ABC gives people wonderful lies
Of course I'm referring neither to lies, nor damned lies, but statistics. They had a short bit on ABC today about the assault weapons ban ending. It was the usual pseudo-balanced report with a not-so-subtle slant that the ban should in fact be strengthened. At the end the announcer said something I thought was very misleading:
"Initially divided, most police now support the ban. They say that, although assault weapons only make up a tiny portion of guns owned nationwide, they show up in more than 20% of police killings."
Now there are several problems with that statement. The first is the vaguery of the 'assault weapons' term in the first place. If it is everything on the 'banned' list it would include a huge number of pistols bought before the ban went into effect, or bought illegaly. Also he says 'killings', as opposed to shootings. Police vests are designed to stop pistol rounds and do so fairly effectively. This means that of officers shot, even if 90% of them were by pistols, the vest protection and the fact that limb shots are typically non-fatal would grossly distort the ratio of shootings to killings. Most rifles on the other hand can penetrate vests with ease, thus the fatality rate of the rifles would be higher than that of pistols. They also never mentioned how many of the '20%' were bought illegally or stolen.
That kind of garbage is why I sometimes wish an EMP pulse would disable television.