Re: violence revisited (was extropians and animal rights)

Michael S. Lorrey (
Thu, 14 Jan 1999 09:27:29 -0500 wrote:

> Mike Lorrey writes:
> >This fear,
> >when it becomes the core of mental illness, is manifested in
> >haplophobia, which is recognized in the literature as an
> >irrational fear of guns.
> "Haplophobia"? Fear of halves? I can't imagine the derivation path. How
> does this word come to represent a fear of guns? (Just curious - I love
> etymology.)

I don't know, but I am researching this with some mental health experts, so I will get back to you on this. In the meantime, here are some interesting statistics which I found in an article on the AWARE (Arming Women Against Rape and Endangerment) Home page, linked below:

> Again abstracting from Covey's excellent essay "Gun Stats and Mortal Risks", there are many
> different ways to look at the limited data that is available on firearm use. Using very
> reasonable, non-garbage, ways of looking at the data, Covey came up with the following
> fascinating figures:
> A gun is 32 times more likely to be used to defend against criminal threat than to kill anybody.

> A gun is 245 times more likely to be used by a non-criminal to defend against criminal threat
> than to commit criminal homicide.
> A gun is 535 times more likely to be used to defend against criminal threat than to accidentally
> kill anybody!
> A gun is 50 times more likely to be used to defend against criminal threat than to kill another
> person.
> A gun is 50 times more likely to be used to defend against criminal threat than to be used in
> suicide.
> Of course, all of this was too long to pack into a letter-to-the-editor of Vogue, so I picked out
> just the most important point, and tried to explain it. I don't know whether Vogue will print the
> letter I hammered out in response to their tripe, but I thought you all might be interested in it:
> Dear Vogue,
> As the holder of a PhD in Applied Mathematics, I am more than competent to read
> and analyze the research materials published about the use of firearms. As the author
> of two of the articles in the issue of Women&Guns magazine that was pictured in
> your misleading article about firearms, I am moved to point out just one of the many
> refutations of the fallacy that bad uses of guns outnumber good ones by 43 to 1.
> Would you rate the quality of your local police department by the number of
> criminals the police kill every year? Of course not! A better measure would be the
> number of arrests made, or convictions obtained, because that is the primary job of
> the police; killing in the line of duty is extremely uncommon. Similarly, it is wrong
> to rate the "goodness" of guns in the hands of law-abiding people by the number of
> home invaders they kill. A better measure would be the number of crimes thwarted
> by the presence of a defensive firearm, even if nobody was shot or killed.
> Fortunately, those numbers are available. The best independent statistics come from
> Professor Gary Kleck(*), a criminologist at Florida State University. He shows that
> there are a million defensive uses of firearms a year, and in the overwhelming
> majority of cases, the criminal is stopped by the presence of the gun, without anyone
> being killed. Taking this into account, the good uses of firearms outnumber the
> accidental deaths by 535 to one! Of course, gun ownership is not for everyone. If
> you live in a household with someone who is violent, depressed, or abuses drugs,
> adding a firearm to the home can indeed be a danger, because most people who
> murder have a history of criminal violence or drug involvement. Anyone who is
> considering the purchase of a firearm should get training from a qualified, certified
> instructor (not a 16-year old neighbor). Women&Guns has a resource list that can
> help people find such instructors, and also has accounts of women who have
> successfully defended themselves with firearms.
> Sincerely,
> Lyn Bates
> (*) Gary Kleck, Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, Aldine de Gruyter, 1992. The
> author states at the beginning of this scholarly book that he "is a member of the American Civil
> Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, and Common Cause, among other politically
> liberal organizations. He is a lifelong registered Democrat, as well as a contributor to liberal
> Democratic political candidates. He is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of, or a
> contributor to, the National Rifle Association, Handgun Control Inc., or any other advocacy
> group on either side of the gun control issue, nor has he received funding for research from any
> such organization."

Mike Lorrey