Author Topic: The N.R.A.’s Blockade on Science  (Read 602 times)

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The N.R.A.’s Blockade on Science
« on: January 30, 2013, 09:01:07 PM »
Always striking how much U.S. rightwing controlled groups are like the Taliban, or Al Qaeda.  The NRA, the Texas school board, and others come to mind.



The N.R.A.’s Blockade on Science

The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless.

Gun Control, national rifle association, Newtown shootings, Research, school shootings, The Armed Society

In the wake of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., and the resulting renewed debate on gun control in the United States, The Stone will publish a series of essays this week that examine the ethical, social and humanitarian implications of the use, possession and regulation of weapons. Other articles in the series can be found here.


Maybe this time will be different. Maybe the horror of first-graders gunned down in their school will shock us into action on serious gun control. I hope so, but I also know that our usual pattern is emotional catharsis that turns into inconclusive wrangling, until the next big issue distracts us, and gun control once more slips beneath the political horizon. The National Rifle Association wins again.

Since 2004, research on gun violence has actually decreased.
My view is that the destruction has been so great and the case against gun control so weak that we should move forward immediately with much tougher gun laws. It’s just common sense that we need a radical reduction in the number and kind of guns for sale. But if the past is a guide to the future, the likelihood is that, despite fervent pleas, nothing will happen. What then?

The N.R.A. hasn’t been winning only because it’s persistent to the point of fanaticism or because it has a powerful political organization. It also wins because it has a strong argumentative advantage in the political debate about gun control.
It has been able to neutralize empirical cases for control. In contrast to the debate over global warming, opponents of gun control aren’t easily cast as scientific know-nothings. On the contrary, they often plausibly present themselves as tough-minded empiricists offering facts to counter liberal emoting.

They can do this because — amazingly — there is no current scientific consensus about guns and violence. The most thorough and authoritative analysis is the 2004 report by a panel of leading experts, “Firearms and Violence,” sponsored by the National Research Council. Its startling conclusion was that we simply don’t know enough to make scientifically grounded judgments about which approaches — from gun-control measures to permission-to-carry laws — are likely to work. The panel’s primary recommendation was simply: “If policy makers are to have a solid empirical and research base for decisions about firearms and violence, the federal government needs to support a systematic program of data collection and research that specifically addresses that issue.” Or, as an expert quoted in the Times article on the report said, “The main thrust of it is, we don’t know anything about anything, and more research is needed.”

In the years since the 2004 report, research on firearms has, despite the panel’s recommendation, significantly decreased. According to a 2011 Times article, researchers in the field report that “the amount of money available today for studying the impact of firearms is a fraction of what it was in the mid-1990s, and the number of scientists toiling in the field has dwindled to just a handful as a result.”

It’s not that scientists are uninterested in gun research or don’t know how to study guns’ connection to violence. It’s rather that the N.R.A. has blocked most efforts at serious gun research, going so far as to restrict access to the highly informative data available from Justice Department traces of guns used in crimes. As The Times reported, “Scientists in the field and former officials with the government agency that used to finance the great bulk of this research say the influence of the National Rife Association has all but choked off money for such work.”

As a result, things still stand pretty much as they were in 2004. There is no scientific consensus on the best approach to limiting gun violence, and the N.R.A. is blocking work that might well lead to such a consensus


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Re: The N.R.A.’s Blockade on Science
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 09:03:59 PM »
Yes it must be true that guns cause violence because ... science.

Where is that science you ask. Well the NRA blocks the data from the Justice Department (Eric Holders Justice Department) becaus ethey are just that powerful.

Makes me wonder where Lott got his data from.

« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 09:09:13 PM by BT »


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Re: The N.R.A.’s Blockade on Science
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2013, 09:12:27 PM »
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle