It’s happened again, there has been another unprovoked violent assault by a nut job with a gun. And with a predictability that would make Pavlov proud, the left has eructed onto the blogosphere and social media with smug condescension. Their target? The evil Republicans of course; they obviously WANT children to die. It’s as if the left honestly believes all we have to do is pass a couple of laws and (dusting hands) problem solved.

But, let us first dispel some fake new making the social media rounds. The first is the lie that there have been 18 “mass shootings” at schools in 2018. In fact there have only been 3, all others were either suicides, accidents or didn’t involve any injuries whatsoever.

Granted three is three is too many, however why not just tell the truth and say there have only be three? Why the constant need by the left to overstate the incidence of everything they find objectionable by redefining what those terms mean? Perhaps to make everything look like a crisis that requires immediate state intervention so their worldview can be forced upon everywhere else? Nah.

Likewise another tired narrative is how the US has far more shootings than any other country in the world. This is an example of the old false equivalency fallacy. Typically the US, a country of 300 million, is compared to some tiny little nation with a population of 5 million (Denmark say) without any mention of the difference in population. Clearly, every country equals every other country when comparing countries. But that is not how we do statistics.  Data must be normalized to population (rates per 100,000) and violent act (e.g. not gun assaults but homicides). When we do that, the US falls somewhere in the middle.

And if you look at individual US states and compare the strict gun law states to the loose gun law states and look at HOMICIDE rates (not gun deaths or suicides) you’ll see there really is no clear correlation one way or the other. Some super strict states (California: 4.9/100k) have a higher homicide rate than very lax ones (Montana 3.5/100k). New Hampshire has the lowest rate of any state (1.3/100k) – if you really believe laws make the difference then copy them. Isn’t the point to reduce all homicides, not just homicides using some particular weapon?

If the left were serious about stopping gun deaths they would lobby instead to end the drug war and make all drugs legal. It is easy to ignore the unseen, that is the non-newsworthy deaths of  a handful of people every day in every city all across the country due to drug-related gang turf disputes or shoot outs with authorities (bear in mind NONE of those would occur were drugs legal.) But roll a dozen or so deaths together in an afternoon and in one location and now it is Armageddon! Broken pipes get attention, but dripping faucets not so much.

Again not to belittle the deaths of anyone, but the point is it is trivially within our grasp to save the lives of tens of thousands every year by simply doing nothing – by simply ending the drug war. It costs nothing to do and in fact would yield a huge preventive dividend by allowing police to devote more attention to crimes with actual victims. But no, the left would rather continue to believe the fairy tail that somehow if we could only waive some magic wand and make all guns illegal (because that is the only reform that could even hypothetically have stopped mass attacks, all the other suggested reforms would have done nothing whatsoever to have stopped the attacks of recent memory) – well then we would have the promised land and all would be solved. Yes I hear it coming, the “Oh but Australia did it and it worked!” objection. Please. As I said above the difference in population between the two countries is 13:1. Since 1996 when Australia enacted a federal ban on firearms there have still been 11 mass attacks. Three involved guns (cough, banned, cough), the rest deployed other deadly means: arson, blunt objects, and vehicles. So yes, fewer “gun” attacks, but still plenty of violent attacks. On a per capita basis, in comparison to Australia’s rate, the US should have had 143 such attacks in the same period. The actual number? 34.