Saturday, January 9, 2010

Misleading Statistics

Tampa Bay Online has a wonderful article about the way statistics can be misleading when taken out of context. Brought to us by FatWhiteMan. Thanks.
More than 900 black males between the ages of 14 and 17 killed somebody in 2007. Should we be scared of young black guys?

Of course not. There are roughly 3 million black males in that age group in the United States. It would be horribly unfair to toss around the first statistic without mentioning the second; doing so would be misleading, if not malicious.

That's certainly a good example of how this can be done. The article goes on to discuss the ratio between murders committed by folks with concealed carry permits and the total number of people who have such permits. The results: "two one-thousandths of 1 percent."

It's hard to argue with that. And, let's not forget, no discussion of concealed carry permit holders would be complete without including the DGUs

Estimates of how often this happens vary wildly, from 108,000 times a year (the 1993 National Crime Victimization Survey) to 1.5 million (Department of Justice, 1994) to more than 3 million (a 1976 California study). Florida criminologist Gary Kleck may have produced the most scrupulous count, which he puts at 2.5 million annual defensive gun uses.

I wondered if, according to this author, the idea is that only gun control folks engage in the behavior of presenting misleading statistics.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. Most gunloons realize Kleck's DGU numbers are bogus--oddly, the NRA keeps pushing the 2.5M DGU lie.

    If we assume Kleck’s methodology is flawless, there are problems with Kleck’s findings that are readily apparent. For example, Kleck’s own research states that in 8% of all DGUs, the gun is fired–wounding an alleged criminal. Kleck also notes that 15% of gun shot wounds are fatal. If we do the math: 2.5M DGUs x .08 woundings x .15 fatal wounds, we should have 30,000 justifiable gun homicides each year in the US.

    Uh oh. The FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) show under 300 justifiable homicides each year–from all causes, not just gun-related.

    But Kleck's methodology is equally awful.


  2. There you go, in three sentences JadeGold debunked Kleck.

  3. Mikeb: "There you go, in three sentences JadeGold debunked Kleck."

    In multiple posts on this site, JadeGold has misrepresented things I have posted on this same site.

    Thus I lack confidence that JadeGold is not doing the same with Kleck.

  4. Nice one, attack JadeGold rather than one he says.

    He does have a point. If Kleck is correct, then there should be 30,000 justifiable gun homicides to go with that figure. Of course, Brady says there is roughly this many gun deaths.

    Are you saying that all gun deaths are justifiable?

    Please tell that to Carma Lewis and Bart Stupak: along with other "pro-gun" type who have suffered the loss of a loved one because of firearms. They should be made aware that all gun deaths are justifiable.

    I guess, the Next Question FishyJay is: Is Laci correct when she wants the "gun cretins" to shoot themselves? WOuldn't that be justifiable if all gun deaths are justifiable?

  5. As I explained, on multiple occasions JadeGold has said that I have said things...which I did not say.

    In view of that, why should I accept JadeGold's version of what Kleck supposed claims (I really don't know much about Kleck) when JadeGold's claims about me are usually BS (as I have shown every time)?