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Old January 21, 2014, 06:26 PM   #1
mehavey
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An inconvenient truth ignored... (again) [Research on firearms in the home]

> People may have heightened risks of dying from suicide
> and murder if they own or have access to a gun, according
> to a new analysis of previous research.
>
> Researchers found people who lived in homes with firearms
> were between two and three times more likely to die from
> either cause, compared to those who lived in homes without
> guns.
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/0...tcmp=obnetwork

Here we go again -- it's cast as a "Health & Safety" issue and all sorts of regulatory leverage becomes applicable.

Gee... I guess the earlier Harvard study discounting this view is just fertilizer for potted plants.
http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/...useronline.pdf

Conclusion by the Harvard authors quoting an even older study:

> If you are surprised by [our] finding[s], so [are we]. [We] did
> not begin this research with any intent to “exonerate” hand‐
> guns, but there it is—a negative finding, to be sure, but a nega‐
> tive finding is nevertheless a positive contribution. It directs us
> where not to aim public health resources.


...an inconvenient truth

Last edited by Vanya; January 23, 2014 at 12:58 PM. Reason: clarified title.
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Old January 21, 2014, 09:31 PM   #2
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To this I say "are people who live in homes containing, or have access to high doses of narcotics two to three times more likely to die of a suicidal overdose?"
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Old January 21, 2014, 11:34 PM   #3
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Whenever anyone talks about risk (of anything) and uses the phrase "2 or 3 times more likely to..." it means that they don't have any real numbers that mean anything.

If there were actual, meaningful numbers, they would be shouting them from the proverbial rooftops.

Two or three times more likely to...
What does this mean? Why don't they know if it is two, or if it is three times?

Doesn't give me any warm fuzzies for the accuracy of their conclusions or their math skills.

Now, they could be telling the truth about how much more likely the increase in risk is, but without more than warnings, you cannot do a meaningful risk assessment.

IF, for instance, your risk was 10%, and living in a house with a gun in it made that risk triple, well, that would be 30%. And a 30% risk is significant.

BUT, what if your risk was 0.001% (one in 100,000)? Why, living in a house with a gun in it could triple your risk, to 0.003%! Isn't that a scary thought?

If they don't give numbers, only "more likely to..." then it is meaningless hot air or a calculated effort to mislead. You decide. I already have.
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Old January 22, 2014, 07:50 AM   #4
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It's a rehash of various case controlled studies on firearms and fatalities inside the home. What the researchers do is compare gun ownership rates of people who have died from suicide or homicide to gun ownership rates of controls who have not died. Arthur Kellermann was one of the early researchers that started this type of gun study. There are several problems with drawing conclusions from this type of study. The biggest is that the choice to own a gun isn't random. For example, someone might buy a gun for the express purpose of committing suicide and someone else may acquire a gun because of some specific threat of homicide (think rival drug dealer). The National Academies of Sciences does a good job debunking conclusions drawn from this type of study:

Case-control sampling schemes matching homicide victims to non-victims with similar characteristics have also been used to infer whether owning a firearm is a risk factor for homicide and the utility of firearms for self-defense (see Chapter 7 for a discussion of the case-control methodology). Kellermann et al. (1993) found that persons who had a firearm in the home were at a greater risk for homicide in their home than persons who did not have a firearm (adjusted odds ratio of 2.7). Cummings et al. (1997) found that persons who purchased a handgun were at greater risk for homicide than their counterparts who had no such history (adjusted odds ratio of 2.2).
In light of these findings, Kellermann et al. (1993) ultimately conclude that owning firearms for personal protection is “counterproductive,” (p. 1087) and that “people should be strongly discouraged from keeping guns in the home” (p. 1090). This conclusion rests on the implicit assumption that the decision to own a firearm is random or exogenous with respect to homicide in the home (after controlling for various observed factors, including whether a household member has been hurt in a fight, has been arrested, or has used illicit drugs). Cummings and his colleagues (1997) do not draw such strong causal conclusions, but instead simply describe the observed positive association between firearms and homicide.

In the committee’s view, the exogenous selection assumption and the resulting conclusions are not tenable. While these observed associations between firearms ownership and homicide may be of interest, they do little to reveal the impact of firearms on homicide or the utility of firearms for self-defense. As noted by the authors, even small degrees of misreporting on ownership by either the cases or the controls can create substantial biases in the estimated risk factors (see Kleck, 1997, for an illustration of these biases). A more fundamental inferential problem arises from the fact that ownership is not likely to be random with respect to homicide or other forms of victimization. To the contrary, the decision to own a firearm may be directly related to the likelihood of being victimized. People may, for instance, acquire firearms in response to specific or perceived threats, and owners may be more or less psychologically prone toward violence. Thus, while the observed associations may reflect a causal albeit unspecified path-way, they may also be entirely spurious. As Kellermann and his colleagues note (1993:1089), “it is possible that reverse causation accounted for some of the association we observed between gun ownership and homicide.”
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Old January 22, 2014, 08:16 AM   #5
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I note with interest that since publication of the Academy's study ten years ago,
no Amazon readers have rated it one way or the other.
http://www.amazon.com/Firearms-Viole...s+and+violence

Interesting... most interesting.
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Old January 22, 2014, 08:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Whenever anyone talks about risk (of anything) and uses the phrase "2 or 3 times more likely to..." it means that they don't have any real numbers that mean anything.
Bingo, you win! The variation between 200% and 300% is laughable in terms of determining the statistical significance of a genuine study where real data was collected. In other words - there is no study, no numbers, just anti-gun B.S. with a a not-so-new spin on their agenda.
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Old January 22, 2014, 10:12 AM   #7
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Laughable or not, here is the Mass Media soundbite:

"As reported this week by no less than the Annals of Internal Medicine,
'... [r]esearchers found people who lived in homes with firearms were
between two and three times more likely to die from either cause,
compared to those who lived in homes without guns."


It's now a slam dunk [ipso facto for the kool-aid massess] health & safety
problem -- ripe for regulation "in the common interest."
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Old January 22, 2014, 10:24 AM   #8
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People living in homes are a lot more likely to die in a house fire than those who live on the streets.
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Old January 22, 2014, 10:32 AM   #9
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Here is the real inconvenient truth.
Liars lie.

Ignorant people often believe them and that causes damage to any society.

The excuse that “I don’t have time to go into it” is what we hear from most ignorant folks, but they will sure have time to whine when they are enslaved.

That’s the truth------- like it of not.
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Old January 22, 2014, 11:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
I note with interest that since publication of the Academy's study ten years ago,
no Amazon readers have rated it one way or the other.
http://www.amazon.com/Firearms-Viole...s+and+violence

Interesting... most interesting.


I'm surprised that no one has written a review for Amazon. I'm also surprised that Amazon is selling the book when people can read it for free online.
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Old January 22, 2014, 12:05 PM   #11
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I'll bet that people who die from hanging are about two or three hundred times more likely to do so in a home that contains a rope... Shocking!
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Old January 22, 2014, 12:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Researchers found people who lived in homes with firearms were between two and three times more likely to die from either cause, compared to those who lived in homes without guns.
Even if this claim were true then, gee, what kind of people are they? Are they normal everyday folks or do they have other/additional factors that put them at higher risk (drug dealers, violent criminals, convicted felons, live in "bad" neighborhoods, victims associated with criminals/shady characters, etc.)? Who are these "people" and do they represent the average American?
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Old January 22, 2014, 01:01 PM   #13
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Correlation is NOT Causation

All the murders and suicides we know of have happened on Earth. Therefore, if you live on Earth, you are (at least) 2 to 3 times more likely to be a victim of murder or suicide.

Right?

same logic.

Now, can I get a 5 figure income (or more?) from my "study" and it's conclusions?

Please?


The looked at old data. They ADMIT they used old data. At least some of that old data was debunked decades ago. And, surprise, they draw the same conclusions from that flawed data, this time they dress it up in a slightly different wrapping paper, but inside its still the same fecal matter, and still smells the same...

Around 20 years ago, I was working for a govt subcontractor, and the job included a medical monitoring program (administered by yet another contractor). The program included a yearly physical. One year, as an addition to the program, there was a risk assessment/risk analysis study (provided by a sub contractor to the medical contractor).

It was a couple pages of questions, the standard kind of stuff,.. do I wear a seat belt, do I drive within 5mph of the speed limit, do I drink, do I exercise, do I wear safety equipment at work? at home? all that kind of stuff.

There were NO questions about guns, gun ownership, hunting, etc. Not a single one. In fact, there was only one question even remotely connected to anything violent, which was "have you, or any family member been involved in a physical fight in the past year?"

Now a couple months later, we each get our results, which included their recommendations about how to reduce the risk factors in our lives.

Buried amongst the usual recommendations was the statement that to reduce the risk in our lives we should "avoid handguns". Yes, it was in those exact words, "avoid handguns", with no other explanation or recommendation about it.

If course, being a gun person, this irked me, in the usual way. But then, I got to thinking about it, and it really bothered me. I noticed it, because it was a gun thing, but the larger principal behind it was worse. So I went to my supervisor, explained my point of view, and he agreed. Up the chain it went. Can't say exactly what else happened, but we never got anything from the company that did that "study" ever again.

My argument wasn't about 2nd Amendment rights, gun safety, or anything to do with guns, at all, other than their use of "avoid handguns" in their report.

They had asked NO questions about guns at all. Not one. Yet they produced a conclusion about handguns. Where is their credibility for that? There is none. This makes ALL their other conclusions suspect. Had they asked even one question in the survey that was even remotely related to "handguns", they might have had a leg to stand on, albeit a very weak one. But they didn't. They just made a bold, and totally unsubstantiated statement.

Tossing in a totally off the wall "recommendation" (the fact that I disagreed with it personally was totally irrelevant to the situation), without any research meant that their methodology was clearly flawed. When you are accepting recommendations for improving SAFETY, in a complex industrial setting, particularly on the govt dime for one of their projects, you CANNOT allow such an obviously flawed report to be accepted unchallenged.

Plus, I like handguns!

Don't pretend you have a valid conclusion if you haven't even bothered to gather any data. The same goes for using old data long proven to be flawed.

As the saying goes "that is what we in the Royal Navy call a ..LIE!"
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Old January 22, 2014, 04:45 PM   #14
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CNN - Guns in home increase chances of suicide/homicide risk?

I've not read the article in its entirety yet, however, I thought this whole argument was debunked years ago.

Stating that having guns in your place of residence increases the chance that you, yourself, will have an increased chance of being victimized. Last I checked, simply having a gun in the house doesn't make me anymore likely or unlikely to have suicidal thoughts or tendencies. Though the article does mention this.

Does leaving a firearm out that is loaded and unsecured increase the chances of someone whom is suicidal wanting to kill themselves? I highly doubt it, but does it make it EASIER for them to actually perform the deed? That is debatable, but I'm wary in regards to drawing a correlation between the two.

A suicidal person is going to find a means to end their life one way or the other, a gun is just one of the more expedient and, I'll use this term loosely, painless way of doing it.

EDIT: Reading further on, the article does bring to light that there isn't sufficient evidence to really say if having or not having a gun increases victimization, so it's balanced there. But I'd like to invite discussion on this topic if possible and see what others have to say about the article. I still see a slant towards gun control however, unless I'm reading things wrong.

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2014/0...uicideguns230p

Last edited by Kimio; January 22, 2014 at 04:54 PM.
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Old January 22, 2014, 04:58 PM   #15
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It's true but then ....

Quote:
Stating that having guns in your place of residence increases the chance that you, yourself, will have an increased chance of being victimized.
This is an old [anti-gun] ploy, that gets used ever so often. See how you like this statement;

Home accidents are more likely to be increase with the presence of the following, in the home. Firearms, knives, ladders, water heaters, natural gas services, electrical appliances, pets, alcohol and household chemicals.

This statement is all true and can be backed up, with statistics and this is just a short list. .....

Be Safe !!!
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Last edited by Vanya; January 23, 2014 at 12:53 PM. Reason: we don't do left-wing/right-wing...
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Old January 22, 2014, 04:59 PM   #16
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that statistically, they are probably right. Many successful suicides are spur-of-the-moment decisions. Having easy access to a firearm makes that easier. If the despondent person doesn't have a quick access to means to suicide, then they have time to think about it and stand a greater likelihood of changing their mind (or seaking help).

Some European countries noticed a significant decline in the number of suicides when they forced acetaminophen to be sold in small-quantity blister packs instead of large-quantity bottles (acetaminophen is EXTREMELY deadly with permanent damage occuring in as little as 2x the max recommended doseage and death in only about 4 or 5x the max doseage).
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Old January 22, 2014, 05:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that statistically, they are probably right. Many successful suicides are spur-of-the-moment decisions. Having easy access to a firearm makes that easier. If the despondent person doesn't have a quick access to means to suicide, then they have time to think about it and stand a greater likelihood of changing their mind (or seaking help).
I am going out on a limb as well I would agree.
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Old January 22, 2014, 05:20 PM   #18
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The agenda

Quote:
A suicidal person is going to find a means to end their life one way or the other, a gun is just one of the more expedient and, I'll use this term loosely, painless way of doing it.
Last year there was a report of a suicide by handgun. Under normal circumstance, it would not have been reported, on TV, if at all. The left-wing reporter made sure to included that the firearm used, was a semi-automatic handgun. As if that made any difference to the poor soul. ....

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 22, 2014, 05:58 PM   #19
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First off, the "researcher" is David Hemenway, who has been taking money from the Joyce Foundation for nearly two decades to churn out biased "studies."

Yes, we have more firearm suicides than other countries because we have more firearms. To be fair, let's look at the suicide rates from all causes. We have fewer suicides per capita than just about any other first-world country. That includes many countries that supposedly have a higher standard of living than ours.
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Old January 22, 2014, 06:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
If the despondent person doesn't have a quick access to means to suicide, then they have time to think about it and stand a greater likelihood of changing their mind (or seaking help).
I don't completely agree and I'll explain. This may be one part of a many part issue. It has been believed for quite awhile that women don't like to die in a way that "messes them up", they will cut their wrists before they will use a gun. Be that as it may, the real issue is that a gun is a recognized method just like jumping and ODing on drugs. If the gun is available the execution is an easy concept. If a gun is not available, one must "think" of how they are going to end their life and sometimes the thinking part leads to the thinking that saves their life instead of ending it. The next part is that guns can do a real good job if the person is serious about it. Some other methods are not so easy to pull off or can be interrupted mid process. Someone can walk in on an unconscious person and their live can be saved, where with a gun this isn't so easy to do.

None of these studies ever mention how many times a gun was available to a suicide victim and passed over as the method of choice.
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Old January 22, 2014, 08:58 PM   #21
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Same thing

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/201...nUO/story.html

This article said a lot of the same things. The article said something about taking away guns from at risk people being a better measure for suicide prevention than counseling and other methods. I am not sure about that. That is kindof like saying boys can't get their drivers license until they are 25 because they are at a high risk for accidents. Not a perfect analogy, but none are.

http://www.guncite.com/cummingsjama.html
This one appeared to be a pretty good article outlining how thier conclusion was made and everything. It seemed to say that a gun in the home made the completion of the suicide act more likely, but not that gun owners were more suicidal. The conclusion said that more research needed to be done on gun storage and stuff. I have been taught that responsible gun ownership (especially with children) is to have the gun locked up and the ammo stored separately. I don't know about using the gun for protection and having it ready. There is another topic on this forum that says opposite things about guns being a deterrant and stuff.

Last edited by Againstthewind; January 22, 2014 at 09:11 PM.
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Old January 22, 2014, 09:47 PM   #22
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Yep, and a car in the garage probably makes the owner more likely to be in a vehicle crash or arrested for DUI.

Statistics are like balloon animals, you can decide just how to twist them into the animal you want them to be...

I usually stop listening when the talking head says "...A new study shows...."
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Old January 22, 2014, 10:22 PM   #23
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A tool in the home increases the risk of being injuried by that tool, be it a gun, a saw, a stove, a car, a knife, a garbage disposal, a mower, an espresso machine, a blender, scissors, food processor, pressure cooker and let's not forget the deep fryers. So let's get busy and clear our homes of all these dangerous items before tragedy strikes.

"Live Long and Proper"
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Old January 23, 2014, 04:25 AM   #24
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Quote:
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that statistically, they are probably right. Many successful suicides are spur-of-the-moment decisions. Having easy access to a firearm...
I'm on that limb too, now lets see if & how it bends, breaks, or gets sawed off...

Sure, removing the gun from the suicidal persons reach makes good sense, if you don't want them to do it with a gun. But let me point out that when you make that decision, you have already decided that the (supposed) suicidal person is no longer capable of making their own decisions. This is why you commit them, and why there is the legal authority to do so.

And its a long established practice. The urgency of risk in a suicide situation means the subject gets "protected" first, and then the legal process of them being competent gets worked out. Quite a different situation than the person who is deemed incompetent, but harmless.

Quote:
None of these studies ever mention how many times a gun was available to a suicide victim and passed over as the method of choice.
At the risk of revealing too much of my character, this one made me laugh...

No, they never do seem to study that, but then, WHO ARE THEY GOING TO ASK?

Take a look around at the laws, suicide isn't a crime. Attempted suicide breaks the law in many places, suicide does not. After all, what's the point?

I know its common use, but victim of suicide is as bad in its way as assault weapon or any of the other misleading gun terms we all hate.

Saying victim implies its not a choice. That's not so. It is a choice. Bad choice, lots of people think, but it is a choice. I try to look at it simply, if one dies from something (anything) that is not their choice, then it can be a lot of different things, but, it isn't suicide.
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Old January 23, 2014, 08:06 AM   #25
Dashunde
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What is the most popular suicide method?
If its guns, then follow the logic from there...
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