Another day, another hit piece from Slate: “The Myth of the Good Guy With a Gun”

UPDATED: Kleck himself responded to this piece of garbage and it is a wonderful smackdown.

Looks like the antigun movement has found their anti-Lotts in  Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes, the two people behind the antigun blog “Armed With Reason”

On Jan 25, they vomited up their latest bit of propaganda, “The Myth of the Good Guy With a Gun – The NRA is wrong: Owning a gun is far more likely to harm you than protect you.”  This is naturally filed under Slate’s “Medical Examiner” section; not that either of the authors has any medical background.  No, it’d appear that their claim to fame is massaging statistics.

Their article starts by the every fashionable straw man attack on Wayne LaPierre, and then segue into their argument:

Tragically, a record number of Americans subscribe to some version of this mythology, with 63 percent (67 percent of men polled and 58 percent of women) believing that guns truly do make them safer. The public’s confidence in firearms, however, is woefully misguided: The evidence overwhelmingly shows that guns leave everybody less safe, including their owners.

What evidence is this? Why a menagerie of cherry picked statistics & studies of course.

A study from October 2013 analyzed data from 27 developed nations to examine the impact of firearm prevalence on the mortality rate. It found an extremely strong direct relationship between the number of firearms and firearm deaths. The paper concludes: “The current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis that guns make a nation safer.” This finding is bolstered by several previous studies that have revealed a significant link between gun ownership and firearm-related deaths. This international comparison is especially harrowing for women andchildren, who die from gun violence in America at far higher rates than in other countries.

The first study in the above link is chock full of circular reasoning, but the summary results state:

Among the 27 developed countries, there was a significant positive correlation between guns per capita per country and the rate of firearm-related deaths (r = 0.80; P <.0001). In addition, there was a positive correlation (r = 0.52; P = .005) between mental illness burden in a country and firearm-related deaths. However, there was no significant correlation (P = .10) between guns per capita per country and crime rate (r = .33), or between mental illness and crime rate (r = 0.32; P = .11). In a linear regression model with firearm-related deaths as the dependent variable with gun ownership and mental illness as independent covariates, gun ownership was a significant predictor (P <.0001) of firearm-related deaths, whereas mental illness was of borderline significance (P = .05) only.

The study is behind a paywall but can be read here.

Gee, countries with more firearms have more firearms related deaths? That’s like saying countries with more cars are going to have more automobile related fatalities.

So let’s look to the meat of that study:

Do Guns Make a Nation Safer?
We then sought to evaluate whether possessing guns would make a nation safer, as has been a widespread contention. We used the crime rate per 100,000 population as an indicator of safety of the nation. There was no significant correlation (r = 0.33) between guns per capita per country and crime rate (P = .10), arguing against the notion of more guns translating into less crime

No significant correlation between guns per capita per country and crime rate, arguing against the notion of more guns translating into less crime.  No significant correlation also means that more guns doesn’t mean more crime.  If anything, this study shows number of firearms present has no real effect on how many crimes take place.  Presence of firearms has no effect on whether or not a country has more or less crime. Ooops.

Of course this isn’t addressed by study authors Bangalore & Messerli, much less DeFilippis & Hughes.

Digging down to the conclusion:

The present data suggest that the number of guns per capita per country correlated strongly and was an independent predictor of firearm-related deaths.  Additionally, in a linear regression model there was a correlation with mental illness, but this was of borderline significance in a multivariable model. Although correlation is not synonymous with causation, it seems conceivable that abundant gun availability facilitates firearm-related deaths. Conversely, high crime rates may instigate widespread anxiety and fear, thereby motivating people to arm themselves and give rise to increased gun ownership, which, in turn, increases availability. The resulting vicious cycle could, bit-by-bit, lead to the polarized status that is now the case with the US. Regardless of exact cause and effect, however, the current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis purporting to show that countries with the higher gun ownership are safer than those with low gun ownership. (All emphasis mine.)

Hm, that’s a shocker, people in high crime areas might arm themselves to defend against attackers? What a surprise.

So already DeFillipis & Hughes have a problem – if anyone digs into their studies or examines the text critically, their argument doesn’t hold water.  Better follow their “science” with some tugging at the heart strings:

Behind such horrifying statistics are numerous heartbreaking tragedies, such as Zina Daniel, a woman from Illinois who was killed by her abusive ex-husband, or Caroline Sparks, who was only 2 when her 5-year-old brother accidentally killed her with his Crickett rifle.

While accidents are tragic, I’ve already addressed their infrequency in a previous blog entry found here – children 18 & under are rarely accidentally killed by firearms (with less than 100 fatalities in 2012).  No, the shameful part of DeFillipis & Hughes article conveniently ignore that firearms are used to defend wives against abusive husbands as well, such as when Robert Vann Marshall was shot and killed just minutes after being released from jail, trying to break into his wife’s house.

So next DeFillipis & Hughes have to establish that guns are the only reason why homicides are high:

If we examine data from within the United States, the odds aren’t any better for gun owners. The most recent study examining the relationship between firearms and homicide rates on a state level, published last April, found a significant positive relationship between gun ownership and overall homicide levels. Using data from 1981–2010 and the best firearm ownership proxy to date, the study found that for every 1 percent increase in gun ownership, there was a 1.1 percent increase in the firearm homicide rate and a 0.7 percent increase in the total homicide rate. This was after controlling for factors such as poverty, unemployment, income inequality, alcohol consumption, and nonhomicide violent crime. Further, the firearm ownership rate had no statistically significant impact on nonfirearm homicides, meaning there was no detectable substitution effect. That is, in the absence of guns, would-be criminals are not switching to knives or some other weapons to carry out homicide. These results are supported by a host of previous studies that illustrate that guns increase the rate of homicides.

Wait… didn’t the first study they reference state outright that they could not determine a correlation between firearms availability & crime?  Now here they are trying to say that firearms availability causes homicides.  Please note, the study they linked to is, again, behind a pay wall (can’t have people easily reading what you are citing, natch), so we can’t drill down to examine it.

But homicides aren’t enough, no, they have to address suicides too:

The evidence against firearm ownership becomes even stronger when suicides and accidents are included in the analysis—guns make both much more likely and more fatal. There can be nothing closer to a consensus in the gun debate than this point. Indeed, every single case-control study ever conducted in the United States has found that gun ownership is a strong risk factor for suicide, even after adjusting for aggregate-level measures of suicidality such as mental illness, alcoholism, poverty, and so on.

Again, note the word choice: “gun ownership is a strong risk factor for suicide” – not a cause, simply a risk factor.  Clearly the implication is that if there were less firearms, suicides would go down.

Unfortunately for DeFillipis & Hughes, the real world doesn’t agree with their contention.  Just look at this handy list of suicide rates by country on Wikipedia.  The United States has on average 12.5 suicides per 100,000 people.  Surely if there were less guns, there would be less suicides, right?

Wrong.  Look at Japan: 21.4 per 100,000.  Even worse, look at South Korea: 28.5 per 100,000.  Neither country has ready access to firearms.   Belgium has much stricter gun control than the US, but firearms are available there.  Surely their suicide rate must be lower than the US, right? Nope: 17.0 per 100k

Removing (or controlling) guns isn’t the miracle cure, sorry!

Moving on, DeFillipis try to downplay reasons for having a firearm for self defense, namely the threat of home invasion:

Suppose a criminal has just broken into your house brandishing a firearm. You need to protect yourself and your family. Wouldn’t anyone feel safer owning a gun? This is the kind of narrative propagated by gun advocates in defense of firearm ownership. It preys on our fear. Yet, the annual per capita risk of death during a home invasion is 0.0000002, which, for all intents and purposes, is zero.

Sure, the risk of death my be near zero, but there’s a wide spectrum between being killed by an attacker and not being injured at all.  The DOJ did a report based off the National Crime Victimization Survey titled “Victimization During Household Burglary” and guess what they found?

An estimated 3.7 million household burglaries occurred each year on average from 2003 to 2007. In about 28% of these burglaries, a household member was present during the burglary. In 7% of all household burglaries, a household member experienced some form of violent victimization.

Let’s do some simple math: 3.7 million *.07 = 259,000 people violently victimized each year.  This, unfortunately isn’t accurate, as the report cites:

A household member was present in roughly 1 million burglaries and became victims of violent crimes in 266,560 burglaries.

.  Breaking that down further, that’s 730 people violently victimized each day. And that’s just household burglaries.

Why don’t DeFillipis & Hughes want that sort of information addressed? Why do they focus strictly on people killed during home invasions?  Because they have a vested interest in making it look like having a firearm to defend yourself is a myth based on fantasy.  Well, not just fantasy:

This past November, Campbell was riding home in a car with her boyfriend after purchasing a gun, preparing for the unrest expected to follow the grand jury decision about whether to pursue criminal charges against the policeman who killed Michael Brown. She joked that “we’re ready for Ferguson,” waving the gun. Distracted, the boyfriend ran into the car ahead of them, and the gun fired, killing Campbell.

See the subtle attempt to paint firearms ownership as racist in nature too?  Also remember, the plural of anecdote isn’t data, guys.

So next they have to make the assertion that defensive gun uses don’t really happen that often:

However, despite the NRA’s mantra that there are millions of defensive gun uses every year, empirical data reveals that DGUs are actually extremely rare. Criminal uses of firearms far outnumber legal defensive uses. The evidence shows that there may be fewer than even 3,000 DGUs annually. In comparison, there are 30,000 gun deaths annually, and many more injuries and shattered lives. The costs of gun ownership unequivocally outweigh the benefits.

Sure, you can make that argument if you only count DGUs that end in a justifiable homicide.  If you notice, the above link goes to a politico article written by the same authors that tries to tear apart DGU methodology, calling it fantasy that someone wouldn’t report a DGU to police.  I find this uproarious, since there is no standard police reporting for non-crimes or crimes that were averted; cops may come out (if they have time) to take a report that someone tried to rob you, or tried to rape you, because that is useful information to them in trying to apprehend criminals.  If you do wound or kill an attacker, they certainly will take reports.  But if you scared them off without firing a shot? That information isn’t going to make it into any sort of official database or measurement metric.

The article closes with an “it could never happen to me” anecdote where they cherry pick an Open Carry advocate killed her husband and author; clearly firearms owners are crazy people, right?  Heck they even say that this sort of thing is the norm, not the exception:

Rather than gangbangers and maniacal criminals going on killing sprees, it is cases like Dunnachie’s that drive gun violence.

Let’ s see what the FBI says – Murder: Race and Sex of Victim by Race and Sex of Offender, 2011

Sure looks like it’s not women driving murders to me.  If we break it down by Age, Sex & Race the numbers don’t look any better for DeFillipis & Hughes.  In fact, it really looks like that the majority of murders are being perpetrated by men 17-34, and the data would seem to indicate that black men are more of them, not white women. Draw your own conclusions.

Finally in closing the authors try to tell you that you are less likely to be injured if you use a weapon other than a gun:

Yet a study examining data from the National Crime Victimization Survey found that people who used any weapon other than a gun for defense were less likely to be harmed than those who used a firearm.

I find it ironic that they cite a study authored by Kleck in 2004 as authoritative proof that guns aren’t reliable means of self defense when they spent the entire Politico article cited earlier disparaging him and his methodology. Again, the study they link is behind a paywall, however you can read it here.  Reading through the study, it would appear that Kleck’s conclusion is the exact opposite of what DeFillipis & Hughes state:

Even very large coefficients for protection variables were often not significant because of the action’s rarity. For example, based on their very large negative coefficients, attacking or threatening the offender with a gun appears to be almost totally effective in avoiding serious injury.  The estimates of their effects are not significant, however, because they were based on only forty-five sample cases of attacking with a gun and 202 of threatening with a gun, in a sample where serious injury after defensive action was almost nonexistent.

The conclusion of the Kleck study has this as well:

While there are exceptional situations, victim resistance is usually either successful or inconsequential, and on the rare occasions that it is harmful it is rarely seriously so. Therefore, unless there are circumstances that clearly indicate resistance will lead to significant harm, the evidence reported in this paper indicates that some for most resistance should be the path generally taken.

Hm.  Resistance works.  Imagine that.

Kleck goes on to say:

Various kinds of forceful victim protective behavior, such as threatening the offender with a gun or other weapon, show the strongest negative coefficients, though none are significant. […] Resistance with a gun appears to be the most effective in preventing serious injury, though this finding is not statistically significant due to the small number of reported gun uses.

None are significant? Most effective in preventing serious injury?  Why would DeFillipis & Hughes leave this out when saying that firearms aren’t a good choice for self defense?  Possibly because they are trying to lie through omission?  Again, draw your own conclusions.  Kleck also notes that NCVS data may be flawed as someone who successfully defends themselves with a gun may not consider themselves a victim of a violent crime, and if the respondent answers as such during the interview they will not be asked questions about what crimes they have experienced, how they resisted, etc.  This naturally skews the number of defensive gun uses down.

In summation, DeFillipis & Hughes seem to be arguing in bad faith when they make their statements, and rely on the casual reader to not scratch past the surface of their claims.  When examined critically, their arguments are quickly revealed to be based on partial truths, logical fallacies, distortions or other dishonesty, which is no surprise given the subject matter.

Charles C. W. Cooke gets it: “David Gregory and Why Law Is Only for the Little People”

My previous entry on this subject referred to the Legal Insurrection article “Finally Obtained: David Gregory Arrest Warrant Affidavit” where LI was able to secure the aforementioned affidavit after 2 years of legal paperwork.
Now Charles C.W. Cooke has followed up on LI’s article:

I want to focus on the grossly unequal manner in which such rules will inevitably be enforced, and to examine also what this does to the notion of equal protection. From my perspective, the startling thing about the Gregory affair is not so much that the powers-that-be eventually declined to prosecute him for his transgression, but that he was so unfailingly sure that he would be allowed to break the law without consequences. In a vacuum, it is easy to make the case that there was no need to indict NBC for its crime. Indeed it is difficult to imagine a set of circumstances in which doing so could be considered a good use of the city’s time and resources. But the entitled nonchalance with which Gregorypresumed that his behavior would be ignored should worry all of us.

Can we honestly presume that your average pro–Second Amendment protester would have been afforded such latitude? Imagine, if you will, that a Gadsden-flag-wrapped NRA member from Dryden, N.Y., takes to a podium to denounce that state’s SAFE Act and, shouting about tyranny and the Founders, holds aloft a 30-round Magpul magazine — in full view of the authorities. Does he get away with it? I’m not so sure that he does. Nor, for that matter, am I convinced that such latitude would be conferred upon someone who, unlike Gregory, was genuinely unaware that the rules had changed. Indeed, in March of last year, the very same government that let Gregory go secured the conviction of a D.C. resident named Mark Witaschek. Why? Well, because Witscheck had been found in possession of an “antique replica muzzleloader bullet” that wasn’t even live. Witaschek, the Washington Times’s Emily Miller records, had been on a hunting trip outside of the district, and he brought back as “souvenirs” an expended shotgun shell and a copper bullet that lacked both the gunpowder and the primer that are necessary to use it. Although Witaschek did not possess a firearm in the city — and although the ammunition could not possibly be fired — authorities in D.C. spent two years prosecuting him.

Source: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/397076/david-gregory-and-why-law-only-little-people-charles-c-w-cooke

Cooke nails it.

Now, none of this is to suggest that the United States is worse off for Gregory’s absolution. […] But the law is the law, and it has on other occasions been used to prosecute good people for the most benign of infractions. In Gregory we have a man who not only violated the rules, but did so on national television after he had been explicitly told not to. What should we take from this?

Explaining its decision, the attorney general noted that Gregory’s “prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia nor serve the best interests of the people of the District to whom this office owes its trust.” As opposed to, say, the persecution of Mark Witaschek, which saved the republic from certain downfall?

Therein lies the rub – when the elites can purposefully defy the law, despite being informed that their actions are illegal, and know that not only will there be no consequences but that those actually effected by it will not be similarly spared… how is that justice?

Laws are for thee, but not for me: David Gregory was ‘too nice’ of a guy to put in jail.

Legal Insurrection shared this today:

Cops wanted Gregory charged with illegal possession of a high-capacity ammunition magazine, but D.C. prosecutors nixed the request.

This is likely the final chapter in the saga of our two-year long fight to obtain important documents regarding the non-prosecution of David Gregory for possessing on Meet the Press an illegal high-capacity ammunition magazine.

The short version is that the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department warned NBC News that it could not possess an actual high-capacity magazine, but NBC News went ahead and did it anyway. The MPD recommended a warrant for Gregory’s arrest, but that request was nixed by the D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan because — my paraphrase — Gregory was just too nice a guy and had no other criminal intent.

That attitude stood in stark contrast to the D.C. Attorney General’s vigorous prosecution of other lesser-known people who also were nice people and had no other criminal intent, but violated D.C.’s gun laws.

http://legalinsurrection.com/2015/01/finally-obtained-david-gregory-arrest-warrant-affidavit/

Read, and retweet the link found therein!

National Guardsman shoots multiple attackers at Sonic – but wait, there’s more.

A man defended himself at the drive through of his local Sonic:

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Police say a man shot at a group of armed men who allegedly tried to rob him while he was waiting in the drive-thru line at a fast food restaurant Sunday night.
DeKalb County police said the victim was placing his order in the drive-thru lane at the Sonic on Flat Shoals when a group of men approached his car with guns and demanded money.

That’s when the man fought back.

“The victim had his own handgun was able to shoot the suspect, who fell to the ground. The other two or three suspects fled from the scene,” said DeKalb police Lt. Mark Lavigne.

Police said they captured two suspects.

Another suspect, who was shot, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Officers are still searching for a fourth person accused in the shooting.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/police-man-shoots-armed-robbers-sonic-drive-thru/njrJk/

Why is this significant?

Well, Sonic decided to go gun-free in 2014:

Sonic-Drive-In and Chili’s Bar & Grill both issued statements asking diners to refrain from bringing concealed weapons into their restaurants, even if they have a permit, NBC News reported Friday.

Sonic Vice President of Public Relations Patrick Lenow told the news agency in an email that while the drive-in chain respected current gun laws, certain actions led to new consideration for their restaurants’ policies.

“While we historically have relied upon local laws to guide how we address the display of guns at drive-ins, recent actions required we carefully reconsider this approach. We’ve considered the views and desires of our customers and employees that staff the drive-ins across the country. Accordingly, we’re asking that customers refrain from bringing guns onto our patios or into our indoor dining areas. With respect to the storage of guns in vehicles, we ask that our customers continue to honor local laws,” he said.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/31/chilis-sonic-drive-tell-gun-owners-leave-firearms-/

Gun Free Zones like Sonic are Security Theater, no more, no less.

Bryant Gumbel Hates the NRA, no one surprised.

Bryant Gumbel was interviewed by Rolling Stone and had this to say:

A story you personally took on last season, about the “Eat What You Kill” movement, would you have done that five, ten years ago?
There are a few things I hate more than the NRA. I mean truly. I think they’re pigs. I think they don’t care about human life. I think they are a curse upon the American landscape. So we got that on the record. That said, I’m willing to separate that this story had nothing to do with that. It’s not a gun story. So I would like to think that I would have done it, but I don’t know. Obviously, that was my first experience around killing and guns and hunting.

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/real-talk-bryant-gumbel-on-the-nfl-the-ncaa-and-the-nra-20150120

What a surprise.  Bryant Gumbel hates the NRA but had no experience with guns or hunting prior to his “Eat What You Kill” segment.  Hate is a rather strong emotion, and he’s obviously entrenched in his opinion, judging by the rhetoric used… yet he knew nothing about the subject, or the reasoning behind the NRA’s motives or reasoning.

Heck, why bring up the NRA at all?

I find it especially interesting that while filming the Eat What You Kill segment, a boar rushed out of concealing foliage, less than 10 feet away, and was only brought down through the quick reaction & skill of the hunter.  They spent time discussing how aggressive the boars can be, and examining their tusks… yet Gumbel can’t seem to understand that this experience also translates into what you can experience on the street.

The CDC is not an impartial entity

Here’s a collection of articles showing some of the problems with letting the CDC research “gun violence” – they cannot be trusted to be an impartial entity, and their results are used as excuses to restrict rights despite myriad flaws.

All emphasis added is mine –

Dr. Timothy Wheeler – Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership blog found here: http://www.drgo.us/

These medical researchers insist that what they call “gun violence” is a public health problem.  That they prefer the term “gun violence” is revealing of their mind set in approaching the problem, because it puts the emphasis on guns and not on the humans who misuse them.  This misleading public health terminology, enthusiastically repeated by fellow gun control advocates in the mainstream media, ignores the fact that almost none of America’s 80 to 100 million gun owners have any role whatsoever in the misuse of guns.  Normative gun ownership is foreign to most mainstream media personalities and to public health anti-gun rights advocates

His excellent “Public Health & Gun Control” series is found here –

Part 1 – http://www.drgo.us/?p=266

Part 2 – http://www.drgo.us/?p=285

Part 3 – http://www.drgo.us/?p=314

National Review – Reviving the CDC Factoid Factory:

Government-funded gun research was openly biased in the 1990s. CDC officials unabashedly supported gun bans, used CDC funds to advocate strict gun control, and poured millions of taxpayer dollars into funding “research” that was in fact advocacy — thinly disguised medical-journal hit pieces against gun ownership. Congress investigated and in 1997 forbade the use of CDC funds “to advocate or promote gun control.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/346759/reviving-cdc%E2%80%99s-gun-factoid-factory

Forbes – Why The Centers For Disease Control Should Not Receive Gun Research Funding

There was a very good reason for the gun violence research funding ban. Virtually all of the scores of CDC-funded firearms studies conducted since 1985 had reached conclusions favoring stricter gun control.  This should have come as no surprise, given that ever since 1979, the official goal of the CDC’s parent agency, the U.S. Public Health Service, had been “…to reduce the number of handguns in private ownership”, starting with a 25% reduction by the turn of the century.”

Ten senators who strongly supported the CDC gun research funding ban put their reasons in writing: “This research is designed to, and is used to, promote a campaign to reduce lawful firearms ownership in America…Funding redundant research initiatives, particularly those which are driven by a social-policy agenda, simply does not make sense.”

Sociologist David Bordura and epidemiologist David Cowan characterized the public health literature on guns at that time as “advocacy based upon political beliefs rather than scientific fact”. Noting that The New England Journal of Medicine and theJournal of the American Medical Association were the main outlets for CDC-funded studies of firearms, they observed that “reports” with findings not advocating strict gun control were rarely cited.  Bordura and Cowan found that “little is cited from the criminological or sociological field”, and also that the articles that are cited “are almost always by medical or public health researchers.”

All too often, they witnessed that “assumptions are presented as fact:”… that there is a causal association between gun ownership and risk of violence, that this association is consistent across all demographic categories, and that additional legislation will reduce the prevalence of firearms and consequently reduce the incidence of violence.”  They concluded that “…incestuous and selective literature citations may be acceptable for political tracts, but they introduce a bias into scientific publications…Stating as fact associations which may be demonstrably false is not just unscientific, it is unprincipled.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/02/12/why-the-centers-for-disease-control-should-not-receive-gun-research-funding/

Reason – The Problem With the ‘Public Health Research on Gun Violence’ That Obama Wants You to Pay For

http://reason.com/blog/2013/01/16/the-problem-with-the-public-health-resea

Public Health Pot Shots contains more complete quotes featured in the Forbes article above:

Contrary to this picture of dispassionate scientists under assault by the Neanderthal NRA and its know-nothing allies in Congress, serious scholars have been criticizing the CDC’s “public health” approach to gun research for years. In a presentation at the American Society of Criminology‘s 1994 meeting, for example, University of Illinois sociologist David Bordua and epidemiologist David Cowan called the public health literature on guns “advocacy based on political beliefs rather than scientific fact.” Bordua and Cowan noted that The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, the main outlets for CDC-funded studies of firearms, are consistent supporters of strict gun control. They found that “reports with findings not supporting the position of the journal are rarely cited,” “little is cited from the criminological or sociological field,” and the articles that are cited “are almost always by medical or public health researchers.”

Further, Bordua and Cowan said, “assumptions are presented as fact: that there is a causal association between gun ownership and the risk of violence, that this association is consistent across all demographic categories, and that additional legislation will reduce the prevalence of firearms and consequently reduce the incidence of violence.” They concluded that “[i]ncestuous and selective literature citations may be acceptable for political tracts, but they introduce an artificial bias into scientific publications. Stating as fact associations which may be demonstrably false is not just unscientific, it is unprincipled.” In a 1994 presentation to the Western Economics Association, State University of New York at Buffalo criminologist Lawrence Southwick compared public health firearm studies to popular articles produced by the gun lobby: “Generally the level of analysis done on each side is of a low quality. The papers published in the medical literature (which are uniformly anti-gun) are particularly poor science.”

Since 1985 the CDC has funded scores of firearm studies, all reaching conclusions that favor stricter gun control. But CDC officials insist they are not pursuing an anti-gun agenda. In a 1996 interview with the Times-Picayune, CDC spokeswoman Mary Fenley adamantly denied that the agency is “trying to eliminate guns.” In a 1991 letter to CDC critic Dr. David Stolinsky, the NCIPC’s Mark Rosenberg said “our scientific understanding of the role that firearms play in violent events is rudimentary.” He added in a subsequent letter, “There is a strong need for further scientific investigations of the relationships among firearms ownership, firearms regulations and the risk of firearm-related injury. This is an area that has not been given adequate scrutiny. Hopefully, by addressing these important and appropriate scientific issues we will eventually arrive at conclusions which support effective, preventive actions.”

Yet four years earlier, in a 1987 CDC report, Rosenberg thought the area adequately scrutinized, and his understanding sufficient, to urge confiscation of all firearms from “the general population,” claiming “8,600 homicides and 5,370 suicides could be avoided” each year. In 1993 Rolling Stone reported that Rosenberg “envisions a long term campaign, similar to [those concerning] tobacco use and auto safety, to convince Americans that guns are, first and foremost, a public health menace.” In 1994 he told The Washington Post, “We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. Now it [sic] is dirty, deadly, and banned.

http://reason.com/archives/1997/04/01/public-health-pot-shots

Skipping straight past Media Bias to full Indoctrination, Everytown offers “Workshop”

So it would appear that Everytown For Gun Safety is not satisfied with the current state of public opinion on gun control and has decided to flex their financial muscles by recruiting (indoctrinating) new allies to the fold by having a “workshop” where they can train willing participants in the best ways to manipulate public opinion.  In order to do this, they’ve teamed up with Columbia’s Journalism School:

Apply Now: Covering Gun Violence

Reporting on gun violence – on individual incidents, policy shifts and polarized political debate – is a major challenge for journalists and news organizations. Every day, 86 Americans die of firearm related injuries, including nearly 12,000 murdered with guns each year – a rate 20 times higher than that of other developed countries. Nearly 100 school shootings have occurred since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary only two years ago.

Yes, why should statistically infrequent and insignificant events be viewed as random & rare?  And why should we examine the underlying causes of these incidents, such as mental health issues, when there is a handy scapegoat available in the form of firearms?  Notice the use of the debunked “100 school shootings” figure to set the tone.

When it comes to reporting on guns, local and regional reporters bear the primary burden. They are often trapped into narrow deadline-driven beats with little time to develop expert sources, investigative angles or broader perspectives. And newsrooms and news managers are unprepared for the overwhelming, spasmodic tragedy of mass shootings. As a consequence, incidents of gun violence are too often viewed in isolation as random, inevitable tragedy rather than part of a wider phenomenon with complex causes but amenable to prevention efforts. (emphasis mine)

Translation: we need to do better to convince the masses that guns are bad.  Our best bet is to brainwash recruit willing participants into seeing the “truth” about the issues (or some facsimile thereof).

To help journalists and news organizations in the Southwest improve their reporting on guns and gun violence, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia Journalism School is organizing a two-day regional workshop April 17 and 18, 2015 for reporters, editors, news directors, photographers, producers, and bloggers. The workshop, funded by Everytown for Gun Safety, will offer independent expert briefings and specialized reporting skills training to enhance the practical ability of journalists to report on guns and gun violence knowledgeably, ethically and effectively. The workshop will cover such topics as state and federal gun laws; patterns of gun sales and gun trafficking; national trends and polling; education and prevention initiatives; social, economic and public health impacts; and special populations (e.g. children and youth, women and returning veterans.)

Uh-huh.  Sure.  I’m sure it will be “ethically” sound all right.  I’m sure that these “independent expert[s]” will be open to dissenting opinions & give both sides equal play.

The workshop will:

Serve as a forum for improving journalists’ knowledge of guns and gun violence, and the implications of public policies like background check requirements
Explore new research, reporting ideas and best practices with leading public health and policy experts
Confront challenges — and identify opportunities — that exist for local journalists pursuing these stories with limited resources
Provide practical tools to enable journalists to successfully produce meaningful stories on guns and gun violence.

In other words, it will be replete with talking points, bad science, soundbites and pretty graphs.  Actual knowledge like the difference between a fully automatic & semi automatic firearm will probably not be taught.  You can bet that there will be plenty of verbiage on why assault weapons, “high capacity” magazines and the like should be banned though… “for the children” naturally.

Make no mistake, since Everytown is headed by Shannon Watts, former PR wizard for Monsanto & GE Healthcare, this will be replete with the usual PR spin.

Naturally, this will cover old & new media:

Participation is open to reporters, editors, news directors, photographers and producers for print, broadcast and online media. Staff, contract and freelance journalists are eligible to apply. Thirty individuals will be selected for the workshop. Travel stipends of up to $350 for airfare or trainfare, and two nights of lodging, will be provided to 15 selected participants.

Because it’s easier to spread your ideas when you bribe people.

In order to ensure that only “right thinking” journalists attend, here’s some of the weeding out criteria:

To apply, please email Kate Black (kate.black@dartcenter.org) with your resume or CV, full contact information (name, address, city, state, zip, phone number and email address) and a one-page letter of interest that:

1. Describes how and why this workshop is relevant to you and your work;
2. Identifies three issues around guns or gun violence of particular interest to you;
3. Explains a challenge you have encountered in pursuing a story on this topic (or a related one); and
4. Briefly outlines a possible story you might pursue on the topic.

Hm, yes, let’s make sure that only properly screened acolytes may approach the altar.

Looks like I’m not the only person who sees a problem with this either: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/cupp-educating-journalists-guns-article-1.2076455 – of course her opinion and mine diverge because she appears to be mollified by Columbia’s response, whereas I think that their gratuitous bias in the course description is more than enough to cast doubt on their intentions.