Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Scientific American Article on the Foolishness of Gun Ownership

Scientific American

For example, of the 1,082 women and 267 men killed in 2010 by their intimate partners, 54 percent were shot by guns. Over the past quarter of a century, guns were involved in greater number of intimate partner homicides than all other causes combined. When a woman is murdered, it is most likely by her intimate partner with a gun. Regardless of what really caused Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius to shoot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp (whether he mistook her for an intruder or he snapped in a lover's quarrel), her death is only the latest such headline. Recall, too, the fate of Nancy Lanza, killed by her own gun in her own home in Connecticut by her son, Adam Lanza, before he went to Sandy Hook Elementary School to murder some two dozen children and adults. As an alternative to arming women against violent men, legislation can help: data show that in states that prohibit gun ownership by men who have received a domestic violence restraining order, gun-caused homicides of intimate female partners have been reduced by 25 percent.

TTAG offered the typical and facile argument against this one.

So his argument is that those people wouldn’t have been killed if a gun wasn’t available? That an emotionally unstable person wouldn’t have just as easily snapped and murdered their partner with a kitchen knife, a bat or a car? That’s where Michael’s logical train of thought ends: he apparently believes that if the guns had disappeared, those people would be walking around today. That they wouldn’t have resorted to other means of murder, as the 46% of victims in that statistic were. No, everything would be just peachy if only we’d get rid of the guns. 

No one says that without guns NONE of those domestic murders would have happened.  What we say is that not as many would have. It takes a mighty biased and defensive gun-rights fanatic to deny this.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.


  1. Shermer doesn't propose much, but the article is designed to suggest more and more gun control. It takes a biased and defensive gun control freak not to recognize the clear implications of your proposals.

  2. Mr. Shermer seems to have a regular column called "The Skeptic" which by his tone in the pieces sounds like the equivilant of the magazine's op-ed section. I never knew a science magazine had op-ed stuff in it. Especially considering that his data comes from a study from 1998 and a study funded by Mr. Bloomberg.
    A clearer title would have been editorial from Scientific American on the foolishness of gun ownership.

  3. I've respected Michael Shermer for a long time, particularly for his support of teaching science as opposed to creationism in public-school science classes. He also debunks a lot of pseudoscience and fraudulent claims about the paranormal. But intelligent and careful people can make errors, and on this subject, I say he's done so.

  4. Nah. He's still right. You don't like it, but that doesn't make him wrong.