Who could possibly have predicted that when more burglars are shot in the act, burglary rates go down? Somehow, though, that natural response seems to confound media sophisticates. Take, for example, this report of a recent routine defensive gun use story from richmondconfidential.org: “Terrell Ruben, 42, became the third person shot and killed in an attempted burglary in Richmond this year. A Richmond homeowner shot Ruben in the chest after he discovered Ruben and another man attempting to steal property from his backyard last Saturday.” . . .
Another home invader pushing up daisies. Whatever, right? But check out this astute observation by the article’s author, Martin Totland:
Despite the unusually high number people shot in burglary attempts, residential burglaries have gone down 28 percent compared to last year in the period between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30.
To most rational people, this is a textbook case of cause-and-effect at play. If you shoot more burglars, you tend to get fewer burglaries and home invasions. Unless you’re a card-carrying member of the media, it seems.
Totland highlighting what he apparently sees as a puzzling contradiction in a classic example of “The Butterfield Effect.” Here’s Michael Graham’s definition:
It’s what happens when someone on the Left makes a statement that is laughably ludicrous on its face, yet it reveals what the speaker truly believes — no matter how dumb.
“The Butterfield Effect” is named in honor of ace New York Times crime reporter Fox Butterfield, the intrepid analyst responsible for such brilliantly headlined stories as “More Inmates, Despite Drop In Crime,” and “Number in Prison Grows Despite Crime Reduction,” not to mention the poetic 1997 header, “Crime Keeps on Falling, but Prisons Keep on Filling.”
Take this slack-jawed lede from a 2004 Butterfield piece:
The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.
How…is…that…possible? Surely it’s a prima facie case of a justice system run amok. Or racism. Or both.
Totland makes sure to inform his readers that guns really aren’t the answer to, well, any problem, home invasions included.
You should always call the police in the event of a burglary. Not every burglary happens the same way, but giving the intruder incentive to flee may work, according to police.
Somehow the deterrent effect of armed self defense just doesn’t manage to penetrate the modern progressive reportorial mind. But watching them wrestle with the facts is still wonderfully instructive.
[h/t Dean Weingarten]