"A new, huge review of gun research has bad news for the NRA," a Friday headline on the consistently anti-gun Vox asserts. "The findings, while limited, point in one direction: Gun control can save lives."
They admit findings are "limited"?
Yet despite those limitations we're to believe the "research" will put to rest prior findings by criminologists Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser that "In 2004 the US National Academy of Sciences ... failed to identify any gun control that reduced violent crime, suicides or gun accidents" derived "from a review of 153 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, and some original empirical research" and further corroborated "in 2003 by the US Centers for Disease Control"?
Good grief, we're not going to get into statistics here, are we? Talk about a surefire way to make eyes glaze over unless you're adept at translating Martian into English. But if we leave those depths to a pro like John Lott, what can we mere laymen do to question arcane conclusions dependent on our ability to navigate numbers and charts?
We can start by remembering the truism about lies, damned lies and statistics. And in this case, the damned lies practically out themselves.
"[A]fter research on gun violence in the 1990s found that firearms do not - contrary to NRA talking points - make people safer, the group backed a federal funding freeze on gun policy research," the Vox piece claims. Right there they're performing a bit of sleight of mind.
There's a difference between "research" and "agenda science."
"Congress in fact simply directed the CDC to stop promoting gun control," Timothy Wheeler, MD of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership explained. "To reasonable minds this is not at all controversial. Congress should ignore the tricksters and continue holding the CDC to its mission of objective research, not pushing for gun control."
Perhaps if CDC honcho Dr. Mark Rosenberg had not been out there bragging to the media that his goal in his official capacity was to manipulate public perception of firearms as "dirty, deadly- and banned," they would not have had to be reined in. But then again, being against people defending themselves is what such creatures are all about.
Still, the new RAND study is ground-breaking. Honest. Which must be why we see equivocation and excuse-making throughout the Vox piece:
- They're not making "sweeping declarations."
- They admit "research is very limited."
- '[I]ts review does seem to point in a direction..."
- "At the very least, there's enough evidence to suggest..."
- "[M]uch of the research on gun policy is still in its infancy."
This is "huge"? This is "bad news for the NRA"?
It looks more like wishful thinking peppered with graphics designed to make it look like they're dealing with facts. And when they get to facts we can check, claims start to fall apart.
Case in point, to solidify their assertion that the U.S. has more lethal violence than other nations, they fall back on that old, meaningless standby, "industrialized nations" (not the first time Vox has pulled this little stunt).
They use it to exclude from the discussion countries that don't support their premise. Note the chart Vox uses to make its case. Anybody see Russia or Mexico listed, both with more restrictive gun laws and higher violent crime than the U.S.?
Whether one consults the UN, the IMF, the World Bank or the CIA Factbook, Mexico has a larger GDP than many of the nations that qualify as "developed" when it suits gun-grabber purposes. Also rated above many countries in term of "economic complexity," Mexico includes cars, computers, video displays and delivery trucks among its top exports. It boasts a literacy rate of 93.4 percent.
And somebody had better tell Vladimir Putin that Third World jerkwater he rules over has no business exporting rocket engines to the U.S., or as we've recently seen, threatening us more "developed" people with an "'invincible' intercontinental cruise missile and a nuclear torpedo that could outsmart all American defenses."
Another trick I've see time and again, both in supposed new landmark "studies" and in Vox's "reporting" of them is conflating "ownership," which is a legal and a moral concept, with "possession." Criminals don't "own" property obtained through violent, thieving or illegal actions, and there's a world difference between use of things that are owned and abuse of things that are possessed. So naturally, the gun-grabber tack is to blame the thing.
We could get further into the Vox claims but why bother? How many times do we need to catch them at manipulation before we just conclude that the whole piece is just part of a scheme to separate us from our rights -- and to consider the source?
While ad hominem arguments are generally dismissed as logical fallacies, in this case we've been given cause to pay attention to the man behind the curtain, and at the equipment he's bellowing into.
Vox was started by a pair of "progressive" Washington Post alumni. And based on the gun content we see coming out of it, these critiques hardly seem unfair:
Shortly after it launched, conservative writer David Harsanyi criticized the site's concept of 'explanatory journalism' in an article in The Federalist titled 'How Vox makes us stupid', arguing that the website selectively chose facts, and that 'explanatory journalism' inherently leaves out opposing viewpoints and different perspectives. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at The Week argued that the website produced 'partisan commentary in question-and-answer disguise' and criticized the site for having a 'starting lineup [that] was mostly made up of ideological liberals.' The Week's Ryu Spaeth described the site's operations as, 'It essentially takes the news (in other words, what is happening in the world at any given moment in time) and frames it in a way that appeals to its young, liberal audience.'"
As for "centrist" RAND Corporation...? A 2011 U.S. News & World Report article documented its employees donated to Democrats over Republicans 91.2% to 8.8% (putting them ideologically to the left of San Francisco).
A truism I use often is that for "progressives," every day is Opposite Day. Science is supposed to be objective, leading to where observation takes things and untainted by observer bias. Anything presented under the pretense of rigorous methodology that instead was intended all along to promote a political agenda is, by that very approach invalidated.
It is anti-science and the province of witch doctors. When used to promote citizen disarmament, it is Stalinist.
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine, a featured contributor to AmmoLand, contributor to Firearms News website and magazine, and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at "The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance" and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.