Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Good Guns Don't Make News

Observational Bias in Mass-Shooting Stories
05/06/09 - ChicagoBoyz by Shannon Love

[edited] Why do we spend so much money on fire proofing buildings when we seem to have so few major fires?

Instapundit links to a news story in which an armed college student prevented a mass killing. This story appeared only on the website of a local TV station.

There are no news stories about crimes that didn't happen because gun owners prevented them. This creates a one-sided distortion about the tradeoffs of having an armed citizenry. People only see the negative events caused by armed citizens, never the many, many positive events that don’t make the news.

No one cares if planes land safely or if building don’t burn down. When an armed citizen prevents a major crime, it is only local news. When the prospect of encountering an armed citizen causes a criminal to not attempt a crime, it doesn’t make news anywhere.

The “gun control” debate boils down to arguments between people who understand this distortion and those who don’t.

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