In Sunday’s New York Times, Elisabeth Rosenthal claimed, as the title of her article put it, “More Guns = More Killing.” She based this on evidence that would never be permitted in any other context at the Times: (1) anecdotal observations; and (2) bald assertions of an activist, blandly repeated with absolutely no independent fact-checking by the Times.
There is an academic, peer-reviewed, long-term study of the effect of various public policies on public, multiple shootings in all 50 states over a 20-year period performed by renowned economists at the University of Chicago and Yale, William Landes and John Lott. It concluded that the only policy to reduce the incidence of, and casualties from, mass shootings are concealed-carry laws. The Times will never mention this study.
Instead, Rosenthal’s column proclaimed that armed guards do not reduce crime because: “I recently visited some Latin American countries … where guards with guns grace every office lobby, storefront, ATM, restaurant and gas station. It has not made those countries safer or saner.”
So there you have it: The cock crowed, then the sun came up. Therefore, the cock’s crowing caused the sun to come up. Rosenthal went to Harvard Medical School.
Here’s a tip: High-crime areas are often bristling with bulletproof glass, heavy-duty locks, gated windows and armed guards. The bulletproof glass doesn’t cause the crime; it’s a response to crime. On Rosenthal’s logic, hospitals kill people because more people die in hospitals than outside of them.
(In any event, the Lott-Landes study didn’t recommend armed guards, but armed citizens.)
Rosenthal also produces a demonstrably false statistic about Australia’s gun laws, as if it’s a fact that has been carefully vetted by the Newspaper of Record, throwing in the true source only at the tail-end of the paragraph:
“After a gruesome mass murder in 1996 provoked public outrage, Australia enacted stricter gun laws, including a 28-day waiting period before purchase and a ban on semiautomatic weapons. … Since, rates of both homicide and suicide have dropped 50 percent …,” said Ms. Peters, who lobbied for the legislation.”
“Ms. Peters” is Rebecca Peters, a George Soros-funded, Australian anti-gun activist so extreme that she had to resign from the International Action Network on Small Arms so as not to discredit the U.N.-recognized organization — which isn’t easy to further discredit.
Could the Times’ public editor weigh in on whether unsubstantiated quotes from radical activists are now considered full and complete evidence at the Times?
It would be as if the Times headlined an article, “Abortion Increases Risk of Breast Cancer” with the sole support being a quote from Operation Rescue’s Randall Terry. (Except Terry would have evidence.)
Whether or not the homicide rate went up or down in Australia as a result of strict gun control laws imposed in 1997 is a fact that could have been checked by Times researchers. But they didn’t, because facts wouldn’t have given them the answer they wanted.