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Guns as Self Defense… in a Dashboard Widget?

Yes, it's true, and you too can download the Gun Self Defense Calculator. I've taken the "back side text" from this widget, and here it is.

Calculations used in this widget are based on the now famous study by renowned criminologists Gary Kleck & Marc Gertz that was reported in the The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law, (Fall 1995) titled, "Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self- Defense With a Gun." This is the most exhaustive and detailed study of how guns are used in self defense, to date. The study shows that guns are used in self defense about 2.5 million times a year or once every 13 seconds, on average. In other words, guns are used about 60 times more often to protect innocent life than to take a life. Over 1.9 million of those self defense cases involve handguns.

In a book titled "Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America (Social Institutions and Social Change)" Kleck's research showed that armed citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals every year as do police (1,527 to 606). Most of those instances were while the innocent victim was waiting on the police to arrive and many were even waiting for the police to answer the phone. Meanwhile, in the November 15, 1993 issue of Newsweek Magazine, George Will reported that police are more than 5 times more likely than a civilian to shoot an innocent person by mistake.

It is important to note that before researching the subject for himself, Kleck was an outspoken supporter of gun control. As a result of his own research, he now opposes the gun control agenda that he used to support.

As I write this post, the counter is up to 909,597.

16 Responses to "Guns as Self Defense… in a Dashboard Widget?"

  1. This is a total red herring. How about we have a dashboard widget that counts how many times guns are used offensively or to kill someone.

  2. How about you come to the realization that you're on the wrong side of the facts, Jeff? Cuz guess what? Less than 100,000 (or around 100k) people are killed or injured by guns each year. Yet they're used for self defense 2.5 million times. Do the math. Go ahead. I'll wait. 😛

    Here's another one: eliminate black-on-black crime and crimes committed with guns in the U.S. drops to the same level as other countries, including Canada, Japan, and Israel (which, despite their issues, is not a country in which you're likely to be shot, despite the fact that they have mandatory gun ownership).

  3. Erik is right, but kind of for the wrong reason. The Canucks (and many other countries) have more handguns per capita then the US, yet Americans kill each other like it's Duck Season/Wabbit Season 24x7x365.

    Why?

    Because American's live a life of fear. American's are told to be scared of everything. Our news media and politicians blare out that we all need to vigilant. A scared populace is easy to control, and controlled we are.

    Look at George Bush speaking to a "hometown" crowd as he "tours" the nation. The crowds are controlled and the venue planned. Where is free speech? It is being trundled off by Secret Service agents.

    But I digress. I was in the military, and I love shooting guns. If I bought a gun, it would be to shoot for fun...not defense. No burglar wants to break into your house carrying a gun. If the cops catch him WITHOUT a gun..it's 6 months, if that. Catch him WITH a gun, and it's armed robbery, automatic 10+ years here in NY. You don't need a gun for defense. You just need to be smart.

    Don't be afraid.

  4. Uh, I can't be right for the wrong reasons. Facts really don't have a "reason." They just "are."

    I shoot guns for fun as well. You know this. Afraid? No. Stupid? Also no. I know what the facts are, and I know how they may (or may not) affect my personal, day-to-day life and safety. Currently, that's "very minimally."

  5. "Here's another one: eliminate black-on-black crime and crimes committed with guns in the U.S. drops to the same level as other countries, including Canada, Japan, and Israel (which, despite their issues, is not a country in which you're likely to be shot, despite the fact that they have mandatory gun ownership)."

    So America doesn't have a gun problem? Oh wait it does - but only if you include black people killing black people?

  6. So America doesn't have a gun problem? Oh wait it does - but only if you include black people killing black people?

    The stats and facts bear that out, yes, making America's "gun" problem more of a "poverty" problem than anything else, as I've previously argued.

  7. Gotcha. Guns don't kill people, black/poor people kill people.

  8. Kleck's research showed that armed citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals every year as do police (1,527 to 606).

    I'm not sure those numbers mean anything. It's comparing apples and oranges. Most police officers who end up in deadly force situations have been through at least six months of tactical training, likely have several years of experience on the job dealing with violent individuals, and (usually) have backup either already with them or arriving within seconds. Of course police officers are going to kill fewer people, isn't that what they are trained to do? To diffuse situations and de-escalate them before the use of deadly force becomes necessary? If those armed citizens who killed 1,527 criminals had had the same training, experience, and backup, I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility to surmize that they would probably have ended up killing fewer criminals as well.

    Meanwhile, in the November 15, 1993 issue of Newsweek Magazine, George Will reported that police are more than 5 times more likely than a civilian to shoot an innocent person by mistake.

    How much more likely is it for police to end up in confrontational deadly force situations in the first place? Yes, they're more likely than a civilian to shoot an innocent person by mistake because their job is to run around all day looking for dangerous people. Joe Citizen doesn't usually go looking for trouble so there are fewer times Mr. Citizen will be in a situation where a mistaken shooting can occur in the first place.

    I have no problem with people owning guns for self defense but the statistics quoted here seem a bit vague. I certainly hope the book has more substance than these (rather weak) statistical references.

  9. Less than 100,000 (or around 100k) people are killed or injured by guns each year. Yet they're used for self defense 2.5 million times. Do the math. Go ahead. I'll wait.

    Can you define "used" for me? Is that an actual discharge or the mere display of the weapon? Because if it is the latter then you better revise your 100,000 figure upwards quite a bit to include all the times guns are brandished but not fired in the commission of a crime. :-p

  10. Widget fun

    Two new Dashboard widgets in service tonight: Courtesy of Erik, the Gun Self Defense Counter, which uses a formula developed by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz of Northwestern University to show how many times in a calendar year firearms are used to save liv...

  11. If there were no guns around, noone would get killed by a gun at all. No innocent civilian, no criminal, noone. And if one is not threatened with a gun, there's no need to defend oneself with a gun. Having guns around is just a bad idea.

    It's scary and dangerous enough to have to defend yourself with your fists (I know from experience). Boy am I glad there were no guns involved back then.

  12. Brian, I don't have to define the term "used." Look it up. I said killed or injured, so obviously that means firing a gun. Obviously the numbers go up otherwise, but they don't top 2.5 million.

    Furthermore, Brian, as you progress in your police schooling, odds are you'll not be so argumentative just for the sake of being argumentative.

    As for Marcus, well…

    If there were no guns around, noone would get killed by a gun at all. No innocent civilian, no criminal, noone. And if one is not threatened with a gun, there's no need to defend oneself with a gun. Having guns around is just a bad idea.

    … you're clearly not living in a real world. Guns exist. Deal with it.

    This discussion is soon to be closed, as ignorance persists. I'm getting tired of playing the fact card, but none of y'all are learning much. At least nobody's concocted some lame "what if you accidentally shoot your wife" scenario yet.

  13. Keep it up, Erik. You're on the right side of the facts here. It is amazing to see how misinformed so many people are.

  14. Hey facts are hard work... Hemenway presents a (to my eyes fairly solid) attack of the original study ("SURVEY RESEARCH AND SELF-DEFENSE GUN USE: AN EXPLANATION OF EXTREME OVERESTIMATES', also in Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, and here http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Hemenway1.htm) The point is that Crime Statistics are quite hard to argue with, and shouldn't really be banted around lightly.

  15. And if one is not threatened with a gun, there's no need to defend oneself with a gun. Having guns around is just a bad idea.

    So what will you do when someone is coming at you with two butcher knives, ready to chop you up? Will your fists suffice? A stick?

  16. Marcus, your statement is correct, but your justification is ridiculous. If guns didn't exist, of course no one would be killed by them... but that doesn't mean people wouldn't be murdered. Criminals will just use other means, and to think the world would be safer without them is not only silly, it's foolish.


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