Wow. It’s been quite the day for bogus “empirical” attacks on Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. First slate.com goes all link-crazy in an attempt to prove that adult gun ownership is bad for children (including teenage gang-bangers and homicides). Now washingtonpost.com gets all in our face re: the relative number of gun stores vs. museums and libraries in various parts of the country. First . . .
What’s a library? Seriously. And while I love museums, I learned everything I know from the Internet. Well, I would have if they’d invented the thing a decade or two earlier. The lack of a library or museum in a community now means precisely nothing.
Which is not how WaPo blogger and “data journalist” Christopher Ingraham paints it. Here’s his justification for doing this gun stores vs. museums and libraries number-crunching (i.e. manipulating ye olde correlation equals causation formula to paint gun owners as uneducated riff-raff):
Keep in mind that these two quantities aren’t diametrically opposed – there’s no reason you can’t be a fan of both guns and museums (there is in fact a National Firearms Museum run by the NRA in Fairfax, VA). But viewed in relation to each other guns and museums give some sense of a community’s values. As my colleague Emily Badger wrote the other day, we live in places that reflect our values, and many of us are sorting ourselves into communities that share our political views.
In case you missed that literal and figurative anti-gun shading, check out the header above Mr. Ingraham’s map: “Where guns are easier to find than knowledge.” Welcome to the Washington Post, where anti-civil rights bias is easier to find than anything remotely approaching genuine insight. Elitists. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live with ’em.