Exposing Terry McAuliffe's Fuzzy Math On Gun Homicides

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Terry McAuliffe's Wednesday press conference on the Alexandria shooting offers an instructive lesson on what passes for quantitative analysis among politicians. 

Asked about the shooting, in which as left-wing activist opened fire upon a group of GOP politicians, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe opined that the real problem is that there are "too many guns" in the United States, and that gun violence claims the lives of "93 million" Americans every day. He then restated the total a few minutes later, but when asked twice about this number by reporters, McAuliffe eventually decided he meant "93 individuals" per day.

The "93 million" figure is, of course, comical in its absurdity. At that rate, it would take about three and a half days to wipe out the entire US population of 320 million people. It's likely that some staffer once handed McAuliffe a bullet point about guns, and McAuliffe remembered the part about "93" but added "million" to make it sound more impressive. 

This is how politicians think. Any well-informed policymaker would of course know that the US contains 320 million people, and so 93 million — or even 9 million — would be an absurd "per day" number when it comes to deaths of any kind. For elected officials, however, the standard MO is to just throw out impressive sounding numbers at press conferences and just hope they stick.

But even McAuliffe's revised number of 93 per day is extremely shady.

How does he arrive at this number? 

Consulting the Center for Disaese Control's most recent report on "National Vital Statistics" we find that (in 2014) there was a total of 15,872 homicides. That's total homicides committed with any type of weapon.1

Converting this to a "per day" figure we come up with 43 persons per day. 43 is not even close to 93. In fact, McAuliffe's figure for gun violence is more than twice the total number of homicides overall. 

If we look at the CDC's number for gun homicides, we find the total is 11,008. On a "per day" basis, that comes to 30 persons per day. In this case, McAuliffe's figure of 93 people per day is more than three times the number of homicides involving guns. Moreover, the "homicide" total includes justifiable homicides committed in self defense. In other words, even the "30 per day" overstates the total if we're trying to understand the figures involving actual murder. 

If we look more closely, however, we can figure out how McAuliffe arrived at his total: he includes suicides. 

This is a common trick employed by gun-control advocates. Even when the context is clearly one of murder, they like to insert suicides committed using guns in order to inflate the numbers and create fear in people's minds that they're likely to be subject to a gun-related violence. 

In the same National Vital Statistics report, the total number of suicides committed with guns totals 21,386. 

If we add that total to the 11,008 gun homicides, we get 32,394. On a "per day" basis, this come to 88, which is pretty close to 93. Depending on the year of data he's using, McAuliffe likely is using this formula to arrive at "93 per day." 

This is a dishonest tactic, of course. There is no evidence that "more guns" leads to more suicide since many nations around the world have far fewer guns "on the streets" but much higher suicide rates than the United States. (For more, see here.) Nor is the United States remarkable in any way for its suicide rate. But this doesn't stop politicians like McAuliffe from using suicide totals as a way of padding numbers thrown around to make the US look more violent than it is. 

To the extent that suicide does exist in the US, one might have better luck looking to the US's unusually high rates of residential mobility, which leads to greater social isolation. Some have even suggested that altitude could explain variations in suicide rates within the United States. These findings apply to both firearm-related and non-firearm related suicides. 

If McAuliffe is really concerned about the safety of Americans, his time would be better spent cautioning against the use of prescription drugs and alcohol. 

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knotjammin2 Fri, 06/16/2017 - 17:19 Permalink

Terry's fuzzy math comes from a fuzzy brain caused by too damn much cocaine.  Somebody should tell Terry that coke is not the breakfast of champions.   

Vatican_cameo T-NUTZ Fri, 06/16/2017 - 17:38 Permalink

 Is this the same Terry McAuliffe who donated $675,000 dollars to Dr. Jill McCabe's State Senate Campaign (who is married to Andrew McCabe, now deputy director of the FBI)?  How does that "Fuzzy Math" work when it comes to purchasing influence?  Probably a little better than this "93 homicides a day" nonsense.  Much like the MSM, never confuse the issue with Facts and stay clear of the Truth.  That stuff will always come back to bite you. 

In reply to by T-NUTZ

Pinto Currency Vatican_cameo Fri, 06/16/2017 - 17:54 Permalink

McAuliffe paid McCabe's wife:http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/24/mcauliffe-helped-campaign-of-fbi-offi… is fronting effort to get Trump:http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/06/report-acting-fbi-director-mccabe-key-behind-mueller-comey-scheme-potus/andGreg Jarrett: Robert Mueller Needs to Disqualify Himself from Special Counsel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyzN94l5UjY THEY all need to be fired right now.

In reply to by Vatican_cameo

MoreFreedom knotjammin2 Fri, 06/16/2017 - 19:16 Permalink

When have Democrats ever been good with numbers?  Obama visited 57 states in the US.  And his health care arithmetic was such that he thought people would save money instead of having to spend more.  And  when did they ever get entitlement spending right?  Or taxes?  They think lowering tax rates always reduces tax revenues and vice versa.   The only thing they're good at is consistently creating more government, less freedom and less prosperity (except for the politicians of course).

In reply to by knotjammin2

Endgame Napoleon Anon2017 Fri, 06/16/2017 - 19:43 Permalink

They obscure race in the crime stats, but when applying for jobs, you need to list it for EEOC-favoritism purposes. It is actually better when they put that little check-box in. It saves you the running around, gas money, waiting for hours and the often rude, unprofessional interviews, where they have no intention of hiring anyone but the social-clique type they are looking for, the "culture fit." It is more often a mom-clique culture fit for a family-friendly job than a racial culture fit, but sometimes, they want a minority.

In reply to by Anon2017

mrtoad Fri, 06/16/2017 - 17:26 Permalink

The push is happening again in Australia. A politician/salesman said yesterday that there are 260,000 unregistered guns in the country. How does he know? Do unregistered gun owners say "i have a gun thats not registered". And the sleeping people lap these lies up.

44magnum mrtoad Fri, 06/16/2017 - 17:31 Permalink

They want them removed from the law abiding because there is an increase in terrorism. They must hate them for their freedom too. The object is knowing EXACTLY who THEY are.
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"I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom," Mr. Bloomberg said, during an appearance on NBC.

In reply to by mrtoad

sister tika Fri, 06/16/2017 - 17:27 Permalink

In addition to being an avid Globalist-Zionist-Satanist piss-boy, Terry McAuliff has to be the dumbest State Governor in the US, right below Edmund "Gerry" Brown in Mexifornia.

serotonindumptruck Fri, 06/16/2017 - 17:34 Permalink

Would Terry Mcauliffe choose to disarm his private security detail?Or, as is usually the case in concealed carry states, would Terry Mcauliffe agree to forfeit his CCL or his Second Amendment Right?I thought not.Guns for us, but no guns for you.