Another VPC "Can You Spell Google?"…um…"study".

The VPC has produced another “study”; rigorously researched by typing search terms into Lexis and seeing what comes up.

Their conclusion?

More than one out of four assault weapon incidents involve police, says a study by the Violence Policy Center (VPC).

The study found that the percentage of assault weapons incidents involving police rose significantly between the two periods studied: March 1, 2005 to February 28, 2006, and March 1, 2006 to February 28, 2007.

 Wow…that’s seems pretty significant, and the problem is on the rise.

I wonder how they reached this disturbing conclusion?  From the “study” itself:

The information described in the following pages is based on a compilation derived from multiple searches using a variety of terms (“assault weapons” and “assault rifles,” for example) of reports published in U.S. news media and included in the commercial database Nexis between March 1, 2005 and February 28, 2007.

Oh.  The media.  Well, I suppose you could try to make a case that the media reports on gun issues accurately…if you’re a habitual user of hallucinogenic drugs.  Or a liar.

More likely, their results are a function of the media calling everything from pump shotguns to airsoft replicas “assault weapons”.

I also have to wonder at the date range used:  Why 2005 – 2007, they couldn’t find information on more recent years?  Why March – February?  They couldn’t figure out how to base a Nexis search on Calendar year?

How much you wanna bet those time periods simply were the ones that best fit their pre-ordained conclusions?  In typical anti-gun “study” fashion, they formulated their hypothesis and then found a dataset that seemed to fit the hypothesis the best.  Isn’t that the way everyone does it?

Be that as it may, their data is, shall we say, a little vague to be drawing any conclusions:

Police were involved in 29 of 117 incidents (24.8 percent) in the first period and 35 of 118 incidents (29.7 percent) in the second period—an increase of 20.7 percen.(sic)

Um…what constitutes an “incident”?  Does defensive use count as an incident?  Were “incidents” counted when the recovered “assault weapon” wasn’t actually a factor in the crime?  Did they only count verified “incidents” where the “assault weapon” was identified by specific type and model or any old news report where the words “assault weapon” appeared?

Lets go back to the report:

A total of 333 assault weapons were described in the 235 incidents reported. This total includes 60 assault weapons that were seized from a man after he fatally shot his neighbor with a handgun over a property dispute in California. Of the 333 weapons, 189 were simply described generically as “assault weapon” or “assault rifle.” Another 144 were described either by type (e.g., AK-47) or specific make and model (e.g., Cobray M11).

[bold and italics added for emphasis -ed]

So…18% of the “assault weapons” included in the report were recovered in one incident…in which the perpetrator used a HANDGUN to perpetrate the crime.

And no specifics were required.  If the media said “assault weapon” or “assault rifle” it was taken for granted that those reports were accurate.

Answers my criteria questions pretty thoroughly, now doesn’t it?

I’d say, if we want to see the danger to Police, we should probably look at a more reputable source…say the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

Granted, the FBI UCR doesn’t break incidents down by “assault weapon” or “non-assault weapon”, but it does break down the statistics on Officers feloniously killed into Handgun/Rifle/Shotgun categories.

Considering that the vast majority of firearms incorrectly called “assault weapons” are rifles, that should at least give us a clue.  They used primarily 2005 and 2006 for their “study”.

In 2005,  55 Officers were feloniously killed.  50 were killed by firearms.  of those, only 3 were rifles.

So, of the Officers feloniously killed by firearms .06% were killed by rifles of any type, of which most “assault weapons” are a subgroup.


In 2006,  48 Officers were feloniously killed, 46 by firearms…but the number of rifle uses increased to 8, or .17%.  Oh no…an almost 300% increase…must be a crisis right?

Um…not so much.  When you look at the ten year span of the most current data (including the more recent years of 2007 and 2008, which the VPC “study” conveniently excludes), It quickly becomes obvious why they chose the years they did. 

Here are the numbers of Officers killed by rifles over the most recent ten year period available:

1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
11 10 11 10 10 13 3 8 8 6

Aah.  When you choose 2005 and 2006 as your “study” time frame, you are choosing one of the rare two year periods where Police Officers killed by rifles increased…and, conveniently, the single two year period that experienced the most dramatic rise.

Must have just been a coincidence huh?

By looking at the entire ten year period, it becomes obvious that the overall trend, the unusually high year of 2004 and unusually low year of 2005 notwithstanding, is not UP, but DOWN.

And this tracks right along with the overall crime numbers which, in spite of ever-increasing numbers of firearms in civilian hands, ever-expanding concealed and open carry of defensive firearms by the public and ever-growing areas where defensive carry is allowed and encouraged, have been steadily falling.

So, in the true spirit of authoritarian wanna-be tyrants who think they should be able to tell everyone else how to live their lives, when the facts don’t fit the agenda, the VPC just makes up new facts.

Convenient, that.

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