The Guardian On The Texas Church Shooting – Not Even The Right Number

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The Guardian wants to tell us that even though some to many lives were saved in that most recent Texas church shooting as the congregation blasted the assailant this isn’t good enough, it still doesn’t justify the idea that the proles might have gins to defend themselves. After all, how will true socialism ever be achieved if the mere citizenry can disagree to effect?

Every time the US suffers another mass shooting, gun rights activists make an argument that goes something like this: if a good guy with a gun had been there, this terrible tragedy could have been prevented.

That argument has been dismissed by gun control groups as an unrealistic suggestion that diverts attention away from the need to strengthen laws restricting firearm access, but a shooting that occurred over the weekend has now supercharged the “good guy with a gun” defense.

Tsk, facts and evidence, eh?

Such instances of defensive firearm use are also rare in the larger landscape of America’s gun violence. According to the not-for-profit Gun Violence Archive, only 1,532 gun violence deaths in the US this year have been the result of defensive use, representing about 4% of the total number of such deaths.

That total figure – 39,150 gun violence deaths in 2019 – now includes the two innocent congregants who were shot in the span of a few seconds on Sunday, despite the presence of a “good guy with a gun”.

Sigh. A decent number of those gun deaths are suicides:

In 2013, there were 73,505 nonfatal firearm injuries (23.2 injuries per 100,000 people), and 33,636 deaths due to “injury by firearms” (10.6 deaths per 100,000 people). These deaths included 21,175 suicides, 11,208 homicides, 505 deaths due to accidental or negligent discharge of a firearm, and 281 deaths due to firearms use with “undetermined intent”.

The suicide rate in the US is not markedly different from other rich countries. It’s lower than Iceland or Japan, places where no one has a gun. The availability of guns leads to it being easier – if more messy – to do so for short drop hanging isn’t a way that many like to go. But it would be the marginal level of suicide given that ease which is caused by guns, not the total number even then. And there’s little to no evidence – rather than supposition – that the marginal rate is anything at all.

But even then the Guardian’s looking at entirely the wrong number. We don’t want to know how may bad guys were shot by good ones. We want to know how many good guys weren’t shot by bad ones as a result of the bad guys oozing intestines through their bullet holes from the good guys.

Last church shooting had what, 26 dead? Here three. So, congregations being armed saved 8.7 times the lives. Or, perhaps, with one bad guy down and 26 non-deaths, each bad guy down saves 25 lives? At which point general gun availability saves more than it kills, by a long, long way.

Not that I’m trying to insist upon that you understand. Only that this is the number we’re actually interested in. Not how many bad guys were killed righteously, but how many people didn’t die as a result of such shootings? And it’s not obvious that the balance is negative there, is it?

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Pat
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Pat

Furthermore, if a person produces a gun, and deters an assailant by the threat alone, without actually firing, that is defensive gun use even though nobody is shot.
Also if a potential assailant is deterred by the possibility of his victim being armed that too is defensive gun use.
Good luck counting the incidents though.
It is interesting to note that most assaults happen in places where guns are officially banned, or at least not expected to be present as in the church.
Perhaps those prepared to ignore the laws against murder and assault are also prepared to ignore the laws regarding guns

David Moore
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David Moore

I’ve seen figures that show almost all mass shootings occur in areas that are officially gun free zones in the US.

Bloke in Germany
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Bloke in Germany

Yeah, but there is a further iteration in that the easy availability of guns means more bad guys with guns in the first place, meaning everyone else has to have one, thus more people killed by bad guys, then the accidental deaths, heated domestics, and so on from the “good guys” guns. So 25 is not quite the number we are interested in, but it’s not a bad starting point, and I agree, it isn’t obvious that the balance is negative.

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

My country, South Africa, has tight gun laws that would make even Joe “Buy a shotgun” Biden blench, coupled with a murder rate exceeded only by Venezuela’s. But murder is very much a South African thing, just as mass shootings mainly happen in America and Iraq. Gun restriction might have a different effect in America.

John B
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John B

‘ the need to strengthen laws restricting firearm access…’’ Aha. So such laws exist – that admission makes a change from the usual claim there are no restrictions – they just need to be ‘strengthened’. How? The usual ‘strengthening’ argument involves banning ‘assault rifles’ are there any other kind of rifles? However in this instance, the firearm used was a shot gun. Even in the UK with its ‘hyper-strengthened laws’ it is fairly easy to get one of those. As far as the USA is concerned: given the numbers of guns in circulation there, given that the authorities cannot stop… Read more »

David Moore
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David Moore

Yeap, a large part of the motivation is based in the simple fact many people loathe the people they believe are beneath them.

On the gun control issue, here in NZ only a small percentage of the semi-auto firearms have actually handed in following there banning. No one is reporting on it much, but there has been widespread civil disobedience. I can’t imagine Americans being any more cooperative with something like this.

Briny
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Briny

If you are following events in the state of Virginia, extremely uncooperative is a more apt description.

David Moore
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David Moore

I haven’t TBH, but I’ll look it up.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

It’s possible (pure supposition) that the widespread availability of guns could increase the numbers of suicides. If you’re at home – drunk, maudlin, depressed for whatever reason (valid or not) – and decide to end it all, then (as Tim says) strangulation is unappealing and most other forms of suicide require a significant degree of preparation, giving time to change your mind. Whereas pulling a gun from a drawer and holding it to your head …

ResuméDorothy Parker
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Gavin Longmuir
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Gavin Longmuir

No, no, no! Suicide without guns is really easy-peasy. Just think about old Mr. Epstein — the bridge between the Clintons and the Royal Family. He was in protective custody, under suicide watch, with all possible means of harming himself removed, and surveillance cameras running — and he managed to off himself without anyone noticing.

Spike
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Spike

No, he managed to BREAK HIS OWN NECK, in two places, with everyone looking away and falsifying logs about it.

David Moore
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David Moore

Here’s a venn diagram challenge. Plot those who are most in favour of gun control (who will often cite suicides as a major reason) with those most in favour of voluntary euthanasia.

I suspect the results would be rather incoherent.

Pcar
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Pcar

Why the concentration on preventing suicide?

If someone want to die shouldn’t we permit them to in the easiest, quickest and least painful way possible?

We endorse pet compulsory euthanasia without pet’s consent, but prohibit human voluntary consensual euthanasia

Double standards?

David Moore
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David Moore

They don’t care about people committing suicide, nor do they care about the thousands of (mostly) black men being killed in inner cities. It’s the law abiding, white gun owners they hate.

Spike
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Spike

No one in that conversation is concentrating on preventing suicide. They are trying to include suicides in the “epidemic” of “gun violence” to produce fake statistics. This is another epidemic with no contagion, as you taking your own life (as is indeed your right) does nothing to induce me to take mine. Suicide is a quintessentially individual decision, spun to be part of a societal crisis.