Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Here We Go Again

So earlier this week I write my post Defending the Weak, and it drew a link from my old friend James Kelly at Scot Goes Pop. Apparently I offended his sense of propriety. So, in my usual style, I left a comment which has inspired yet another post by Mr. Kelly.

As I've noted before, we don't have discussions. Our worldviews are so divergent we simply talk past each other.

Now, James has commented on my emphasis on statistics and their meaning before, yet I note that this time James goes straight to statistics which, I am forced to assume, he believes proves his point. You see, in Scotland, they don't kill each other as often as we here in Arizona do. And when they do, they hardly ever do it with firearms, whereas here firearms are the preferred method.

I think what you're supposed to gather from this (remember, I've been doing this sort of thing for years now, so I have experience at it) is that, since they don't have guns, they can't kill each other as much.

And this is based on one year's data - 2009.

The logic is staggering.

His source states that in 2009 there were 79 homicides in Scotland, versus 324 in Arizona. Scotland and Arizona have roughly equivalent populations. I believe we've danced this dance before, however.

Once again, here's a graph of Scotland's homicide statistics from 1945 through 1997:

And here's a homicide rate comparison table (in deaths per 100,000 population) I worked up using that data, along with data for the entire U.S. and also England & Wales (a separate single political entity):

Year US England & Wales Scotland
19466.4 0.81 0.72
1947 6.1 0.86 0.59
1948 6.1 0.78 0.66
1949 5.4 0.68 0.47
1950 5.3 0.79 0.68
1951 4.9 0.75 0.41
1952 5.2 0.91 0.53
1953 4.8 0.74 0.80
1963 4.90.650.88

You can go to the old post and get the later data, I'm not really interested in reproducing all that here, nor in updating it, really, but the point I want to make - again, since James seems incapable of understanding it - is that as far back as 1945, when neither country had much in the way of firearms laws, the homicide rate in the U.S. was 8.8 times the rate in Scotland.  As time has progressed, and the UK has instituted stricter and stricter laws against firearm possession (promoted in every case to make the UK "safer"), the homicide rate trend has been converging

James likes to point out that the U.S. - with all of its privately possessed firearms, spreading "right to carry" laws and all - has a homicide rate that is - let me find his number, oh yes - "more than two-and-a-half times greater" than Scotland's. But sixty-five years ago, it was eight point eight times greater. Scotland's homicide rate in 2009 was 1.52/100,000, (down from 1.9 in 2008). The U.S. homicide rate that year was 5.0/100,000. The ratio was therefore 3.2 to 1.

Now, I ask you - what does a trend from 8.8:1 to 3.2:1 indicate to you? Especially bearing in mind that gun laws here are "lax" and in the UK are "the strictest in the world" by their own admission?

But hey!  At least they're not killing each other with GUNS!  Because somehow that makes a difference.

And lastly, there's this:  Scotland has been called "the most violent country in the developed world." The UN said it in 2005, and yes, that includes the U.S. They might not kill each other at anywhere near our rates, but they violently victimize each other far more often. In 2010 the Scottish Labour party bemoaned the fact that the violent crime rate in Scotland is "four times the rate of England and Wales." That polity ranks #2 in the world.

And remember, the crime statistics in the UK aren't exactly reliable.

Back when I wrote What We Got Here is ... Failure to Communicate, I noted that Thomas Sowell pointed out one major difference between those who believe humans are perfectible and those like me who believe human nature doesn't change.  Those who believe in human perfectibility believe in solutions.  Those like me see trade-offs.  James believes the solution is to disarm everyone.  I believe otherwise.

Hey, maybe he's right.  Maybe if the Scots had guns they would kill each other at astronomical rates.  Given their obviously hyper-violent culture ....

Then again, there might be a few more deaths but a lot fewer Glasgow smiles.  And if the potential victims are armed ....

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