June 30, 2006
More Philadelphia gun violence!
Bear in mind that the statistics you read about include incidents like this:
A burglar who kicked his way into a locked store early yesterday found himself facing the shop's owner - who was armed and fired his gun, police said.Good for the store owner! Imagine for a moment how much money he has saved society. At 32, I think it's reasonable to assume that if the dead man was a career burglar, he's probably been breaking into stores and houses for over a decade, with untold economic consequences (to say nothing of the additional costs occasioned if he's been arrested, tried, convicted, imprisoned, paroled, supervised, etc.)
Unfortunately, the story was buried on page B-8 of today's Inquirer. I can't state with confidence that this is because of any bias against defensive or justifiable shootings, but for whatever reason, the Inquirer apparently doesn't think these stories are as newsworthy as shooting incidents which occur for reasons unknown. When criminals shoot each other (a common occurrence), it's often front page news. As a matter of routine, the numbers are added to the "death toll" from "gun violence."
Few will notice today's buried story, which is why I'm linking it.
However, what most irritates me about this story is that the criminal's death will be added to this statistical tally of "gun deaths." And "homicides." (Which of course it is.) What that means is that eventually, it will plausibly be spun as "gun violence" and the suspect even turned into a "victim."
More attention needs to be paid to tallying these justifiable killings by private citizens.
I'm wondering . . .
Is there any way to prevent them from being used to buttress the anti-gun position?
Or has it been decided that it is not in our best interest to be able to distinguish between justifiable and unjustifiable killings?
Any analysis is further complicated by the fact that "justifiable homicide" is not a synonym for "self defense." The former often involves a legal finding by the authorities before a trial, while the latter is a criminal defense raised during trial.
I don't have easy answers. All I know is that I have grown weary of questionable statistics.
(And the pacifist meme that all violence is bad.)
posted by Eric on 06.30.06 at 11:33 AM
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