Monday, September 21, 2015

Strappin a gat or just shooting clays?

I have been reading a study on the correlation between "Youth Gun Carrying" and state gun laws.  While reading the initial article, I saw an immediate red flag, that of the Brady Campaign.  However, the study only uses their state gun law rating system as a baseline for gun laws, so that's minimal damage.  

The study arrives at the conclusion that the states with more gun control laws have a lower incidence of youths carrying guns.  But, after reading through the article, the study and all of the associated materials, I found one thing lacking.  There is no actual definition of "Youth Gun Carrying" in the study.  No definition between children taking a trip to the range with their parents for target practice and gang members "strappin a gat" in case of violence during their daily illegal business.  The only reference to that particular piece of information in the note that the data is based on voluntary response to surveys, so the initial data is to me suspect.  

I spent a considerable amount of time going through all of the links associated with the article and the links associated with those additional articles.  Still have not found any of the actual details on what "Youth Gun Carrying" actually means.  So I went to the source, the CDC to see what was asked regarding this subject.  I went to the study in question, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS).  

Guess what?  The CDC is kinda vague on that item too.  

The actual question on the survey is "During the past 30 days, on how many days did you carry a gun?".  This is a specific statistic that can be represented many different ways.  No clarification is asked for beyond that question.  In my farming community high school (where duck, pheasant, pig and deer hunting were all popular) an honest answer from all would be just as damning as honest answers from a gang ridden high school in an urban area. There is no context, no difference between safe lawful use and unlawful use.  The basic piece of information needed to get this study rolling is already in question.

So, after reading this study, all of the associated articles and information and researching what wasn't linked, I have come to the same conclusion that I have seen far too often.  The study's conclusion was reached far before the evidence was collected.  Everything else is just window dressing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Common Sense... Not so common.

Hillary Clinton has finally admitted in clear speech that her use of a personal email server to conduct business as Secretary of State was a mistake.  Now, technically, it was apparently allowed according to whatever rules she was following.  Even investigators admitted that she is correct on this issue.

However, the colossal stupidity of this course of action should have been evident to anyone with even a small amount of experience in public office.  The clear choice of proper and improper should have stood out.  If this is the type of decision making that is evident as Secretary of State, how can the same person be trusted to make better decisions as President?