I don't think so. It looked at 3000+ cases of people being shot in the Philly area. So if shots were not fired, it was not captured in the data.
That was my impression as well.
I think all those cases where a gun was brandished to scare off or prevent a crime are difficult to quantify
They certainly can be. The fact that estimates vary so much is a pretty good indication of that, even when you consider the biases of the people who claim to this or that set of numbers.
and I am extremely skeptical of the numbers.
I can understand that. And as much as I like to believe that I'm a scientific skeptic -- and in most areas, I am -- I also have to admit that there are areas where my biases can be hard to overlook. This is one of them, which is why I always try to make an extra effort to maintain my objectivity. It's not easy.
Unless someone comes up and announces his or her intent to rob you, you are guessing at motivations.
Sometimes it might be. Other times, it isn't. If you're talking about a home invasion, for example, motivations aren't difficult to guess.
"I saw a guy with lots of tattoos who kept looking at me. When he approached, I pulled out my Glock. He ran away. Wooooo! Second Amendment!"
I don't know how often that happens, but I do know that it's a good way to get arrested. In most jurisdictions, brandishing a firearm without justification is at least a misdemeanor and in some jurisdictions a felony. "Brandishing", in some jurisdictions, even includes things like sweeping your coat back and letting your sidearm show by accident when you reach into your pocket for your keys or something.
Aside, by the way: if a person who has a gun is more likely to get shot than to be able to use it to protect himself, does that mean that police officers and law abiding citizens shouldn't have any guns, and convicted criminals should have all the guns they want so that we can wait for them to get killed?
I cannot tell if that is humor, sarcasm or what.
It was an attempted reductio ad absurdum
: if guns are more dangerous to those who possess them, then obviously criminals should have them and police officers shouldn't. The idea is to possibly make you think about some things, since that notion is obviously ridiculous, as you say.
Of course I don't think crimials should have guns. Nor mentally ill people. Nor irresponsible assholes. That latter category includes a minimum of 50% of the human population. They are also over represented in gun injuries.
I think these numbers tell me anyone who wants to buy a gun for self defense should think twice. Because chances are, it won't help you. And in a confrontation with someone else with a gun, it makes you 4 times more likely to be killed than if you didn't have one. Maybe the key is to just leave your gun at home?
If you want to argue that it's OK to use firearms for self-defense at home but not in public, I can understand that. I don't agree, but there is a lot to be said for that stance, and I'm not concerned to refute it.
As for police, I have a growing paranoia about them.
So do I. A friend of mine who just finished law school advises not talking to police at all, ever, unless you're doing something like reporting a crime. I'm inclined to agree with him.
With the proliferation of video cameras in phones it is easier than ever to document police abuse and corruption.
I don't know if you've been following this or not, but there have been quite a few cases where people were recording police carrying out their duties, and the police have ordered them to stop and confiscated their equipment, and even arrested them, if they didn't. It's very worrisome. Courts have reiterated that police going about their duties in public places have no expectation of privacy and that it's perfectly legal to record them, but a lot of cops don't like that, and it's still happening.
And there is so much of it I have come to fear and loathe police. It appears that a significant portion of them fall into the "irresponsible assholes" category. Given that, I do think police should be more like those in the UK, where their guns are locked up in their cars and they need permission from HQ to take them out. Based on that study about how just seeing a gun makes men more agressive, I think that would be a safer approach.
I agree with this as well, especially inasmuch as in the United States, one out of every three cops who gets shot in the line of duty is shot with his own weapon.
I believe you were the one a while back who pointed out the strange dichotomy that a lot of cops and soliders have, right? Where they take tremendous pride in their self-sacrifice for protecting our safety and freedoms while simultaneously sneering at us and saying that we don't deserve them? That doesn't just make me angry, it also makes me very, very nervous.