Normally Forbes does an okay job of presenting the facts, but when it comes to guns it seems they’ll let anyone with two brain cells to rub together publish an article. According to their latest gun control article, the fact that guns are killing more “young Americans” than cars, something must be done!. There’s just one problem: by focusing on “young Americans” they’ve skewed the numbers conveniently in their favor . . .
Gun related fatalities are disproportionately gang related. Some reports indicate that as many as 77% of all firearms-related fatalities are gang related. These deaths are concentrated in the 20 to 24 year old segment of the population. The death rate drops off significantly once people age out of the gang lifestyle, somewhere around 30-years-old. So the majority of these deaths among “children” are gang related shootings between criminals that no one except Mother Jones would call “children” (because mis-labeling adults up to the age of 24 is more convenient to make their emotional appeal).
Still, something must be done!
The problem is that this line of thinking: it falls squarely into the ludic fallacy — the idea that since we can express this figure as a probability that the probability applies evenly to the entire population. In reality, the probability that any given person will be killed by a car is relatively evenly distributed. There’s not much you can do to influence that probability other than not driving.
When it comes to firearms related homicide, the reality of the situation is that so long as you avoid associating with gangs and criminals you’ll have a ~77% lower likelihood of being killed by a gun. And when you throw in the rest of the population the author’s point becomes more
deluded diluted. The probability of death by car accident remains constant throughout life but the probability of being killed with a gun decreases with age.
To the Forbes author, that logic screams “we need gun control.” To me, that screams “we need criminal control.” Specifically, gang control. But that’s a much more complex challenge with no apparent clear-cut legislative resolution, and people (like the author) are too lazy to try and fix it.