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View Diary: GunFAIL VI (282 comments)

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  •  Meaningful measurements (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, Shotput8, imokyrok, splashy

    One-third of all families in America that have children also have guns, and more than 40 percent of them don't keep their guns locked up. Children younger than eight can't tell the difference between a real gun and a toy, and 3-year-olds are strong enough to pull the trigger on a real gun. Children and teens commit more than half of all unintentional shootings.
    Yet statistically the legal owners of those guns face no fines, no loss of rights, and no criminal penalties for such small but predictable risks associated with drunken gun play. Why? Because of the normalization of "tragic accident."

    Relying on the total number of guns as a basis, is a neat trick to bury the meaningful data. Some behavior should be sanction-able no matter how infrequent.

    1. Why can't drunken gun play be an automatic fine and temporary surrender of rights, if someone is injured?

    2. Why can't drunken gun play be an automatic manslaughter charge, if someone is killed?

    3. Why can't drunken gun play in the presence of minor children incur at least a temporary loss of RKBA and rehabilitation through training and proficiency testing?

    •  I think I understand what you are getting at (4+ / 0-)

      but your reasoning is based in a logical and mathematical fallacy. If one wants to talk about something being "statistically significant", then that term has a very specific meaning.  As as matter of fact, the relevant numbers begin to get into the Law of Large Numbers territory, which is a whole 'nother concept.  

      Many arguments and debates can be constructed without using statistics incorrectly.  It is one of my pet peeves.

      The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

      by Otteray Scribe on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:55:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  About statistics (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I understand a few things about variables and large numbers.

        Such as why collision of earth with an asteroid is an absolute  certainty at some point (but statistically very unlikely this year or next or even in the next couple millenia).

        Or that every year we have a 1% chance of a 100 year storm, even if we had a 100 year storm last year.

        I hear you about misuse of math, some people are reaching for factual support and interchange "rare" and "statistically insignificant" when they try to claim something is "unimportant" - not realizing that statistical significance has nothing to do with importance in a society's legitimate policy decisions.

        The number of successful assassinations is exceedingly rare but they are incredibly important events.

        My objection to your example, is that there are also people who, as you know, intentionally choose large or small reference numbers to support a claim about importance. It's easy to report a scary sounding rise in something, e.g.  of 200% if the starting number is very small. And the 200% rise can still be both unimportant and statistically insignificant if it's way down in the noise of normal variation.

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