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Here’s a pro-tip for all of you who will be seeing headlines in coming days from “news” articles writing about a recent “scientific” study on gun violence: Any time you see such a study purport to examine “gun violence” but actually examine “homicide” and “suicide,” you can be pretty sure it’s a hack job.
I’ve written on this conflation of “gun violence” with “homicide” and “suicide” before (such as Faux Science: Claim that homicides surged under Florida’s “Stand-Your-Ground” law), but in the past few days another large “gun violence” study that does precisely this has been published–The Impact of State Firearm Laws on Homicide and Suicide Deaths in the USA, 1991–2016: a Panel Study–and we’ll be seeing a lot of “news” stories based on this study in the usual gun control media (but I repeat myself).
Look - Malfeasance - Violence - Homicide
So, let’s take a look at why it’s scientific malfeasance to conflate “gun violence” with “homicide” and “suicide.”
“Homicide” ≠ “Unlawful gun violence”
Homicide - Synonym - Conduct - Case - Credibility
Using “homicide” as a synonym for criminal conduct is unforgivably stupid at the best or aggressively malicious at worst, and in either case fatally undermines the credibility of the study’s authors.
Why? Because homicide literally simply means one person killed another, and not all homicides are, in fact, criminal conduct. Some homicides are unlawful killings, such as murder or manslaughter. Other homicides are not only lawful, but arguably a social good—such as a single mother shooting and killing the man attempting to rape and maim her and her child.
Researchers - Violence - Homicides - Predation - Self-defense
Researchers who study “gun violence” by examining “homicides” are conflating criminal predation and lawful self-defense, and essentially arguing that there is no legal or moral distinction between them. I disagree. And so does the law.
If a change in gun laws purportedly results in an increased homicide rate, we have no idea if that change was socially positive or...
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