Lie First, Lie Always: It’s Science!

Rep. Kim Norton – the Rochester legislator who will be serving as Michael Bloomberg’s bag-woman in the coming session – has decided to try to put some numbers behind her increasingly strident and faith-based posturing on guns.  She posted these “survey” “results” on her Facebook page.

How did it work?  I did say it was a liberal trying to do numbers, right?

The results, to date-12/22/15, of a survey sent out by my office to 3 precincts in my district:

Three precincts?  A whole three precincts?

Now, a legislative district has dozens of precincts.   I don’t know exactly how many precincts there are in Kim Norton’s HD25B, but there are a total of 56 in the city of Rochester, and Norton has roughly half the city.  Let’s be (what else?) conservative, and say she’s got 24 of ’em.

Her district also includes a grand total of 39,762 people, over 21 square miles.  It’s a cozy district.

So Norton sent out a “survey” to three precincts – maybe 1/8 of her district.  Which three precincts?  What are their demographics?  Do these three precincts represent her district?  More importantly – why does Rep. Norton think these three precincts represent her district?

Anyway.  So Rep. Norton mails out a survey to three selected precincts.  And here’s what she got back:

1. Are you in favor of background checks for gun show sales, private gun sales, and gifts?
Yes (73) 78%
No (21) 22%
Total 94

Forget the actual question for a moment.  There were 94 answers.

Out of nearly 40,000 people in her district, and out of maybe 3-4,000 (I’m estimating) in the three precincts she favored with her survey, she got less than 100 answers.

That’s one quarter of one percent of her district.

And do you suppose those people are a representative sample of the precincts, much less the district?  Or might they – just possibly! – have been an intensely self-selected sample of people who are motivated not only to pay attention to bulk mail from their DFL Representative, but also driven to fill out an utterly symbolic survey about an issue that Rep. Norton is wrapping herself around?

Remember – most people just don’t care that much.  And if most conservatives are at all like me, they don’t open junk mail from legislators, especially legislators they disagree with.

So I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that of the .25 of 1% of Norton’s district that opened the mail, read it, were motivated to complete it and send it back to the Representative’s office, a pretty disproportionate chunk were motivated by supporting Rep. Norton’s agenda.

But I’m no professional…

…well,  no.  Wait. I am.  I design samples for research as part of my job.  So I may be a little harder to BS than the average bear.

(Am I wrong?  Please, Rep. Norton; have your people call my people and set me straight.  You have my number.  Operators are standing by).

Sadly, Kim Norton’s typical supporter may not be so lucky.

2. Do you support requiring gun owners to register their guns with the local government?
Yes(66) 71%
No (27) 29%

Total 93

You know what’d be interesting?  If Rep. Norton had thrown in a question about whether the respondent was a gun owner.

I’m gonna take a flyer, here, and guess the answer would be about 30%.

3. With the goal of reducing suicides and impulse shootings, would you support extending the current seven day waiting period between a gun purchase and receipt of the gun?
Yes (64) 69%
No (29) 31%
Total 93

By law, of course, there is a seven day waiting period.

In practice?  Every store, federally licensed dealer and gun show in the state requires a “Permit to Purchase” issued by the police, or a Carry Permit issued by the state, to sell a handgun or “assault weapon”; they won’t sell without one, waiting period or no.   The very idea of waiting periods is statistically dubious, to the point where even the Ninth Circuit has asked what’s the purpose, especially with someone who already owns firearms.

And the idea that “waiting periods” affect suicides is just a wierd fantasy, of course.  Gun suicides – 2/3 of gun deaths – don’t occur at the end of the waiting period.  They are disproportionally older, usually white males, usually socially isolated, usually depressed – and they’ve owned their guns for decades.

3a. If yes, how many days should the waiting period be?

10 Days (8) 13%
14 Days (18) 28%
28 Days (38) 59%
Total 64

By this point in this exercise, I’m actually wondering why she didn’t put “eleventy-teen years” as an option.

5. Do you support a ban or restriction of sales on:
High Capacity Ammunition Clips of 10 or more bullets? (66) 69%
Exploding Bullets? (68) 72%
Assault rifles or Semi-Automatic guns? (59) 62%
Total 95

Exploding Bullets?

EXPLODING BULLETS?

Y’see, this is why so many Second Amendment activists have such contempt for their opponents’ arguments.

Imagine if you will someone arguing for regulation of healthcare, who proposes banning phrenology clinics, adding standards for blood leeches and healing crystals, and licensing  sexual healing practicioners.  Now, people who actually work in healthcare know that Phrenology was debunked 120 years ago, that leeches and crystals are irrelevant, and Sexual Healing was a Marvin Gaye song – and they get annoyed that someone is not only wasting their time arguing BS, but just a little disgusted that the legislator is finding people incurious enough to get on board to try to logroll the legislation.

10 rounds is not “high capacity”.  “Semi automatic” does not equal “assault” (you awake yet, hunters and skeet shooters?).  “Assault” does not mean “likely to be used in crimes”.

And…exploding bullets.

(Shaking my head, at a loss for civil words, awaiting a line about “guns that go pew pew pew”)

6. Do you believe gun safety and usage training should be required by all gun owners – even those who do not have a hunting license or permit to carry?
Yes (73) 81%
No (17) 19%
Total 90

And even a lot of shooters will aver that that sounds reasonable.

Of course, in Chicago and DC we see the whammy of this approach; in Chicago, you have to take a range test to get a permit – but there are no firing ranges in Chicago.

It’s not a stretch to imagine Minnesota’s government requiring training – and forgetting to issue trainer’s licenses.

7. Given these two values, is it more important to:
control gun ownership?
(49) 56%
protect the right of the people to own guns? (39) 44%
Total 88

FYI – These survey results generally mirror those share by scientific polls done across the country.

I’d be interested in seeing the “scientific polls” Rep. Norton is referring to.  But I am under no illusion she knows anything beyond “tacking ‘scientific’ onto a dubious assertion will gull a few of the gullible”.

She’s wrong, of course.  Not that that matters to her, or to the audience she’s trying to reach.

16 thoughts on “Lie First, Lie Always: It’s Science!

  1. Based on this, Obamacare and Hillary’s plan to close every school that isn’t “above average”, I think we can safely say that Democrats are not so good with math.

  2. If 64 votes is considered a scientific consensus and the yardstick of truth, I’m going to conduct a Christmas Eve survey at my church to determine if Jesus is Lord.

  3. Typically in national polls these days 50-75% of their “scientific” sample returns null information. And an unknown and unknowable fraction of the rest lie.

    I contend these national polls are slightly worse than an out of your butt guess.

  4. Seflores, NO. Obama and Clinton are not, either of them, (or anyone else of significance on the Dems side of the political spectrum) planning on closing any school that is not ‘above average’. That’s crap.

    Big Stink, as usual, Mitch cherry picks. There is a lot of evidence, other than this, that suggests a strong and broad based support for additional gun control, such as universal background checks, etc. And there is excellent, ACCURATE, factual science research that argues that guns are not keeping us safer, but are in fact putting us in danger without greater restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of people who use them badly, either for violence against others or against themselves.

    There is only one time in history I can think of that conservatives were not on the wrong side, and in that one instance, support was equal or greater on the left – repealing prohibition. (That would be the Republican Citizens Committee Against Prohibition, back in 1932, and notably early female Republican activist, Pauline Sabin – who had previously supported Prohibition .)

    Pretty much before and since then, you conservatives get your facts wrong, and the term Republican math is now well established as meaning numbers that don’t add up and were not correct at any point in the process.

    However, I mostly swung by Mitch to wish a very Merry Christmas to you and yours, and the Happiest (and safest possible) Holidays to your readers. In spite of any differences of opinion, I’m always very fond of you.

  5. Dog Gone says:

    “There is a lot of evidence, other than this, that suggests a strong and broad based support for additional gun control, such as universal background checks, etc. And there is excellent, ACCURATE, factual science research that argues that guns are not keeping us safer, but are in fact putting us in danger without greater restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of people who use them badly, either for violence against others or against themselves.”

    Yeah, why not present some of that “evidence”, Dog Gone?

    What are you afraid of?

  6. DG,

    Merry Christmas to you too!

    But…

    There is a lot of evidence, other than this, that suggests a strong and broad based support for additional gun control, such as universal background checks, etc. And there is excellent, ACCURATE, factual science research that argues that guns are not keeping us safer, but are in fact putting us in danger without greater restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of people who use them badly, either for violence against others or against themselves.

    Please favor us with this “excellent” “research”.

    Because I’m gonna guess it’s the usual assortment of shoddy research and biased instrumentation that the gun grabbers always produce, and that you have such an affinity for googling up.

    But by all means, put your “evidence” out there. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find something I haven’t shredded in this space, long ago, without breaking a sweat.

    I mean,l it is a season of miracles, ja?

  7. First rule of debating Liberals: examine the premise.

    Rep. Norton and Dog Gone proceed on the premise that firearms ownership is not an individual fundamental right protected by the Constitution in the way speech, religion and abortion are protected; therefore, the government may impose restrictions and limitations on firearms that would be intolerable for speech, religion or abortion.

    The underlying premise is wrong, as determined by the Supreme Court in the Heller and McDonald cases. Rep. Norton and Dog Gone are DENIERS.

    Rep. Norton’s proposed restrictions – if applied to speech or Muslims or abortion – would cause anguish on the Left; the same restrictions should cause anguish when imposed on firearms, for exactly the same reason: they are an unconstitutional infringement on an individual fundamental right.

  8. O, goody! Now we get to vote on the bill of rights!
    How about the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments? They aren’t part of the bill of rights, and they were passed by wicked Republicans when a large part of the population was disenfranchised.

  9. And there is excellent, ACCURATE, factual science research that argues that guns are not keeping us safer, but are in fact putting us in danger without greater restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of people who use them badly, either for violence against others or against themselves.
    So Dog Gone wants to take guns away from cops?

    Whatever. Seems like a reasonable workplace restriction. The constitution says nothing about cops being allowed to use guns in the performance of their duties.
    The constitution is quite clear that gun ownership is an individual right.
    It must be a weird thing to be a liberal. You have to believe that a super majority disapproves of the 2nd amendment, yet a super majority cannot be conjured up to repeal the 2nd amendment.
    All arguments over gun control should immediately refer to this fact. You don’t like the 2nd amendment, change it.

  10. The gun debate, DG, isn’t a debate at all. It’s one side arguing to protect their rights against the other side who wants to strip them away. Until there is a legislative remedy, gun control advocates are pissing in the wind.

  11. Forget the exploding bullets, I want Atom Bomb Bullets!
    Also I have an idea that if they can make cop-killer bullets, they can just reverse the formula and make bullets that can’t kill cops. They should only let people buy those.
    You’re welcome.
    Or maybe a gun and bullets like Mannix had. Remember Mannix, the 1960s TV series? Mannix had a little snub nosed revolver, and he could hit his target with every shot. He didn’t even have to aim! Also, with Mannix, every shot was a kill shot. Instant death, man. Makes the paperwork tidier, I suppose.
    Also I want a gun like The Rifleman had. Remember The Rifleman?
    https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/724815.jpg
    Just walk down the street, grim look on your face, eyes straight ahead, firing your rifle from the hip, and watch the bad guys fall like red, red, rose petals.
    It would have been even better if The Rifleman had had exploding bullets.

  12. Hmmm.
    I just realized that the image of The Rifleman comic cover I linked to might give people the wrong idea about the relationship between Chuck Connors and little Johnny Crawford.
    Try this one, instead.
    https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/693963.jpg
    Uh, I guess that one could be ‘misinterpreted’ as well.
    This one is better.
    https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/835903.jpg
    Harrumph. Okay, I’ll try one more.
    https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/712499.jpg

  13. The Big Stink – you should probably check at three churches to make it a “scientific” research study!

  14. Moose: If I did that they’d argue I didn’t include the Presbyterians or the Catholics or the Adventists – something. Science, in our present age, only works if it’s secular.

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