Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fun With Numbers: Part I

Anti-Gun BS Alert
I came upon an Aussie site "proving" how the tough Australian 1996 anti-gun legislation has been a boon to the Australian people. The old adage comes to mind:

"Figures never lie but liars never figure."

Latest official data from Australia shows a marked reduction in gun-related crime and injury following recent restrictions on the private ownership of firearms. Twelve days after 35 people were shot dead by a single gunman in Tasmania, Australia's state and federal governments agreed to enact wide-ranging new gun control laws to curb firearm-related death and injury. Between July 1996 and August 1998, the new restrictions were brought into force. Since that time, key indicators for gun-related death and crime have shown encouraging results.

What is not so encouraging is that law-abiding Australian citizens were disarmed. And now they are paying for it.

"There was a decrease of almost 30% in the number of homicides by firearms from 1997 to 1998."
-- Australian Crime - Facts and Figures 1999. Australian Institute of Criminology. Canberra, Oct 1999

People were using swords, spears, clubs and rocks loooong before firearms were invented. And guess what? They'll use them again if need be.

Those who claim that Australia suffered a "crime wave" as a result of new gun laws often cite as evidence unrelated figures for common assault or sexual assault (no weapon) and armed robbery (any weapon). In fact less than one in five Australian armed robberies involve a firearm. "Although armed robberies increased by nearly 20%, the number of armed robberies involving a firearm decreased to a six-year low."

I'm sure that every Aussie who had a Ginzu held to his throat or had the snot beat out of him is now rejoicing. What's "unrelated" about being robbed or raped? What is "related" is that you have been disarmed.

"A declining firearm suicide rate, a declining firearm assault rate, a stable firearm robbery rate with a declining proportion of robberies committed with a firearm and a declining proportion of damage to property offences committed with a firearm suggest that firearm regulation has been successful in Tasmania."
-- Warner, Prof K. Firearm Deaths and Firearm Crime After Gun Licensing in Tasmania. Australian Institute of Criminology, 3rd National Outlook Symposium on Crime in Australia. Canberra, 22-23 Mar 1999.

The operative expression is "committed with a firearm" because everything else is going to hell in a hand basket. And why not? Criminals don't need a gun anymore thanks to the gubmint. Just walk right up and take it, thank you.

Let's cut to the chase. Here are the Australian crime stats from 1996 to 2003. I couldn't use the 2004 numbers as they are obviously incomplete. The numbers tell us this:

In 1996 Australia reported 354 murders, 114,156 assaults, 14,542 Sexual Assaults, 16,372 Robberies for a total of 145,424 Violent Crimes.

In 2003 Australia reported 341 Murders (-4%), 158,629 Assaults (+39%), 18,237 Sexual Assaults (+25%) and 19,709 Robberies (+20%) for a total of 196,916 Violent Crimes (+35%).

This is the Aussie Anti-gun Miracle, 13 less murders in a nation of 20 million people.

Now examine the violent, evil, gun loving Americans.

In 1996 the FBI reported 19,645 murders, 535,594 assaults, 96,252 Rapes, 1,037,049 Robberies for a total of 1,688,540 Violent Crimes.

In 2003 the FBI reported 16,528 Murders (-19%), 895,030 Assaults (-21%), 93,883 Rapes (-3%) and 414,235 Robberies (-29%) for a total of 1,383,676 Violent Crimes (-22%).

There were 304,864 fewer Violent Crimes committed in the United States during the same period of time. Australia had 51,492 more Violent Crimes. We also have a population almost 15 times the size of Australia's (295,734,134 v 20,090,437 July 2005 est.) as well as a swelling illegal immigrant population.

Not bad.

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