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Postscript on Kleck/Lott

April 2nd, 2003 · No Comments

Tim Lambert observes that even if we believe Kopel (and I do) when he reports having inserted the Kleck attribution, this doesn’t necessarily mean this wasn’t the source of the number, since neither did he typically attribute the 2.5 million defensive gun uses annually (almost always mentioned in the same breath as the brandishing figure) to Kleck, though he acknowledges this as the source.

That actually got me thinking that there’s a bit of cherry-picking going on there. See, Lott said in his letter to Otis Dudley Duncan that he got a higher mere-brandishing number than Kleck, but a lower estimate for total defensive gun uses. Now, assuming there was a survey… why cite Kleck for one figure, and your own survey for the other, except to jury-rig the results? I mean, damn, you can prove almost anything if you’re willing to sit there with a sheaf of studies and, for each number you want, pick the study that found the result most amenable to your position. And if you don’t attribute any of it, it’s not clear what you’re doing.

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