Muddled Thinking on Gun Violence

We offer for our readers’ edification an OpEd by Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post that illustrates the muddled thinking and arguments often advanced by media outlets. Its fundamental fallacy is aggregating gun deaths of all types and cherry-picking data on the prevalence of guns in other countries to claim that the vast oversupply of guns in the US accounts for the claimed disparity in gun deaths. Here is what he missed or obfuscated: Most gun deaths in the US are suicides and if Robinson could wave a magic wand and eliminate all guns, there would still be a substantial number of completed suicides. Look, for example, at the suicide rate in Canada where per capita suicide attempts have paralleled those in the US. Indeed because of Canada’s more restrictive gun laws, the percentage of attempts using firearms is about twenty percent lower than it is in the US, but the per capita aggregate number of suicides is very close to the US. People who do not have guns but who wish to commit suicide are often successful in finding alternative methods.... Read More

Letter from London: Brexit

Nearly 5 years ago, Britain voted to leave the European Union and now in 2021, the effects of that bombshell vote are becoming clear. On the positive side, Britain has been able to reform its immigration system, delink its justice system from Europe, and start talks on new free trade agreements. The costs, however, include disruption in exports, threats to London's financial industry, a renewed wave of internal separatism, and an enduring cut in GDP. The Brexit Vote For some years, a segment of the public, fueled by the tabloid press, had been restive about a menu of EU issues, ranging from the power of Brussels regulations over daily life, the European Court of Justice's (ECJ) influence on British trials and legislation, and unrestricted immigration from the EU. Eight Central and Eastern European countries joined the EU in 2004, while then-PM Tony Blair predicted that only 5,000-13,000 additional immigrants per year would enter the UK. Instead, one million EU nationals arrived in the decade that followed. The resentment was greatest in poorer towns and in rural areas compared to cosmopolitan London. Successive governments brushed off voters' concerns, and this enabled populist rabble-rouser Nigel Farage, as leader of the small UK Independence Party (UKIP), to ride a tide of dissatisfaction to a stunning win for UKIP in the 2014 European Parliament elections. ... Read More