The Right Opinion

Doing the Research The New York Times Won't Do

By Ann Coulter · Jan. 10, 2013

In Sunday's New York Times, Elisabeth Rosenthal claimed, as the title of her article put it, “More Guns = More Killing.” She based this on evidence that would never be permitted in any other context at the Times: (1) anecdotal observations; and (2) bald assertions of an activist, blandly repeated with absolutely no independent fact-checking by the Times.

There is an academic, peer-reviewed, long-term study of the effect of various public policies on public, multiple shootings in all 50 states over a 20-year period performed by renowned economists at the University of Chicago and Yale, William Landes and John Lott. It concluded that the only policy to reduce the incidence of, and casualties from, mass shootings are concealed-carry laws. The Times will never mention this study.

Instead, Rosenthal's column proclaimed that armed guards do not reduce crime because: “I recently visited some Latin American countries … where guards with guns grace every office lobby, storefront, ATM, restaurant and gas station. It has not made those countries safer or saner.”

So there you have it: The cock crowed, then the sun came up. Therefore, the cock's crowing caused the sun to come up. Rosenthal went to Harvard Medical School.

Here's a tip: High-crime areas are often bristling with bulletproof glass, heavy-duty locks, gated windows and armed guards. The bulletproof glass doesn't cause the crime; it's a response to crime. On Rosenthal's logic, hospitals kill people because more people die in hospitals than outside of them.

(In any event, the Lott-Landes study didn't recommend armed guards, but armed citizens.)

Rosenthal also produces a demonstrably false statistic about Australia's gun laws, as if it's a fact that has been carefully vetted by the Newspaper of Record, throwing in the true source only at the tail-end of the paragraph:

“After a gruesome mass murder in 1996 provoked public outrage, Australia enacted stricter gun laws, including a 28-day waiting period before purchase and a ban on semiautomatic weapons. … Since, rates of both homicide and suicide have dropped 50 percent …,” said Ms. Peters, who lobbied for the legislation.“

"Ms. Peters” is Rebecca Peters, a George Soros-funded, Australian anti-gun activist so extreme that she had to resign from the International Action Network on Small Arms so as not to discredit the U.N.-recognized organization – which isn't easy to further discredit.

Could the Times' public editor weigh in on whether unsubstantiated quotes from radical activists are now considered full and complete evidence at the Times?

It would be as if the Times headlined an article, “Abortion Increases Risk of Breast Cancer” with the sole support being a quote from Operation Rescue's Randall Terry. (Except Terry would have evidence.)

Whether or not the homicide rate went up or down in Australia as a result of strict gun control laws imposed in 1997 is a fact that could have been checked by Times researchers. But they didn't, because facts wouldn't have given them the answer they wanted.

Needless to say, the effect of Australia's gun ban has been extensively researched by Australian academics. As numerous studies have shown: After the gun ban, gun homicides in Australia did not decline any more than they were expected to without a gun ban.

Thus, for example, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology, the homicide rate has been in steady decline from 1969 to the present, with only one marked uptick in 1998-99 – right after the gun ban was enacted.

The showstopper for anti-gun activists like Ms. Rosenthal and Ms. Peters is the fact that suicides by firearm seemed to decrease more than expected after the 1997 gun ban.

But so did suicides by other means. Something other than the gun ban must have caused people to stop guzzling poison and jumping off bridges. (Some speculate that it's the availability of anti-depressants like Prozac.)

Curiously – and not mentioned by Rosenthal – the number of accidental firearms deaths skyrocketed after Australia's 1997 gun ban, although the law included stringent gun training requirements.

It turns out, until the coroner has certified a death as a “suicide,” it's classified as “unintentional.” So either mandatory gun training has led to more accidents, or a lot of suicides are ending up in the “accident” column.

Most pinheadedly, especially for a graduate of the Harvard Medical School, Rosenthal says: “Before (the gun ban), Australia had averaged one mass shooting a year. (Since then,) there have been no mass killings.”

Mass murder is a rare enough crime that any statistician will tell you discerning trends is impossible. In this country, the FBI doesn't even track mass murder as a specific crime category.

After Truman Capote's “In Cold Blood” killers slaughtered the entire Clutter family in Holcomb, Kan., the murder rate in that quiet farming town went up 400 percent in a single year! Was it Holcomb's big showing at the 4-H club competition that year?

Totally unbeknownst to Elisabeth Rosenthal, Australian academics have already examined the mass murder rate by firearm by comparing Australia to a control country: New Zealand. (Do they teach “control groups” at Harvard?)

New Zealand is strikingly similar to Australia. Both are isolated island nations, demographically and socioeconomically similar. Their mass murder rate before Australia's gun ban was nearly identical: From 1980 to 1996, Australia's mass murder rate was 0.0042 incidents per 100,000 people and New Zealand's was 0.0050 incidents per 100,000 people.

The principal difference is that, post-1997, New Zealand remained armed to the teeth – including with guns that were suddenly banned in Australia.

While it's true that Australia has had no more mass shootings since its gun ban, neither has New Zealand, despite continuing to be massively armed.

The only thing Australia's strict gun control laws has clearly accomplished is increasing the amount of violent crime committed with guns immediately after the ban took effect. Of course, Times reporters don't have to worry about violent muggings, rapes and robberies because they live in doorman buildings.

For those who can't afford fancy doorman buildings, bad journalism kills.



Capt. Call in New Mexico said:

Bravo, Ann for calling out these idiots and exposing their false and misleading statements, and the absence of research for their anti-gun rants and ravings.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 1:55 AM

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia said:

It is becoming clear that the left will not allow "facts" to be introduced into the
"Gun Control" discussion. The very name of the discussion says it all. Why are we not calling it the "Control of Crazy People and Islamic Jihadist Psychiatrists" debate?" Or maybe the "Gun-Free Zone Mass Shooting Problem" discussion.

It is clear that the left is hell bent oin using this crisis as an opportunity to establish gun registration as the precursor to confiscation after the next "mass shooting" occurs, in a designated Gun-Free zone, where only the crazed nut-job who did not turn in his gun, shows up with the only gun in the room. That is exactly what they did in the UK. Register, then confiscate. If history is any indicator, there will be killing of dissidents or genocide in the UK within another 15 years, in keeping with Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin,

Patriots will not allow that to happen here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 2:14 AM

Brian in Newport News replied:

It is not just the "Gun Control" discussion in which liberals can't be bothered by the facts. You can enter just about any social, economic or political issue between those quotes and your statement would still be true.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Mike McGinn in People's Republic of Maryland replied:

Facts. Who needs facts when you've got the NYT's?

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

Who reads the "Slimes?" Delusional Demokrats devoid of Facts/Truth!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 6:23 AM

Mike McGinn in People's Republic of Maryland replied: should read it. The truth...ahh...the facts....ehh, I mean...all the news that's fit to print will set you free.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM

rab in jo,mo said:

"I recently visited some Latin American countries ... where guards with guns grace every office lobby, storefront, ATM, restaurant and gas station. It has not made those countries safer or saner."

Rosenthal also neglected to mention that, in those Latin American countries, civilian gun ownership is highly regulated/restricted. These infringements on people's natural right of self-defense haven't made those countries any more safe or sane either.

Mr. Rosenthal seems to wish to reside in a police state. I'd be more than happy to provide him with some suggestions for countries to which he could relocate.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Patrick in Houston replied:

Mr. Rosenthal is a woman (more or less...)

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 11:28 AM

rab in jo,mo replied:

I stand corrected, sir. Nevertheless, the comment still applies...

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 7:35 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

These fact challenged zealots are as mentally depraved as their gun toting insane murdurers. Chicago, a restricted gun free zone, is more dangerous and experiences more gun deaths than Afghanistan. Report that Slimes! Now Buffoon Biden wants to bypass congress with Executive Orders, because "something must be done". This criminal regime needs some reeducation in camp Gitmo.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Hank in Texas said:

Truth don't mean nothing to these people, only power and control. It don't take an ivy leaguer to figure that out. They ain't there yet, but they are going to come for your guns.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Patrick in Houston said:

(2) bald assertions of an activist, blandly repeated with absolutely no independent fact-checking by the Times.

If you eliminated all the articles included under category 2 above, you could print the New York Times on the head of a pin.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Tex Horn in Texas said:

I find it interesting that the government gives many weapons of mass destruction to our enemies (the latest being F-16s to Morsi), but wants to disarm us law-abiding American citizens. Now, the Dictator in the White House says he will use "executive privilege" (read abuse of power) to create a gun owner database, register all firearms, and examine your personal history to determine if you can own any kind of gun. I believe Hank in Texas is right, they'll come for our guns. My friends, if there was ever a time to be writing your representatives, it is now. Please.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Honest Abe in North Carolina said:

No matter the logic and facts for gun possession, none of it will end up in the voting public's mind. They will be persuaded by the media to demand more control which will, eventually, lead to more crime and mayhem.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 12:46 PM

JTG in Indiana said:

They can try to pass as many "feel good" gun control laws as they want. There's no way they will get a handle on this as most of us are already armed to the teeth and there's absolutely no way they're getting their hands on them without a fight.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Cepat2 in Los Angeles CA said:

"Facts are stubborn things" said John Adams. As the voice of the Left the NYT has never been burdened by "facts" or "fact checking". You will recall that the NYT employed, and regularly feted, the reporter who was discovered to be inventing stories from whole cloth. When discovered the management simply chose to ignore the whole episode and "move forward". Such immature avoidance of any form of accountability is endemic of the Left.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Orf in Pittsburgh said:

Following in the footsteps of Adolph Hitler, Der Fuhrer, is Obozo, Der Schwartze Fuhrer in das Weise Haus. He is about to take the step done by all would-be tyrants in confiscating guns by diktat. This is necessary in order to have complete control over the tyrant's sheeple. The question is how will he try to do it in America? All those millions of gun owners will not surrender easily. After thousands of his personal SS troopers get killed trying to arrest and confiscate, Der Schwartze Fuhrer may have to reconsider. This is the reason for the 2nd Amendment.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Robinius in Broomfield, Colorado said:

I would just like to point out that that people on the left such as Elisabeth Rosenthal are not idiots or morons. Many are highly intelligent people. What they lack are morals. They feel that the ends justify the means and that they are smarter than neanderthal conservatives. They lie, either directly or by omission. They distort and twist and omit facts that are inconvenient while demonizing those who tell the truth. Elisabeth Rosenthal is one of a cast of thousands that have sacrificed their souls on the altar of liberalism.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 8:04 PM

rab in jo,mo replied:

They lack not only morals, but wisdom - which is quite a different thing from intelligence.

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 7:37 AM

India in GA said:

Renewing our NRA membership first thing in the morning....

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 2:25 AM