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How Did This Get Published in the Washington Post?!


One of the sanest, most empirically solid treatments of gun control issues I have ever seen appeared in the Washington Post  yesterday in the wake of the Las Vegas atrocity. I am amazed this heresy was allowed.

The usual, orthodox lefty position (e.g., Jimmy Kimmel) is

  1. I hate guns which makes me a morally superior person;
  2. There should be “common sense” gun control;
  3. Opposition to “common sense” gun control is an inherently inferior moral posture and a tacit endorsement of any and all shooting deaths.

It does not matter if “common sense” legislation is demonstrably useless. It is a feature not a bug if it creates costs and burden for law-abiding gun owners — they deserve to suffer because point 3 above.

So imagine the shock of reading this in the WaPo:

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.


There are 10 comments.

  1. Member

    Wow. I’ll bet the writer is receiving some interesting tweets right now. It is a very well written piece. Now if we could just get this taught in schools….

    • #1
    • October 4, 2017 at 11:32 am
  2. Thatcher


    I read the article. An excellent treatment of the subject, putting gun violence into a broad perspective and realizing the limitations of regulation. Maybe the WaPo editor who would have killed this story had a head cold and stayed home that day.

    Truly a mystery in this highly Kimmeled universe. Thanks for posting.



    • #2
    • October 4, 2017 at 11:45 am
  3. Member

    I was thinking it must have slipped past Editorial somehow. It completely harshes the narrative. Facts? We can’t let that interfere with what we KNOW is right!

    • #3
    • October 4, 2017 at 11:59 am
  4. Coolidge

    One thing to note about the fivethirtyeight study that’s referenced, is that they looked at all gun deaths. This includes suicides (almost 2/3 of the deaths), accidents, and intentional shootings (mass or otherwise). It’s a serious attempt to understand the issue, and the authors deserve a lot of credit for the honest conclusions they reach. Unlike a lot of work out there, they didn’t just assume that the usual gun-control measures are effective. The data makes it clear that they aren’t. It’s not pro-second amendment or pro-gun, but it is clear in shooting down the anti-gun tropes that we hear every time a mass shooting occurs.

    • #4
    • October 4, 2017 at 12:01 pm
  5. Member

    They just can’t bring themselves to say take all those guns from everyone. Cowards. Also not a peep about the 700,000 abortions every year.30% of are little black babies.

    • #5
    • October 4, 2017 at 12:21 pm
  6. Member

    Thanks for bringing this to the attention of fellow Ricochetti. A friend of mine posted it on FB last night. It is a very clear and cogent article that drains the life right out of every left-wing argument in favor of gun control. Very good. That it is testimony against interest is quite helpful.

    • #6
    • October 4, 2017 at 12:23 pm
  7. Member

    I liked this from the comments section:

    You people just read an article by a fellow traveler who says she was once JUST LIKE YOU, certain she knew what she was talking about WHEN SHE DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE. Then she did some work. You know about work, right? It’s that thing you do where you earn your opinions instead of simply receiving them with your Captain Justice costume kit.

    • #7
    • October 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm
  8. Contributor

    Old Bathos: How Did This Get Published in the Washington Post?!

    Because the Washington Post is an actual newspaper and not the cartoon caricature that a lot of people on the Right think it is.

    • #8
    • October 4, 2017 at 5:26 pm
  9. Member
    Old Bathos Post author

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: How Did This Get Published in the Washington Post?!

    Because the Washington Post is an actual newspaper and not the cartoon caricature that a lot of people on the Right think it is.

    Not really. The Post is a shadow of what was once a highly professional operation. For much of my life I read it daily. In my youth I was a Post paperboy in Georgetown one summer (I even had Katherine Graham’s manse on my route-she got six copies.)

    The bias is pathetic, overt and would not be tolerated in a real newspaper.

    • #9
    • October 5, 2017 at 4:12 am
  10. Member

    There seems to be an honest effort at diversity of opinion at the NY Times.

    Bari Weiss on Cultural Appropriation

    James Kirchick on Bradley Manning

    Bret Stephens, brought over from WSJ, on Climate Change

    “Oh the times they are a changin’ ” – might there be a trend at the Washington Post? Hope springs eternal.

    • #10
    • October 5, 2017 at 4:54 am
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