A comment on one of my posts stated that if we could point to one study that backs up our claim that people would be safer armed, he would never say a public word about guns again. This got me thinking about what research is out there. Yes, there are studies showing owning and carrying firearms do make individuals and communities safer. There are also studies showing owning and carrying firearms makes you less safe. So, how can it be both?
Research studies are very similar to expert testimony in court proceedings. Two highly educated and credentialed “experts” examine the very same piece of evidence and come to completely opposite conclusions. The only difference is one is being paid by the prosecution and the other by the defense. Since both sides cannot be correct, the jury must make up their mind on the arbitrary points surrounding the “experts” like personality, appearance and presentation as a measure of credibility as well as their own preconceived notions about the facts.
Somewhere along the line, scholarly research also turned into a paid for results enterprise. It may have been around the last time we believed a network news reporter was unbiased. Sadly there are no more Uncle Walter’s out there.
Governments, private companies and causes all commission their own research. In a perfect world, the researchers are unbiased professionals who take great care to ensure their results are impartial and have sound, verifiable results. Instead, what we usually see are results that are so highly skewed they can’t stand the light of day to say nothing of peer review. Yet, they are held up as ironclad, scientific proof of whatever points someone was trying to make.
Research results that go against a position are quickly attacked to minimize it. The methodology is said to be faulty, the data incomplete and the researchers biased. Anything and everything is done to discredit any study that doesn’t point to someone’s preconceived notion.
For the most part, no research is going to change your mind if you already have an opinion on the topic. It’s either going to confirm what you believe or conflict with it. “Research” is put out to try to influence the unconvinced, the people who’s opinion can be swayed by the all powerful myth of a scientific study.
Every so often you hear about a commissioned study pointing to results opposite of what they were supposed to find. Does this change the minds of the people who paid for this study? Hell no! They simply bury it and commission another one to come up with the ‘right’ results.
If you wonder why the Second Amendment community opposes radically anti-gun administrations in the White House and California funding “gun violence research”, this is why. Let’s just save the time and taxpayer money and publish the results first – guns are evil and their gun control plans are the only way to stop all violence. Just the results they are paying for – even if they do defy logic.
Of course this does not mean all research is biased garbage. True professionals do exist and their work is commendable. What I’m saying is that it is exceedingly difficult these days to sort out the paid for, pseudo-science opinion pieces from the real deal.
So my response to anyone looking for studies backing up my claims is this: Do a little research of your own. We all have access to news and information around the state, country and world at our fingertips. Look at the ‘studies’ from both sides of the argument. Look at the raw data from law enforcement at the local through the national level. Look at news yourself and don’t be lulled into thinking that just because one news outlet reports something it is fact. Be forewarned, the results may surprise you.
Or, you can simply start off your hypothesis with the phrase: Mirror Mirror on the wall….
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