Thank you for the well reasoned and calm discussion. It’s hard to find in this space.
As for your critiques of the first article I cited, I’ll concede that you raise some legitimate points that are worthy of discussion, and I’d agree that the study is certainly not perfect. Then again, as surely you’d agree, perfection is hardly the purpose of these studies, nor is it ever the intent of the researchers. Every well researched, peer reviewed study is certain to have gaps and areas that need improvement, but when a series of studies over the course of several decades from a multitude of independent, top-tiered institutions consistently point in the same general direction about, for example, the relationship between gun ownership and gun homicides (or anything else for that matter) that’s the direction that bears the most weight, the most objective, scientific truth. That is how good science is produced, and the science has been quite clear for some time.
Knowing how science is funded, and who chooses to participate in it, and for what reasons, I completely disagree with this entire line of reasoning. “But Consensus!” is a terrible argument, especially when used to snow over questionable studies that don’t actually contribute to a consensus on the topic at hand.
First off, this is the state of modern science and academia:
It’s an engine poisoned by bad financial drivers, as we discussed about half way down in this article:
Secondly, arguments that begin with the phrase “the science is settled” fundamentally don’t understand what science even is. Science is never, ever, settled.
Third, there’s a huge leap between science and policy, with many links in the middle, each of which must be questioned in order to find policy with efficacy. I am for effective policy. All policies which are ineffective are bad. This is an important concept for someone in your background (per your profile) to grok, because some folks in your space don’t get that. Policy for policy’s sake is always bad.
at least this much is objectively known according to a consensus of research and data; where there are more guns, there is more gun violence,
This is not true. This is purely a media narrative. There is no bivariate correlation between those two things. I am not shitting you. I am not making this up. To drive this point home, skip to article #4 and check out the first and second graphs:
The Magic Gun Evaporation Fairy
Three Reasons Why Gun Ownership Rates From Other Countries Don’t Matter
If you don’t believe me, replicate them on your own. The numbers are public.
Now, when you include suicide, then yes, there is a bivariate correlation, but surprisingly only in men, not women:
The Left Is Making the Wrong Case on Gun Deaths. Here’s a Better Case.
The gun conversation in this country has real, systemic problems.
It’s fascinating science, by the way. Women who kill themselves with guns, statistically speaking, would kill themselves anyway if they didn’t have a gun. Some but not all men who kill themselves with guns would kill themselves another way, but some men who kill themselves with guns would probably not kill themselves if they didn’t have a gun. That’s the science, and I was very surprised to discover it. The scientific paper referenced in that article is quite good btw.
I mean, think of it this way. Purely by the numbers, NRA could do more to reduce total “gun deaths” by a membership suicide prevention drive than are killed in all gang crime nationwide. The numbers are stark.
Set the media aside for a second, because the media is only interested in clickbait at all levels, due to emerging media business models. Look deeply into the numbers. Before we continue the dialog, read the whole series. It’s outlined here:
May Housekeeping, Cancer, and Hootie on a Bike
I think a lot, and I write things down. I spend too much time on Facebook, and the things I write there are often far…
And please, purely as an exercise in dialog if nothing else, try to set your preconceptions aside when you read it. There are lots of people in the country who have adopted indoctrinated beliefs on this topic, so try to read the thing through setting your indoctrinations aside.