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Thursday, January 17, 2013

President Obama's 23 Executive Orders Involving Guns

The purpose of this post is to pass along the information and specifics of President Obama's 23 executive orders pertaining to gun rights and gun control. I'm not labeling every executive order as a "gun control" measure, so that's why the title is named as such.

I have not yet developed an opinion of each order specifically, and since I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, I might not be able to for a long time. I will certainly share what I think based on the headlines of each order (of the entire proposal in full), but I don't believe it would be significant to address them individually. Regardless, since this blog exists to pass along information and foster civil, informative debate, I believe it's imperative to share this information.

Here is the PDF of Obama's plan titled "Now is the Time" - http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/556943/white-house-now-is-the-time.pdf

Here is a list, summarized by CainTV and Herman Cain's staff, that extracts from the main document the 23 orders in principle: http://www.caintv.com/complete-list-of-obamas-execut

The following are the 23 executive orders extracted from the previous link:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
5. Propose rule making to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

To me, in full, this legislation is entirely hollow. First, the question: How would ANY of these orders have prevented the tragedies that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary or in Aurora, Colorado. Simply, they wouldn't have. If someone has an explanation as to how they would have prevented these tragedies, I'd be very interested in hearing it. For example, take order #5:, "Propose rule making to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun." What would this have done to prevent the Sandy Hook Massacre? 

All in all, some of these orders amount to "infringing" on rights. Some don't. Regardless, this legislation is, as I have said, hollow. Most of it creates a straw man opponent (the size of munitions clips, for example) that does nothing but allow people to "feel" good, while providing a false sense of security that will crumble when the next tragic event happens. William Spengler, for example, was a convicted felon who was not legally permitted to own a gun. In New York State, "assault rifles" were already prohibited. He still owned and assault weapon, and savagely attacked first responders as they arrived at his burning home. File this under the "no law or legislation will prevent bad people from being bad" theory, one that conservatives strongly believe in, and, as with Spengler, shows how MORE gun laws do nothing to prevent evil acts from occurring. 

In reality, these executive orders amount to a surface, do-nothing bill that further emboldens politicians and allows them to high five each other as if they did something great in spite of how truly useless the legislation really is. It's a political ploy that gives Americans only an image of executive/executed concern for the purpose of promoting political feelings in the face of logic and reason. Obama and supporters, through this bill, aim to score political points. That's all. Proponents walk away claiming victory as sadly, the only things that now exist are a few more pieces of paper in the US code of laws, a further divided country, and the increased infringement of citizens' rights. Nowhere in this legislation lies one thing that will make our country safer by preventing mass shootings. If you think it would, I'd love to hear how. 

Please share your thoughts below. 

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44 comments:

  1. HEHEHE Let's create a happy little law where everybody receives a balloon and a flower whenever some bad guy goes on a rampage. People will certainly feel better. The president is a pandering, empty suit. A sheer joke.

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  2. Hey there LME,

    I'm actually a bit confused on your take on this. In previous posts, most people seemed overly concerned that this would be the big opportunity Obama/Democrats was waiting for to crack down on gun legislation and try to get some sort of a ban, or major overhaul of the entire system. I even was a bit worried about that potential outcome.

    As it turns out, this was really as minor of a group of changes as it could have been. By your own words, that I agree with, it really doesn't change or do all that much.

    More thorough background checks, slightly more mental health/counseling school resources, and attempts to close some loopholes in the system. That’s basically it.

    The only other part is the ammunition and assault weapon restrictions, but those have to be approved by the legislative body. Which, I think we all know, is incredibly unlikely.

    But, by the tone of your post, it almost seems as if you wish it went further/did something different? I mean, yeah, sure… these actions don’t have a lot of bite, but most of the actions that do would probably be against what most conservatives would want, no? Or did you have other ideas in mind?

    **************
    As far as my view, I agree that I don’t think it will do all that much.

    But at the same time, I don’t think that any of these changes are major issues and/or direct violation rights if done right. For the most part, it aims to improve the existing policies. And frankly, if we’re wasting all this effort in background checks, why not make sure that they’re more thorough and are not completely avoidable through loopholes? No aspect of that keeps a sane, non-criminals from their rights.

    Also, said this before but I don’t like that these discussions always deter to ‘but how does this prevent X incredibly rare instance that happens once every few years?’ There will never be a solution that eliminates the statistical outliers, but to judge a solution completely on its ability to prevent that is just silly to me.

    Even though it’s exactly those events that tend to provoke these discussions, when it comes down to it this is always more about preventing the 10,000 fire-arm related deaths/year than it is about the 10-20 massacre deaths/year.

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    1. Good afternoon, RKen! Long time!

      I'm not sure where the confusion begins. I'll try to address it the best I can.

      You started with, "I'm actually a bit confused..." - From my standpoint, what is there to be confused about where I stand? You then mention "most people" without showing me where, in my position, confusion or convoluted positions arise. Please help me understand this and I'd be happy to address it :-)

      Yes, I do think this does nothing with respect to public safety.

      The next things you mention, "More thorough background checks, slightly more mental health/counseling school resources,..." would not prevent the next mass shooting in any way. I've addressed this before; if I was hell bent on destroying lives, I could easily pass a background check. In fact, if I was truly determined, I could still obtain one of the so-called "military-style assault rifles." All this legislation will do is yield a new black market for people who wish and are determined to purchase these weapons.

      "The only other part is the ammunition and assault..." - this part, on the surface to me, starts getting close to a violation of the Second Amendment. "The right ... to bear arms shall not be infringed." To me, infringing means limiting the possibility, acceptability, availability, etc. to bear arms. The Second Amendment does not state the type, amount, power, etc. of any "arms" for a reason. It doesn't say, "munitions clips of 10 rounds are acceptable, but munitions clips of 11 rounds are not." This teeters very close to that. I don't believe the purpose of the Constitution was to bend the government's power to fill a purpose or prevent a wrong. If that were the case, as I've used in example before, in order to stop the absolutely heinous and disgusting crime of child exploitation and pornography, the government should just bend the Fourth Amendment and monitor Americans' internet usage/traffic to prevent this problem. Additionally, and this is where not being a Constitutional lawyer really hurts, I don't know how the executive orders play out. I thought they just simply become law in some way. When you say they have to be approved by a legislative body, how do you know this? And why would these provisions need to be while the others don't?

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    2. As far as my tone, I don't think that's a valid interpretation at all. I have said that it does nothing, and it's only purpose is purely political. To me, it's a simple, "look at me and my party, and look at how we care and what we can do" all in the while it does nothing to serve the purpose it is supposed to serve, as you and I seem to agree.

      As far as, "any of these changes are major issues and/or direct violation rights if done right" - I would say there are some that absolutely do. "Clarifying" that medical personal can inquire about firearms in the home (which is basically a proxy of the government if done in the manner this order provides) seems to be quite unconstitutional. For what purpose is this done? Is a doctor supposed to inquire about the private lives of individuals, say those who seek out drug treatment, and then provide that information to the government? Additionally, as I said, I think munitions restrictions also violate the Second Amendment's infringement clause.

      With respect to background checks, what does this actually do? In my opinion, it simply puts a barrier up (time, money, lost security, etc) to prevent law abiding citizens who wish to protect themselves from obtaining firearm security. The gun owning gangsters of Compton, Chicago, et. al. don't go through this. We can easily have a country where bad people will still obtain guns illegally and through a black market (as they currently do), and non-bad people are further deterred from obtaining a gun simply by the potential hassle.

      This is something I strongly disagree with: " don’t like that these discussions always deter to ‘but how does this prevent X incredibly rare instance that happens once every few years?’" - There is a flip side here. The president, the left, and many gun advocates (Piers Morgan, for example) have used this precise thing. If it can't work in the way you describe, then things like these executive orders can't be passed as "this will keep us safe" - especially since we can see they won't. Obama is passing these orders on the premise that we will somehow be safer. Simple common sense discussion shows that it will not. So if the right can't use this logic, the left certainly can't use it either.

      As far as the firearm deaths, this is an oft-repeated, rarely understood stat that is flung around in this arena. First, there are about 12,000 gun deaths in the country each year. A little over 8,000 of them are from suicides. The remaining are accidents and homicides. No matter how many gun laws exist, gun deaths will happen. In fact, correlative data shows that where gun laws are the tightest, more gun deaths occur. As far as massacres, these are incredibly rare. Sadly, and disrespectfully in the eyes of the victims' families, they're oversensationalized by the media as if they're the norm. They are not. They're statistically rare. They don't appear this way, again, because of the media and just how tragic and terrible they were, but this is the case. When it comes down to addressing these tragic events, it appears the only solutions coming from the proponents of gun control are those that 1. limit the rights of Americans, or 2. do absolutely nothing (as with these 23 executive orders), but allow politicians to get pseudo political points as if they did something major. Pragmatically, bad things are going to happen. Mass shootings, tragically, are going to happen. They happened during the previous assault weapons ban (Northridge bank robbery, Columbine, etc.), adn in a society that has so many guns incorporated into it already, the best, pragmatic solutions are not hollow laws that do nothing but promote political points and get people high-fiving while not actually solving a problem.

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  3. My confusion is that you seem (correct if wrong) simultaneously disappointed/very critical over the fact that these orders do little to solve the problem, while also not wanting him to attempt to solve the problem in the first place. I realize that sounds facetious and I’m not accusing you of that, which is why I followed this up with wondering if you had any particular ways of your own that you wanted this handled (I think you missed that)? I’m just under the impression that many conservatives don’t want anything to change at all (in which case, wouldn’t these minimal changes mostly be a good thing?).

    It would be like me not wanting the GOP to cut Medicare, waiting for weeks as they prepare a proposal with widespread fear over it being cut, and then when they release a proposal that does next to nothing to affect it… I’d likely be happy. I just find it confusing that you seem just as upset by this as you would if he did try to push something drastic. That’s what I mean.
    **********************
    “Additionally, and this is where not being a Constitutional lawyer really hurts, I don't know how the executive orders play out. I thought they just simply become law in some way. When you say they have to be approved by a legislative body, how do you know this? And why would these provisions need to be while the others don't?”

    I also don’t know all the details, but from what I’ve read thus far, both bans require congressional approval. I'll look into it further and provide a source later.
    **********************
    “As far as the firearm deaths, this is an oft-repeated, rarely understood stat that is flung around in this arena. First, there are about 12,000 gun deaths in the country each year. A little over 8,000 of them are from suicides. The remaining are accidents and homicides. No matter how many gun laws exist, gun deaths will happen. In fact, correlative data shows that where gun laws are the tightest, more gun deaths occur. As far as massacres, these are incredibly rare. Sadly, and disrespectfully in the eyes of the victims' families, they're oversensationalized by the media as if they're the norm. They are not. They're statistically rare.”

    Whether or not the majority of the deaths are from suicide (which I’m aware of) doesn’t’ change the fact that it’s a problem. I mean, do those deaths not count? Not to mention the fact that some suicides are right after committing a crime (hello Adam).

    Statistically rare is also misrepresenting this situation to me. Statistically rare would imply to me that we have less gun deaths as a share of our population than the average country. However, the data does not support that claim at all. We’re on the high-end of gun death/capita; there’s no debating that. Even accounting for the number of guns, we have more gun deaths per capita per gun per capita than the super majority of the other countries.

    I again can never agree with the logic of “if we can’t eliminate it all together, it isn’t worth worrying about.”

    Statistical outliers and the fact that they exist are never good reason to not do anything. I mean, under that logic, why do we even have a military? We can never guarantee 100% safety, no matter how much we spend. And if we can’t do that, then why bother at all?

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    1. Slight misunderstanding I think on both of our sides for one part. The assault weapon ban and the ammunition limits are not in anyway related to or part of these executive orders; they're part of the proposal Obama put together for Congress to pass on the gun issue.

      But, again, I think we all know something like that is unlikely to pass. So, yeah, most of these executive orders just focus on background checks, mental health, and better enforcement of the existing policies.

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    2. RKen, Good morning and happy Friday.

      First, I am very disappointed in this move by the President. It stems from a couple of things. The first of those is the use of an executive order. To me, this is not how legislation should be handled, especially when it is something that centers on the Bill of Rights. The second issue is that this does nothing to solve the problem, but it does everything to make the President and similar-minded politicians look like "heroes" regardless of how useless this truly is. To pass a law for political gain is a terrible thing, especially if it's passed under the guise of "this will make us safe" or "this can curb the violence." At the end of the day, the president should not have passed these, and if he wanted to do something, he should do hit the normal way: through passing laws through the Congress. The fact that changes happened, though minimal, do not make them "good" because they are, in fact, minimal. As with your example of the GOP and Medicare, I think it's a very dangerous notion to be assuaged in this country to look at new, potentially right-infringing legislation as a "oh, well, hey... that's not so bad" case.

      With respect to how these bills are passed, I also am looking into it.

      The fact that the majority of deaths ARE suicide is absolutely significant. This lessens the gun violence problem. For example, if there were a million "gun deaths" reported in the media, and 998,000 were suicide with only 2,000 being murders, wouldn't that indicate that the overall issue of "gun violence" isn't as significant? I see this as no different. The fact is, with respect to gun violence, in which gun deaths is implied, if approximately 66% are in fact, not an outwardly violent act, the "gun violence" part is significantly lessened. And, I'm sorry, I cannot go along with this claim that there is a gun violence problem. The data absolutely supports, both on a per capita and a per capita per ownership sense (and even more so when you factor all the non-registered, non-legal guns into the mix) that gun violence is relatively low. To claim this, "Statistically rare would imply to me that we have less gun deaths as a share of our population than the average country" is a complete misunderstanding of this situation. As I've said from the beginning, I support pragmatic gun laws. When I say pragmatic, I mean that any law starts from the fact that guns are going to exist in our society, and they will always exist, en masse, in our population. When you're comparing gun violence of the US to other countries, and saying it's not rare... these countries do not have anywhere close to the gun possession that we have. Again, on a sense that ensures apples to apples comparison, per capita versus ownership, we are quite safe with guns considering how many we have, and to compare us with other countries that have very little guns is an incorrect use of data. Additionally, since 2004, we have seen a dramatic decrease in overall gun violence. Overall, it's difficult to get a sense of what gun violence "should" be with respect to America's gun violence rate, because no place in the world has the gun culture we do. Regardless, considering the amount of guns that do exist, both legally and illegal, we are safe, we over-sensationalize gun violence when it does happen, we also overlook gun defense, AND we've seen a dramatic decrease in gun violence in recent years. To claim "there is no denying that" and the further statements you made, nothing personal, of course, is completely incorrect.

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    3. As far as, "I again can never agree with the logic of “if we can’t eliminate it all together, it isn’t worth worrying about" - I never said that... but this is a direct contrary to the "if it saves one life" mantra. This isn't about "if we can eliminate it altogether." This type of legislation does nothing. It eliminates nothing altogether. So why do it? What is the purpose? Political points?

      Additionally, statistical outliers, mass shootings, for example, are very rare, and yes, we should protect against them. The ways proposed by the President are meaningless, gestural moves. They do nothing, and are not pragmatic at all. That's the main point of all this.

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    4. Allow me to interject here. There are a couple points that I agree with LME here on and I think they're correct, but need to be pulled out more.

      The biggest position he has is that this legislation is "hollow." This position is 100% true. Out of all the gun deaths in this country, the "assault weapons" targeted by the liberal assault weapons ban proponents accounted to 1.4% of them. 1.4%!!! This legislation does not account for the remaining 98.6%, obviously the vast majority of gun deaths... hand guns. On top of that, the proposals do not eliminate already existing assault weapons (there are millions of them in the country), so if someone was going to commit an assault weapon crime, it's very likely they already have access to one. To call this move hollow is an understatement. It's purely political. It's as if the NFL, in all these moves to counter head injuries and concussions, wants to eliminate dousing the coach with Gatorade. I'm sure in the few times this has happened, someone got hit in the head with that massive jug, but it's barely a statistical blip on the radar. In passing these orders, Obama, as LME has correctly said, passed "hollow" rules and will look like a hero for doing

      NOTHING.

      I just wanted to point that out.

      Looking at gun crimes and where the US ranks, this is always difficult, as LME says, but his way of looking at it is correct. I get what RKen is saying, but he is not taking the makeup of each country into consideration. Other countries don't have Bloods, Crips, insanely violent people, and all the other things that go into the fold. To try to say that we are more violent with surface data is not accurate.

      I just wanted to clarify that. Most importantly, though, is that the nation should be up in arms with Obama's flat, worthless policy.

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    5. LME, happy Friday to you too! Definitely a happy one, 70+ hour work weeks lately. D:

      Appreciate the explanation, makes sense to me. Generally, do you not agree with executive orders at all? Or only under very specific circumstances?

      I’m not so sure this makes them look like ‘heroes’ though. Across the majority of the websites that I frequent, the number of people/responses/articles that are happy with and praising these changes are in the minority. Generally, those on the right are unhappy with the use of power and somewhat increased regulation, and people on the left are unhappy in it not going far enough/doing little in the big picture. I could be wrong here, but I’ve had difficulty finding much praise if any on this from both sides… have you seen differently?

      I don’t agree with you on suicide. If nearly 1m people killed themselves with guns a year, even if NO one was murdered with a gun, I would still think there was an issue. I don’t see how suicide isn’t something that’s worth addressing, just because it doesn’t involve violence against other people. This is why mental health is a big part of the focus here lately.

      I again am not sure how you can deny that we have a gun problem. The data is pretty clear here, and there’s really little room to interpret it in any way other than what is shown.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country
      http://www.businessinsider.com/shooting-gun-laws-2012-12
      No matter how you look at it, we are no where near the median range in any category for violence/death, and are in fact one of the worst countries. Even when you include a relationship to gun ownership per capita, as you say is required for a proper analysis of this subject. The last link above includes synopsis of all of the above data graphed in relationship to each other, including accounting for guns per capita, and including one that specifies we have more gun *HOMICIDES* (discounting suicide) per capita, per gun, than most other countries, as well.

      Even when you include a wide subset of third world countries in the comparison, including those currently at war, the United States is 15th in gun homicides per capita out of more than 75 included in the analysis.

      If you have an alternative data set or analysis that proves that ‘the United States is actually perfectly fine, and doesn’t have a problem’ I’d be more than happy to look into it. But I can’t see how you could come to that conclusion, without purposefully molding/ignoring the statistics to fit a point of view. You’re a more than reasonable and very analytical guy LME, especially with numbers, and I just don’t see how you can try to say all these statistics and numbers are meaningless, while saying the only number that matters are a few very specific ones that we both know don’t paint the entire picture here.

      As far as:
      “Additionally, statistical outliers, mass shootings, for example, are very rare, and yes, we should protect against them. The ways proposed by the President are meaningless, gestural moves. They do nothing, and are not pragmatic at all. That's the main point of all this.”
      I have to play devil’s advocate here as well, in that this is conjecture. You said this as if it’s a matter of fact, but in reality it’s impossible to say that these or any other gun changes never will/have done anything to prevent a mass shooting. It’s one thing to hypothesize and conclude that it likely will not, or that Adam/Aurora/etc may not have been stopped by X, Y, and Z rules… But it’s impossible to try to say with certainty that X, Y, and Z rules have or will never prevented a shooting from happening.

      And it’s equally impossible for me to try to say with absolute certainly that they will/did prevent a shooting. In all fairness to both sides, there simply is no data and certainty on this, either way.

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    6. Howdy MN4Rick,

      I actually agree completely on the assault weapon thing, in that it's over sensationalized and does little to prevent the overall problem. Don’t think I mentioned that yet!

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    7. RKen - Eeek 70 hour work weeks... Yuck. I hope you are able to get away from that (unless you like it :) )

      As far as executive orders, I'm not very keen on them (there technically is no prevision for them in the Constitution, and it's something that has taken a judicial review to even validate), but if they must be employed, I would think they would/could/should be in very "minor" situations. In my opinion, issues with the Bill of Rights, or the 27 Amendments of the Constitution itself, are in no way minor.

      As far as suicide, this is a subject we are very much going to disagree on. First, I don't care what the method is, in theory, there is no such thing as a suicide "problem." If there were 1m gun deaths in this country and all were suicide, then there is absolutely no problem. Akin to the "bad people will do bad things regardless of the law" argument, people who desire to take their own life will do so regardless of the means to do it. How in the world can we claim there is a problem in the realm of people controlling their own lives? It sounds heartless, but it's not. People should have the ability to control their own lives, even including how they end it. If guns were only used in suicides, so be it. Me, the government, you, and no one but the individual has the right, ability, moral standing to determine how someone else runs (up to and including ends) their life.

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    8. As far as the data, I've seen all those. And yes, I'm an extremely analytical guy (both professionally and academically), and I don't think I can explain it any more clearly. As a relative data analysis expert, these are all, 100% surface explanations to "normalize" a data set. You can claim "no matter how you look at it" until the end of the world, but unless you incorporate the numerous other factors I've mentioned, it's statistically unsound to quote these data as you have. These anecdotal data plugs are, quite frankly, relatively meaningless. I understand that there is an attempt to use them to "back" an issue, but again, without a homogeneity among the data, if the attempt is being made to "rank" the US with respect to its standing on gun violence, the data you have described here is meaningless. None of them takes into account the numerous factors (I don't think I should have to show this again) that I've already mentioned, even ones that I haven't mentioned, to show where the flaws are. To claim we are no where near the median range of what??? - countries with different gun laws, ownership, culture, propensity for violence in general, government media/entertainment censorship, size, import/export of firearms laws, police corruption, government corruption, existence of government type, acceptance of guns, and on and on, is yes, very, very meaningless. Showing "well, we rank here, and here" is a data analysis fallacy of grand proportion. In fact, it if you do use it, it shows quite the opposite case that you're making - of course, on the surface. The third link shows we, by far, have the greatest gun ownership per capita in the world, right? We have 52% greater GOPC than #2 (Serbia). One would think this would translate in to a gun death/violence/homicide rate that puts us at 1# there by say, I don't know... 52%? But we're not... In fact, it doesn't translate at all. If anything, it shows that our expected gun death/violence/homicide PC rate is far lower than our actual gun death/violence/homicide PC. Of course, as I said, this is surface... but claiming basically, "well, we're not even in near the middle" is surface too. If I was the author of a gun violence study, frankly, these data wouldn't be included in the manner they are here. Again, it's nothing personal, but just as you say you're surprised that me being an analytical guy, I can say that I'm in shock that you can present this surface data as you are. Like I said, I'm not sure I can explain it any other way. It has nothing to do with molding data; it has everything to do with "I see that data, and frankly, in the immensely complex discussion of the data, with the conclusion of some form of 'rank' that you're trying to conclude, it's very, very meaningless, surface, and hollow."

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    9. And yes, MN 4 Rick, I think you made an excellent point, too!

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    10. Thank you, Rken and LME.

      I'm following this conversation very closely, and, I have to admit, the following point really is the best point with respect to "data"

      None of them takes into account the numerous factors (I don't think I should have to show this again) that I've already mentioned, even ones that I haven't mentioned, to show where the flaws are. To claim we are no where near the median range of what??? - countries with different gun laws, ownership, culture, propensity for violence in general, government media/entertainment censorship, size, import/export of firearms laws, police corruption, government corruption, existence of government type, acceptance of guns, and on and on, is yes, very, very meaningless. Showing "well, we rank here, and here" is a data analysis fallacy of grand proportion.

      This is as true as true gets. It has nothing to do with the "gun violence" part of it. The point LME is making here is rock solid with respect to data respect, purity, analysis, normalization, and so forth. Rken, I'm surprised that you, one of the more well thought people here, would bring to a debate exactly what LME says you're bringing: surface talking points. I would expect it from others but you're very deep into data and your analyses are usually very sharp as well. But to come in, as if you're on Facebook with "but hey, look at this" data, with the discreditability it has, as LME has correctly pointed out, is a bit surprising. I think he has made the point more than clear that what you're doing is providing "surface" as he calls it, talking points (as I call it) data. With all due respect, I really think the case LME is making on the side of ranks, how we stack up, and the data you present, vastly trumps what you're trying to say the data shows. As a mechanical engineer who conducts numerous analyses (especially on metal torsion strength), I would stand by what he is saying.

      Now there are some things we do agree on, but this is not one. For example, I'm Catholic. I don't think suicide "isn't a problem" as LME says. Granted, I completely see why he is saying that, but I cherish life a little more. From a pure freedom, individuality point of view, LME is right. But I have to say, in my view, life trumps that. What is the point of freedom is there is no life to live it? We should have measures to prevent suicides, I'm just not sure how. If everyone started to take their life, since that is ok as LME says, there we be no people to live freely.

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    11. In some sick way I like the extra work, and well, I can’t really complain too much as it does count for OT. Still is tough on the free time though. :(

      I think that I generally feel just about the same as you, concerning executive orders.

      I feel much differently about suicide though. This is somewhat of a tangent now, but if we really had a million people committing suicide each year, we would have a serious problem on our hands. It definitely would be an issue, and worth looking into. The methods of suicide are also absolutely part of the problem; there simply isn’t any truth behind saying the methods of which do not matter. Yes, the person who is committed enough to doing it will find a way no matter what we do, but this is again ignoring the fact that the ease and variety of methods/options available does still have a statistical effect on how many people go through with the final action. There is no data on this I’ve ever seen that says otherwise, both from a philosophical and statistical point of view (again, I’d have to ask you for data to prove otherwise). Some examples:
      http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=6442458840
      http://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02309996?LI=true
      https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDIQFjAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbepp.wharton.upenn.edu%2Ffiles%2F%3Fwhdmsaction%3Dpublic%3Amain.file%26fileID%3D1955&ei=am35UK-0FZK30AHt3YHgBQ&usg=AFQjCNHO09KEgWAe24hu10h9PiNRH8pHqw&sig2=DwD1Yl820ooxyaMz8fociQ&bvm=bv.41248874,d.dmQ

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    12. RKen - to each his own on the work part... but that's why I said "unless you like it" :-) My opinions should never subplant what people wish to do :-)

      As far as the suicide issue, I certainly see your point on it, and I understand my view might not be widely accepted. Like I said, I don't think that suicide can even be defined as a problem. If people wanted to take their own life, who are we to say, "no, you must stay alive?"

      Additionally, if the methods do not matter, whether it's guns, jumping off a bridge, slashing wrists, etc, why should they be taken into account. This: " Yes, the person who is committed enough to doing it will find a way no matter what we do, but this is again ignoring the fact that the ease and variety of methods/options available does still have a statistical effect on how many people go through with the final action" - doesn't it imply that the methods are irrelevant. If someone really wants to commit suicide, are there really people that would say, "no, I want to stay alive and live through whatever hardship I'm living through, day after day, just because it might be too 'hard' to take my life?"

      Again, I know that my view isn't easy to accept, and I don't expect many people to, but what place do we have, as outsiders, to keep people alive that don't want to be kept alive. On top of that, in a truly free society, shouldn't people be allowed to make that decision? If we are prohibiting people from taking their life as they freely wish, are they truly free?

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    13. BIG side topic, I know... but definitely interesting.

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    14. As far as the data analysis part, I can’t say I agree.

      The response I seem to be getting here is in essence “it is impossible to measure and account for every factor in this analysis.” Yes, of course, but this argument can be made for just about every statistical analysis of every single data point of anything. That doesn’t dismiss the data trends in and of itself.

      There are plenty of conclusions here that people have made, based purely on comparing America to other countries, and the same exact argument could be made. We all love to compare America to Europe, or attempt to explain how Socialism failed in Y country, or Universal Healthcare failed in Z country, or A policy failed under B circumstances in C country, or how D amount of debt ruined E country. But, in reality, all of those conclusions can be defeated by the exact same reasoning you used to dismiss the gun data.

      Why is all of that suddenly only relevant in some arguments? Why it that all these countries we like to compare to when we see fit for our argument, and the fact that they all have different laws, different culture, different propensity for certain behaviors and mental disorders, different types of government/media/censorship/size and import/export laws and products, and different levels of corruption, acceptance of certain policies, work ethic, etc… Why is that suddenly the game-changing end factor for any attempt to compare our gun violence nationally, but it suddenly is an absolutely meaningless distraction when you attempt to compare anything else? Particularly when, I’m sure we can at least agree on this, the gun issue is far less complex to compare between different countries than an issue as massive as the form of government/levels of socialism, etc, that effect every single citizen of the country from day one of their birth until death.

      To me, again, I just find this all to be incredibly disingenuous to a fair discussion of this topic. I’ve provided my own data, and asked for data in return to back-up your points, and to simply say “well, all this data is just meaningless anyway… up until I want to compare countries by government structure, gun bans, etc”

      I mean, do people here not *just* make the same exact argument when it comes to gun bans? How many times have I heard people reference the “Gun ban didn’t work in the UK/Australia/etc! It wouldn’t work here!”

      How can you fairly say that, while at the same time saying “I see all that data you linked, but, you can’t compare us to other countries with different cultures/society/etc and try to conclude anything meaningful.” I hope you realize there’s a major double standard here.

      I understand and respect the fact there are many factors to consider when comparing countries, but again, that fact alone does not completely dismiss all data. Nor is it fair to make that argument, and then pick and choose when it's OK to do it and when it is not for little reason other than it happening to support the argument you're making at the time (not meant to sound rude or accusatory; just in a rush to blurt out the post and speaking a little more frankly).

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    15. RKen -

      This statement: "The response I seem to be getting here is in essence “it is impossible to measure and ... data trends in and of itself" - is not the case being made at all. I don't know where you get that. The case is the data you provided, for the manner in which you are using it to "back" a case, IS meaningless. To come up with a rank of where we are in the world, based on the data you show has little value. Other conclusions and such can be drawn, but the ones you're making with respect to rank and such, are yes, meaningless.

      There is absolutely no correlation between this type of analysis in comparing gun violence across extremely different countries and comparing health systems, debt situations, etc. as you have pointed out. Your data is used, as it is shown, and as the conclusions you have drawn, to formulate and discuss a "rank." In fact, all 4 links you provided show this. What does it even mean? I'm almost flabbergasted at the attempt to rank countries in this manner. As I've said, it's meaningless. I've provided tons of exogenous as wdfaell as endogenous factors, characteristics, et. al. to show that an assertion of "well, the US ranks XXX with respect to guns on the world stage" is absolutely disingenuous, meaningless, and does nothing to support any kind of argument accept the nominal "rank" the data itself creates. No one here, including me, is saying to discard the data... what I'm saying is, as I have said, the conclusions and technical "purpose" you're posting them for with respect to gun violence in America, potential solutions, as compared to our "rank" to other countries in the world, is meaningless when there are so many other complex factors involved that this simple surface data completely ignores.

      Again, as I've said, it's not an issue at all of "why is all of that suddenly only relevant in some arguments." No one, for example, is ranking and potentially changing health care or debt laws, based on our rank with respect to other countries in these fields. And, no, I cannot agree that the gun issue is far less complex. In fact, it's much more complex. Gun data, for example, isn't as widely tracked, analyzed, stored, historically analyzed as economic data. Countries monitor economic data and activity far more than anything else. In fact, the data that you posted claimed that the assumptions on gun ownership, for example, are wide and inaccurate.

      You said, "To me, again, I just find this all to be incredibly disingenuous to a fair discussion of this topic." - In all honestly, the original start of this particular subject came about with the assertion of us having a gun "problem." You then provided data showing our rank in the world. Surely you can see there is absolutely no connection between the two, and using unrelated data A to come to conclusion B (problem) is entirely disingenuous. I cannot logically see how, in any way at all, our rank in the world, which again, is a silly stat as I have explained, translates to a "problem."

      As far as this, "I mean, do people here not *just* make the same exact argument when it comes to gun bans? How many times have I heard people reference the “Gun ban didn’t work in the UK/Australia/etc! It wouldn’t work here!" - I have seen this from time to time, on Facebook, for example... and it is, as well, a silly position to take.

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    16. As far as my data, there is no reason to post it. I'm not making an assumption of a problem or not. I'm saying that the data you have shown has no connection whatsoever to a "problem" in this country.

      In this statement, "How can you fairly say that, while at the same time saying “I see all that data you linked, but, you can’t compare us to other countries with different cultures/society/etc and try to conclude anything meaningful.” I hope you realize there’s a major double standard here." - where is the double standard? Again, you're applying a broad brush to this issue of data analysis. In THIS case, you can't. The data you provided is unrelated, meaningless, and shows no "conclusionable" items between our "problem" and world rank. In fact, I've given you an example of how your data can be shown to "prove" that, in fact, when compared to the world, we are much safer with guns given the fact that we have by far the highest per capita ownership rate by a much lower violence rate.

      "Nor is it fair to make that argument, and then pick and choose when it's OK to do it and when it is not for little reason other than it happening to support the argument you're making at the time" - I'm not determining, at all, when it's okay to use or not to use data. I am saying that, however, in the data world, the analytical world, the manner in which you present this data, this type of data, and the conclusions you've made from that data, are unrelated, meaningless, and should be disregarded in this case. As you obviously note, I've said this very often in the many well-thought arguments you've made here. But this one, in no way, shape, or form, can I support. It's pure data fallacy.

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    17. Rken and LME

      In this debate of data, Rken, this isn't even close, in all honesty. If I was a mediator, and you came with "we have a gun problem" and you gave the data you gave, I would do what LME is doing: showing how:

      1. The data you gave is nothing more than a simple nominal rank
      2. Concludes nothing more than where we rank
      3. If you're trying to determine a "problem" - the data does not even come close to this. All it does is show a nominal rank. The "problem" part, as correctly stated by LME, requires so much more input (just as he has said).
      4. You've simply gone from step A to Z. "We have a problem, here is some data, I conclude there is a problem." The lousiness of that data aside, HOW does that data show we have a problem. Repeated again, the data only shows where we rank. Nothing more. It takes nothing into account.

      LME is also very correct in stating that your example of "so now we can't compare countrys' health systems, debt problems, and all that?" is unrelated, too. No one has ascribed to that. The only point I see being made by LME here is that the data you provide is nothing but a rank system, and the conclusions you draw from that simple rank system show nothing of the "problem" you're saying actually exists. Now if you could show, thought it's probably difficult, that there is a problem, I myself would be interested in seeing it. I understand there is a lot in the media about this recently, and yes, the media also spouts there is a "problem." But emotions aside, how in the world was the "problem" concluded? You can't just label something as a problem, provide unrelated data, and hope it sticks.

      This is also the first time I've seen you jump around in "Dara -like" fashion (sorry Dara, just making an example). The large conclusions you've drawn (so now we can't make other comparisons, the accusations of double standards), seem to show that you're being entirely hyperbolic and jumping to many inconclusive positions.

      In the case of this very debate, though you, Rken, have done very well, and I'm so glad to have seen you at work here over the past year, it's not really even close.

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    18. MN 4 Rick - Happy Friday!

      LOL I gotta admit, every comment that appears on the blog causes my phone, via email, to buzz. I usually check them all, when I can (like not in meetings), and if I have the time, I try to respond. This is tough though, and sadly, many times I can't reply. The point is, because of this, and the fact that it's almost instant, I can usually reply to comments very quickly after they're posted.

      My question, how do you do it, sir? Sometimes I see a comment buzz my phone (it gives a popup for the notification as well), and then not long after, I see your response. I'm usually thinking "damn, how does he do it so quickly?"

      It's not a bad thing, but after over a year, I just had to ask :P

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    19. 'We should have measures to prevent suicides,'

      I gotta jump in here... as I have some experience with this subject.

      My husband's dad - AND his younger (female) cousin - both committed suicide. He with a handgun and she with a shotgun. The cousin was 25, living with her mom and her 9 yr. old son at the time... more on that later.

      After his retirement at 65, his dad began to live his 'dream' of staying at a pretty remote cabin north of Wells, NV. He did what he wanted, traveled a little, stayed and worked on various ranches (remodeling, etc.) during the harsh winters.

      About 10 yrs in, he developed prostrate cancer and was given a couple of choices for treatment... one of which was 'do nothing - and you'll probably live a long life - and die from something else altogether'. As his wife had passed from the 'big C' 50 years prior, he chose the 'newest' treatment, which involved the insertion into his body of radioactive pellets.

      Long story short: He was NOT told that the treatment COULD damage his kidneys and at 80+ he wound up on three times a week dialysis. For over a year he did okay, and then the dialysis wasn't working so well - he was told they'd need to bump it up to four times a week.

      At this time, he began to act in a manner that told me he was up to something... and I alerted my husband. I felt he'd already decided on a course of action, that he'd already decided upon a date, a manner and a place for carrying out his plan.

      We again attempted to coax him into moving in w/us. We have a large property, and would build him his very own space. He again refused - vehemently. He was still his own man, and he'd have none of it.

      We continued to keep in regular touch with him, with regular physical visits to his home in Beuhl (near Twin Falls) and also by phone. On one call, he was dreading a visit from his sister - the mother of the cousin who'd killed herself, in her home, years earlier.

      We talked to him the day of her arrival by phone - and the next phone call we received was from the police in Twin Falls the following morning. Dad had called the police dispatcher and then shot himself.

      When I first suspected Dad's intentions, I had contacted his doctor, who felt I was needlessly worried. I disagreed, but was dismissed. After the event, I found enough sleeping pills in his nightstand to do in a couple of elephants, so I was right all along.

      Could we have stopped him? Maybe - temporarily. I knew he had intent, and we MIGHT have been able to have him 'committed'. He was almost 83 - he'd have STILL passed away - eventually, BUT he'd have done so, hating us for stealing his freedom.

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    20. His mind was made up, but I do NOT feel he'd chosen the route he ended up taking. The aunt later told us she'd 'talked him into' getting a place together 'with her'.

      THAT was never going to happen... I believe her insistence, coupled with the fact that he was weak and getting sicker - triggered desperation in him - and forced him to use a different means.

      I believe Dad's initial plan was to attend his Friday dialysis, head to the cabin one last time - and take those pills to end his life in a place that he loved and missed. No one, including US, would have known anything was amiss, UNTIL his missed his Monday dialysis. By then, it would have been all over, but for the tears.

      In any event, MN - once a person commits their mindset to suicide, I do not believe there are always 'measures to prevent' them from doing so. And the gun is not the only manner in which people choose to do themselves in.

      Dad always attended his dialysis ALONE... however, SHE was determined to accompany him - at 6 a.m. and he told us she wouldn't take 'no' for an answer.

      He called the police at precisely 5 a.m. and we found evidence that he'd spent most of the previous night covering the surfaces in his kitchen - so as not to leave a 'mess'.

      I'm convinced that the ONLY reason Dad used a gun, instead of the pills like I believe he'd planned - was his SISTER'S presence... the pressure she exerted 'pulled the trigger' on his plan.

      With this history in my husband's family, sometimes I worry - is suicidal tendency hereditary?





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    21. You focus vehemently on the word "rank", but that's not the complete point here.

      This is just as much of a *comparison* as it is anything else. The fact that the data assigns a rank to measure by those factors doesn't change that we are comparatively worse than normal.

      And you, just about everyone else here, and even myself absolutely are guilty of comparing the US to other countries to make a point about an argument. And people have absolutely "ranked" our country compared to other countries on the topics of debt, taxes, GDP, healthcare costs, productivity, average wait times, etc.

      The really confusing thing here is though to me, that when this discussion first came up about a month ago and I posted statistics about the death/homicide rates per capita across countries, you said that data wasn’t valid because ‘it didn’t account for the fact we have a higher concentration of guns.’ I then researched topic on behalf of your point, and followed it up with a comparison of the deaths per capita, normalized by the number of guns per capita, and now you’re telling me that this data is now meaningless? That’s not really fair.

      One thing that I want to make sure I understand, you believe that the fact a gun ban wouldn’t work in UK/Australia does not mean it wouldn’t work in America? But why doesn’t this carry over into the idea that the fact something far more complex as universal healthcare didn’t work in Y country, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work here?

      It’s also not completely fair to provide no data of your own, and simply just repeat ‘all your data is meaningless.’ I mean no offense, but I always thought this to be a great place to discuss and compare actual data, statistics, and analysis. I feel like this is the first time here where, suddenly, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of how ‘suspect’ you may feel the data is, I’ve never seen that as a reason to justify ‘not even going to bother.’

      The fact is though, if the national stage is really so impossible to compare (I hope this is brought up the next time we're compared to Europe/Canada/etc :P), even the state statistics seem to show evidence of a trend that more guns with less gun regulation = more crime, violence, death.

      Firearm death rate is higher, on average, in more conservative states:
      http://www.statemaster.com/red/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-death-rate-per-100-000&b_map=1
      http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-gun-violence-highest-homicide-rates-20121220,0,4396277.photogallery

      Source of above info:
      http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-20

      So is violent crime, gun robbery, and assault:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Violent_Crime_2004.svg

      Here are more of the number sheets to analyze yourself and draw your own conclusions:
      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AonYZs4MzlZbdGhycDRPQlN1dTBoMzJWOTk0Uk9DRVE&hl=en#gid=10

      An interactive map of the above statistics: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2011/sep/27/gun-crime-map-statistics

      None of this data says anything absolute and game-ending about anything, and the relative differences are still on the small end, plus there are many factors to still take into account, as always implied. I don’t disagree with that. But again, that doesn’t make the data completely inaccurate and not worth considering. Especially in the absence of any data provided to the contrary, which apparently you have but don’t want to share? (huh?)

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    22. Rken, just because you provide some random data doesn't mean it's gold. How many times do you have to be shown that it's not. Step off your high horse.

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    23. Anon: "Rken, just because you provide some random data doesn't mean it's gold. How many times do you have to be shown that it's not."

      I pretty clearly, just an eye glance above your post, said:
      "None of this data says anything absolute and game-ending about anything"

      I have never, ever, at any point in these or any of my posts argued the data I've posted is "gold", or absolute, or definitive. That accusation is nothing more than a strawman. I simply said that it is relevant and worth discussing, and at least indicative of a call for further examination.

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    24. Rken, are you ok? You've really kind of lost it today? Your accusations are getting silly. I'm very surprised to hear this kind of stuff from you. Usually you're very even keeled, but what you're saying here is kind of like you're a kid that's been called out, and now you're flailing with "he did this too" and "but but but if you're so good, then you give me some data." I'm just a little surprised. It seems like you're taking what we have to say personally, and it's bringing out this odd side I've never seen.

      And the "look ma, it's all those dang conservative states that are so bad" by posting "statemaster" (why not use the FBI) and an opinion piece from the LA Times (please start getting away from liberal media), is a joke. I mean, come on. I want the normal Rken back :)

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    25. RKen – I think you’re mixing up a TON of issues here in addition to jumping to many erroneous conclusions. I will try to explain them all.
      First, I do not vehemently focus on the work “rank.” In fact, my rebuttal has been a two-pronged approach.
      1. Yes, a ranking system, in this context, with this data, provides no relevant information.
      2. The data that you provide cannot draw to a conclusion a view that “we have a gun problem.” Placing us at some position in the world, ignoring all facets of this multi-faceted issue except where we “rank” is nowhere near enough information with respect to whether there is a “gun problem.’ In designing a position, as I have done, and as you have done many times throughout this blog, data is needed to support a position. The data you provided, in this case, does not. There is no connection, at all, between only numerous data sets showing a simple rank of where we are relative to the world and whether we have a gun “problem” in this country. I’ve said this time and time again… These are the two positions I’ve held since you’ve made the claim. I’m not sure where the confusion comes in.
      You then said, “This is just as much of a *comparison* as it is anything else. The fact that the data assigns a rank to measure by those factors doesn't change that we are comparatively worse than normal.” IF all you would have said was “this is where we compare with respect to other countries”… then yes… your data supports that. Your data does not support, however, a claim that there is a “problem.” Problem, of course, is subjective… but it does require some semblance of connectivity (and this is where the addressing of the numerous other factors I have brought up) have come in. Those factors are not addressed, so no, from the original claim of “I again am not sure how you can deny that we have a gun problem. The data is pretty clear here, and there’s really little room to interpret it in any way other than what is shown” – supporting data of how we rank among other countries of the world is not a supporting proposition to your claim. I think I’ve been painstakingly clear about this. MN 4 Rick has even addressed this as unrequested support.
      With respect to this paragraph “The really confusing thing here is though to me, that when this discussion first came up about a month … is now meaningless? That’s not really fair.” First, this is getting twisted. I have stated that on a murder per gun existence rate, or murder per total gun rate, we are relatively low. This isn’t an issue of concentration. Concentration would be a gun per person rate… or how concentrated gun existence is. It’s difficult to gauge our “concentration” as a society. What is a standard? What is a norm? Why would it be a norm? What can be said, however, is that when looking at guns that for guns that do exist, with the sheer amount of guns in this country, relatively few people are killed. This IS a stat that matters somewhat… but again, when making the case of a “problem” it’s not the only stat. Please don’t say it’s now meaningless… I’ve never said that, and frankly, it appears that you’re trying to put words in my mouth. What I am saying is… though difficult to prove, your position of a “problem” needs a lot more “teeth” for backup if you’re going to give validity to it. In fact, when coming up with the “problem” claim, you didn’t even establish a threshold for what a “problem” is. How do we know we have a problem? What would it take to not have the problem? My original objections starts from there and the place where you cited 4 links to back what you said.

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    26. You then said, “One thing that I want to make sure I understand… doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work here?” I’ve never made any assertion as to another country’s gun ban’s efficacy versus one for ours? Why do you assume I say this. Additionally, why do you take the next step and assume a concept such as universal health care would or wouldn’t work here based on another country’s program. In a hierarchy of this issue, the “would it work here or not” issue… how other countries do is very very very low on the list, and to assume that I would or wouldn’t support it based heavily on that is again, silly and hyperbolic.
      Onward to, “It’s also not completely fair to provide no data of your own,…” Again, here is where you’re jumping a LOT. It seems like you’re grabbing at straws, now in an attempt to discredit me, my research, and the blog, in an attempt to lend credence to your point. First, why would I give data? What point am I trying to prove? When I write anything, say, for example, that President Obama lied about American’s average tax rates… I make that claim, then I provide proof. Where is my claim here? YOU made a claim, the onus falls on you to back it. You have tried, and me, as a reader, analyzer of data (just as anyone here), and an understanding person of how analysis works, can say, “hey wait… what you’re trying to conclude is NOT supported by your data.” This is unrelated to me providing data of my own. In fact, it’s unnecessary. I can call out what you’re saying on the simple grounds that it is analytically incorrect. I’ve done that. I’ve even provided examples of why I think the data you provided does not lead to your conclusion (looking at the many many many other factors before simply citing our ranking as the basis for there being a “problem.”) Me providing data to counter would be necessary if I was giving you a hard position of my own. In this case, I’ve simply been saying the whole time that the data you gave does not lead to the conclusion you have. It has nothing to do with “not even bothering…” In fact, I’ve bothered quite a bit. If a student of mine (I tutor) came to me with this in a report (and no, this isn’t meant to be insulting, and no, I’m not your teacher or in any position of authority over you), I would have said the same thing… Mr. XXX, this data does not show in any way what you’re saying. You also need to address A, B, C, D and E to start the discussion of what you’re claiming. The subject and data is irrelevant. This is purely a data analysis issue. As someone who is HUGE on data… bothering, in this case, is more of looking at what you said, the data you’ve given, and the conclusion you’ve drawn and saying, “um, hey, this doesn’t even line up… how does the data support this?”

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    27. Again, this is where more jumping around has come in… I never said a national/international trend or standing is impossible to compare. I’ve said in the way you’ve done it, with the data you’ve used, it doesn’t make sense.
      As far as the links you’ve then posted… some of them don’t make much sense. First, why is this a “conservative” issue… why the “conservative” state theme? In fact, I’ve posted an analysis of how most southern states weren’t “red” for 150 years. But regardless, the first two links don’t even coincide with each other.
      As far as this, “But again, that doesn’t make the data completely inaccurate and not worth considering. Especially in the absence of any data provided to the contrary, which apparently you have but don’t want to share? (huh?)”
      Again, another conclusion you’ve jumped to. I’ve never said the data was inaccurate. I’ve repeated, time and time again, that it doesn’t support your position. And I’ve also stated why I haven’t provided data.
      I hope this clears it up. I’m still not sure where the confusion lies. If I see data that doesn’t fit a position, I’m going to say something. If I made the claim “Obama is lying to Americans about tax rates” and provided data that shows something like, oh I don’t know, the average tax return of each American’ (something that does have some value, but not to my analysis) I’m sure you’d call it out, too.

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    28. Rken I think what LME is trying to say is that it takes more than one angle of the replay to determine if the receiver made the catch. Did he secure the ball? Did he drop it going out of bounds? Did he drag his feet? All that? It appears he is saying that you're claiming we have a gun problem, and your reasons are "look at us versus the world." I'd argue with LME on this one because like he said, it doesn't follow from beginning to end. No reason to get all nasty though :) It's a great blog and disagreement is fine. I still haven't found any reason yet, thought I look, too, to discredit this blog. I think your feelings on it are unfounded. Just my two cents.

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    29. I got two turn tables and a microphone!

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    30. I’m pretty sure at this point there’s a huge misunderstanding of my argument here.

      MN4Rick: I’m fine Rick; I think you’re assigning a tone or snide to my posts that isn’t meant to be there. Sorry if that’s unclear; I did say that my posting today was more rushed and frank (very short, rushed bursts of free time to respond today).

      The ‘liberal media’ sources I referenced were using FBI data, which I also provided, for anyone here to happily double check and provide their own conclusions. Unfortunately, no one seems interested. :(
      **************
      LME: “Yes, a ranking system, in this context, with this data, provides no relevant information.”
      My point is that we have higher gun death/capita than most other countries, and I believe that’s a problem. I don’t understand how providing data showing this stat, is irrelevant to me concluding an opinion on it.

      Whether that problem centers around guns themselves, or society, or culture, or government, or laws, etc… isn’t the point I’m trying to make. Which is where I think a major part of the confusion and rabble is here. The point is I believe that ranking high on a chart for a negative statistic is a problem. Do you honestly feel that it’s unfound for me to reach that conclusion, from a chart of that negative statistic?

      I would feel 100% the same exact way about a chart comparing the number in poverty between countries, or the number that die from cancer, or the number of obese, etc. Yes, millions of factors can affect those measures, but that would never change my mind that ranking on the high side of the worst would be a problem to me. This is what I’m trying to say. The classification of the ‘obesity epidemic’ is based on such observations (and others) after all, is it not?

      I’m just shocked that there’s such a hard fight against something so simple (and ultimately even, as you said, subjective), which must be where this misunderstanding is.

      I never even tried to draw any conclusions on what the problem stems from, which is where I think everyone here is getting tripped up on my argument. You see me here saying I believe there’s a problem, and the immediate thought is that I blame the problem on guns themselves. I don’t and have never said that.

      The original core issue is that I believe it’s a problem when we have a negative statistic rank worst than most countries. All of the rest following that stemmed from assertions that designating it as a problem is silly without including other factors, such as factoring in the “guns per capita” measurement, or factoring in culture, or laws, or etc, which lead to me just linking a bunch of studies on the different states.

      What I really should have done, is just pivoted back to the main point I’m making here (rather than get caught up in the subdivisions of this discussion), in that my conclusion isn’t at all even dependent on the differences in culture/laws/etc. There is no need to account for or even prove anything in all of that, when the fact is that regardless of those factors, I think it’s still an issue to rank so high. In the end, what that is truly due to, is irrelevant to whether or not I find it to be a poor ranking.

      The real counter-argument I expected here was what the problem is from, if anything, and/or how serious it is.

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    31. Main point is above, not to be confused with this part.

      Just some additional tidbits I wanted to address:
      **************
      LME: “IF all you would have said was “this is where we compare with respect to other countries”… then yes… your data supports that.”

      That’s exactly what I was saying, LME.

      I said that, compared to other countries, we rank worse than average. This was the very first sentence I wrote on this topic, I quote: “Statistically rare would imply to me that we have less gun deaths as a share of our population than the average country.”

      I believe that you’re reading way too far into me calling something a problem, and also assigning way too much weight to that designation. I’m not attempting to say what is causing the problem, or why, or how, or even how to fix it. Nor am I trying to say how severe it is. I’m simply saying that, scoring worse than average on a national scale for this (or really, ANY) negative factor is a problem. Just like people have concluded the same from obesity rates, or HIV transmission, or education scores, or GDP per capita, etc.
      **************
      “What can be said, however, is that when looking at guns that for guns that do exist, with the sheer amount of guns in this country, relatively few people are killed.”

      I don’t understand here, relative to what measure? I attempted to provide data correlating the number of guns to the amount of violence in response to this specific critique, and you dismissed it. So I’m unsure what relative measure you’re judging this by?
      **************
      “Please don’t say it’s now meaningless… I’ve never said that, and frankly, it appears that you’re trying to put words in my mouth.”

      Huh? In all fairness here, LME, you have called both the data and any arguments I derived from it meaningless many times:
      “The data you provided is unrelated, meaningless, and shows no "conclusionable" items”

      “These anecdotal data plugs are, quite frankly, relatively meaningless.”
      “I understand that there is an attempt to use them to "back" an issue, but again, without a homogeneity among the data, if the attempt is being made to "rank" the US with respect to its standing on gun violence, the data you have described here is meaningless.”
      “To claim we are no where near the median range of what??? - countries with different gun laws, ownership, culture, propensity for violence in general, government media/entertainment censorship, size, import/export of firearms laws, police corruption, government corruption, existence of government type, acceptance of guns, and on and on, is yes, very, very meaningless.”
      “"I see that data, and frankly, in the immensely complex discussion of the data, with the conclusion of some form of 'rank' that you're trying to conclude, it's very, very meaningless, surface, and hollow."
      “What does it even mean? I'm almost flabbergasted at the attempt to rank countries in this manner. As I've said, it's meaningless.”

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    32. **************
      “Onward to, “It’s also not completely fair to provide no data of your own,…” Again, here is where you’re jumping a LOT. It seems like you’re grabbing at straws, now in an attempt to discredit me, my research, and the blog, in an attempt to lend credence to your point.”

      Whoa, I don’t know what tone you read in my post, but that’s a pretty huge jump yourself. I honestly reread what you quoted multiple times now, and I have no idea how you got me asking for you to provide data in a discussion about data, is discrediting you, the blog, or anyone else.

      I’m sorry if it came across that way, but I thought I made myself rather clear here. I want to discuss the data, and want to see other people’s interpretations/analysis of this and other data available.

      This is what I always defer to, and prefer to debate about in this discussions, and I think I’m correct in assuming that you do as well. The problem here lies though, that you have said now that you have data and will not post it. So, of course, I’m asking why, and asking for it.

      I don’t understand how me asking to see data, on a discussion that is completely about data, as a person that likes data (and thanks people for that data just about every time, regardless of if it’s against my point), from another person that likes data, and thinking it’s unfair to not provide it when you say you have it… is somehow offensive to you/the blog. Again, I’m not sure where the misunderstanding lies, but sorry.

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  4. @RKen:

    We the People do NOT have European style, Australian style, Chinese style, etc. etc. etc. government OR gun rights in OUR country.

    If THEY like it - fine - it's THEIR country, they can do whatever THEIR people ALLOW them to do or in some cases WHATEVER THEIR GOVERNMENT has decided IS RIGHT for them.

    YOU - RKen can believe what you like - because we are (at the moment) still a FREE country... with a Bill of Rights and a Constitution SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED to KEEP IT THAT WAY. The PURPOSE of those documents is to KEEP the GOVERNMENT - OFF THE BACKS of the PEOPLE.

    YOU and those like you, have somehow decided - all by your lonesome(s) that We The People would be better off, if we'd just 'come over to your side' and 'stop with all this freedom nonsense'... because you're all so much smarter than all of us 'bitter clingers'.

    Abortion = 'choice' - God? 'who needs Him?' THIS is 'progress' in the eyes of you and your ilk...

    NO... we can't let the STATES decide whether or not they like pot or gay marriage... we MUST DEFY the FOUNDING DOCUMENTS and MANDATE this stuff - at the FEDERAL LEVEL

    With ZERO emphasis on the HAVOC many of those SAME IDEAS have wrought on ALL OTHER NATIONS where they've been thrust on THEIR populations - all the while expressing YOUR joy and exaltation for bringing it HERE!

    Got news for ya'... IF you people SHOULD be ALLOWED to succeed in your quest to 'rid us' of that evil and outdated 2nd Amendment...

    The others, including those YOU agree with, sooner or later - WILL FALL IN IT'S WAKE. GUARANTEED!

    Don't believe me? READ WORLD HISTORY... While we're ALL different nationalities ... human NATURE REMAINS THE SAME.

    The STRONG will ALWAYS seek to overpower and CONTROL - ANYONE in whom they perceive WEAKNESS.

    Historically - The more power the GOVERNMENT accrues - the LESS freedom the PEOPLE retain.

    What YOU fail to understand is this: This whole governmental nudge, nudge, nudge on OUR 2nd Amendment right IS NOT about guns or types of guns or who owns them or magazine size or people killed by guns...

    IT IS about GOVERNMENT POWER and CONTROL.

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    1. Might be confusing me with others, Dara.

      I do (and have said as much here) that I support the 2nd amendment, and do not support a gun ban.

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    2. @RKen

      You've said you support many of the 'new' EO rules. You've said you support the 'ban' of certain weapons and magazines sizes. You've said you're okay with 'deputized doctors' turning in people 'suspected... (of what?)

      This tells me you've misinterpreted the intent of the 2nd Amendment.

      This tells me you do not understand the importance of the right to keep and bear arms - in a TRULY civil society.

      This also tells me you 'trust' the government to stop with 'just this ban'...

      This tells me you don't understand the meaning of 'shall not be infringed' or choose to re-interpret it to mean 'something else'.

      That IS the Alinsky way, after all: Control the language and you control the culture.

      And this controlling of our culture; this deliberate destruction of our BASE morality, has infected America with a disease that NO ban of bullets or weapons will EVER cure.

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    3. I support strengthening the systems already in place and the expansion of our mental health priorities, yes. I don't understand the logic behind having background checks in the first place, if they're easily avoidable or ineffectively ran.

      And I don't see the issue with stopping people that shouldn't have guns (criminals/felons, people with certain mental issues, etc), from owning them. That's the only thing background checks do.

      I'm curious, do you oppose background checks? Do you not feel it's worth preventing a convicted felon from purchasing a gun? I don't see how to prevent that otherwise.

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    4. @RKen

      We ALREADY have background check laws... along with a bazillion others that the 'powers that be' refuse to enforce. Biden said: 'We don't have the time ...' So... 'the one' thinks up 23 MORE useless, waste of paper jewels, that won't do ANYTHING, except tick off those of us who FOLLOW THE LAW - all by his lonesome...

      The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over - and expecting a different result!

      One more time, and MAYBE you'll understand, but you've got your head buried so deeply in this ignorant, Dimocrat mantra that I seriously doubt it.

      'CONVICTED FELONS' ARE NOT SUBJECTED to background checks, because THEY do NOT purchase weapons LEGALLY. THEY don't CARE what the LAW IS... because THEY ARE CRIMINALS.

      If your messiah gets it on (and he'll have one HELL of a time doing so) this gun-grab NONSENSE he's instigated will ONLY affect LAW ABIDING CITIZENS.

      The cartels, gang-bangers and assorted crooks - that your 'man' and his AG armed with 'assault weapons' - WILL STILL HAVE THEM - as well as LARGE CAP MAGS - AND PLENTY OF AMMO!

      Wake up, RKen!

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    5. So because some criminals can potentially still find a way around background checks, we should just cut out the middle man, do away with the background checks completely, and allow them to purchase guns directly to make it even easier?

      Under that line of thought, why attempt to regulate or enforce anything? The people who really, really want to do any kind of drugs will always find a way to do them. The people who really, really want to find a way across the boarder will always find a way to do it. The people who really, really want to murder will always find a way to kill. The people who really, really want an abortion will always find a way to do it. The people who really, really want to pay for sex will always find a way to do it. Etc.

      There should always be a balance between the amounts of effort/costs we put toward preventing something, and how important it is to prevent it; that much I believe. However, I can't accept that what ultimately is nothing more than a minor, one-time inconvenience is far beyond that balance.

      You’re also giving the entirety of the very broad range of criminals far too much credit. Every person that breaks the law isn't some genius system-subverter living in the ghetto with plenty of black market connections, money, time and resources at their finger tips. Just as there are criminals that can potentially find easy ways around these laws, there are also ones that have far more difficulty and/or can not. There is no simple blanket statement to cover all scenarios here.

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    6. @RKen

      Oh, PLEASE! All of what you just said PROVES THE POINT. Maybe you should look up the word 'criminal' in the dictionary. WHEN such a person WANTS something - they WILL get it - one way or another... No need to be a 'genius' as there are OTHER CRIMINALS out there who are MORE than willing and perfectly ABLE to fulfill THEIR WANTS.

      You can beat your lib 'for the children' 'if it saves one...' drum all you like...

      WAKE THE HELL UP! This IS NOT about the guns - it IS about your messiah's obsession with POWER and CONTROL...

      WHEN - not IF - the NEXT NUTJOB gets it in his sick mind to take out a ______________(fill in the 'gun restricted zone' blank)...

      BLAME YOURSELF and your STUPID 'PROGRESSIVE' 'GUN-FREE ZONES' for drawing a BULLS-EYE around those people!

      LAWS only affect THOSE WHO ABIDE BY THEM.

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