Saturday, January 9, 2016
Busting Myths About Gun Violence
On the day that President Obama held a town hall appearance to address gun violence in the US, Mother Jones posted an article entitled 7 Myths About Gun Violence, Debunked. The article provides links to previous articles that have addressed various claims made about gun violence, in the process separating fiction from fact. What I like best about the article (and the links therein) is that it takes an evidence-based approach to reporting and interpreting the available evidence. A few of the issues raised in the article are ones I've discussed before, including the controversy over how to define mass shootings (Mother Jones uses a very cautious operational definition, which is probably wise) as well as the lack of evidence to support a popular but wrong claim regarding the role of mental illness on mass shootings (to which I would add gun violence in general). What I appreciate most about this particular article is that it lays out a legitimate social and public health problem in a way that cuts through the misinformation, and in the process hopefully spurs thought and conversation rather than ill-informed panic.