Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

Guns In Fiction: Cover Art Follies #3

I would think a soldier oughta know better...

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Guns In Fiction: Cover Art Follies #2

Continuing with our little showcase...

Sorry, Holmes.

Keep your bloody finger off the bloody trigger unless you are ready to fire.

Don't be a wanker.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Nitpicking Neil's Numbers: A Closer Look At Neil deGrasse Tyson's Gun Deaths Tweets

While tooling around on Facebook recently, I came across a post someone had put up linking to an article about Neil deGrasse Tyson's tweet on gun deaths.

I'm going to skip on the article and go right to Neil's tweets.

Here they are:

One thing struck me as odd in these tweets.

Tyson uses the term "household guns" and "household firearms."

Um...what's a "household gun/firearm?"

I mean, I know what a "gun" is. I know what a "firearm" is

How is a "household gun/firearm" different from a "gun/firearm".

You know, a "gun-gun."

For that matter, how is a "household gun" different from a "self-defense gun?" Or a "target shooting gun?"

Is it the same or different from a "deer hunting gun?" A "duck hunting gun?"

Why the term "household gun?"

Is that some kind of special gun?

No. Really.

Now you might be saying, "Dude. Get a grip. You're mincing words."

Yeah. I am.

Only because words are important. Words carry weight and meaning. They resonate with people.

The choice of words affects the bigger picture, especially when we're talking about gun rights.

Consider the following words: The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence was originally called The National Coalition to Ban Handguns.

Another set of words to consider: The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was originally called The National Coalition to Control Handguns, then later changed its name to Handgun Control Inc. before becoming the Brady Campaign.

Notice the changes?

The operative phrases "control handguns" and "ban handguns" morphed into "stop gun violence" and "prevent gun violence."

So yes--words are important.

And again I return to the question: What in the ever-loving hell is a "household gun/firearm?"

And the more important question: Why use that term?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

When Anti-Gun Bigots (Possibly) Manipulate Data

Could they do such a thing?

We've seen instances of Anti-Gun Bigots misleading the public to try and get their way.

Here's the item in question, found at this link.

Now the "post" is just this graphic. No further details or explanation.
Just the two graphs.

I guess it's meant to be taken "as is."

There isn't even a link to any sources for their numbers.

The bit we're interested in is the comparison of traffic and firearm deaths every year, according to the graphic, showing here:
So let's see if we can deduce, based on the given information, where these figures may have come from.

It's quite likely that the totals for traffic deaths and firearm deaths came from CDC statistics. It's usually where Gun Control Cultists go when giving statistics to the public.

And the best place to get such CDC statistics is the WISQARS site.

If we go there and click through the Fatal Injury links to their Fatal Injury reporting tool (which covers the years 1999 - 2013) we can generate a report for traffic and firearm deaths.

Let's do traffic deaths.
  • Set Option 1 to "All Intents"
  • Set Option 2 to "Motor vehicle, overall"
  • Set Option 3, Year(s) of Report to "1999" to "2013"
  • Then set Advanced Options, Select output group(s), to "Year"
Click "Submit Request" down at the bottom and we get a nice year-by-year table listing our data.

Now to compare traffic death data to firearm deaths.
  • Set Option 1 to "All Intents"
  • Set Option 2 to "Firearm"
  • Set Option 3, Year(s) of Report to "1999" to "2013"
  • Then set Advanced Options, Select output group(s), to "Year"
Click "Submit Request" down at the bottom and we get a nice year-by-year table listing our firearm deaths data.

If we pull the data and look at it side-by-side, by year, we get the following figures:

Compare this with the graphic from the post.

Seems about right. Traffic and firearm deaths are over 30,000 per year.

(Incidentally, the graphic doesn't break down the data by year, but we'll let that slide for now.)

But now look closer at the graphic.

Gun deaths, in red, are slightly higher than traffic deaths, in blue.

If that's so, the numbers in the CDC report should show the same, right?

But they don't.

Motor vehicle deaths are higher than firearm deaths.

So where could this graphic have gotten their data of less motor vehicle deaths?

Where indeed.

A likely place might be Wikipedia. Lots of folks use that site. Yes, and lots of folks say it's unreliable, but at least Wikipedia typically lists the source for their facts and data.

The Wikipedia entry on "List of motor vehicle deaths in U.S. by year" does give us a source for their data: the Fatality Analysis Reporting System from the fine folks at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

FARS data goes back to 1994 and ends at the latest data year of 2012. We'll look at the same timespan as our CDC data, 1999 to the latest data year available.

A look at FARS data shows the following numbers (side-by-side with the CDC data up to 2012):

For the most part, the data still shows motor vehicle deaths surpassing firearm deaths.

The only instance in which firearm deaths surpass motor vehicle deaths is in 2012: 33,563 firearm deaths vs. 33,561 motor vehicle deaths.

But according to the graph, every year shows more firearm deaths than motor vehicle.

Could the graph be incorrect?

Don't know. The lack of any citations to source data in the post make it hard to determine validity.

Besides--how could statistics from gun control advocates be wrong?

Here's something else to consider: CDC data are taken from ICD-10 codes. ICD-10 codes are medical classification codes used by a number of countries, including the U.S.

FARS data, according to their User's Manual, are:
obtained from various States’ documents, such as:
  • Police Accident Reports (PAR)
  • Death Certificates
  • State Vehicle Registration Files
  • Coroner/Medical Examiner Reports
  • State Driver Licensing Files
  • Hospital Medical Reports
  • State Highway Department Data
  • Emergency Medical Service Reports
  • Vital Statistics and other State Records
FARS Analytical User's Manual 1975 - 2013, page 9
If we compare firearm deaths per CDC classification and motor vehicle deaths per FARS classification, we're technically comparing apples to oranges.

There's no uniformity of data types.

But back to the graph showing more firearm deaths per year than motor vehicle deaths.

The CDC and FARS numbers don't show that except for the year 2012 and that was only from the FARS data.

Did the creator of the graph simply use that one year and claim it was a yearly figure?

Would people really do that?

If it fit their worldview, they just might...

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