The NY Daily News is at it again. In an editorial posted on Sunday, the paper once again trotted out the same old party line that “more guns cause more gun related death.” Which is true. Yes, you heard me right — their statement is accurate. Kinda. But not in the way the NY Daily News wants it to be, and it’s still the dumbest, most hysterically biased, semi-scientific argument that could possibly be made on the topic. Three seconds considering their point reveals that it’s a complete waste of ink, paper and electrons . . .
From the article:
A new report verifies what New Yorkers already know: Guns kill — and the more guns available, the more lives they take.
They kill far more often — through homicides, yes, but also suicides and accidents — in states that have more guns and weaker gun laws, according to a study by the Violence Policy Center, one of the many groups conducting the research the federal government continues to neglect.
All five of the safest states — Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island — have gun ownership rates below 20%. It’s no coincidence that New Yorkers are less than half as likely to die at the end of a gun than the national average.
There’s an important distinction here. The report the NY Daily News cites is compares the proportion of “gun violence” deaths to the national average, not a weighted average. That makes it useless.
Let me re-state the same paragraph, using 100% accurate information, showing how ridiculous their argument actually is.
A new report verifies what New Yorkers already know: Alligators kill — and the more alligators available, the more lives they take.
They kill far more often — through homicides, yes, but also suicides and accidents — in states that have more alligators and weaker animal control laws, according to a study by the Gator Policy Center, one of the many groups conducting the research the federal government continues to neglect.
All five of the safest states — Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island — have alligator population rates below 20%. It’s no coincidence that New Yorkers are less than half as likely to die at the mouth of an alligator than the national average.
Firearms are a deadly weapon. So are knives. And cars. And sharp pointy sticks. And even alligators. But their mere existence doesn’t inherently equal an increase in overall deaths. Focusing on one specific type of death (“gun violence” or “alligator violence”) presents an extremely narrow view of the world to the exclusion of all other variables and threats, excluding any context for the information. Just because one manner of death is more prevalent does not automatically make it more dangerous.
A basic understanding of statistics is all that’s required to see what’s going on here. If a population has a higher proportional ownership of a certain deadly object, it is natural that the object will be used more often. That does not, however, prove that the mere existence of the object led to those incidents. For example, the idea that a firearm makes suicide more likely has already been thoroughly debunked.
The prevalence of firearms doesn’t impact the probability of being murdered or committing suicide. Let me directly use the example from the article, comparing New York to Wyoming. The NY Daily News was shocked (SHOCKED!) that people in Wyoming were three times more likely than New Yorkers to be killed by a gun. But in reality, even though guns are much more available in Wyoming, people in new York are still more likely to be murdered.
Murder Rate (2013):
New York: 3.3/100,000
The Daily News editorial staff seems convinced that firearms are a talisman of evil, their mere presence in an environment will drive people to murder. The facts simply don’t align with their political beliefs. So in order to advance their point of view, they dress up every pseudo-scientific study they can find that agrees with them and shove it down their readers’ throats.
Fact checking and logical thinking. They should try it sometime.