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Peter Galuszka

One of my all time favorite articles demonstrating the cluelessness of the mainstream media, and similarly intentioned enemies of individual liberty, was a brief article in–if memory serves–the Chicago Tribune. It was a decade or more ago, and the link I had stopped working years ago, but the thrust of the story was that incarceration rates had skyrocketed, yet the crime rate continued to decline! The editorial writer was genuinely puzzled. How could that possibly be? More criminals in jail, yet less crime? Why, it just didn’t make sense! The larger question is . . .

how supposedly educated people, people who, holding at least an undergraduate degree and were exposed to the study of logic, can so utterly fail to employ that reasoning ability, and simple. The answer is fairly simple: ideology trumps logic.

The editorial writer was obviously of the belief that too many people in jail–perhaps any–is a bad thing, an indicator society itself is failing. To believe this, one must ignore the deterrent effect of prison. Deterrence isn’t universal; some felons commit crimes once released from prison. But it’s equally true that a relatively small number of criminals commit most of the crimes in any given area, and when in jail, they aren’t making life miserable–or unnaturally short–for the honest and the innocent. That, arguably, is prison’s greatest benefit, unless of course one doesn’t see even that as a net benefit to society.

It’s no coincidence that those prone to seeing hardened criminals as victims of society also tend of possess the ideology that blinds them to the benefits of self-defense and gun ownership. A contemporary example is provided by the Washington Post, where one Peter Galuszka writes: 

“Virginians have been buying more firearms than ever, even though crime has been steadily falling. Why?

Last year, 420,829 firearms were bought through licensed gun dealers in the state. That’s a 73 percent increase over 2006. Leading the list were pistols (175,717), followed by rifles (135,495). According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, central Virginians packed more heat than anyone else, followed closely by Northern Virginians.

And yet, as more firearms are sold, the crime rate has continued to drop. From 2006 to 2011, the number violent crimes committed with handguns fell from 4,040 to 3,154, about 25 percent, the newspaper reported.

Is there a correlation between increased gun sales and decreasing crime?”

That’s an interesting, but unremarkable question. Mr. Galuszka is a blogger, apparently part of a Washington DC group of contributing bloggers. Reading on, one might almost expect Mr. Galuszka to employ logic, but considering he’s writing in the Washington Post, a newspaper not the least friendly to the Second Amendment and firearm owners, that assumption might also be illogical.

“Indeed, some believe that hardened criminals are less likely to threaten victims if they know there’s a chance they could end up looking down the barrel of a 9 mm Glock, or perhaps something that fits more easily into a lady’s handbag, such as a Ruger LCP 380 Ultra Compact Pistol. And by some accounts, women as well as men are flocking to training courses and firing ranges operated by gun stores.

At first glance, ‘the data is pretty overwhelming,’ Thomas R. Baker, a criminologist at Virginia Commonwealth University, told the Richmond newspaper.”

I’ll return to Thomas R. Baker shortly, but keep in mind that there is very good reason Mr. Galuszka did not mention the actual name of the Richmond paper, or provide a link to Baker’s comments. Back to Mr. Galuszka:

“When you take a longer view, however, this thinking starts to fall apart. According to FBI reports, violent crime has been on a fairly steady downward trend since the early 1990s – much earlier than 2006, when Virginians started buying guns like crazy. The Economist magazine says the violent crime rate is at its lowest in 40 years and that the murder rate is less than it was a half a century ago.

It’s anyone’s guess why crime has continually dropped. Theories include demographic shifts resulting in fewer of the younger, inner-city men who tend to be involved in violent crime. Better community-based police work could be a cause. Some even say it’s because of large numbers of abortions by low-income women.”

It has been, for many years, common knowledge that career criminals fear guns in the hands of citizens more than in the hands of police and do all they can to avoid them. For this reason, “hot” burglaries — those where residents are home at the time — are relatively rare in America. Burglars know very well entering occupied homes can result in their becoming seriously dead.

In my many years in police work, my experience and innumerable conversations with felons also supported the academic studies on this topic: criminals really don’t like armed citizens, but have no trouble getting guns if they want them.

Mr. Galuszka’s suggestion that the reasons for dropping crime rates are mysterious is less than credible. The reasons — he touched on a few — are obvious and born out by experience. Among them is the fact that there have never been more firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens, and never more citizens carrying concealed weapons. However, Mr. Galuszka isn’t convinced:

 “Among the law-abiding, gun proponents commonly suggest that one reason for the gun fad has been the fear that President Obama would crack down on gun sales. If so, it hasn’t happened yet. Some gun buyers may have worried that the recession would bring about more crime, but history shows that there was more violence in the Roaring 1920s than the Depression-racked 1930s. Mass media attention to rare shooting sprees such as those that occurred at Virginia Tech and at a movie theater in Colorado may have led others to want to be prepared in case it happened to them.”

In this, Mr. Galuszka is at least partially correct. Americans recognize Barack Obama as the greatest gun salesman in history, one of his genuine, if unintended, accomplishments. President Obama did his best to “crack down on gun sales,” but failed. He has made plain his intention to damage the Second Amendment to the greatest degree possible with his pen and phone during his final years in office.

Considering his administration has harassed and threatened banks (Operation Choke Point) in an attempt to cut off funding for firearm businesses, it’s clear Mr. Galuszka isn’t telling the whole story. I’m unaware of any well-informed gun owner that thought the recession a good reason for buying guns, other than perhaps, as investments. Mass shootings, and increasing terrorism are surely rational reasons for wanting to assume responsibility for the safety of loved ones and self, though Mr. Galuszka is apparently unwilling to recognize that logic as well.

Now, let’s look at why Mr. Galuszka wasn’t anxious to accurately quote Dr. Thomas Baker, Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. The tone of the article is very much supportive of positive societal effects for gun ownership, the opposite of Mr. Galuszka’s contentions. The Times-Dispatch asked Dr. Baker to examine relevant data for the article to which Mr. Galuszka so glancingly refers.

“The numbers appear to contradict a long-running popular narrative that more guns cause more violent crime, said Virginia Commonwealth University professor Thomas R. Baker, who compared Virginia crime data for those years with gun-dealer sales estimates obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

‘While there is a wealth of academic literature attempting to demonstrate the relationship between guns and crime, a very simple and intuitive demonstration of the numbers seems to point away from the premise that more guns leads to more crime, at least in Virginia,’ said Baker, who specializes in research methods and criminology theory and has an interest in gun issues.”

Baker is clearly a cautious and reasonable man, yet his conclusions are inescapable:

“The data, Baker said, show a low probability that more guns in the hands of Virginians is causing more violent crime.

‘So while it’s difficult to make a direct causal link (that more guns are resulting in less crime), the numbers certainly present that that’s a real possibility,’ Baker added.

The opposite – that more guns are causing more crime – cannot be derived from the numbers, he said.

‘It’s mathematically not possible, because the relationship is a negative relationship – they’re moving in the opposite direction,’ Baker said. ‘So the only thing it could be is that more guns are causing less crime.’

‘From my personal point of view, I would say the data is pretty overwhelming,’ said Baker, who is new to VCU and studied under Florida State University professors Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, whose nationally recognized research on guns and homicides in the District of Columbia was cited in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2008 that overturned the district’s handgun ban. ‘But we’re pretty cautious in the social sciences in talking about causality. We only talk in probabilities.”

Consider the Mr. Galuszka’s conclusions:

“My view? Virginians are packing heat with gusto for the wrong reasons. They and their gun sellers are riding a wave of irrational fear that was vigorously promoted by socially conservative politicians in the 2010 and 2012 elections. As for Obama, any link between a desire for personal, deadly firepower and the election of the country’s first African American president raises some rather ugly questions.”

So Virginians bought guns because of “irrational fears,” that were realized when Mr. Obama did his best to demonize them and restrict the Second Amendment, a project he has never abandoned. And don’t forget gun owners are racists, buying guns because Barack Obama, a president elected to two terms in office, is black. Mr. Galuszka is apparently as unaware of American history, as is President Obama. Gun control has its very roots in racism, as historian Clayton Cramer has so well documented.

More guns, less crime? That’s eminently logical, and John R. Lott has proved it years ago.   Misrepresenting research, ignoring facts and substituting ideology? Par for the course for those that need to short-circuit liberty.

Mike’s Home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.

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    • That’s part of why I dropped out of college. I swear, there was more idiocy there (from the students and faculty) than there was in my damn high school. At least in high school, the (unsubstantiated) intellectual superiority was non-existent. But in college, that’s par for the course.

    • Correct. I will be more specific from my own experience. I recall Logic class during my undergrad studies. Great and easy (and fun) class. 80% of students in that class however just “didn’t get it”. It was then that I realized with dismay that a basic grasp of logic was not likely held my most – regardless of their “intelligence”.

      • I think you’re on to something there. As we used to say about pool sharks, “You have to be damn good to be that bad.”
        It makes me wonder how laws like The Gun Free School Zone Act came about. Were our legislators so incredibly stupid that they thought a sign with the threat of a fine and imprisonment was going to protect schoolchildren from criminals, let alone homicidal/suicidal maniacs like Lanza? Or was it a cold, calculated plan to accept and exploit the inevitable mass murder of schoolchildren, to provide martyrs to the cause of further gun control?

        • I think it is more of an empty gesture to gain votes. Then know it will do nothing to protect kids and they don’t care. They don’t care about protecting anybody, only about using gimicks to get the votes, nothing more.

    • And I met hundreds of them back in my college days in the 80s. I called those that are educated beyond their intelligence. Good at spouting spiels that they had memorized, but hadn’t the slightest idea what they meant, if anything. Most were just slogans. Meaningless platitudes. Educated, yes. Intelligent, no.

      • Ha, slogans.

        Like “common sense gun control”, the no one needs’ s, assault weapons, and other indoctrinated bile they spew.

  1. Spoken like a true hack engrained within the unicorn and rainbow pastures and faculty areas of academia and the media. Even other members of academia will be discredited because as been posted infinite times:
    Facts when presented in their collectivist faces, can’t sway them. Even facts from soon to be gone Eric Holder’s corrupt DOJ, FBI, ATF, and local LEO’s prove he’s an ideological buffoon. The Derp is strong with this one. The unicorns start grazing at 7:30.

  2. The original article might have been in the New York Times. A reporter there by the name of Fox Butterfield would consistently write articles that expressed befuddlement at various cause-effect scenarios that it became a running gag in the Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web Today” column by James Taranto.

  3. Hey, let’s not try to confuse Mr. Galumpkis (or whatever his name is) with the facts. You might as well try to teach calculus to a pig.

    • Hell, as smart as pigs are (and they are remarkably intelligient), you would probably have an easier time with that. At least the pig doesn’t have a vested interest in remaining ignorant.

  4. “Some even say it’s because of large numbers of abortions by low-income women” Now we get to the nitty gritty of the modern progressive. Eugenics

    • THIS. This above all else is the most disturbing part of this idiot’s failed logic. This was the basis of Planned Parenthood’s mission, to sterilize minority women and provide them abortions under guise of “educating and liberating them”. Abortion, like gun control, is not about empowering anyone, and is in fact about reducing the number of undesirables.

  5. This entire article is based on a false premise.

    The drop in crime indeed had and continues to have little to do with the soaring incarceration rate. Crime in general and violent crime specifically has been falling for quite some time. The incarceration rate skyrocketing was/is a consequence of increased prosecution of the drug war – with the majority of those incarcerated for non-violent drug-offenses. There is also a strong and direct correlation between the number of reported crimes and the number of per-capita police on payroll….Do cops cause crime? Seriously, as TTAG so often reminds us, correlation does not equal causation.

    So yeah, the guys an idiot, but that’s no reason to emulate him

  6. At least they’re admitting that crime is down. The majority of the ignorant masses think it’s way up.

  7. The denial/refusal of a correlation between increased gun ownership and a reduction in violent crime exist for the same reasons the anti-gun left is incapable of offering a rational explanation of why the rate of home invasion robberies is exponentially higher in liberal States like New York that restrict and discourage even lawful possession and ownership of firearms, as opposed to the significantly lower rate of home invasions in States like Texas, where the criminal predators know such a crime will likely prove hazardous to their health.

    When truth and statistical facts belie the anti 2nd amendment propaganda that more guns equates to more crime, the progressive elitists predictably resort to spin and lies.

  8. “The larger question is … how supposedly educated people, people who, holding at least an undergraduate degree and were exposed to the study of logic …”

    Well there’s your problem. (as Mythbuster Jamie Hyneman would say) Plenty — and dare I say most — people who have their bachelor’s degree were never exposed to the study of logic: rather they were indoctrinated.

    • I was introduced to the Laws of Logic in high school geometry, and later they were reinforced in Calculus during my engineering course of study in college. They seem to be ignored elsewhere in academia.

      • Its the “liberal”, “arts”, which are most of the degrees now, that ignore the study of logic. The “hard sciences”, of math, statistics, physics, chemistry, etc. can’t do without it. And the very fact that these are contrasted from the rest by the name “hard science” ought to go to show that all the “liberal arts”(which are nether liberal nor art) are not scientific at all, but just consist of “educated” idiots repeating their opinions over and over, usually shouting loudly about how high a degree they have, as if a piece of paper makes them intelligent.

  9. Ah, like so many pharma trolls that love the battle cry correlation does not imply causation when it comes to vaccine and autism….

  10. The psychology behind prison and crime complaints typically are based on the idea that all crimes or deviant behavior is based on ignorance. But to play devil’s advocate, just because there is no moral or free will at play doesn’t mean we have to share the world with them. A rabid dog isn’t immoral but you wouldn’t bring one into your home.

    As for dropping crime rates, it is at least well known in academic criminology fields that the fbi and major cities screw with their raw data and the way they fashion it (fbi and rape satistics formula) to present a picture that crime is in decline. Point I’m trying to make is that despite crime data your life is in your own hands.

    I personally take the Romans as my example for the justification for an armed society. The Romans did not allow arms in Rome. What good did that do them against. Hannibal or Ceaser.

  11. Methinks a weekend in Chicago’s otherwise lower income areas , where mass shootings, gang violence are documented weekly, would throw a monkey wrench into his equation. The faculty lounge has a perfectly good psychobabble explanation.
    It’s got to be George Bush’s fault. Even if it’s Obamas convenient home town.
    The unicorns look lovely grazing in the sunset. Utopian ideology meets Kentucky Hemp with a lovely old live oak. I miss tar and feathering, it was so effective back in the day.

  12. It’s like he was going along the right track the entire time then suddenly slammed the wheel hard to the side and flew off a cliff.

    • That’s what I came up with. Like, he went right on down a list of clear demonstrations of “more guns less crime”, then segued into something like “but of course everyone knows that’s not true”, then off into how the decrease in crime remains a complete mystery. An astonishing adventure into the maintenance of an ideology being of more importance than anything related to truth, honor, logic, common sense, experience, or rational thought. Toss all that in the crapper, all actual evidence just adds to the curiousity.

  13. I am the only “white” guy in our four house perimeter. Now a five house perimeter. Six if you count a neighbor we seldom see. We have this bad habit of talking to each other. I have absolutely no Spanish, but, my neighbors speak English. Who de dummy? We know to make the call, but, who is closer, us or the police? The black guy across from me does not make a habit of having shoot outs, go figure. Seen the kids grow up. Safety is us. Sort out the bad guys later.

  14. “As for Obama, any link between a desire for personal, deadly firepower and the election of the country’s first African American president raises some rather ugly questions.”

    And that sentence is the work of a very ugly mind. People like Mr. Blumpkin here are the reason I jumped off the liberal bandwagon years ago. Today’s “progressive liberals” are just regressive totalitarians with improved PR.

    • Should be pretty clear to anyone who is thinking. If someone’s arguments always come back to race, that person is a racist.

  15. “As for Obama, any link between a desire for personal, deadly firepower and the election of the country’s first African American president raises some rather ugly questions.”

    What? That sounds an awful lot like an attempt to make gun owners look racist…

  16. Saying “More Guns = Less Crime” is just an ignorant as “Less Guns = Less Crime”. Both have major confounding factors and crime is not well predicted by a single statistic, with exception of poverty.

  17. “. . . there was more violence in the Roaring 1920s than the Depression-racked 1930s.” The entire decade of the 1920’s was governed by Prohibition and the growth of the illegal alcohol business. By the early 1930’s the market for illegal alcohol might have stabilized (agreement among bootleggers about division of territory); I don’t know. In any case, Prohibition ended in 1933. I wonder if Prohibition had any influence on violence during these two decades.
    “I’m unaware of any well-informed gun owner that thought the recession a good reason for buying guns, other than perhaps, as investments.” The OP qualifies his investment hypothesis with the phrase “other than perhaps”. The fraction of gun-market volume that might be considered “investment-grade” is inherently very limited; e.g., registered fully-automatic arms and those of historical interest. Having majored in economics, I assure you that investment was the furthest issue in my mind when I purchased my Glock.

  18. The people Mike McDaniel is talking about don’t “get it” simply because they don’t want to “get it” because if they “got it” the foundation of their agenda would crumble immediately. They’re not stupid, they’re deceitful, lying totalitarians who want to deny everyone their right to defend themselves.


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