Erin Schumaker, a double major in English and Spanish from Union College and holder of a Masters in journalism from Northwestern Universitym has an extensive and varied resume (especially when you consider she was class of 2009 at Union). One of the things lacking from her background, however, is any sort of formal education in statistics, although she has held a number of “fact checking” positions.

One wonders how hard she fact-checked the sources for her latest piece at HuffPo, Guns Are Now The Third-Leading Cause Of Death Among Children. It took me about 15 minutes to tease out the actual facts from the CDC’s WISQARS website (mainly because they separate children <1 from all other people in their custom age selection for Leading Causes of Death app).

Oddly enough, the CDC’s facts don’t match Ms. Shumaker’s.

In 2015 the top six leading causes of death for children and young teens (0 – 17 years old) were:

But wait…if you add up all the 0 – 17-year-old firearm related deaths, counting accidents, homicides, and suicides (which we will get back to later), that totals 1,420. Which is not in the top six.

As for getting back to the suicides, I left them in to try and boost the gun-related numbers, just in case there was some slight chance that the anti-gunners weren’t lying. However, since study after study has shown that suicide rates are independent of method, we really should exclude firearm-related suicides, which brings our total “gun deaths” down to 851. Oddly enough this is still not in the top 6.

But wait, there’s more! The “study” Schumaker sourced looked at deaths of 0 – 17-year-olds from 2000 thru 2014. So, let’s do the same thing with those numbers, shall we? Remember, these are 15-year aggregates, not averages:

And the total “firearm deaths” for those 15 years (not counting suicides, again for obvious reasons) was 14,187. Still not in the top six.

But just because Ms. Schumaker has no grasp of statistics doesn’t mean she doesn’t have answers.

With guns involved in so much childhood injury and death, it’s logical that pediatricians would ask parents about firearms in the home.

“Recognizing the prevalence of guns in homes and the potential dangers of easy access to them makes it both reasonable and wise to ask and talk about firearms as part of our injury prevention guidance,” Nelson wrote.

Setting aside for a moment that the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility (it is, after all, for the children), let us look at that statement. Earlier in her piece, Schumaker admits that “[u]nintentional shooting deaths declined from 2002 to 2014.”

So why is it that she wants people snooping into families’ firearms ownership? Especially when there are much more productive things pediatricians could spend their time on. Things like talking with parents about warning signs of adolescent depression. Especially since, between 2011 – 2015, 268 children (aged 0-13) died from accidental gunshots while more than 10 times that number (2,817) of adolescents (12-15-year-olds) committed suicide?

Maybe Ms. Schumaker’s understanding was that there would be no math required in her anti-gun advocacy coverage of public health and inequality issues for the august HuffPo. But a basic knowledge of numbers sure helps to bolster your narrative.

46 Responses to How Can You Tell When an Anti-Gunner Is Lying? They Quote Statistics

  1. “How Can You Tell When an Anti-Gunner Is Lying? They Quote Statistics”

    Things get sketchy here, real quick. Quoting statistics can be used to categorize POTG of lying. Stats are fun, but the argument is “yYour stats are bogus, mine were delivered on stone tablets.”

    I would find a different way to readily identify when anti-gunners are lying.

    • I prefer to use sources like the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics and studies done by the CDC. I am not saying they are always unbiased or reputable but depending on studies by a university with a wing named after a gun control zealot is less likely to be fair. Even so, sticking to those facts what actually was coming out during the Obama Era was deeply embarrassing to their story. Stuff like the AWB of 94 being a failure, or how many DGUs they (by many sources conservative) estimate happen yearly.

      It also keeps such idiots from saying “that’s a study funded by the gun lobby.”

  2. Attention whore pic = lack of good D

    all I hear from this chick is blah blah blah can a real man role up in here and coat my ovaries with some proper demon semen?

  3. “Erin Schumaker, a double major in English and Spanish from Union College and holder of a Masters in journalism from Northwestern University”

    Looks like the CV of many college-educated hospitality industry VPs, Regional Managers, Training Directors that I know. For those that attended college, ‘natch. English and J-school is the recipe for a grand future in the hospitality industry, and it pays much better than 99% of all journos are remunerated.

    I could make some calls, perhaps she can be saved….

  4. How Can You Tell When an Anti-Gunner Is Lying?
    When their lips are moving.
    They lie all the time. They never tell the truth.

  5. All that learnin and not a lick of education. Multiple college degrees in nothing and apparently never an actual productive job. Sad.

  6. Degrees in English, Spanish and journalism. What the hell does she know about statistics? One of the things that annoys me about journalists is their arrogant assumption that they are qualified to make pronouncements about subjects of which they are ignorant.

    • It is annoying as hell.
      But evidently, that type of education leads one to believe that they are entitled to pass their biases as absolutely truthful, and necessary for everyone to believe.
      Either that, or sit in front of a TV camera and read off a teleprompter, and expect to be rewarded for it.

  7. “It’s not that liberals are always wrong, it’s just that they know so.much that just isn’t true.”

    Ronald Regan
    ….paraphrased of course

  8. “…a double major in English and Spanish from Union College and holder of a Masters in journalism…”

    Or in common parlance, a human paperweight

  9. What do you bet after she completes her English and Spanish degrees, she’ll enroll in classes for another degree? Professional student, because the real world is a scary place.

  10. Yep…. my doctor asked me if i had guns in the house during a routine check up. Gave him a look and he didnt ask again.
    I however asked for my records and found a new doctor.

    • One of my doctors discusses guns with me.
      Being a doctor, his safe has much better guns in it than mine.

    • In one of my first visits to my primary I had to remove my CC piece from my belt during the exam. That led to my physician engaging me in the whys and whats of CC and eventually her asking me for a private lesson in pistol safety and proper shooting technique. (I’m an NRA certified instructor) All of her gun related questions now revolve around CC, situational awareness and shooting technique. Besides being pleased with her doctoring skills I’m happy as a clam.

  11. The federal government and most statistitians consider 0-3 years old as “infants and toddlers” not children. Things like short gestation do not affect children (3 -17).
    How does that affect the statistics and change the ranking of firearms deaths?

  12. Statistics don’t lie, statisticians do. Pharma reps use statistics on this forum and others quoting 3rd world death rates from infectious diseases. Ad Astra defended the spurious practice just the other day.

  13. It is dreadfully easy to tell when the anti gunners are lying, it is simply when they talk about guns as 90% of their entire argument is based on lies, conjecture and misinformation.

  14. Sorry, I’m obviously missing something in the figures here…

    (For the first chart)…”that totals 1,420″…where do you get that figure? I see one figure under the “Firearms Portion” which is “77”…how did you get from that one figure to the 1420 figure?

    Same for the other chart…I don’t understand where the 14,187 comes from.

    Are we not seeing the entire charts?

  15. Top three, top six, or top twenty, what does it matter to an English major? I had to tutor them through bonehead math in 1985. I can still remember using coins stacked up to teach them why multiplication is more efficient than addition in math 101. If they can’t even get that concept, what good is their opinion about a top anything list?

  16. The story used the term “SHE” is there actually any proof that “it” is really a “SHE” Just sayin……..don’t want to ASSume anything!

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