Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Harvard dumbasses

Harvard Injury Control Research Center has a post Gun Threats and Self-Defense Gun Use, In this post, they quote information from research that either they commissioned, or was done by some other firm. Any information coming from Harvard concerning gun control should be suspect and we'll see why.

37-39. Overestimates of self-defense gun use
We use epidemiological theory to explain why the "false positive" problem for rare events can lead to large overestimates of the incidence of rare diseases or rare phenomena such as self-defense gun use. We then try to validate the claims of many millions of annual self-defense uses against available evidence.
Major findings: The claim of many millions of annual self-defense gun uses by American citizens appears to be invalid.
Publication: Hemenway, David. "Survey Research and Self-defense Gun Use: An Explanation of Extreme Overestimates." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 1997; 87:1430-1445.
Publication: Hemenway, David. "The Myth of Millions of Annual Self-defense Gun Uses: A Case Study of Survey Overestimates of Rare Events." Chance (American Statistical Association). 1997; 10:6-10.
Publication: Cook, Philip J; Ludwig, Jens; Hemenway, David. "The Gun Debate's New Mythical Number: How Many Defensive Uses per Year?" Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 1997; 16:463-469.

First, I doubt they tried to validate the claim and secondly, I don't think there's ever been a claim of "many millions", I think the largest claim was 2.5 million. The Bureau of Justice Statistics says this:

During the same period an estimated annual average of 62,000 violent crime victims (approximately 1 percent of all violent crime victims) used a firearm in an effort to defend themselves. In addition, an annual average of about 20,000 victims of theft, household burglary or motor vehicle theft attempted to defend their property with guns.

I don't think this debate will ever get cleared up. In one survey, one person claimed to have used his firearm nearly a 100 times over the course of five years. Either he lives in a very bad part of the US or he exaggerates.

40. Legality of reported self-defense gun use
We analyzed data from two national random-digit-dial surveys conducted under the auspices of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.
Major findings: Criminal court judges who read the self-reported accounts of the purported self-defense gun use rated a majority as being illegal, even assuming that the respondent had a permit to own and to carry a gun, and that the respondent had described the event honestly from his own perspective.
Publication: Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah. "Gun Use in the United States: Results from Two National Surveys." Injury Prevention. 2000; 6:263-267.
From the survey
"a majority of the judges rated 18 of the 35 (51%) as probably illegal and 15 of the 35 (43%) as probably legal."

This is significant, or not. Let's look at some of the responses from the survey.

A 62 year old male said that at 6 pm “the police called. My alarm at my business went off so I went there to shut it off. Two men were outside my building, so from my car I shot at the ground near them”. The respondent said the men were trespassing.


A 58 year old male was inside his home at 2 pm. “I was watching a movie and [an acquaintance] interrupted me. I yelled that I was going to shoot him and he ran to his car”. The respondent said his acquaintance was committing a verbal assault. The respondent’s gun, a .44 Magnum, was located “in my holster on me”.

First, they narrowed the incidents to 35 from 146 by removing persons they thought were witnesses, or persons who wouldn't give a description of the incident, or persons who they thought were criminal actors.

Looking at the incident with the 62 year old, he would not have been protected by a Castle Doctrine, so he should have been removed, too. The incident with the 58 year old doesn't contain enough information to make a conclusion, but was deemed unlawful.

At least in this report, you can find the disclaimer:

However, our results should not be extrapolated to obtain population based estimates of the absolute number of gun uses. If we have as little as 1% random misclassification, our results could be off by orders of magnitude.

Moving on:

41. Hostile gun displays
Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted under the direction of the Harvard Injury Control Center, we examined the extent and nature of offensive gun use.
Major findings: Firearms are used far more often to frighten and intimidate than they are used in self-defense. All reported cases of criminal gun use, as well as many of the so-called self-defense gun uses, appear to be socially undesirable.
Publication: Hemenway, David; Azrael, Deborah. "The Relative Frequency of Offensive and Defensive Gun Use: Results of a National Survey." Violence and Victims. 2000; 15:257-272

Apparently, Harvard discounts the victim branding a firearm as not being a Defensive Gun Use. I couldn't locate the survey.

42. Gun use in the home.
Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted under the direction of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, we investigated how and when guns are used in the home.
Major findings: Guns in the home are probably used more often to frighten intimates than to thwart crime; other weapons are far more commonly used against intruders than are guns.
Publication: Azrael, Deborah R; Hemenway, David. "In the Safety of your own Home: Results from a National Survey of Gun Use at Home." Social Science and Medicine. 2000; 50:285-91

This is another survey that's listed in the Harvard Publication list, but doesn't offer a link for someone to actually read the survey. It could be because "Guns in the home are probably used"

43. The wounding of criminals.
Using data from a survey of detainees in a Washington D.C. jail, we worked with a prison physician to investigate the circumstances of gunshot wounds to these criminals.
Major Findings: One in four of these detainees had been wounded, in events that appear unrelated to their incarceration. Most were shot when they were victims of robberies, assaults and crossfires. Virtually none report being wounded by a "law-abiding citizen." 
Publication: May, John P; Hemenway, David; Oen, Roger; Pitts, Khalid R. "When Criminals are Shot: A Survey of Washington DC Jail Detainees" Medscape General Medicine. 2000; June 28. 

I didn't even try to find this report. The summary speaks for itself. Criminals were shot by other criminals and none of the incarcerated criminals were shot by a law abiding citizen in a city where guns were banned until 2005. Dumbasses.

44. Gun threats against and self-defense gun use by adolescents
We analyzed data from a telephone survey of 5,800 California adolescents aged 12-17, which asked questions about gun threats against, and self-defense gun use by these young people.
Major Findings: These young people were far more likely to be threatened with a gun than to use a gun in self-defense, and most of the reported self-defense gun uses were hostile interactions between armed adolescents.  Males, smokers, binge drinkers, those who threatened others and whose parents were less likely to know their whereabouts were more likely both to be threatened with a gun and to use a gun in self-defense.
Publication: Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew.  "Gun Threats Against and Self-Defense Gun Use by California Adolescents." Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2004; 158:395-400.

Again, no need to waste time finding this one. "These young people were far more likely to be threatened with a gun than to use a gun in self-defense..." BECAUSE IT'S AGAINST THE LAW FOR A JUVENILE TO POSSES A FIREARM, but of course, that didn't stop the juvenile criminals from getting them.

45. Batterers' use of guns
We analyzed survey data collected from over 8,000 males enrolled in a certified batterer intervention program in Massachusetts, 1999-2003.
Major Findings: Recent gun owners were 8 times more likely to have threatened their partners with a gun than non-gun owners.  Four main types of gun threat against partners were (a) threatening to shoot then, (b) threatening to shoot a pet or person the victim cares about, (c) cleaning, holding or loading a gun during an argument, and (d) shooting a gun during an argument.
Publication: Rothman, Emily; Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah.  "Batterers' Use of Guns to Threaten Intimate Partners" Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, 2005; 60:62-68.

"Recent gun owners were 8 times more likely to have threatened their partners with a gun than non-gun owners." Well no shit Sherlock. I'm 98% less likely to pick my teeth when I have no toothpicks. Dumbasses. All this coming from a state who has some of the most restrictive gun laws and even made it to 3rd place on the  Brady Bunch's most restrictive gun states. BTW of the top ten on the Brady list, MA has the second highest violent crime rate.

I realize that this information is old and you may be wondering why I'm addressing it years after it has been released, well, it's because it's still being used as a reference by the anti-rights establishment.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know they were letting dumbasses into Harvard now. You must be a shoe-in!