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In this open thread Ozy will join us to discuss his diary from January, which focused on four papers, including the 1995 survey of defensive gun use by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. To add Ozy's original diaries to your stream, click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to Ozy's name.

A closer look at DGU numbers

by Ozy on (Jan 30, 2013) (republished with permission)

So, what number are we talking about? 2.5 million. That's the often quoted number of annual DGU, usually presented as is, without qualifications or error bars leading one to believe that this is an indication of lives saved, injuries avoided, or at the very least violent crimes prevented due to the presence of a gun by the potential victim.
This is a huge number. An unbelievably huge number...

... this will mostly be an examination of work by others and an attempt to figure out whether any of the numbers make sense, and whether they can or should be used to inform policy.

The studies I will refer to are the following:

Kleck 1995
Hemenway 1997
Kleck 1997 (Kleck responds to criticism of the NSDS)
Cook 1998

I'll try to summarize the main arguments of each study as best as possible, but for more details, the links are provided above.

The 2.5 million DGU number comes from Kleck 95, and it is based on 56 positive responses (weighted to 66) from a pool of 5000 surveyed. The DGU number comes from taking 66/5000 and multiplying by the number of adults in the US at the time (~200 million). Two common critiques to this methodology come from a consideration of 'false positives', and using 'external validation' to compare against other crime statistics.

...

Kleck's response is twofold, that the incidences he's measuring may not reflect typical crimes (e.g. trespassing or other non-violent crime or threat), and DGU incidences may be significantly under-reported because of illegal gun use, or other illegal activities. So, what the heck is he actually measuring?

I mean, when we're talking about trying to assess the positive social utility of DGU, scaring kids off your property by flashing a shotgun doesn't automatically go in the 'plus' category in my mind. Indeed, if you look at Table 3 in Kleck 95, you find that almost 50% of the DGU he measured involved no actual threat posed to the defender. WTF?

In fact, the primary theme that Kleck 97 uses to answer Hemenway's objections is that there is vast under-reporting of DGU because they are usually used illegally and/or in conjunction with illegal activity on the part of the defender.

…Continue reading A closer look at DGU numbers

Full citations:

Gary Kleck & Marc Gertz 1995


ARMED RESISTANCE TO CRIME: THE PREVALENCE AND NATURE OF SELF-DEFENSE WITH A GUN
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern) Guns and Violence Symposium, vol. 86, no. 1, 1995, pp. 150-187.

David Hemenway 1997


SURVEY RESEARCH AND SELF-DEFENSE GUN USE: AN EXPLANATION OF EXTREME OVERESTIMATES
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern) vol. 87, 1997, pp. 1430-1445.

Gary Kleck 1997


Degrading Scientific Standards to Get the Defensive Gun Use Estimate Down
Journal on Firearms, Vol. 11, 1997, pp 77-138.
(Professor Gary Kleck responds to critics of the National Self-Defense Survey)

Philip Cook & Jens Ludwig 1998


Defensive Gun Uses: New Evidence from a National Survey
Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1998, pp 111-131.

Hugh Jim Bissell reported on defensive gun use for the Firearm Law and Policy group in a five part series.  To add Hugh Jim Bissell's original diaries to your stream, click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to HJB's name.

Part I reviewed defensive gun use as described in the Center for Disease Control review of gun violence in America.  Part II discusses the many difficulties in defining and determining a proper and legal defensive use of a gun.  Part III reviewed the well-known McDowall & Wiersema 1994 study that estimated the incidence of defensive gun use in America. This study evaluated results of the National Crime Victimization Study which is collected by the US Census Bureau.  Part IV reviewed the well-known Kleck & Gertz 1995 study that also estimated the incidence of defensive gun use in America.  This study evaluated results of The National Self Defense Survey, which was designed by Dr. Kleck and conducted a polling research company owned by Dr. Mertz. Part V, HJB compared the two studies and analyzed why the resulting defensive gun use estimates they reported are so different.


Sponsored by the Firearms Law and Policy Group


The Daily Kos Firearms Law and Policy group studies actions for reducing firearm deaths and injuries in a manner that is consistent with the current Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment. We also cover the many positive aspects of gun ownership, including hunting, shooting sports, and self-defense.

To see our list of original and republished diaries, go to the Firearms Law and Policy diary list. Click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to our group name to add our posts to your stream, and use the link next to the heart to send a message to the group if you have a question or would like to join.

We have adopted Wee Mama's and akadjian's guidance on communicating.  But most important, be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Originally posted to Firearms Law and Policy on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

Poll

Which explanation best matches your understanding of why there are such large differences in estimates of defensive gun use?

41%5 votes
16%2 votes
16%2 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
8%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
16%2 votes

| 12 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:01:11 PM PDT

  •  Thank you to Ozy and Hugh Jim Bissell (7+ / 0-)

    for really breaking down this subject for us.

    For those of us who missed Ozy's diary back in January, it is republished to Firearms Law and Policy and you can still rec his diary and post a comment there.

    A closer look at DGU numbers

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:18:29 PM PDT

  •  The weighting should not (6+ / 0-)

    be an issue if you draw a good sample (including one of reasonable size) and ask good questions. Weighting works well when the survey is well done, but the numbers here were not necessarily adequate for stable estimation of a rare outcome, which DGU is. The Kleck work is pretty much garbage in, garbage out. Look in detail at what the self-reports of DGU are reporting (see both Hemenway and Cook & Ludwig for this) and you can see it is largely junk. A very large percentage of the reports either report implausibly large numbers of DGU (e.g. "I've used my gun to defend myself 25 times in the past year"), report activities which are not actually DGU but rather criminal activity, and/or self-report inconsistencies within their reports.

    •  It seems unbelievable that the police (6+ / 0-)

      were informed of so many incidents of defensive gun use, but they seldom ever made it into the papers.

      "Informed the police or the police found out 65%"
      (x 2.5 million) = 1.625 million reports to the police

      "Wounded or killed offender 8.3%"
      (x 2.5 million) = 207,500 shootings

      Where did all those gun shot victims go for medical treatment?

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:37:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That number is inconsistent (5+ / 0-)

        with this report from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System -
        http://www.prisonpolicy.org/...
        60,900 firearm injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments in 1994, so around the same year as Kleck's survey.

        •  Interesting - that roughly 77% of injuries (3+ / 0-)

          treated in the ER, where the relationship between victim and perp is known involved someone the victim knew.

          Of all persons treated for violence related injuries

          7% had been injured by a spouse or ex-spouse.
          10%, by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend.
          8%, by a parent, child, sibling, or other relative.
          23%, by a friend or acquaintance.
          23%, by strangers.

          In almost 30% of all cases in the study, the relationship of the person inflicting the injury to the patient was not recorded for the study.

          Would can we guess that the 30% of ER cases where the relationship was not recorded are for cases where the victim came in unconscious and there were no witnesses?

          "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

          by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 03:51:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe a few, (3+ / 0-)

            I would guess in a larger number though, the person refused to say or it just wasn't recorded for whatever reason (e.g. they were in a dire situation and it didn't get asked, etc.).

            30% missing is high but a lot of surveys get fairly high missings on certain variables due to people who don't know, refusals, or other issues like that. Embarrassing questions, or ones like this that could incriminate a loved one, tend to have a higher refusal rate.

            •  That makes more sense (4+ / 0-)

              people are in shock and may have other complicating factors (under the influence) that interfere with answering the question.

              I once did a face plant on roller blades, and a passing pedestrian helped me take off my roller blades, put on my shoes, and walked me to a nearby firehouse.  It wasn't until after the paramedic cleaned me up and asked me what happened that I realized they assumed that I had been attacked, or had been in a fight.

              They looked incredulous at first when I said I fell all by myself; until I told them that I was just rollerblading and fell, and that my roller blades were in my backpack.

              "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

              by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 04:03:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Now that I think about it (5+ / 0-)

          that number is even further off than I initially thought. Based on those numbers, there supposedly would be 207,500 gun injuries due to DGU. However, the 60,900 treated in ERs includes:
          1) DGUs
          2) Homicide attempts not involving DGU (basically a 'typical' shooting)
          3) Suicide attempts (not going to be many of these as most of those don't make it to the ER)
          4) Accidental injuries

          My guess is for ER visits, #2 is going to overwhelm the other three types, probably put together. #1 surely cannot even be close to half of the 60,900 since the vast majority of shootings we hear about are not defensive.

          •  This is another example of external validation. (5+ / 0-)

            While I didn't include explicit external validation checks in the original diary, I believe it was discussed in the original comments.

            Basically, if you take the number of justifiable homicides by civilians (non-police) of around 2-300, divide by the average gunshot mortality rate of 15-20%, and then divide by the fraction of a time Kleck reports an attacker wounds his target 8.3%, you get a range of justifiable DGUs from 10-30k per year.

            This matches pretty well when you do a different, independent external validation based on the amount of violent crime, and the number of people who legally carry (conservatively assuming that someone who carries always invokes a DGU), which I believe ends up around 20-40k or so.

            •  The few compelling context questions (3+ / 0-)

              for cost/benefit policy consideration.

              Two of Ozy's prior comments re external validation being absolutely necessary to put any estimate in context before we rely on an estimate to drive policy decisions.

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              The reasoning behind my comparison is that I want to find out how much benefit guns provide to society compared to how much harm they do. DGU is a potential source of benefit.

              However, the harm is more than just deaths. Wounding, and the enabling of violent crime are also a large negative societal factors that can be attributed to guns. Increased suicide rates are also a negative social factor.

              by Ozy on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:05:25 PM PST

              http://www.dailykos.com/...
               it's not quibbling (0+ / 0-)
              it's using external validation to provide a better estimate.
              ~300-400 justifiable homicides annually is a well established, non-survey based statistic.

              20% mortality rate from gunshot wounds is also a fairly well-established statistic based on hospital records and national crime statistics.

              This implies 1500-2000 justifiable shootings.

              According to Keck's own statistics, DGU use involved wounding/killing the attacker ~8% of the time.
              This implies 19k-25k total DGU (1500-2000 / 0.08).

              The only questionable stat here is really Keck's, because it is based on the same problem with small numbers. However, instead of using the small numbers to extrapolate, we are using the percentages of self-reported wounding in conjunction with statistics that are vetted much more thoroughly.

              by Ozy on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 01:22:06 PM PST
              [ Parent | Reply to This ]

              Now, I don't know anything about database cleaning techniques, but did notice in one of the papers that the polling firm they used is owned by Marc Gertz. Both Kleck and Gertz were already professors for many years at the time of their study, yet report almost no grants or funding sources for any of work.
              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              Not here he's not. (2+ / 0-)
              He's a sell-out scumbag.
              Kleck and Gertz pointedly ignored standard database cleaning techniques from criminology.

              And Florida State has billionaire financed departments including their Economics shillery.

              Justifiable homicide figures put the lie to their conclusions. It's not physically possible report 207,000 shootings and have fewer than 300 fatalities. Not and be doing an honest study.

              by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 01:06:07 PM PST

              "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

              by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 05:34:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  How to Sample the US Population (4+ / 0-)

      Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms by Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig. Their sampling method made a lot of sense to me. In the Firearms Survey Methodology from the NIJ-sponsored National Survey of Private Ownership of Firearms (NSPOF).

      Unfortunately the DOJ is closed because of the shutdown and people can't download the document until the government reopens.

      R e s e a r c h  i n  B r i e f
      Firearms Survey Methodology

      The NIJ-sponsored National Survey of Private Ownership of Firearms (NSPOF) was conducted by Chilton Research Services of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, during November and December 1994. Data collected by the survey were analyzed by the authors of this Research in Brief

      The telephone survey employed a list-assisted random-digit-dial sampling method, in which every residential telephone number had the same likelihood of being selected. Each household selected in this fashion was scheduled for as many calls as needed (up to a maximum of six) to make contact with the appropriate person and complete the interview. When a household was first contacted, the interviewer asked to speak with the adult in the household who had the most recent birthday. Because this method randomizes the selection of respondents from among the adults living in the household, the NSPOF was a probability sample of adults in the United States.1

      Minimums were established for the number of completed interviews with racial minorities and gun-owning households. Such households were more likely than others to be included in the final sample. Sampling weights were calculated to adjust for this design feature and for other sociodemographic differences between the sample and the U.S. adult population. Although these adjustments improved the quality of population estimates based on the NSPOF, some types of estimates may still be biased. As in every survey, some sample members refused to cooperate and others were never home when the interviewer called. The concern is that these nonrespondents may tend to differ from the general population (and the completed sample) in relevant ways. The scope of that potential problem is usually indicated by the response rate. In the absence of a single accepted definition of "response rate," two reasonable definitions yield figures of 44 and 59 percent for the NSPOF. Thus, nonresponse bias in our estimates is a real possibility. Nonetheless, the response rate for this survey is no lower than for other well-executed telephone surveys, and there is no reason to believe that this survey used a less representative sample than others.2

      Most of the estimates contained in this Research in Brief rely on the responses of those who personally owned firearms. The estimates do not rely on the reports of those who did not personally own a gun but lived in a gun-owning household because our analysis of the NSPOF data suggests that the survey respondents were often unwilling or unable to report on guns owned by other adults in the household. For example, we find that in households headed by married couples, women were much less likely to report a gun in the house (which in most cases would belong to their husbands) than were men.

      1 For details about the GENESYS method employed by Chilton or other survey issues, see Brick, J.M., J. Waksberg, D. Kulp, and A. Starer, "Bias in List-Assisted Telephone Samples," Public Opinion Quarterly, 59:218–235. Also: Waksberg, J., "Sampling Methods for Random Digit Dialing," Journal of the American Statistical Association, 73:40–46, 1978.

      2 Kleck, G., and M. Gertz, "Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense With a Gun," Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 86(1):150–187, Fall 1995. They reported a response rate of 61 percent for their national telephone survey of gun ownership and defensive gun use. In calculating this response rate, they excluded all sample members whom they were unable to contact. By their definition, the NSPOF response rate would be higher than 61 percent.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 04:14:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The fundamental problem (6+ / 0-)

    is that there appears to be a very strong tendency for gun proponents to cast any gun usage as a justifiable DGU, which can only be amplified when you rely on self-reported DGU.

    This behavior is exemplified in the comments for this diary:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    You can see quite clearly that DKos RKBA proponents, who one might perhaps imagine are a bit more thoughtful than your average RKBA person, came into the diary and crafted a dramatic story about a man selflessly giving his life, defending his family with a gun against an attacker. This fantasy was based on an initial 2nd-hand comment from a non-eyewitness, who was relaying what he was told by the 'defender's' wife and/or mother.

    The RKBA'ers who participated almost uniformly proposed and/or bought into this narrative. When alternate facts came out that essentially falsified that entire story, NONE of them came out with an 'oops, my bad', and some of them insisted on holding onto this view of a justifiable DGU, based on nothing but their own RKBA fantasies. Postulating that without a gun, the wife and mother surely would also have been killed, ignoring the precipitating argument between the two men entirely.

    And this was an event which involved exactly none of them.

    So, we're to believe an RKBA proponent accurately self-reporting about a personal DGU event?

    I have trouble imaging a poll more likely to produce nonsense than that, which is why the numbers from external validation are a far better estimate.

    •  That "positive social bias" (4+ / 0-)

      in the narrative could have been very strong at the time of Kleck's study, in the spring 1993, when political rhetoric was all about "get tough on crime."

      I can't recall all the sources where I read some considerations for what was happening in the country at the time.

      1. Crack epidemic was spreading beyond the big cities.
      2. Gun legislation was in play in Congress.
      3. Ruby Ridge and Waco law enforcement fiascos fueling mistrust of law enforcement.

      Somewhere I read that interviewers in Gertz' company reported that respondents seemed credible when they replied to detailed DGU questions after a long silent pause with, "Who wants to know?"

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 06:15:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How interesting.... (0+ / 0-)

      that you of all people, are accusing others of bias when, in that same diary you flat out admitted your bias.

      However, be that as it may, you better damn well believe that I f*cking blame that 'victim' for getting out of the car
      You flat-out admitted that being shot at wouldn't change your opinion on the situation one iota.
      Last I checked, being shot at was a justifiable reason to utilize self-defense.

      On another note: Why don't you provide a link showing whom shot first?

      Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

      by FrankRose on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 10:26:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "gold standard" eye-witness testimony (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glen The Plumber, coquiero, WakeUpNeo

        Humans have biased views of the world and even eye-witness testimony under oath is finally facing rigorous scrutiny after being relied upon as a "gold standard" without serious question.

        Have you read any of the papers featured in this diary? Please explain how Kleck's selection/survey methods can possibly represent a random sample of the country.

        Even a 1% incidence of difficulty remembering reality would impact the results in an important way. Respondents don't even have to be intentionally biasing their answers, and might just be drunk, tired, confused about reality (mental disturbance or illness). Never mind respondents reporting not just their own DGU, but about DGU by others in their household.

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 10:39:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't need to (4+ / 0-)

        because it's irrelevant on three points.

        First, the bias of gun control proponents would only affect such a survey if they were interviewed and lied about self-reporting DGU. Basically, a false negative. Now, the unlikeliness of such an action nonwithstanding (someone is going to falsely claim that their justified use of DGU was criminal? really?) The effect of such a 'false-negative' is inconsequential, compared to the incidence of false-positives, to the statistics based on the population size and  low probability of the event. See the linked papers for a more thorough discussion.

        Secondly, in the incident under discussion, who shot first doesn't actually change anything regarding you RKBA types initially jumping to a narrative based on NO reliable evidence, and holding to said narrative in the face of contrary evidence.

        Even if, on further investigation, your story turned out to be entirely correct, you quite simply didn't have any rational reason to assert such a story right off the bat, period. You invented the narrative based on your biases.

        And finally, and all you DGU proponents should be well aware of this, it doesn't matter who shot first, as long as they felt their life was in danger, right?

        But, by all means, continue to demonstrate the type of bias that calls into question all such self-reported surveys.

        •  Other than the initial reports that said who was (0+ / 0-)

          the first shooter?

          Again, you flat-out admitted your bias.

          "continue to demonstrate the type of bias"
          Oh? Like what?
          In that same thread, I made clear that if facts showed otherwise, I would change my opinion (in contrast with your adamant insistence--demonstrated both in that linked thread & in this comment--that the facts don't matter).

          Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

          by FrankRose on Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 09:24:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  By initial reports (4+ / 0-)

            you mean what some non-eyewitness reported what they were told by the mom/wife? Those reports?

            Then contradicted by reports talking about a mutual argument outside the vehicles, and the present situation where the police refuse to disclose who shot first?

            And then even refusing to address the fact that 'who shoots first' might actually be the person who felt their life was threatened first, and thus the real 'victim'.

            Yeah, boy, you sure have demonstrated that you change your opinions based on facts.

            But yeah, call me out on my bias that people shouldn't get out of cars to escalate violent arguments. I'll certainly own that one...how about you?

            •  Being shot at is justifiable grounds to use (0+ / 0-)

              deadly force in self-defense.

              Getting out of a car is not.

              Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

              by FrankRose on Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 09:43:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are continuing to make assumptions (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                coquiero

                once again, about

                1) who did actually shoot first

                and

                2) whether that person who got out of the car was threatening or not

                Not only that, you are somehow implying that I was saying getting out of a car means you deserve to be shot.

                I didn't. I said someone who gets out of a car to escalate an argument bears some responsibility for what happens during that argument. Surely you can tell the difference.

                Blaming a 'victim' is only unwarranted when 1) the victim is actually correctly identified, and 2) the victim didn't do anything wrong

                Escalating an argument is doing something wrong.

                Wearing a skirt isn't, just in case you were curious.

                •  Then go ahead and link an article that says (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Kasoru, theatre goon

                  who did shoot first.
                  Until that time I will continue to use what the initial report said.
                  But the issue should be irrelevant, after all you already made it clear that you don't care who shot first. You will blame him anyway....for getting out of his car

                  "Wearing a skirt isn't [doing something wrong]"
                  But apparently wearing a skirt while getting out of a car or driving into "a bad neighborhood" is.

                  The CDC ("Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun use by victims is at least as common as offensive uses by criminals") doesn't matter to you, who shot first doesn't matter to you, a person being a victim doesn't matter to you:
                  The only thing that matters to you is your little political viewpoint.

                  Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

                  by FrankRose on Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 11:38:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You will continue to use the initial report... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    coquiero, WakeUpNeo, Glen The Plumber

                    the second-hand comments by a non-eyewitness relating what the wife/mother told him when he showed up.

                    The same comments that falsely claimed the attacker just walked right up and shot the guy in the car.

                    Despite the fact that later reports verified that both men were outside the cars arguing.

                    And thus, you display your bias.

                    As for my bias:

                    Wearing a skirt and escalating a violent argument is wrong. Why do you conveniently forget to include this last bit of data?

                    Oh yeah, you've taken to lying.

                    Have a good day troll.

      •  Justifiable reason for defense, EXCEPT... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener, coquiero, WakeUpNeo

        I would agree with you that in general, if one is being shot at, that is justifiable reason for self-defense.

        However, I think there is an important exception.  If one is being shot at WHILE ONE IS ENGAGED IN A CRIMINAL ACTIVITY, then you cannot claim justifiable self-defense.

        If I go into a bank and announce that I am robbing the bank, and then I notice that the armed security guard is shooting at me, I do NOT then have a justifiable cause to shoot at the guard in self-defense.  My only justifiable self-defense in those circumstances is to quit my criminal activity and surrender.

        If the motorist A is in the act of committing a crime (assault, assault with a deadly weapon, motor vehicle assault), and motorist B starts shooting at him, then motorist A CANNOT claim justifiable self-defense.

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 11:14:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed. But motorist A in this case didn't commit (0+ / 0-)

          a crime.

          He pulled over.

          Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

          by FrankRose on Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 11:41:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you realise how hard it is to get a CCW permit (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coquiero, WakeUpNeo

            in Michigan?

            It goes way beyond not having any felony convictions, narcotics addictions, protective orders against you, etc. There is a long list of misdemeanor offenses that disqualify you. So there we had two pretty smart, squeakly clean law abiding citizens who got pissed off at each other while driving. And who stupidly, decided to stop driving and get out of their cars to "settle it."

            A gun in any mix can make a single moment of poor judgment permanent.

            You can argue until the end of your life over who had a right to shoot and who was the aggressor. But you can NOT make a convincing argument that guns were a benefit to either family who lost someone at that care wash.

            As cited above a firearm fatality costs about $5 million on average. The presence of guns at those moments of poor judgment in a fit of road rage/poor judgment in responding to road rage is a $10 million dollar permanent mistake.

            There is no number of possible defensive gun uses by those two previously law abiding persons that can compensate for what those families and communities lost that day.

            "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

            by LilithGardener on Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 11:59:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  How numbers get established in the public (3+ / 0-)

    record is a fascinating topic on its own. Applied to gun policy it's become really fascinating.

    I'm not privy to all the things Kleck & Gertz did besides publish their study, but Kleck is recognized as a criminology expert. And courts rely on experts to render their learned opinions in complex technology. This comment clued me in to how our court system has some well-intentioned features that also impose serious limitations. Kleck's estimate is referenced in Heller in Justice Breyer's minority opinion, which includes a long and detailed summary of the unique features of D.C.'s crime problem that the handgun ban had intended to address.

    One of the unanticipated outcomes of DC's law is that they have the lowest firearm suicide rate in the country. [Washington Post link]

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    One of the major problems we face in law is that (2+ / 0-)
    we can't be masters of all realms of knowledge.  I mean, not to defend that particular quote, that number smells pretty screwy to me.  But in general, it's a huge issue that we're called, every day, to argue and, even scarier, make judgments about things with which we do not truly understand.

    I don't envy trial judges.  They get presented with complex science and all sorts of other stuff and, in general, they really can't look shit up - our system places the burden entirely on the parties.  If the state forgets to describe how a certain kind of DNA test works, the judge may be able to ask for clarification during a bench trial, but once the evidentiary phase is closed or if there's a jury involved, tough luck.

    So if a case is poorly argued, that judge may have absolutely no fucking idea what they're doing.  I have a friend doing a judicial clerkship in another state doing primarily work in disciplines where bad lawyering is alarmingly common and the kind of stuff they have to deal with is just astonishing both for how bad it is and also how bad of a position the judges are in.

    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:45:59 PM PST

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 05:48:49 PM PDT

  •  Part of the problem may be (3+ / 0-)

    that some consider that "DGU" includes the mere act of owning and/or carrying a weapon, anywhere.

    Thinking this supposedly makes them and those around them more "safe."

    Whether that is true or not...

    •  The more I read about it, I'm curious whether (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, Glen The Plumber, WakeUpNeo

      there is a measurable placebo effect benefit, at least among responsible gun owners.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 06:02:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Placebo effect? (3+ / 0-)

        Or is it rather about "plumage"?

        •  LOL (4+ / 0-)

          The placebo effect is real. It's measurable even for simple chemical substances such as caffeine. People who know they are drinking caffeinated coffee have measurable effects compared to people who know think they are drinking de-caffeinated coffee.

          By placebo effect with respect to concealed carry I'm thinking of changes in behavior that responsible gun owners make when they are armed.

          E.g. Many states CCW permits require zero blood alcohol, so responsible gun owners don't carry their gun when they go out drinking. Laws have been loosened to allow concealed carry in bars and restaurants but a responsible CCW permittee who is carrying will not drink when out with friends/family who are drinking. I'm proposing that for that population the awareness that they are carrying their gun might extend to an awareness that helps them avoid situations that might lead to an altercation.

          I'm merely acknowledging that many gun owners are the kind of thoughtful/responsible people we want as neighbors and co-workers.  If I'm right that some of them experience a conservative change in behavior/heightened awareness when they carry, then that would also lead some of them to attribute the benefit to the gun, rather than to themselves and their conservative change in behavior/heightened awareness.

          We see plenty of examples of the opposite in the news and in the gunFAIL diaries. And as Ozy points out above, the presumption of any social benefit/justification is easily over-ridden by a moment of poor judgment and/or poor impulse control.

          "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

          by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 07:06:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Plumage - and that is one reason why (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero, Glen The Plumber, WakeUpNeo

          I don't want open carry to normalize casual gun carriage in most places, such as cities like New York.

          It will be a sad day when a gun becomes an accessory, that people wear for showing off. IMO, it should be a tool, that is kept hidden away from prying eyes and secured against prying fingers, and only brought out if/when it is about to be used.

          "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

          by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 07:09:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Self-awareness? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankRose, theatre goon, Kasoru

    Looking at the comments I see criticism of claimed defensive gun usage numbers because of bias on the part of gun advocates wanting to support their position.

    The Kleck work is pretty much garbage in, garbage out.
    Kleck and Gertz pointedly ignored standard database cleaning techniques from criminology.
    there appears to be a very strong tendency for gun proponents to cast any gun usage as a justifiable DGU, which can only be amplified when you rely on self-reported DGU.
    So, we're to believe an RKBA proponent accurately self-reporting about a personal DGU event?
    Are gun control advocates paragons of virtue, completely above bias of that sort in the other direction, or do they have a bias and simply lack awareness of it?
    •  Have you taken time to read all 4 papers listed? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Glen The Plumber, WakeUpNeo, coquiero

      They are quite a slog for most people, but I became I'm intensely curious about the epidemiological problem of rare events. In the physical sciences we have to cope with a thousand variables, many of which are unknowable, but I really had no appreciation for how difficult it is to measure rare events in the social sciences.

      I'm comparing sampling protocols now, and how the small number of reported incidents gets extrapolated to the whole population. One of the papers by Cook and Ludwig estimated b/t 4-5 million DGUs and they explained why the number can not be a reliable estimate of reality. By extension the same criticisms can be applied to the Kleck estimate.  

      The false positive problem is explained very clearly using other screening, e.g. breast cancer.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 08:08:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What relevance does this have (4+ / 0-)

      to estimating DGUs?

      Are you claiming that gun control advocates are engaged in DGUs that they are not reporting because of  bias?

      I'm a bit lost here, please explain.

      •  I guess that could be explained by bias (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theatre goon, FrankRose, Kasoru
        I'm a bit lost here, please explain.
        The only reason DGU's would come up in a gun control discussion is to reduce their importance or utility so that gun control measures are not seen as having an adverse effect on people.

        I mean, I've never seen a gun control advocate say "I wonder how many people are going to die because of a new regulation that makes defensive gun use harder (like say a requirement that a gun be kept in a safe)". A demonstrated utility of guns for defense weakens some gun control arguments. Reducing the perception of that utility is the only reason for it to come up, and this diary adequately demonstrates that. For instance, I have not seen any mention of the CDC statement:

        Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun use by victims is at least as common as offensive uses by criminals
        This is a remarkable statement, and one I know the diarist is well aware of, so its total lack of mention in this diary or by any of the pro-gun control commenters is striking. A cynical person might think that it would not do to have people seeing statements from an official source that undermine the pre-decided position, but I'm sure it was an accidental oversight or deemed non-relevant, much as it was also not mentioned in parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this series (it did get quoted in part 1, but not discussed, except to imply the actual numbers were smaller (of course)).

        Basically, doing the math to absolutely minimize the possible number of DGU's serves a gun control bias in exactly the same way maximizing it serves a pro-gun bias. So, if there is an error in the CDC finding or anyone else's research, the bias is amazingly enough always in a direction that favors the diarist.

        An obvious concept which is apparently "a bit lost" on a gun control advocate writing on defensive gun use... It strikes me about the same way as all those white male Victorian Era researchers doing studies on human intelligence and somehow always coming up with the notion that white males were the smartest type of human. No bias there, either.

        •  If you read the original diary (4+ / 0-)

          you will note that the attempt was made to do the exact opposite. To try and measure and balance the positive social utility of guns in society from the negative. In fact, there was 0 talk about gun control measures.

          The math wasn't done 'to minimize' the number of DGUs, it was done to try and accurately assess the number of DGUs.

          The fact that when you actually dig deeper, corrections using these so-called 'biases' tend to significantly reduce the number of DGUs from the survey might just give you a hint of the magnitude of real bias in the original Kleck study.

          But how about instead of a vague criticism you make real substantive and quantitative points in the discussion. Take the external validation with justified homicides, for example. What numbers do you find are unjustly influenced by my 'bias'? The number of justifiable homicides per year? The gunshot mortality rate? The number from Kleck's survey regarding wounding rates?

          As far as the statement by the CDC, I don't necessarily even disagree with it. Those surveys do indeed indicate a large number of DGUs, but those surveys rely on self-reporting which is subject to the biases under discussion and fail external validation by at least 3 independent and object metrics.

          So, the CDC quote isn't 'evidence' that DGUs are high, it's evidence that the surveys are crap, for reasons explained in the original diary and the comments from this one.

          And, though I think it's a bit irrelevant to the discussion at hand, just what 'biases' do you think I have that are influencing my analysis? I generally don't flash around my gun credentials since I think it's both crass and irrelevant, but just as a general word of caution: you shouldn't assume that a person who advocates for increased gun control measures are necessarily anti-gun, dislikes guns, or has no experience using guns.

          I'm just anti-crap surveys. And that's what Kleck is.

          All in all, your post just seems like an attempt at false-equivalence rather than a specific criticism of any particular rebuttal analysis.

          •  Funny, that (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theatre goon, FrankRose, Kasoru

            Every survey that has an outcome you disagree with is crap.

            Every effort to "accurately assess" the outcomes shifts results to support your beliefs.

            Not surprisingly, if you discount any research that disagrees with you, you are left with nothing but research that supports you. So I guess by all objective standards, this means you are right!

            I tremble in wonder and admiration of your total lack of bias on the subject.

            I have not made a single statement about the validity of any of the mentioned studies. I am merely making an observation about how people interpret them, an observation you have amply confirmed.

            In this diary you have accused pro-gun people of bias with statements like:

            But, by all means, continue to demonstrate the type of bias that calls into question all such self-reported surveys.
            So, I do not think it is out of line for me to merely point out the existence of bias in the other direction.
            And, though I think it's a bit irrelevant to the discussion at hand, just what 'biases' do you think I have that are influencing my analysis?
            Since you asked... Your comment history on the topic of guns shows that you are as condescending, insulting and biased in the gun control direction as any number of people here are in a pro-gun direction.
            Yeah, UK and Australia banned guns, but USA 2nd amendment, BABY!
            Can't we just agree, at least here on DKos, that this is a f*cking stupid comparison?
            Holy crap, what is with your comprehension skill?
            People are dead, clearly scoring cheap points based on people's unfamiliarity with the gun nomenclature is appropriate.
            And for extra irony, let's not forget your very first diary:
            We don't have to 'play nice', but maybe we could still 'play civil'.
            And speaking as a sinner who often fits the "condescending & insulting" moniker himself, I know one when I see them...
            •  Every survey (4+ / 0-)

              that is a self-reported survey on DGU is crap, for reasons I explained in detail.

              If all the surveys under discussion happen to be self-reported, well than perhaps we should advocate for different methodology.

              I just don't understand your point here. If I lay out an argument that, say, estimates of climate change that depends on tree ring growth are wrong because of X, Y, and Z. It's not bias if I discount every estimate that relies solely on tree ring growth, it's consistency.

              Now, you can challenge the validity of my claims (which you have not done as of yet), but it's pretty odd to say that being consistent is an example of bias.

              And cherry picking out of context replies doesn't do a good job of making your case, it merely highlights a pretty crappy way of trying to discuss an issue.

              But, one final point, let's say that I'm the most biased person in the world with regard to gun control.

              That bias means absolutely NOTHING when it comes to validity of a particular argument. My biases didn't create the number of justifiable homicides, my biases don't create the gunshot mortality rate, my biases didn't produce Kleck's survey number of DGU shooting percentages. My bias might be the one that attempts to put those numbers together, but the result itself isn't 'biased'.

              If you have a problem with the validity of the analysis then make your case. Most people here recognize an ad hom when they see one, and it usually is the last resort of those with no real argument.

              But feel free to buck the trend.

            •  Cook and Ludwig (IIRC) completed a similar (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Glen The Plumber, WakeUpNeo

              Cook and Ludwig (IIRC) completed a similar kind of survey and in one of their papers calculated the "error bars" in Kleck's study which put the estimate somewhere between 0 and 5 million, IIRC.

              The middle of that range is not "more likely to be accurate" than zero or than 5 million. What the uncertainty range indicates is that we just can't tell. There are just too many sources of uncertainty in self reporting of gun use.

              In addition to the simple statistical problem of self-reporting without confirming by an objective measure (e.g. breast cancer screening), there is ample evidence here at dKos that there is MUCH confusion about the use of lawful force.

              "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

              by LilithGardener on Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 09:51:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Commenter has a history of diverting attention (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coquiero, WakeUpNeo, Glen The Plumber

            from the topic of the diary to asking/complaining about why the diarist and others are writing about the topic. And a history of throwing out random ad hominems just because... (reasons unknown).

            "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

            by LilithGardener on Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 10:05:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Inaccuracies Amplied by A Business Need (3+ / 0-)

    Your poll covers many of the reasons the Kleck study and the McDowall study had such wide differences when measuring "defensive" gun use.

    The Kleck study was designed to be inclusive: it succeeded.  Kleck calls his report "Armed Resistance to Crime", but it was not limited to crime alone.

    The McDowall study was designed to be very exclusive.  It succeeded.  But in my mind, it is a better measure of armed resistance to crime than the Kleck study (you actually had to be a victim of crime to have your DGU counted).

    Sadly, because the Kleck study fulfilled a particular business need, the study results were widely promoted in the lay press, even as it was being roundly criticized in the scientific press.

    Thanks to those business needs, the Kleck study was elevated and promoted in a way that few scientific studies are.  And sadly, the study was not so scientifically sound to deserve such promotion.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 08:02:30 PM PDT

  •  Wonder what data might be available about guns (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, Glen The Plumber

    and gun violence --- including financial impact from medical costs, etc. --- from federal, state and local crime victim assistance programs?

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