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Thursday, February 7, 2013

KIRO TV Attacks Gun Buyback Program for Not Doing What It Never Claimed It Would Do

Posted by on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 3:20 PM

KIRO 7 "Investigates" is promising to blow the lid off Seattle's gun buyback program in an exclusive special report. "Seattle’s gun buyback program is designed to make streets safer," KIRO's website teases, "But when KIRO 7 starts digging, it looks like it all might be for show. Watch the untold story Thursday at 5."

Wow. Talk about over-promising. And I'm talking about KIRO, not the gun buyback program.

The problem is, KIRO is starting from a faulty premise: "Fewer guns, fewer crimes. Streets are safer, so you're safer. That's the hype, so they claim," the KIRO promo leads in with. Except that's not at all what the program's sponsors ever claimed. The buyback was never about getting guns out of the hands of criminals. It was always about getting guns out of the homes of people who didn't want them.

Yes, those unwanted guns are now no longer available to be stolen, so perhaps a gun related crime or two was indirectly prevented there. That's been mentioned by public officials. But the main goal of the buyback was always just to make hundreds of homes a little bit safer. Because study after study shows that the presence of a gun in one's house substantially increases one's risk of death or injury from firearms:

For most contemporary Americans, scientific studies indicate that the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit. The evidence is overwhelming for the fact that a gun in the home is a risk factor for completed suicide and that gun accidents are most likely to occur in homes with guns. There is compelling evidence that a gun in the home is a risk factor for intimidation and for killing women in their homes. On the benefit side, there are fewer studies, and there is no credible evidence of a deterrent effect of firearms or that a gun in the home reduces the likelihood or severity of injury during an altercation or break-in.

Gun violence is a public health issue, and that is what gun buybacks are intended to address. Between 2006 and 2010, 68 percent of gun deaths in King County were by suicide. As for gun homicides, a 1993 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found the odds of homicide among households with a firearm to be 2.7 times higher than households without.

So are you safer after the gun buyback? You are if you are one of the hundreds of people who turned in their guns. That's what the sponsors promised. And it sure as hell wasn't hype.

These are the sort of statistics that city, county, and law enforcement officials cited again and again before, during, and after the buyback, and these were the issues they claimed the buyback would help address. Nobody I talked to ever claimed what KIRO claims they claimed. So if KIRO was under the mistaken impression that the buyback was promising to get guns out of criminals' hands, well, they just weren't paying close attention.

As for KIRO's assertion that the buyback was "all for show," well, at least their crack reporters got it half right. The buyback was indeed partially for show. It was both an opportunity to educate families about the dangers of keeping a firearm in the house, and an opportunity to keep the issue of gun violence alive and in front of voters as lawmakers debate reform. Every official I spoke to was very forthright about that. So it hardly takes a KIRO TV "investigation."

Look, I'm all for castigating public officials when they lie, cheat, or fuck up. But to take a privately funded gun buyback program that succeeded beyond its wildest expectations, and attempt to present it as some sort of government scandal is just plain irresponsible. And dishonest.

 

Comments (29) RSS

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Will in Seattle 2
Heck, they're wasting valuable police time asking why no charges in a house fire where 25 MJ plants were found.

News flash, the 21st Century called, time to move on, KIRO.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 7, 2013 at 3:28 PM · Report this
Clara T 3
You on the money, money.
Posted by Clara T on February 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM · Report this
4
Hey Goldy, I know that you like to use factual evidence... Have you actually read Kellerman's study? Where he "found the odds of homicide among households with a firearm to be 2.7 times higher than households without"?

Because he also found the following:


Variable Adjusted Odds Ratio
---------------------------------------------------
Illicit drug use 5.7
Home rented 4.4
Any household member hit or 4.4
hurt in a fight in the home
Case subject or control 3.7
lived alone
Gun or guns kept in the home 2.7
Any household member arrested 2.5

So, using Kellerman's own data, until the last few months when pot became legal, all the pot-smoking-but-not-gun-owning staffers of The Stranger were almost twice as likely to be a victim of a homicide than non-pot-smoking-gun-owners.

Additionally, whether or not you believe Wikipedia, it includes this paragraph on the 1993 study by Kellerman:

"Pro-gun groups claimed, however, that this was only a truncated version of Kellermann’s full dataset, arguing that it omitted his crucial data on whether guns used in the firearm homicides he studied belonged to anyone in the victim’s household,[14] a critical issue in judging the plausibility of his conclusion that owning a gun caused an increased risk of being murdered. This information had clearly been gathered by Kellermann since it was used in another of his studies.[15] Once this information was taken into account, it was found that the effect of household gun ownership on the risk of homicide could not have been more than 6% of the effect that was estimated by Kellermann.[16]"
More...
Posted by randoma on February 7, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this
Goldy 5
@4 Kellermann's is only one of many that reaches similar conclusions. I cited it because it provides an actual number, and I had a link conveniently at hand. But it only refers to homicides, and doesn't address the increased risk of death or injury due to suicide, accident, or other.

Play the skeptic game all you want. It doesn't change the fact that having a gun in the house substantially increases your risk of being killed or injured by a firearm.
Posted by Goldy on February 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM · Report this
Just Jeff 6
Good for KIRO. The buyback program was stupid..
Posted by Just Jeff on February 7, 2013 at 4:07 PM · Report this
Clara T 8
"But it only refers to homicides, and doesn't address the increased risk of death or injury due to suicide, accident, or other."

Yep. If I had a nickel for every "responsible gun owner" in my life who sounded EXACTLY like #4 before blowing their own head off I'd have a dime. Suicide is a risk factor not to be overlooked. The "I'm so chronically depressed" stereotype isn't the actuality; rather 1/2 of all suicides are impulsive decisions by people not chronically depressed or otherwise mentally ill. Stressful week, ugly fight with spouse, future's looking a little bleak at that second, couple of cocktails and fuck it, blammo. And guess what? This pathology increases as men move into and through middle-age.

No gun equals far less likely to damage oneself impulsively. Of course it will never happen to you, as it could never happen to both the guys I knew who said the exact same thing. Their guns in fact made them safer you see ....
Posted by Clara T on February 7, 2013 at 4:38 PM · Report this
9
As bad as the Seattle Times' reporting is, it's still better than local TV "news" by at least an order of magnitude. Might as well by critiquing the Weekly World News.
Posted by decidedlyodd on February 7, 2013 at 4:40 PM · Report this
Sam Levine 10
Suicide, although tragic, does not generally make the streets more dangerous (which is what the TFS is about, apparently). Getting criminals off the streets does work though, which is why the murder rate in the country is down to levels near what we had in the late 1950s.

People aren't generally holding up liquor stores or mugging folks with old hunting rifles, which is what most of what the buyback program purchased. They did bag a couple hundred handguns, which when multiplied by the number of homes that are burglarized each year in the city, may result in one or two criminals having to commit two felonies instead of one to purchase a firearm.

In terms of bang for buck in public safety, this doesn't seem like a great use of private dollars. It may be effective political theater, but that's not the same thing.
Posted by Sam Levine http://levinetech.net on February 7, 2013 at 4:41 PM · Report this
13
Good God, We all ready know The Stranger's editorial view on guns. Why not at least wait until KIRO runs their story and then report on it.

In other news Alaska is awash with guns and has murder rates comparable to Western European countries per Alaska Dispatch reporting by Craig Medre…. Perhaps the guns are not the source of violent crime because, you know, they are inanimate tools without free will and actual legal uses. Too bad that doesn't fit Goldy's world view enough to be worthy of reporting.
Posted by restlessnative on February 7, 2013 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Goldy 14
One of the best arguments in favor of gun control is how angry so many gun advocates seem to be. Get ahold of yourselves, guys. Gun buybacks are voluntary. They're no threat to you.
Posted by Goldy on February 7, 2013 at 5:01 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 15
@14
Voluntary or not they are a wast of city funds and police resources that could better be used fighting actual crime. Not to mention how McGyn's little photo op tied up traffic on the way to Harborview Medical Center, the regions trauma center as well as the other local hospitals that specialize in Cardiac, Neurological, and Scalar care.

Funny that you and the mayor are so concerned about "if it saves one life" but give zero fucks about delaying ambulances in REAL life or death situations where seconds count.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on February 7, 2013 at 5:18 PM · Report this
16
Don't forget the Candlelight March and Vigil Against Gun Violence on Capitol Hill on Saturday night. www.candlelight.org
Posted by Sandman on February 7, 2013 at 5:36 PM · Report this
17
@14
"Gun buybacks are voluntary. They're no threat to you."

Who cares about them?
You've seen the pictures of people buying guns from the other people in line.

"Fewer guns, fewer crimes. Streets are safer, so you're safer. That's the hype, so they claim," the KIRO promo leads in with.

Goldy, that is what you keep claiming.
Everyone here who supports gun owners TOLD you that the buy back would accomplish nothing with regards to reducing crime.

Because getting the guns away from law-abiding citizens does NOT get the guns away from the criminals.

And I fully expect to be posting that AGAIN the next time you're on a "guns do not make you safe" rant.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 7, 2013 at 6:25 PM · Report this
18
You'd think KIRO would have learned a lesson on responsible journalism after the Washington News Council chewed them up and spit them out this summer.

Maybe its time for a re-run.
Posted by Fizgig on February 7, 2013 at 6:28 PM · Report this
Goldy 19
@13 Um, according to FBI data, the murder rate in Alaska was 4.0 per 100,000 in 2011. By comparison, it was 2.4 in Washington State, and 4.7 nationally. You have to look to former Soviet bloc states to find "Western countries" with higher murder rates than Alaska's.

So good job making shit up.
Posted by Goldy on February 7, 2013 at 6:36 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 20
@19

The former Soviet bloc, or one of the states with strict gun control:
Illinois: 5.6 per 100,000 in 2011
California: 4.8 per 100,000
New Jersey: 4.3 per 100,000

Also most former soviet states also have strict gun control.

What were you saying about making shit up again?
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on February 7, 2013 at 6:45 PM · Report this
21
@5 - Goldy, you say, "Play the skeptic game all you want. It doesn't change the fact that having a gun in the house substantially increases your risk of being killed or injured by a firearm. "

I'd like to define the "substantially" part. Could you provide some links to the "many that reaches similar conclusions."?

Because, if my math is correct, independent analysis of Kellerman's data found a very very small (.15 times) increase in the likelihood of homicide. And, even if you use Kellerman's own findings, just living alone makes you much more likely to be a homicide victim than having a gun in the house.

@8, While I realize that anecdotal evidence is king around here, I would greatly appreciate it if you could provide a link to a peer reviewed study that is available for access online, that supports your claims.

And yes, I am aware that studies are hard to find after the NRA successfully lobbied to strip funding from firearms research. However, it was precisely the sort of finding by Kellerman, that were politically motivated and did not hold up to later scrutiny that caused that lobbying.

Additionally, for the amount that Kellerman's research is quoted, without any sort of reference that his research may have been flawed (much like Goldy did here), although I don't necessarily agree with it, I can completely understand the NRA's viewpoint here.
Posted by randoma on February 7, 2013 at 7:20 PM · Report this
24
@21
"And yes, I am aware that studies are hard to find after the NRA successfully lobbied to strip funding from firearms research."

I have, on multiple occasions, suggested that The Stranger publish a running list of any and all shootings in the area.
With as much information as possible gathered on each incident.
Whether it was just wounds or death.
Even throw in shootings where no one seems to have been hit.
But that has not happened yet.

Why wait for national/federal/whatever research when they have the perfect platform for LOCAL research.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 7, 2013 at 8:10 PM · Report this
Goldy 26
@21 Go to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center firearms research home page, and peruse the many studies for yourself.
Posted by Goldy on February 7, 2013 at 8:43 PM · Report this
27
One thing I've learned since Sandyhook is that gun nuts love their guns more than they love their families and possessions combined. Start talking about universal gun registration and background checks, mandatory safety training, paying people to voluntarily turn in their guns, whatever it is the Obama plan is proposing, and you'd think the government was threatening to burn their houses and turn them into the street. My god, people. Chill. Uncle Sam will not march into your homes and take away your toys. Seriously.
Posted by floater on February 7, 2013 at 9:08 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 28
@27: What part of "out of my cold, dead hands" did you not understand?
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on February 7, 2013 at 10:23 PM · Report this
fletc3her 29
The gun enthusiasts are more interested in railing against straw men than in promoting safe gun ownership. People who give up their guns for a gift card are unlikely to be experts in their use. They are safer without them.
Posted by fletc3her on February 7, 2013 at 10:51 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 30
@29
I agree many of the people who were turning guns in were not trained in gun safety, judging from the muzzle and trigger control. People were leaning on their guns with the muzzles pointed at themselves or others with their fingers on the trigger. I am damn surprised that no one got shot.

However they can turn in any of hteir firearms to a police precinct at any time or sell them to some one like me, a concealed pistol license holder with extensive firearms safety training and a secure gun safe.

This buyback was a feel good photo op for the mayor and police chief, it took tax payer money, caused a traffic jam and delayed Emergency Medical Services in their transport of patients to local emergency rooms. It also had the side effect of creating a legal open air gun market where one did not previously exist.

The buyback did absolutely nothing to keep the citizens of this city safe from gun violence, in fact if anything it put more people at risk and certainly put more peoples lives at danger.

For what?
A local politicians political stunt.

And to personally reaffirm my position on gun safety I am now putting Col. Jeff Cooper's 4 rules of firearms safety. in all my firearms related slog postings.

1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)

3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.

4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

More...
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on February 7, 2013 at 11:21 PM · Report this
31
@26, Goldy, thanks for the link. However, as far as I can tell, almost all the data there is abstracts and/or simply titles of the articles, which us peons don't have access to.. Is there anywhere that you know of where the actual articles are aggregated? I did order Hemenway's book..

Also, not a complaint, merely an observation - Miller and Hemenway are responsible for almost all the articles I see. Many articles written by the same team is not exactly the same thing as many people coming to the same conclusion.
Posted by randoma on February 7, 2013 at 11:33 PM · Report this
32
Okay, I did a little experiment with one of the studies in the link provided:

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter…

"For example, one study (Miller 2007) used survey-based measures of state household firearm ownership.....The study found that males and females and people of all age groups were at higher risk for suicide if they lived in a state with high firearm prevalence. This is perhaps most concrete when looking not at rates or regression results but at raw numbers. The authors compared the 40 million people who live in the states with the lowest firearm prevalence (HI, MA, RI, NJ, CT, NY) to about the same number living in the states with the highest firearm prevalence (WY, SD, AK, WV, MT, AR, MS, ID, ND, AL, KY, WI, LA, TN, UT)."

Now, I don't have numbers for suicide per state handy, but I do have numbers for firearm homicide per state:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violenc…

Now, if we take the 6 states with the lowest firearm ownership and compare them to the 15 states with the highest firearm ownership (same states as used in the study), we get about 1.7 homicides per 100k as an average in those 6 states, compared to 2.9/100k as an average in the 15 states. (These results are highly skewed by two states - if you remove LA and MS, the average is only 2.08/100k). So, fine, it looks like the high firearm ownership states have nearly twice the rate of firearm homicide!!

Except, if you actually consider the 10 lowest states by firearm ownership:

http://usliberals.about.com/od/Election2…

You get an average rate of 2.98/100k which is a HIGHER average than the 15 states with the highest percentage of firearm ownership. Now, Louisiana, which has the highest rate of homicide, and firearm homicide in the country is not even in the top 10 for firearm ownership. If you take the top 10 states for firearm ownership, you get an average of 2.3/100k, which is substantially lower than the 2.9/100k that you get for the top 15.

Gun-control-nuts keep going on about gun-nuts cherry picking data. However, it appears, at least from this one small exercise, that gun-control-nuts are at least as guilty about cherry picking data themselves.

And yes, I am fully aware that I am not comparing Apples to Apples. If someone can provide a link to suicide data, I'd be happy to run the numbers.
More...
Posted by randoma on February 8, 2013 at 12:30 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 33
This is the most coverage that KIRO has had in a decade...and this thread has more people on it than who watch KIRO's newscast
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on February 8, 2013 at 7:39 AM · Report this
Nelson Bradley 34
God I miss Lou Guzzo...
Posted by Nelson Bradley on February 8, 2013 at 9:05 AM · Report this
McGee 36
@30 Do you have the same amount of firearms safety training as this guy, jackoff. I bet you do. This is who you are.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/18/ne…
Posted by McGee on February 8, 2013 at 5:55 PM · Report this
McGee 38
@37 Go lose your gun on a playground, asshole. It's inevitable.
Posted by McGee on February 14, 2013 at 6:12 PM · Report this

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