Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A well regulated militia...

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One of my neighbors owns a gun. I don't know who it would be, I don't know what type of gun, but,based on statistics and probabilities, someone around here has to be a gun owner.
What I also don't know, and can't figure out, is how this unknown neighbor is involved with a well regulated militia in this neighborhood. After all, that is the sole reason given in the US Constitution for the right to keep and bear arms.  The concept of crime prevention is not even mentioned in the Constitution, militia is. Yet gun defenders have begun to jump on defensive gun use as a bit of evidence to support their gun rights.
The web site www.saf.com, where the Second Amendment Foundation hangs its hat, states "Firearms are used defensively roughly 2.5 million times per year, more than four times as many as criminal uses. This amounts to 2,575 lives protected for every life lost to a gun ." The Cato Institute, on their web site, states "The estimates of defensive gun use range between the tens of thousands to as high as two million each year."
I find the first statement extremely alarming: alleged victims pull out a gun 4 times for every single time an alleged criminal pulls out a gun. Either the other 3 times the criminal is unarmed, or armed with an alternate weapon. This tells me that the victims are overarmed. We don't allow our police to shoot unarmed people, yet it's okay for individual citizens to do it?
The second quote points out that the writers of the first quote are making up statistics. Perhaps their 4-to-1 gun use ratio is totally made up as well.
What I do know is that the gun-toting public has a number who are falling victim to a logical trap known as the fallacy of the converse.  In a nutshell, they identify a conclusion they want (gun ownership) and then search out information to support it. In that situation, absent good solid evidence, it is very easy to fall into the fiction trap. After all, their conclusion HAS to be true, hasn't it?

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