people would learn it’s DON’T CONFRONT RANDOS. Really, it’s like sometime in the last 20 years it became not only acceptable but totally expected for people to go charging up into each others faces for any little thing. That shit never ends well for anyone. Stop living your life like an entitled asshole.

    • This! So much this! In the miserable slice of ghetto I grew up in, this behavior would get you a severe beating. Now it will get you dead. And even when I was a kid, teachers warned new drivers not to flip the bird at others because it could start an ugly incident. All those lessons seem to have been forgotten.

    • “a complete stranger who may have not even noticed he cut me off in the first place.” WHAAAT???

      I’m sorry, but if someone is such a horrible driver that they can cut off another vehicle and NOT EVEN KNOW THEY DID IT, then we shouldn’t be sharing the roads with morons like that!!! Get ’em off the road until they learn that they’re not the only driver out there, and yes, they DO need to watch out for others!

      Maybe for drivers like that, a road rager with a gun is simply the manifestation – or perhaps the presentation – of their Darwin Award…

  5. Increasing incidents of road rage (and by extension, firearm brandishing road rage) are probably related to the increased presence of cellphones. Easier to report tacky behavior these days than ten years ago, now that almost everyone has a cellphone.

    • Yep. Dash cams are becoming more popular, too. It’s a lot easier to report aggressive driving and brandishing when you have video proof of your claims. Without video, the police can’t really do more than chew them out a little.

  6. I suspect a major portion of their “road rage gun violence” may have been drive by shootings in the hood.

    • “incidents categorized as road rage — broadly, where someone in a car brandished a gun in a threatening manner or fired a gun at another driver or passenger”

      A drive by fits that definition. So does a DGU.

  7. “the number of people killed or wounded by a bullet…”
    Now this is breaking news. It is not the violent criminals or the guns doing all the killing. It is those damn bullets. They sneak into the chambers of innocent firearms, possess their owners and before you know it, it is blood in the streets.

  8. “As for the “rise” in firearms-related road rage by the Archive — parroted by The Trace, accepted by its partners — it may simply reflect editors’ decision to report this type of crime more than before.”

    Yep. If the right Democrat says “Jump!”, the media asks “How high?”

  9. FWIW
    Curious about what the actual rate of incidents might be, I did a google news search for road rage incidents [key words: road gun] reported in the past week and found eight: April 4 Naples FL; Allentown PA; April 7: Ada County ID; Waushara County WI; Victorville CA; Oconee County GA; April 9: Abington MA; April 10: Hartford CT.

    Of course not all incidents are going to make the news, or even get reported, but it’s something.

  10. You missed the important omission by the Trace…….there is no evidence that those shooting people are law abiding people with concealed carry permits and guns…….they fail to mention that …..of course. In chicago…it isn’t law abiding people driving down the Eisenhower and shooting at each other…any you can bet the shooters didn’t go through the 16 hours of training to get permits for their guns……

  11. Nick, If you’re reading this (also hello, this is my first comment), that Evan DeFillips guy worries me. His statistics, unlike most anti-gun statistics, seem really good and that bothers me. The main thing that worries me is the DGU stats. His arguments against “assault rifles” like all others, are easily refuted, but the DGU stuff worries me.

    • Also he brings up multiple(a lot of) studies that seem to show that with stricter gun laws, there is a decrease in murders and suicides. This perplexes me given that the US has been flooded with guns and people, and yet for decades the number of people killed goes down bit by bit each year. And then there is Japan that has a super high suicide rate, yet guns are much harder to acquire. But he says the studies control for all sorts of factors, and that worries me.

  12. So the category of information we are tracking is tracked by very few, if any, of the agencies who would be credible. So to expand the number set and make it big enough that excel can actually generate a graph for us, lets include the media reports because people see that more than police blotter reports so we can lure in more followers relying on confirmation bias.

    It makes me wonder if an incident reported in more than one media outlet gets counted more than once? I mean here in my part of the world we have five local tv stations and two large newspaper publishers. Is it possible that the Trace would count the one brandishing report seven times if all of our local media picked up the story?

  13. This is a plus , right ?
    I mean aren’t the Progressive liberals all about saving the environment and aren’t saving the trees a big part of their cry and aren’t baseball bats made of trees and aren’t baseball bats a big part of the tool box on past road rage incidents and didn’t baseball bats get broken over heads and windows and headlights , etc. in past rage encounters ? ………………………. see the analogies . ………………. Isn’t this Progressive Liberal common sense ?
    Conservative common sense is thus ;
    More guns = less violence , Gun carrying lowers most men’s testosterone outburst and gun displays will usually deter further violence better than a baseball bat and baseball bats and tire irons will and do KILL and maim .

  14. I experienced a road rage driver last Monday. I just laughed at his gesticulation and called 9-1-1. You know, I think he figured out pretty quick-like what I was doing and it took all the wind out of his sails. He got all meek and mild and quit trying to pretend he was going to swerve into me.

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