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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Thursday, February 13, 2003
3:11 PM

Tim Lambert, who has the extensive links on John Lott noted below, linked to my recent posting on the subject and claims that "Postwatch makes the same error as [one John] Whitley: Lott's new survey does not bolster his 98% claim -- the sample size is just too small."

Here's what I said, and I'm at a loss to discern what error he's referring to:
Lott is embarking upon new research to bolster his earlier claim that brandishing a gun deterred a crime 98% of the time.

Excuse me, but is Lott not embarking upon new research to bolster his earlier claim that brandishing a gun deterred a crime 98% of the time? Correction, please. Conclusions about the sample size or whether Lott is persuasive on this issue are another matter.

I didn't identify Lambert when I first linked to his page, but InstaPundit describes him as "the main figure driving this matter." It's worth noting in that context the following from Lambert, which is also cited by InstaGuy:

Finally, I should comment on the overall significance of this question. Lott's 98% claim takes up just one sentence of his book. Whether or not it's true, it doesn't affect his main argument, which is about alleged benefits of concealed carry laws

And that, my friends, is the main difference between this dispute and the one over Michael Bellesiles, as I said the other day.

Lambert adds that if Lott is wrong about the value of brandishing weapons (which by the way can be illegal under many concealed-carry statutes, depending on the situation), then he's putting lives in danger. In that connection, I'll just note that "studies show" that victims fighting back have a better chance of surviving and of reducing injury, and aside from that there's a moral principle involved, which is the right to self-defense. However, the real kicker for me and my readers is this: If you think I obsess too much over Suzy Whaley or Annika Sorenstam, you really oughta check out Lambert's page, devoted, as it is, to one sentence in John Lott's book and Lott's masquerading as "Mary Rosh" in defense of his work.

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