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. . . and the damage done

March 13, 2013 - Harry Eagar
In the past four months, three of the country's leading gun nuts have been shot to death. Not one defended himself, although at least two -- and probably all three -- were armed.

To anyone familiar with the data assembled in the accompanying infographic (from, this will not be a surprise.

At the same time, the Pew Center released a survey which found that about a third of households have guns. Those who do not, Pew said, feel that having guns around is unsafe. We refer to these as the reality-based community.

Many who do keep guns say they feel safer. This is the delusional, or rightwing, community. They may feel safer, but the facts are that they are more at risk, by about an order of magnitude.

Being safe and being at risk are different states of being. The argument from the gun nuts is that their guns keep them from being attacked, not just that they keep them from being attacked successfully.

This is impossible. Given the huge overhang of the unarmed, if being unarmed really increased risk, there would be a huge and obvious excess of victims among the unarmed. There are not.

The subtext of all this is that the gun nuts are timid, frightened people, afraid to walk unarmed down streets that unarmed old women and children traverse without a care every day.

This fear goes a long way toward explaining the strong bias among gun nuts to be rightwingers. It is fair to say that liberals are generally optimists, while conservatives are pessimists. Whether ideology leads to personality, or personality leads to ideology, or both walk forward hand in hand, you are more likely to survive unarmed.


Article Comments



Mar-14-13 5:16 PM

Liberals have been telling me the sky is falling for over a half century. You call that optimistic?


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