Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Gun in the Home Actually Makes You Less Safe

Local news reports

A 57-year-old New Orleans man was accidentally shot and fatally injured by his wife who mistook him for an intruder, police said Monday.

The shooting occurred about 11 a.m. Monday. Police said the man, named by the Times Picayune newspaper as Charles Williams, died at the hospital.

No charges were immediately filed in the investigation. The newspaper said the man's 53-year-old wife was not arrested.
Most guns in the home are never used for defense. Some are, some actually save lives. But, the number of those incidents is far overshadowed by the various types of gun mishaps that occur.

This story in which one member of the family kills another is the worse, obviously.  But it doesn't end there. When you add this type to all the other accidents and negligence and kids finding guns and theft, what you've got is an obvious conclusion.  Guns do more harm than good.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. Whenever a family member enters our home, they say loudly and in a friendly tone "helloooo". Problem solved ... no shot/dead family members.

    I disagree that guns do more harm than good. The Centers for Disease Control tells us that there are about 600 deaths annually from accidental / unintentional shootings. And yet armed citizens use firearms to defend themselves from violent attacks hundreds of thousands of times (or more) a year. And we cannot quantify how many more events didn't happen that would have happened if citizens were not armed. Those are huge benefits.

    Besides, teaching everyone basic firearm safety will fix most of the accidental / unintentional shootings. And teaching adults to keep firearms inaccessible to small children will fix most of the rest.

    1. You got your numbers all wrong, plus you tried to be slick and quote only deaths from accidents.

      The misuse of firearms outweighs the defensive use by about 100 to 1.

      Google "shooting" and "gun" and you'll have your answer.

    2. There was nothing "slick" in my post: I responded to an article about a woman who accidentally shot her husband. This woman's action was accidental so I quoted the number of accidental deaths from the Centers for Disease Control. That number is very accurate.

      Now on to your assertion that a gun in the home makes people less safe. The question is simple: did citizens use firearms to successfully defend themselves from violent home invasions more than 9,600 times last year? If averaged equally across all 50 states, that would be about 192 events per state last year. If the answer is yes -- and I think it is -- then guns in the home make you more safe. And this analysis doesn't even include how many violent home invasions did NOT happen precisely because the homeowner was armed!

      In case anyone wants to know where I got that 9,600 number, here it is. In addition to accidental deaths from a gun in the home, we have to include "domestic violence" events where a family member flips out, grabs a gun in the home, and kills another family member. That would be in the neighborhood of 1,000 victims last year. And here is the basis for that number. There were approximately 10,000 murders last year where the criminal used a firearm to murder the victim and about 80% or more of those were gang/drug related events. So I split the remaining murders ... about 10% were random and the other 10% were domestic in nature.

      So the total of all deaths last year where someone used a gun in the home to accidentally (600) or intentionally (1,000) kill someone was about 1,600.

      And I want to include injuries. Shootings are fatal about 20% of the time. If 1,600 people died from gunshot wounds, that means about 8,000 people were injured from accidental or domestic violence gunfire in their homes and survived. Thus the grand total of all deaths and injuries from accidental or domestic violence gunfire in people's homes was around 9,600 victims last year.

    3. This is a very good demonstration of applying critical thinking skills. Unfortunately, Mike will not listen.

      He pulls some number that he has determined for how many defensive guns uses are legitimate and insist that it is more accurate than anything the CDC or FBI or other researchers have put together over the years. Then, when pressed for the basis of his figures, he simply says that he didn't make them up and that they are quite accurate.

      At least that is my experience here.

    4. What? When I come up with numbers using my best guess, do you call that critical thinking?

    5. Yes, if you can show the initial source and the demonstrate the math that gets you to the result. That is I have done in previous threads and that is clearly what Anonymous did.

      But when questioned for your initial source, you just assure us that it is based upon experience and that it is accurate. That doesn't count.

    6. I hadn't realized how biased and hypocritical you are until now. I shouldn't be surprised.

    7. You call Frail Liberty biased and hypocritical because he says that you can't logically tell us that you feel the numbers are wrong, so we must adopt new numbers. Again I ask you, do words have any meaning to you?

    8. Mike, I don't know why, but I am truly shocked.

      I will say, that I think the "biased" pejorative is probably fair. I haven't seen a single person posting on your forum that is not operating from their own position of bias.

      But hypocritical? That comment truly has be a result of either psychological projection or, as Greg questions, the inability to comprehend words.

      I have been EXTREMELY consistent in my call for you to show us the sources of the numbers you insist are so accurate.

      I complemented Anonymous’ analysis above as ‘critical thinking’ because he took an data from a reputable source, which in a vacuum tells us very little about societal impact, and did his best to work it through the layers of the issue to arrive and something that CAN tell us quite a bit about the societal impact of this issue.

      I don’t care how old and wise you may be; coming up with figures yourself based upon the perceived frequency news stories about an issue OR based upon the handful of people on either side of an issue that you may have communicated with over the span of your life does not warrant the same level of acknowledgement. It simple does not.

      Now, granted, this is something we all must do about issues everyday. It is a part of life. We MUST make what we like to call ‘informed decisions’ on topics that we really know very little about. But when we do, we do not try to convince others of our ‘rightness’ by pretending that some made up number is the best possible representation of reality. We may try other tactics, like using anecdotal stories or logical progression. But we do not attempt to sell some an unsubstantiated figure as the final gold standard - at least, not those of us with a pinch of intellectual honesty.

      You are free to label as crap any efforts I and others make to apply various studies to the real word. And, I would even encourage you to use logic and reasoning to tear apart conclusions that we have made. That is the at the core of a logical debate.

      But I have been extremely consistent in my calls for proof from you - and you know that I spoke up to Greg when I believed he was employing a circular argument about background checks for private sellers. So how you could possibly think that I have been hypocritical in my pursuit of truth on this forum is truly beyond me.

    9. Here's the hypocrisy test. Do you credit me with good "critical thinking" in my Famous 10% post?

      This is a yes or no question. But feel free to elaborate.

    10. Yes, actually. I would accept that as a good attempt at applying critical thinking to try to fit a real world model. And I really like it because it is detailed, shows your calculation methods, and promotes further discussion on the topic.

      I think has several flaws and can certainly elaborate on a few of those if desired. But I will leave it at that so as not to drift the topic - unless you would like me to.

    11. Mikeb, the problem is that you have no evidence to back up those numbers. You're guessing. As long as you are clear about what you're doing, that's fine, but it's unfair to call guesses facts. You also discount the likelihood that there's a good deal of overlap in your categories.

    12. Aahhhh, so I am capable of critical thinking. Thanks FL.

    13. It would appear that you do posses that skill. You just seem to choose not to apply it very often and go for the soft target emotional reactions instead. ;)

      And again for the record, I don't agree with your concluded figure as I see several methodological flaws.

    14. " You just seem to choose not to apply it very often and go for the soft target emotional reactions instead."

      Which is my right to do so, especially on my own blog. Yes?

    15. Of course that is your right. I have the right to walk around in public visibly talking to myself. But if I chose to do so, I should also understand and acknowledge that others who witness that behaviour will have a much harder time taking me seriously if I decide to try to have a reasonable conversation with them.

      The same goes here. If you spend most of postings arguing illogical conclusions that are justified with data of unknown origins and dodging responses by others when potential flaws in your reasoning are pointed out; you should expect most people will not simply take your word for it that, for example, there are only 500 legitimate DGU's a year.

      So again, yes that is your right to do so. So the question becomes how serious do you want to be taken on your own blog?

    16. Do I really spend most of my postings arguing illogical conclusions? I don't think so and I don't think you do either. I use my head and challenge you to do the same without resorting to the cherry-picking statistics game.

      I don't justify anything, let alone with "data of unknown sources." I don't dodge responses by you or the others to whatever degree I can keep up. Between you and Greg, I'd have to spend twice as much time doing this to answer each question. But I do a pretty good job at it.

      To your final question/insult I can honestly say I couldn't care less if you take me seriously or not.

      On my blog, to which you are the visitor, you get what you see. That's it. Half of what you've written here is a criticism of me and how I write and what I write or don't write. Stick with the other half and we'll get along better.

    17. Mikeb, you make assertions without support. You make up numbers that are based on no evidence. You guess and call it fact. If you weren't trying to take away our rights, it wouldn't matter so much, but since you constantly call for new infringements on gun ownership and carry, you invite opposition. Let it also be noted that I wasn't the one to start the insults here. Laci, Dog Gone, and Democommie have used foul language and invective in just about every post or comment, and you join in from time to time. Consider the beam in your own eye before attacking the mote in ours.

    18. Sorry Mike, I call it like I see it.

      I say you use data from unknown sources because of your 500 DGU figure which you admit you to coming up with from your own life experiences.

      I say you dodge responses because of several threads where, after trying to focus on a particular aspect, you don't respond to that presented point, but instead repeatedly broaden or divert the topic.
      (Latest example here:

      You say that "Half of what you've written here is a criticism of me and how I write and what I write or don't write." I don't really know how to respond to this. My intention is to encourage healthy productive debate. I find many of the ways in which you respond seem to stifle that goal, so I point it out. I am sorry if that offends you.

      I acknowledge that, given how many topics you post a day and the number of visitors (I was going to say contributors, but I see that you prefer 'visitors'), it would be daunting to keep up.

      But, I think it might be easier to keep up if you would try my suggestions that you seem to dislike so much. Many of our back-and-forths only drag on ad nauseum because I keep trying to get you back on point to provide an answer or rebuttal to the specific point that was presented.

      I think, perhaps, it might help if you understand that hashing out details in a intelligent discussion or debate is not always intended to "win" or "change" someones mind on a broad topic. It is intended to boil a topic down to the lowest points of contention to better understand both the other side of the argument and the larger issue as a whole.

      In the process, two parties will likely find points of agreement they did not know existed and will know better how to begin future discussions about related topics in the future.

      I guess that is why I get so frustrated by your reluctance to participate in a more straightforward way.

    19. It's not "taking away rights" to apply reasonable restrictions. Scalia said so. People should be qualified to own guns. Why do you fear that so?

    20. Mikeb, when are you going to get it. Our rights aren't given or declared by the Supreme Court or any other human group. We're born with them. The restrictions that you want aren't reasonable, and they're infringements on the right to own and carry guns.

      I'm not acting out of fear. I know what authoritarian governments are capable of doing. You say that we should have to be qualified to exercise our rights. That may sound good to you, but you refuse to see the broad possibility for abuse. What the government gives, the government can take away, cursed be the name of the government.

      What this comes down to is why do you trust the government, but doubt gun owners?

  2. "When you add this type to all the other accidents and negligence and kids finding guns and theft, what you've got is an obvious conclusion. Guns do more harm than good."

    That is, until you actually look at the data with an open mind. Then you quickly see that the reverse is true - that guns are many times more protective than destructive.

  3. Mikeb, when you can show that an incident like this happens more frequently than defensive gun uses, I'll listen. But as we've shown in the past, you exaggerate statements and ignore facts.

    1. Greg, search Google by "shooting" and you'll have your answer. You just don't like it.

    2. Anonymous above has already done that. You are singularly impervious to facts, though, so I doubt that you'll be able to follow the argument.

  4. I guess I have been one lucky Texan then. Over 30 guns in the house back then, none in a safe but in several unlocked glass cabinets, with ammo in the same cases, with kids and then eventually grandkids running all over the place. Nary a single mishap of even the smallest edition.

    Now that its just the wife and I, we have a total of ten between us. Three are hers, seven for me. We still get kids and grandkids around ever so often now as well.

    Yet I have never had anyone say that I had a dangerous house in any form. But out in the country we never worried about break ins. Where I am at now, EVERYTHING is locked down!

    1. I grew up around guns, too, Tex. My family didn't think I handled the guns, either, or my step-brother, or his friends. I can remember them doing so, and they didn't give a damn about any four rules. Funny how kids don't follow the rules all the time, isn't it?

      You got lucky, Tex. I see stories many times a week of families that weren't lucky.

      I sure as hell wouldn't let my kids in your house.

    2. I grew up around guns as well. I had good parents who taught me a healthy respect for the guns. Obviously Baldr, your parents weren't up to the task.

      And who says Tex would even want your kids in his house? If they were raised anything like you, they are also clueless morons who also know nothing about guns.

    3. Texas, you were lucky. Most homes you describe have some minor mishaps, at least.

    4. " Most homes you describe have some minor mishaps, at least."

      No they don't. If you believe they do, please quantify with some meaningful data. We obviously won't hold our breath waiting.

    5. Most, Mikeb? That at least means more than fifty percent. There are 100,000,000 gun owners, more or less, in this country. Are you saying that more than 50,000,000 of us have mishaps?

    6. Baldr, if you raised your kids the way you were raised, then you and your kids would not be allowed in my house. It seems to me that you didn't learn to keep your mitts off of what you had no business with and would expect no less from your kids.

      "My family didn't think I handled the guns, either, or my step-brother, or his friends. I can remember them doing so, and they didn't give a damn about any four rules."

      You have just stated in your own words that you have no respect for another's property or yourself. You are a defining and shining example of the problems in this country. Yet you wish to try to define gun owners from your own lack of self respect. You loose at the attempt because all families and their children are not like you and are educated well in the aspect of respect and discipline.

      I didn't ever have to think that my kids were handling anything behind my back, I knew they didn't and would have known if they tried.

      Get your own house in order before condemning others.

  5. Most homes? Most homes have them without a single incident for generations out here. It's a normal part of life. The only ones you hear about are usually criminals, new and uneducated to guns or fail to educate their families.

    I am not singularly lucky at all. Way more common than you wish to admit.

    1. Oh, and Mike, thats about as close to sarcasm as I can muster. Did you miss it or do I need to try harder?

      "I guess I have been one lucky Texan then"