GUNS, LIES, AND DEFINITIONS
These AK-47s are real military machine guns, not the semi-automatic versions that fire only one bullet per trigger pull and are banned from being sold in our country by the 1994 so-called assault-weapons ban. Yet, despite Iraqis owning machine guns and the country still not under control, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pointed out that Baghdad is experiencing fewer murders than Washington, D.C., where handguns are banned.
against someone called Wyeth who says Lott is a liar because there are no good data on Iraqi gun deaths.
Chris says that, while Lott may be wrong, he isn’t lying:
Again, a review for those of you just joining us here at SN: lying requires foreknowledge that you are making a factually incorrect statement. Being wrong just requires that the statement being made (or quoted) is factually incorrect. In other words, lying requires intentional deception on behalf of the speaker in addition to factual incorrectness.
But the substance of Lott’s claim is interesting. Wyeth links data that show Washington had 262 murders in 2002, out of a population on 600,000. Baghdad has a population of roughly 4,835,000, or roughly 8.06 times that of DC. So, the question is, have there been 2,111 homicides in Baghdad in the last year? I’d guess not.
Of course, univariate analysis is silly. Baghdad and Washington are hardly comparable cities. Indeed, one would expect a lower homicide rate in a police state than in a free society.