Tag Archives: statistics

Jumping Off the Ban Wagon


Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  So how about a little history lesson?

Prohibition

Everyone has heard about The Noble Experiment.  The banning of liquor was brought forth in 1913 in an effort to “improve society”, especially for women and African-American labourers.  The result was the Roaring Twenties, when average citizens became criminals, and the Mafia evolved from petty gambling and theft to bootlegging, racketeering and “blood in the streets”.  John D Rockefeller Jr, a supporter of prohibition, summed it up perfectly in 1932.

“When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before.”

War on Drugs

This “war” has been waged in one form or another since 1969.  Obviously use of illicit drugs has fallen since the 60s and 70s, but rates of use have been climbing steadily since the late 80s.   In Canada, since 1997, cannabis use has remained stable, while cocaine and other illicit drug use continues to climb steadily.  According to a 2007 study, from 1994 to 2004 use of illicit drugs in Canada jumped from 28.5% to 45%.  As for the USA, after spending billions of dollars over a 6 year period in Colombia, the DEA has seen an increase in coca production in remote areas of Colombia and neighbouring countries.  In fact from 1980 to 1990 Peru saw a 10-fold increase in coca production in the region (Source: “Drug Policy in Andes Called Failure,” Washington Post, March 27, 1993)

I could quote facts and statistics on this one until I’m blue in the face, but I think everyone knows for themselves just how dismal a failure this “war” has been.

Gun Ban

I never love statistics more than when I’m discussing gun bans.  Why?  Because there isn’t a single statistic that shows gun control of any kind to be a success.  Australia instituted strict gun control laws in 1997, and over the last 10 years, they’ve seen assault increase by 49%, robbery increase by 6%, sexual assault increase 30%, and violent crime increase by 42%.  The UK brought in their strict gun laws in 1988 and have since seen a 500% increase in their violent crime rates.  In Canada our violent crime rate has also continued to increase.  And despite our handgun registration laws (in place since 1934), handguns are still used in approximately 30% of homicides every year.

Hey all you Ban Wagon folks!  What were you saying about gun control lowering crime rates again?

Pointy-Knife Ban

Nope, I’m not joking.  For the last several years, Emergency Room doctors in the UK have been calling for a ban on pointed kitchen knives in a bid to reduce deaths from stabbings.  Do a google search for the thousands of news articles on this topic.  What’s next?  A knitting needle ban?  Or how about selling only plastic baseball and cricket bats from now on?  Or maybe we should just amputate our opposable thumbs at birth so that we can’t grip any weapons?   Seriously, when I read stories like these I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

 

So what do the above issues all have in common?  Well they all involve attempts to solve problems by focussing on the symptoms rather than the disease.  Rather than educating people or properly punishing those who commit crimes, our “leaders” choose to take out their frustrations on inanimate objects instead.  What’s my point, you ask?  I’d just like to know when the I’m-scared-of-my-shadow-so-let’s-ban-sunshine crowd is going to wake up and realize that bans do not work.  In every instance I’ve mentioned above, bans have either had no measurable effect or they have made worse the issue they were meant to solve.

As a gun owner I’m often accused of being “paranoid”.  That always makes me laugh – pot this is kettle calling.  It’s the Ban Wagon, after all, that’s so afraid of inanimate objects that they seek to eradicate them from society. 

“Be Prepared”.  Everyone knows the Boy Scout motto.  But here’s my question to the Ban Wagon: what do those two words mean to you?  You see, to me, being prepared is not an action, it’s a mindset.  It’s about being aware of the realities of this world and planning for all possible eventualities, both good and bad.  More importantly, it’s about personal responsibility.

Yeah, I said it again.  I don’t care if you’re sick of hearing it, I’m gonna keep saying it.  Personal responsibility.  Being prepared means realizing that in the event of a disaster, I can rely only on my own resources.  Being prepared means understanding that if I’m attacked, I am the key to my survival.  Being prepared means comprehending the fact that by their very nature, all governments are corrupt, some just moreso than others. Being prepared means recognizing that no amount of laws, rules, regulations, restrictions, bans or good intentions will ever erase human nature.

For any members of the Ban Wagon who may be reading this post, did you notice how in the previous three paragraphs, there were a lot of I‘s in there?  That’s because I don’t presume to speak for all gun owners, or all women, or all people, even though it’s a fact that many think and believe the same things I do. 

You see, I give people credit for a certain degree of intelligence.  And I don’t insult that intelligence by suggesting that an inanimate object is the cause of all the ills in our world.  I give people credit for being human and accept all the good and bad that being human entails.

People are always going to make bad choices.  I’m afraid, that comes part and parcel with the free will thing.  So how about we all jump off team Ban Wagon?  And instead of passing laws that infringe on the rights of people who might make a bad decision (Thoughtcrime, anyone?), let’s just pass laws that punish people who actually do make a bad decision.  Gee, that sounds suspiciously like people taking responsibility (yup, there’s that word again) for the decisions they make and dealing with all the consequences that come with that choice.  We can’t possibly have that…

A Ray of Truth About Domestic Violence


When I created this blog, I had no desire to turn it into the Elizabeth Mandelman show.  But since she continues to post half-truths and outright lies and I’ve been banned from commenting on her blog, I’m left with little choice.

In one of my early posts on Ms Mandelman’s blog (now deleted), I made a comment about how victims choose to stay with their abusive partners.  Another reader took exception to that:

 Natasha says:

“…I find it very presumptuous to say that all Pat had to do was leave. How can you leave someone who is threatening your life with a gun? If she were to leave, how do you know her husband were not to follow her to wherever she was staying and harm not only her but also the people she loves? Also, it is important to note that her daughter must have been very young at the time. Thus, it was not solely her own well being for which she had to be concerned but additionally that of her child.”

I agree that once a relationship reaches that degree of violence and abuse, leaving is no easy task.  And children most definitely complicate the issue.   The point that people like Natasha and Ms Mandelman are missing is that abusive relationships don’t just “happen”.  People don’t just wake up one morning and say to themselves “I think I’m going to kick my spouse in the head today.”  These relationships evolve over time.  The incidents usually start out small and easy to rationalize with thoughts like “they didn’t really mean it”, or “it was an accident”.  But over time they gradually become worse and worse, because by staying, the victim is silently telling their partner that their behaviour is acceptable.  There are thousands of points along the way where the victim makes the choice to stay and accept the abuse. 

So I agree with Cindy Cowan when she says:

 “Spending money on ‘patching women up’ is not the solution to ending domestic violence.” 

Patching women up is quite literally, a Band-Aid solution.  Education programs in high schools, public awareness campaigns, treatment programs for abusers, an end to our “revolving door” justice system, these would be fantastic starting points to address the issue of domestic violence.  Increased restrictions on law-abiding citizens, on the other hand, would not.

The Firearms Act has done absolutely nothing to reduce the rates of domestic violence.  According to Statistics Canada, a weapon is used in only 7% of spousal assault cases, and it’s female abusers who reach for a weapon twice as often as men.  A firearm is used in spousal assault in a whopping 0.1% of cases, 0.08% of the time against women.  That’s about 35 women per year.  And there’s no indication as to how many of those women are threatened/harmed with a legally registered firearm.  At a cost of $100 million per year to maintain the incomplete and inaccurate long gun registry for only 35 victims (specific to their cause), it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how deeply flawed the positions of Ms Mandelman and IANSA are.

Additionally, the use of a firearm in cases of spousal homicide has been declining since the 1970s.  You’ll note from the graph below, that the rate of decline has actually slowed since the introduction of the Firearms Act in 1995.  I’ve asked this question before, and I’ll continue to ask it until the “other side” can give me an answer: What could a piece of legislation introduced in 1995 possibly have to do with a trend that started in 1974? 

   

In part of her interview with Cindy Cowan, Ms Mandelman made this video.  In it, Ms Cowan states:

 “…[it’s about societies] that say some people are worth less than, right, they have less value…”

I know exactly what she means.  I am a firearms owner after all.  According to the gun control lobby, my rights are less than the rights of abused women.  According to the gun control lobby, it’s perfectly acceptable to limit the rights of 2 million licensed firearms owners for the sake of 35 women.  I mean we’re only talking about the right to privacy, the right to a fair trial, the right to be presumed innocent, and the right against unreasonable search and seizure, just to name a few.  It’s not like those rights are important or anything.  Those 2 million people are downright selfish for fighting to regain those rights when there are 35 women at risk who chose to stay in abusive relationships.  How insensitive of those brutish, Neanderthal gun owners.

I’ll leave the dripping sarcasm behind to finish with one last part of Ms Mandelman’s blog.

“When they do take the step to begin a new life, they must often do so with someone else’s used sheets and outgrown clothes.   How is this fair?  How is it, I wonder, that there are individuals that consider their privilege of owning a firearm more worthy than the right to safety and protection, afforded to all Canadian citizens by their government?”

Second-hand clothes and sleeping in a dorm are not exactly one of life’s great hardships.  Having done so for many years myself, I wouldn’t call it a hardship at all, but I realize that’s a highly subjective point.  If it concerns Ms Mandelman that much, maybe she should consider just how many new sheets and clothes $100 million per year could buy these shelters.

As to her claim that firearm ownership is only a privilege in Canada, well I now have the happy job of informing her that she’s incorrect.  I’ve recently been educated on that point myself.  The details can be found here about halfway down the page under the section titled Right to Bear Arms.

As Ms Mandelman correctly stated, in Canada we do have the right to security of the person.  This is the part where I get a little bit fuzzy about the gun control lobby’s stance.  They claim to be fighting their campaign in the name of public safety, or in this case for the reduction of domestic violence.  How then, do they justify taking away the very tool that a woman might use to protect herself?

62% of statistics are made up on the spot


The title of this entry may be a bit facetious, but there is an element of truth to it.  The written word is often taken as absolute gospel.  That’s because most people, understandably, can’t be bothered to verify the facts themselves.  It’s for this reason that I cite my references and sources whenever I quote anything, be it a statistic or a comment.  And when it comes to statistics, I try to use neutral sources, like Statistics Canada, wherever possible.  This way I get the true numbers before the spin has been added.

I was just re-reading Elizabeth Mandelman’s “An Interview with Wendy Cukier” and I found myself dumbfounded by the first sentence:

“In Canada, 85% of female homicide victims are murdered by their partners and in Ontario, possession or access to firearms is the fifth leading risk factor for femicide.”

Something about that number, 85%, just didn’t ring true to me, so I did some digging.  Lo and behold, it’s a complete fabrication.  The numbers for 2007, according to this document, state:

Total Homicides                                                  594

Female Victims                                                    162

Females killed by spouse                                       51

(legal and common law, past and current)

Killed by boyfriend/girlfriend/intimate                     16

(past and current)

The last number isn’t broken down into male and female victims, so for my purposes, I’m going to assume a worst-case scenario and say that all of the victims were female.  That gives us a grand total of 67 women who were killed by their current or previous spouse or partner (51+16=67).  So with 162 women killed in total for the year 2007 that works out to 41% of female homicide victims being murdered by their partners.  Not 85% as was so sensationally claimed in Ms Mandelman’s blog.

Is that still a horrendous figure? Absolutely.  But at least it’s the real figure and not a fabricated number designed to illicit an emotional response from the reader. 

According to the RCMP, there are about 2 million licensed firearms owners in Canada.  Most estimates place the actual number of firearms owners at around 5 million people.  That accounts for roughly 15% of the population of Canada. 

Call me crazy here, but if you’re heading a campaign to bring in new laws that will have an immediate and direct impact on 15% of the population, is it not too much to ask that you tell the truth?