Monday, July 03, 2017

Guns in America and the Trump effect

It seems to me that it now has to be a case of victims being within special categories in American mass shootings before the world media pays that much attention to them.   Hence, while a nightclub shooting where 28 are injured, or a hospital rampage by a mad doctor, both get noticed, media attention moves on pretty fast.   I'm suspecting that it is partly the Trump effect - the media is so amazed at the mental 13 year old who became President**that it crowds out attention to all but the most spectacular examples of death by gun.

I also have been meaning to post about the new study that indicates that right to carry laws in the US do not make States safer.  Quite the opposite.

It's one of the great ironies that rabid guns rights advocates are also likely to be climate change denialists who believe (even if they don't put it this way) that correlation does not mean causation when it comes to increasing CO2 and rising global temperatures, yet they won't apply the same rule to decreasing crime rates and looser gun laws, where it actually deserves to be applied*.    This recent study address that particular issue.

I liked the concluding remarks in The Atlantic interview with one of the study's authors (linked above):
Ewing: Is the general takeaway that gun owners in these states are more likely to commit crimes because they are allowed to be armed all the time?

Donohue: The one thing that the paper puts most of its focus on is estimating what the net impact is. There could be some beneficial use of these guns, but overall the harm outweighs the benefit. And the harm comes in many different forms.

For example, the Philando Castile case in St. Paul, Minnesota. [After he was stopped by police,] he immediately told the officer that he was a right-to-carry holder and had a gun, which you’re advised to do. And then the officer shot at him seven times. It scares the hell out of people when they think someone has a gun. Obviously, that right-to-carry holder wasn’t doing anything wrong, but he ended up getting killed anyway.

When more people are carrying guns, things can get more heated. There are times in which the gun could be involved in a way that thwarts a crime, but for the same reason that the officer shot Castile, guns tend to escalate the situation.

The NRA offers a very simplistic view to the public in the way in which the world works, which is: There are all these bad guys out there, but now we’re going to give you a gun, and that means you’re going to be able to be the good guy who saves your life and the lives of other people.

But [with more] people carrying around guns—they’re going to be losing them, they’re going to be stolen, there are going to be more criminals with guns, and the criminals are more likely to carry guns because they know there are guns out there. For a whole array of reasons, more concealed-gun-carrying outside the home pushes up violent crime.

*  And in climate change it has been applied, in the sense that scientists have excluded other explanations. 

**  I think it's a bit silly of CNN to be saying the tweet encourages violence against reporters - but it does show the juvenile mind of Trump.

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