So it’s possible that gun possession was “perilous,” in the sense of increasing the risk of the possessor’s being injured. It’s possible that it “did not protect those who possessed guns,” in the sense that it didn’t reduce the risk of the possessor’s being injured. But it’s also possible that it was “protective,” in that it reduced the risk of the possessor’s being injured, but this result is swamped by the other phenomena I point to. The study doesn’t give us much extra information about which theory is correct. And yet it is publicized, and it’s reported, as if it did robustly show the causal relationship.
"We also did not account for the potential of reverse causation between gun possession and gun assault. Although our long list of confounders may have served to reduce some of the problems posed by reverse causation65, future case–control studies of guns and assault should consider instrumental variables techniques to explore the effects of reverse causation. It is worth noting, however, that the probability of success with these techniques is low.66"
My 9mm has a first name, it's A-S-S-A-U-L-T
My 9mm has a second name, it's F-E-L-O-N-Y
Ask a man whether he had sex with a prostitute this month. Before he answers ask him to flip a coin. Instruct him to answer "yes" if the coin comes up tails, and truthfully, if it comes up heads. Only he knows whether his answer reflects the toss of the coin or his true experience.
Half the people-or half the questionnaire population-who have not had sex with a prostitute get tails and the other half get heads when they flip the coin. Therefore, half of those who have not had sex with a prostitute will answer "yes" even though they have not done it. So whatever proportion of the group said "no," the true number who did not have sex with a prostitute is double that. For example, if 20% of the population surveyed said "no," then the true fraction that did not have sex with a prostitute is 40%.
There are a lot of responsible, reasonable gun owners out there. Although I am not one of them, I know and am friendly with a not insignificant number of folks who own guns, and I am not philosphically opposed to the idea of gun ownership at all.
But, man. It just seems like there's a certain subset of gun owners who get super excited every time the subject of defending themselves with guns comes up. I honestly believe that there's a number of these folks are sitting up at night actually hoping someone tries to attack them or break into their house so they can shoot them. It's like the idea of blowing away some imaginary home invader gives them a giant raging boner, and frankly it fucking sickens me.
"... He was reserved and well spoken, with a fine sense of fair play. He was often called upon to intercede when dishonest characters were taking advantage of honest citizens. "Hoppy" and his white horse, Topper, usually traveled through the west with two companions — one young and trouble-prone with a weakness for damsels in distress, the other comically awkward and outspoken. ..."
"It is also worth noting that our findings are possibly not generalizable to nonurban areas whose gun injury risks can be significantly different than those of urban centers like Philadelphia.64"
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Interviewer: Do you feel you did the right thing -- are you glad you did this?
Joe Horn: No... I -- I had to do the right thing to save my life, but this is not a good feeling, no... [on the tape of my 911 call] you're listening to a man who is scared and alone... That person is a man that has never, ever been in any kind of situation like this in his entire life. He is alone. He is scared that 'these two guys are gonna come breaking into my house.'
Interviewer: So you're saying that all this conversation with the 911 operator was just bravado about 'I'm the guy with the gun?'
I'm sorry to say that, but it's true... It's been very traumatic... To go through an event like this, you can not imagine how bad you feel. Both mentally and physically – it takes a mental toll on yourself and it takes a physical toll on yourself... Ma'am, you have no idea. To be in a situation where you have to take two lives to save your own – you have no idea what that does to you. Not just – at the time that it's happening, you don't think like that. But after the fact, no one wants to feel like I feel.
One can try to control for this in some measure — but while the study controls for some relevant attributes (race, sex, age, neighborhood, having a “high-risk occupation,” and having at least one arrest on one’s record), it leaves a vast range of factors uncontrolled. You’d think that gang members are more likely than others to carry guns and to get shot, even controlling for the presence of an arrest record. (Lots of law-abiding people carry guns, but I expect that more gang members do.) But the study doesn’t control for that, or for many other things.
The research model works only to the extent that you actually know who possesses guns and who doesn’t.... And both the cases and the controls might have plenty of reasons to lie.... Fortunately, the study helpfully tells us what would happen if there’s concealment of gun ownership by some fraction of cases and controls — though of course the press release and the newspaper article are silent about this. If only 1% of controls and cases who are reported not to have had guns are randomly recoded to having guns, two of the three results (”all gun assaults,” “gun assaults where victim had at least some chance to resist,” but not “fatal gun assaults”) end up yielding statistically insignificant results. If 3% are so recoded, all three results lose statistical significance.
If we assume that 1% of controls were concealing their gun possession and 0% of cases were concealing it ... all three results lose statistical significance.
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