It’s always good when an argument is brewing and the boiler plate rhetoric gets old as it takes us nowhere, to look at a few numbers. Nate Silver has a couple of good posts: One article looking at gun control and how it is related to party identity. Another article looking at the rhetoric associated with the issue is up as well. They are both good reads. A couple of things I’ve learned.
When you look at Silver’s graph “mentions per 5,000 articles – 5 year averages,” you are looking at a graph that filters out much of the new cycle driven statistical noise. It shows a clear and pronounced reduction in the number of times the words “gun control” are used in the media which began in 2000, accelerated greatly post 9/11. What this tells me is that the fear generated from 9/11 is very operative under the surface when it comes to the issues of guns and personal protection/safety. I had not made that connection. It’s also interesting to look at the counter-rhetoric develop and grow.
The other article was perhaps even more interesting. I was not aware of all of the numbers concerning gun ownership and race, gender, and party. These demographic numbers are interesting to me as a pastor because he also broke it out according to “religion” and “religious attendance.” Those who are active in a religion are among the highest probability to own a gun. I’m not drawing a conclusion from that right now, but thought it was interesting.
I encourage everyone to read up on this issue. Look at the numbers. Try to find a way to listen to both sides. Remember that this conversation is always a struggle between personal freedoms and the common good. Read about that here.