PolicyMic.com recently published a commentary on the crime situation in Honduras. Titled Honduras, Murder Capital of the World, Proof that NRA’s Gun-Freedom Dream is Flawed they gleefully use this horrific situation to push their flawed and false gun control agenda. In fact, the lies start in the first sentence: “After every tragic, gun-related multiple homicide, the National Rifle Association claims that if everyone had a gun, the tragedy never would have happened.” Which isn’t even close to reality. According to ProPublica.org, in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting last January…
The National Rifle Association … posted the following statement on its Web site: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this senseless tragedy, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and their families during this difficult time. We join the rest of the country in praying for the quick recovery of those injured.”
Asked whether the repeal of gun restrictions played a role in the shooting, the group’s spokesman told Politico: “Anything other than prayers for the victims and their families at this time would be inappropriate.”
This is fairly typical of the NRA’s response to mass shootings. The antis, on the other hand were positively overjoyed as they cranked up the orchestra and started their blood dancing. The bodies were barely cool after the Tucson AZ shootings when the Brady Campaign began calling for new laws:
The 22 year-old shooter in Tucson was not allowed to enlist in the military, was asked to leave school, and was considered “very disturbed” (according to former classmates), but that’s not enough to keep someone from legally buying as many guns as they want in America.
Many people seem to find this surprising, but it’s true, and we ought to be angry about it.
The troubles of the Tucson shooter are more proof that we make it too easy for dangerous and irresponsible people to get guns in this country. We have too few laws to protect our families and communities from this kind of bloodshed, and the laws we do have are riddled with too many loopholes. …
Sensible gun laws can save lives. Congress should move now to enact tougher restrictions on guns, ammunition, and who can legally possess them, and President Obama should help lead the way.
Not content to let the Bradys have all the fun, the Violence Policy Center dusted off their favorite media opportunity mass killing:
The same model handgun used in the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 others on Saturday was also used in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) pointed out today …
The VPC is calling on Congress to pass a new law banning the manufacture and sale of high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. A similar ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines was in place for 10 years as part of the now-expired federal assault weapons ban.
“Simply put, high-capacity ammunition magazines make mass shootings possible by allowing shooters to fire multiple rounds very quickly without reloading. …” said Kristen Rand, VPC legislative director.
As opposed to firing multiple rounds and reloading very quickly, Kristen? (Okay, that last link was just for fun).
And last but not least, the Coalition to Stop Gun Ownership waited a slightly more respectful two days before starting their celebration of the violence and damnation of free speech:
Those of us at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence are deeply dismayed at the horrific shooting rampage that occurred in Tucson this weekend. Our thoughts and prayers … are with the victims and survivors of this terrible tragedy. …
Sadly, Saturday’s tragedy was both predictable and inevitable. Insurrectionist rhetoric … was once confined to the dark corners of gun shows and the Internet. In today’s America, however, it has become a “mainstream” idea that is widely promoted …
Additionally, America’s weak gun laws continue to allow individuals who are obviously deranged to legally purchase semiautomatic firearms with high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. …
If we are to avoid future massacres, our elected officials must institute policies that prioritize public safety and human life over gun industry profits. And they must speak out in no uncertain terms against poisonous insurrectionist ideology that threatens the integrity of our democracy itself.
Ooooh, insurrectionist rhetoric whispered in the dark corners of gun shows. Creeeeepy. PolicyMic goes on:
They claim the victims could have been gun-owning citizens, who would have shot the maniac killer before a murder turned into a rampage. They also tend to extend this argument further, claiming that if everyone had a gun, it would deter crime and we would inherently live in a safer society. This is easy to say, as this romantic hypothetical has gone untested in America.
Actually this ‘romantic hypothetical,‘ as they call it, is not untested. As I have pointed out before, there are at least twice as many lives saved in Defensive Gun Uses (DGUs) than are lost to criminal homicide committed with firearms. Don’t believe me? Let’s run through the numbers…
According to the Kleck-Gertz study from the early 1990s there are between 2.1 and 2.5 million DGUs annually. Now there are a lot of people out there who deride this number as ludicrous, unable or (more likely) unwilling to accept that Dr. Kleck is not some sort of shill for the Eeevil Gun Lobby™. This, despite the good doctor disclosing in his 1997 book Targeting Guns (quote from GunCite.com):
The author is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Independent Action, Democrats 2000, and Common Cause, among other politically liberal organizations He is a lifelong registered Democrat, as well as a contributor to liberal Democratic candidates. He is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of, or contributor to, the National Rifle Association, Handgun Control, Inc. nor any other advocacy organization, nor has he received funding for research from any such organization.
But skeptics will always be skeptical so let’s go ahead and throw that number out in favor of a more conservative one. Without questioning its validity we’ll agree not to use the Kleck-Gertz number in our DGU argument. Instead let’s use the numbers from the study which was commissioned by the Clinton DoJ shortly after the K-G study came out (the cynical among might us think that its goal was to refute the K-G numbers. Pshaw!). That study, conducted by Dr.s Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig (very strong proponents of very strict gun control) concluded that there were 1.46 million DGUs per year.
Now I imagine that some may find even this lower number dubious, probably preferring to rely on the numbers from the National Crime Victimization Surveys which show between 50,000 and 100,000 DGUs per year. Unfortunately for those hopeful doubters, the way the NCVS is structured means that it seriously undercounts the number of DGUs. I’ll let Tom Smith explain:
First, it appears that the estimates of the NCVSs are too low. There are two chief reasons for this. First, only DGUs that are reported as part of a victim’s response to a specified crime are potentially covered. While most major felonies are covered by the NCVSs, a number of crimes such as trespassing, vandalism, and malicious mischief are not. DGUs in response to these and other events beyond the scope of the NCVSs are missed.
Second, the NCVSs do not directly inquire about DGUs. After a covered crime has been reported, the victim is asked if he or she “did or tried to do [anything] about the incident while it was going on.” Indirect questions that rely on a respondent volunteering a specific element as part of a broad and unfocused inquiry uniformly lead to undercounts of the particular of interest.
There is another problem with the failure to directly inquire about DGUs. Since the DGU question is only triggered by someone saying they were the victim of a crime. Now if someone came towards me with a knife saying “Gimme your wallet” and I put my hand on my weapon and replied “I don’t think so, Scooter” causing the assailant to retreat, was I actually the victim of a crime? Before I started researching these issues I would have told the NCVS interviewer that no, I hadn’t been the victim of a crime.
But back to the calculations; how do I come up with a number for lives saved from the number of DGUs? Simple, I bring in more numbers. In Kleck and Gertz’s article Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun in Northwestern University School of Law, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol. 86, issue 1, 1995, they found that 15.7% of people involved in a DGU believed that they “almost certainly” saved their life of someone else’s.
Now that might strike some people as being an awfully large percentage, but if you take into account the fact that most states regard pulling a gun as using deadly force and combine it with the fact that most states also require someone to be in “reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm” before you can lawfully use deadly force, the number seems more feasible. In addition to the “almost certainly” pool, The K-G study also found that 14.6% of respondents believed that someone “probably would have” been killed if not for their DGU.
So 15.7% of respondents believed their DGU “almost certainly” saved a life, but because I want my numbers to be distinctly conservative let’s say that 9 out of 10 of these people were wrong, and lets say that 99 out of 100 of the “probably” people were also incorrect. That means we can state with a fair degree of certainty that..hang in there with me…at least 1.716% of the 1.46 million DGUs saved a life. Doing the math (G-d bless calculators) that translates to over 25,000 lives are saved annually by guns.
OK, some people may point out that back in 1995 (when the J-L study was performed) only 27 states were shall-issue and 1 (Vermont) was constitutional carry. Today it’s 37 and 3, so currently about 31% of the U.S. population lives under may- or no-issue laws while in 1995 that number was closer to 54%. Yes, that would probably have an effect on DGUs, but then I’d have to start comparing crime rates and types of crimes in which guns were used defensively and that is just starting to sound like way too much math. I spent six years baby-sitting a nuclear reactor in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club and that pretty much burned me out on the really heavy duty math.
But where was I? My boss at the Renaissance Festival made up a pin just for me. It reads “A.D.O.S. – Attention Deficit…Oh, Shiny!”
Oh! Comparison, right. So we’ve determined that at least 25,000 lives per year are saved by DGUs, and according to the CDC, between 1999 and 2007 there were an average of 11,792 gun-related homicides annually, which means that for every criminal homicide with a firearm there were more than two lives saved by DGUs. Pretty well knocks that whole romantic hypothetical thing on its head, doesn’t it?
But yes, there’s more PolicyMic drivel:
In Honduras, we are seeing the frightening reality [of everyone having a gun].
Honduras is the murder capital of the world. This is largely due to extremely lax gun laws. According to the National Commissioner for Human Rights (CONADEH), only about 30% of over 850,000 guns in Honduras are officially registered and as many as 80% of homicides are firearm related.
Wow! Murder capital of the world, huh? If we are to believe PolicyMic’s linking of loose gun laws and murder, those gun laws in Honduras must be really lenient. So what kind of slipshod gun control do they have there? Well according to PolicyMic they ummm, blah, blah blah shootout – blah blah blather low conviction rate – blah blah blah-blah more gun-related killings . . . Huh, PolicyMic doesn’t actually mention any Honduran gun laws. Well if they have no gun laws then it’s no wonder they have blood in the streets, right? But I can’t believe there aren’t any laws so let’s see what Google finds:
Well we have the GunPolicy.org website and they seem to have plenty of information on Honduran gun laws:
Gun Owner Licensing: In Honduras, only licensed gun owners may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition
- Gun Owner Licensing Period: In Honduras gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm license every four years
- Licensing Records: In Honduras, authorities maintain a record of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition
- Limit on Number of Guns: Licensed firearm owners in Honduras are permitted to possess up to five firearms
- Civilian Gun Registration: In Honduras, the law requires that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register
- State-Owned Firearm Records: In Honduras, State agencies are required to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control
Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition
- Firearm Marking: In Honduras, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law
- Firearm Tracing: In Honduras, state authorities carry out recognized arms tracing and tracking procedures
- Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition: In Honduras, state authorities employ ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition
Those laws don’t seem terribly lax at all. In fact, those gun laws seem like a Christmas wishlist for the Brady Campaign and all their buddies. But I guess a bunch of guns must have gotten in before the laws got fixed. That would explain the rampant gun ownership and high murder rate. But according to this, Honduran civilians only own 6.2 guns per 100 people which is less than the United Kingdom. And which also (incidentally) is one-fourteenth of the U.S.’s 88.8 per 100 people.
OK, enough pussyfooting around. PolicyMic.org is a bunch of lying liars and they’ve put together a bunch of lies to “support” their point. In their own article they link to this story which explains that graft and corruption are so rampant that a carjack victim going to the police to report the crime found the perps already at the station – in uniform and on the clock. The article quotes anti-corruption crusader Gustavo Alfredo Landaverde:
“We are rotten to the core,” he said of the drug-related graft infecting virtually every layer of law enforcement in Honduras. “We are at the border of an abyss. These are criminal organizations inside and out.”
The out of control murder rate there has nothing to do with “too many” guns and everything to do with the drug trade. Just as in Mexico, ‘civilians’ are tightly restricted in how many and what kind of guns they may own while narcotrafficantes use military and police armories as gun shops. The honest people (like Gustavo and his boss) are murdered and if their replacements are too honest, they’ll be eliminated too.
PolicyMic makes a big deal of an attempted robbery on a bus where two armed citizens fought three armed thugs, resulting in 5 dead and “several” wounded. They conclude their anecdote with a sarcastic “Crisis averted!” But the anecdote they don’t tell, the ‘what if’ they hope desperately that no one would notice, can be found in this story from CNN:
Eight people were killed and three others were injured after a group of gunmen opened fire on a private bus in Honduras, officials said.
Although PolicyMic fails to provide details, at least in the thwarted robbery we can assume that one or more of the BGs died rather than having four women and four children wiped out with no harm to any of the killers.
Perhaps, just perhaps, if two of the passengers on that bus had been armed and had fought back some of those women and children might still be alive.
Now that is what I call a romantic hypothetical.
 No that isn’t enough in a country where you are presumed innocent until proven guilty and sane until proven otherwise.
6.2 guns per 100 people = everyone has a gun?
As George Carlin said, “That’s what’s known as being stunningly – and embarrassingly – full of shit.”
Honduras is the murder capital of the world. This is largely due to extremely
lax gun lawspoor impulse control and a lack of respect for human life.
Excellent post, Bruce. No doubt MikeB is busily drafting his response, in which he will make various claims while offering zero documentation in support of said claims, rendering his response the interwebz’ equivalent of a 5-year-old covering his ears and yelling “na-na-na-can’t hear you”.
I keep telling MikeB exactly what you are saying. Thanks for making me understand why he doesn’t get it.
Guess I was wrong. It appears that MikeB is going to complain about the article’s length, rather than try to attack its message. Interesting tactic…
I have spent some time in the past few days rummaging around in some of the “Pro Gun Control” websites and found exactly the same types of distortions, lies and manipulations Bruce is reporting he found in PolicyMic.com. Thanks for a great article that really demonstrates how these people believe and employ the tactics expressed in Josef Goebbels’ axiom: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
As a pro-gun liberal myself, I really like the Gary Kleck story: he decided to really look at the evidence and go where it took him. That took him away from the orthodoxy of his previous political background, but that’s what the evidence demanded, so there was no other choice.
Of course, the article also ignores WHY Hondurans have guns and WHY Americans have guns, and moreover, how we view our gun rights and how they view theirs.
But hey, can we really expect gun-grabbers to show a modicum of insight, intelligence, honesty, or desire for truth?
I was in Honduras 9 years ago. One thing that stuck with me was that the guards at the bank stood on the street outside the bank holding shotguns. Which was kind of suggestive. …
A DGU only save lives when the attacker is either taken off the streets because he is dead or apprehended. In all other cases it simply transfers the risk of death from the defender to someone else.
For example, if the perp that attacks Ralph flees when he brandishes his Glock the perp is then free to attack someone else. His next attempt may encounter Mikeb who then dies. No lives saved only death transfered from Ralph to Mikey.
No lives saved only death transfered from Ralph to Mikey.
And how is that a bad thing? First, I never liked mikey anyway. Second, if mikey won’t protect himself, why should I? And third — this is most important thing — never mention Ralph and Glock in the same sentence. I’m a Smith & Wesson man and would never own a gun made by an Austrian curtain rod company.
That may not be a bad thing. Maybe the crooks will flee the pro-gun people and attack the anti-gun crowd. Is this a bad thing?
No, because it creates another victim and situation for which they can exploit and manipulate for their own agenda.
If “they” don’t have any real victims, they’ll just make them up.
I don’t think that logic really works. Let’s take your hypothetical. If the perp would have otherwise killed Ralph had he not been armed, then that’s a life saved. If the perp goes on to kill Mikeb, then that’s a body count of one rather than two. If he doesn’t kill anyone else, that’s a body count of zero rather than one.
I think tdiinva and Ralph started it, but I find this in extremely bad taste.“If the perp goes on to kill MikebIt makes you guys seem like petty idiots. Is this the kind of elevated dialogue you really want on TTAG?
It seems that I have offended both Mike and Ralph. I was just using them as archtypes for two opposites — the person who takes care of himself and one who choses to be a victim.
Answer to Carlos:
Unless the perp is a spree shooter like the DC sniper it’s probably one and done for the night. Like all predators, criminals make attacks until they are successful. If he was successful with victim 1 then victim 2 would not have been approached, at least that night.
Logic and facts don’t matter to these fools. As long as gun control can save the life of one theif or rapist then it’s worth a try to them.
Bruce, I wish I had your stamina. The only thing you didn’t do in that terribly tedious stats game about the DGUs is mention the 400 billion stars in the galaxy.
That’s right, Mikey; if you can’t dispute the facts, redirect the conversation. Did you help with Obambi’s speechwriting?
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