George Stewart

 

France – Strasbourg Travel Tips

Things To Do And See In Strasbourg France

Two towers of Ponts Couverts and Strasbourg Cathedral in the distance

City region: Alsace / Grand Est

Population & what they are called: 276,170 inhabitants (2014 census), called Strasbourgeois

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 4 h 45 min (306 miles) via the A4 autoroute de l’Est
  • by train: about 1 h 45 min by TGV from the Gare de l’Est

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Marie Tussaud, founder of Madame Tussaud’s wax museums
  • Marcel Marceau, actor and mime artist
  • Eliette Abécassis, writer and professor of philosophy

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • In Strasbourg in 1792, Rouget de Lisle composed the Army of the Rhine’s battle song, which later became the French national anthem, called the “Marseillaise.”
  • Now home to the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament, the city of Strasbourg was chosen as the European capital just after World War II as a symbol of reconciliation between the peoples of Europe and of their future together.

Notable sites:

  • La Petite France – formerly the millers’ and tanners’ district, it is the city’s most picturesque quarter, with narrow alleyways, canals and half-timbered houses
  • Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg – an ornate Gothic masterpiece with a 466-foot (142m) spire and a famous astronomical clock
  • Ponts Couverts and Barrage Vauban – several formerly covered bridges, four 14th-century towers and a 17th-century dam

Top annual events:

  • Christmas Markets – one of the loveliest Christmas markets in Europe, and one of the oldest as it dates from 1570 (noel.strasbourg.eu/en/marches-de-noel)
  • ST’ART – with over 25 art galleries and over 60 contemporary works, the second largest contemporary art fair in France
  • Musica – international festival of contemporary classical music (festivalmusica.org)

Most notable museums:

  • Rohan Palace – a former residence of the prince-bishops and today the Archeological Museum (Musée Archéologique), Decorative Arts Museum (Musée des Arts Décoratifs) and Fine Arts Museum (Musée des Beaux-Arts) (en.musees.strasbourg.eu)
  • Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain – among the largest contemporary and modern art museums in the country
  • Musée Alsacien – dedicated to traditional Alsatian daily life

Culinary specialties:

  • choucroute à la strasbourgeoise – pickled cabbage (sauerkraut), salted pork, Strasbourg sausage and ham, best eaten in a winstub (local restaurant)
  • foie gras – Strasbourg claims the first duck foie gras to be cooked in terracotta terrines and covered in a layer of fat
  • kougelhopf – a light Alsatian brioche with a distinctive shape

Local wines & spirits:

  • Alsace AOC wines – famous whites like Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris
  • beer – large breweries in and near town, as well as a growing number of micro-breweries, keep Strasbourg’s beer culture thriving

Shopping:

  • any independent wine store – keep an eye out for the Fédération Nationale des Cavistes Indépendants affiliation or any clear indication of a caviste indépendent
  • Arts et Collections d’Alsace – sells copies of art and other objects seen in museums and throughout Alsace
  • Rue de la Mésange – a focal point for gourmet shopping

Most popular night spots:

  • Quay des Pêcheurs – the place to spend an evening in one of the unusual barge bars
  • Quartier Krutenau – on the south end of Grande Ile and filled with fashionable bars, restaurants, galleries and trendy shops
  • La Laiterie – home to several cultural institutions, including a famous rock concert hall, on the site of the former central dairy

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Parc de l’Orangerie – the oldest park in town and a favorite place for a stroll, a jog or a day out with the kids
  • cycling – Strasbourg has the largest cycle network in France with some 560 km of cycle tracks
  • Alsace Wine route – a signposted trip to the heart of the vineyards along numerous vineyard paths (vinsalsace.com/en/)

Local industries:

  • biotechnology – Alsace Biovalley is a global competitiveness cluster focused on health and the life sciences and health, and bringing together the major players in the field (businesses, research laboratories, hospitals and universities) in and around Alsace
  • brewing – three major breweries have bases in the area: Brasseries de l’Esperance (part of the Heineken International), and Schutzenberg and La Perle, two independent Alsatian brewers with long histories

In Pop Culture:

  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – the 2011 movie, with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, took over the historic heart of Strasbourg during filming of the opening sequence
  • The Duellists – a 1977 film by Ridley Scott about an ongoing feud between two 19th-century French army officers
  • Théâtre national de Strasbourg – the only French national theater outside of Paris

Major 2018 development:

  • Strasbourg’s museum of modern and contemporary art, one of the largest in France.

 

[Source: The France Tourism Development Agency -/- Media Relations]
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UAE – ‘Financial Trading Summit 2017’ Begins On October 28th In Dubai

Financial Trading Summit 2017 Opens In Dubai On October 28

Burj al Arab - Mina a'salam - panoramio

The Financial Trading Summit 2017 will open in Dubai on October 28th, with a large number of financial experts and strategists participating.

The event will focus on providing clear-cut definitions of essential strategies used in areas of financial trading and solutions for improving trading skills.

It is organised by ActivTrades, an independent broker providing trading services in Forex, Contracts for Difference and Spread Betting.

The summit will seek to educate the participants in essential strategies and trading psychology needed to begin, or improve trading skills.

It will also provide attendees with the opportunity to demystify any questions about the industry and to start a network with other financial traders.

[Source: Emirates Government News Agency/Hazem Hussein / Hatem Mohamed -/- Media Relations]
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Italy – Two Regions In Italy Will Vote On Whether To Request Greater Autonomy

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Two wealthy regions of northern Italy have voted for greater autonomy in referendums. In Lombardy and Veneto more than 90 percent said “yes“according to preliminary results. Lombardy which is home to Italy’s financial capital, Milan and the Veneto region around Venice account for about 30% of national wealth. Two regions in Italy will vote on whether… Read More


Afghanistan – US Secretary Of State, Rex Tillerson, Met With Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Saadabad Palace 01
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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has with met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during an unannounced visit to Kabul Monday. “The Secretary stated that the new U.S. strategy for South Asia makes clear the United States’ commitment to working with the government of Afghanistan and with partners across the region to achieve peace in Afghanistan… Read More


Syria – Syrian Activists Say Islamic State Militants Killed At Least 128 People In The Town Of Qaryatayn

Qusayr map
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Syrian activists say Islamic State militants killed at least 128 people in the town of Qaryatayn before losing control of the area to government forces. The government troops and allied militias retook Qaryatayn, located in Homs province, on Saturday. Islamic State fighters had held the town for three weeks. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,… Read More


Ukraine – National Anti-Corruption Investigators Raid The Home And Office Of The Mayor Of Odessa

Odessa Potemkin Stairs
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Ukrainian anti-corruption investigators on Monday raided the home and office of a powerful mayor at the centre of a politically charged embezzlement probe. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) said the searches were conducted at the premises of Odessa Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov and his associates. The Black Sea city’s authorities are being probed for allegedly… Read More


Tourism Ministers From 17 Pacific Island Countries Will Meet In Port Vila

Tourism Ministers from 17 Pacific Island countries will gather in Port Vila next week (Friday October 27th) to attend the annual Council of Tourism Ministers meeting and to discuss a number of key aspects of tourism development in the region.

Port Vila, Vanuatu, from the War Memorial, 1 June 2006 - Flickr - PhillipC

The Ministers meeting on Friday will see the culmination of a week of other high level SPTO meetings in Vanuatu, all targeted at improving tourism development in the region and contributing to sustainable tourism. The Council of Ministers meeting now in its 27th year, is organized annually by SPTO, the region’s peak tourism development and marketing body, in partnership with each host country.

Items on the agenda include China Pacific Tourism Year (CPTY) 2019 and the China Pacific Tourism Development as well as regional projects funded by donors such as Asian Development Bank (ADB).  The Ministers will also be briefed in presentations from the Green Climate Fund, New Zealand Maori Tourism, Trip Advisor and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

In the lead up to the Council of Ministers Meeting, SPTO will also facilitate a meeting of all Marketing Managers and Executives of SPTO countries to discuss SPTO’s regional marketing programme on Tuesday October 24th.

The meeting will review SPTO’s marketing activities in 2017 and look forward to the marketing strategies and activities in place for 2018.  The SPTO regional marketing plan 2018 will be tabled for endorsement prior to its submission to the SPTO Board meeting for final approval.

Other highlights of the marketing meeting include an update from Trip Advisor on the first ever consumer facing digital marketing campaign undertaken in 2017 and the plans to expand this into 2018.

“It is expected to be a busy week for us in Vanuatu as we also have the first ever Pacific Tourism Insights Conference, which is very exciting for us as a region,” SPTO Chief Executive Officer, Chris Cocker said.

“We are expecting that meeting to contribute to new insights and approaches to help improve the way we do tourism business in the region and to take us to the next level,” he added.

SPTO is collaborating with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) with the support of Air Vanuatu to host PTIC at the Vanuatu Convention Center in Port Vila on Wednesday October 25th.

ATR 42 at Port Vila - Vanuatu

The conference brings together a dynamic and unique line up of international thought leaders in innovative and disruptive thinking with key topics to be analyzed and discussed including; connecting with the new traveler, the difference between consumer and customer, crisis and recovery and ingredients for success and sustainability.

“PTIC provides the perfect opportunity for travel and tourism industry stakeholders in the Pacific to gain deeper insights into how to prepare for the future and the inevitable technological changes and developments that will affect lives,” Mr Cocker said.

“Key discussions expected to specifically be of interest to the Pacific are technological innovation and the importance of tourism data.  In terms of innovation, the internet continues to revolutionize tourism marketing and product distribution globally. The Pacific region has in many aspects failed to keep pace with the level of technological change and the implications that this change has for tourism business and National Tourism Offices,’ he added

“Tourism data is important given the fact that travel is a fast paced industry which drives the need for speedy data analytics and quick decision making.”

One hundred and fifty participants are anticipated to attend the conference from Vanuatu and internationally and the registration is still open for those still interested.

The conference discussions are aimed to contribute towards achieving the objectives of the Pacific Tourism Strategy 2015-2019 which provides the strategic framework to support the development of tourism in the Pacific.   The conference itself is expected to provide a unique convergence for networking, learning and growing.

On Thursday October, 26th, the SPTO Board will also meet in Vanuatu to endorse SPTO’s 2018 work plan and discuss a number of other SPTO activities including the South Pacific Tourism Exchange 2018 and 2019.

About SPTO

Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region. Its 18 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the People’s Republic of China. In addition to government members, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation enlists a private sector membership base.

[Source:  South Pacific Tourism Organisation -/- Media Relations]
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ESPN Anchor That Called President Donald Trump A “White Supremacist” Says I Will Never Take Back What I Said

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Jemele Hill’s ESPN suspension comes to an end next week and it seems like forever since she went off the air as a result of her Twitter behavior. Since the suspension came down, President Donald Trump has tweeted about Hill by name and there has even been speculation that the SportsCenter anchor could be on her… Read More


Washington DC – The ‘Peace Cross’, A World War I Veterans Memorial, Has Been Deemed Unconstitutional By A ‘Federal Court’

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An old, rugged cross that has stood on public land in a Washington, D.C., suburb for almost a century has been deemed unconstitutional by a federal court. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this past Wednesday (October 18) that the so-called Peace Cross violates the establishment clause of the Constitution with “excessive religious entanglement.”… Read More


President Donald Trump Authorized The Long Blocked And Classified ‘JFK FILES’ To Be Opened To The Public

JFK Funeral and temporary grave November 25 1963
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U.S. President Donald Trump announced Saturday he will authorize the release of classified documents that may provide more information about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump said on Twitter. The… Read More


Nigerian Citizen Sentenced To US Prison For $12 Million Tax Fraud Scheme

Nigerian Citizen Sentenced to 6 ½ Years in Prison for $12 Million Tax Refund Fraud, Voter Fraud, and Illegal Reentry

Stole Public School Employees’ IDs
Handcuffs01 2003-06-02

A Nigerian citizen, who resided in St. Louis, Missouri, was sentenced to 78 months in prison for mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, voter fraud, and re-entering the United States after having been removed, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Carrie Costantin for the Eastern District of Missouri.

According to documents filed with the court, Kevin Kunlay Williams, a.k.a. Kunlay Sodipo, 56, and others stole public school employees’ IDs from a payroll company and used them to electronically file more than 2,000 fraudulent federal income tax returns seeking more than $12 million in refunds. He also stole several return preparer’s Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) and used them to secure tax-related bank products and services that facilitated the issuance of tax refunds, to include blank check stock and debit cards.

Williams used the blank stock to print checks funded by the fraudulent refunds and directed some of the refunds onto debit cards.

Williams previously entered the United States from Nigeria under the name Kunlay Sodipo, but was deported in 1995. In 1999, Williams illegally returned to the United States from Nigeria using the last name Williams. In 2012, Williams registered to vote in federal, state and local elections by falsely claiming that he was a U.S. citizen and voted in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.

In addition to the term of prison imposed, Chief U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel ordered Williams to pay restitution of $889,712 to the Internal Revenue Service, in addition to forfeiture of money orders totaling $10,810 seized during the investigation.

 Williams is in custody and also faces deportation.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Costantin commended special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service as well as the Dothan, Alabama Police Department and Alexander City, Alabama Police Department, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Michael C. Boteler and Charles M. Edgar, Jr. of the Tax Division, who prosecuted this case with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern District of Missouri and Middle District of Alabama.

[Source: Us Department of Justice -/- Media Relations]
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Gun Ownership – Just Facts About Media Fabrications

Four Fabrications About Firearms

Non-Violence sculpture in front of UN headquarters NY

By James D. Agresti

According to two recent op-eds published by the New York Times:

more guns means more murder.”

more guns means less safety.”

a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault, an accidental death or injury, a suicide attempt or a homicide than it is for self-defense.”

gun-owning households were 41 percent more likely to experience a homicide and 244 percent more like[ly] to experience a suicide.”

As detailed below, all of those claims are rooted in misleading or blatantly false evidence. By spreading this misinformation, the Times and the authors of these pieces may deceive people into making decisions that lead to suffering and deaths.

Fabrication # 1: More Guns Means More Murder

To prove his claim that “more guns means more murder,” Times columnist Bret Stephens cites a 2013 paper in the American Journal of Public Health, which found that “states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.”

For two reasons, this study does not support Stephens’ assertion.

First, the excerpt he quoted from the paper—and the paper itselfdon’t account for all murders but only for those committed with guns. This is a sure way to measure all negative effects of gun ownership while excluding most positive effects. For example, if a criminal uses a gun to kill a woman, the study accounts for this negative outcome. However, if a woman uses a gun to prevent a would-be murderer from strangling her, the study ignores this positive outcome.

The primary benefit of gun ownership is that it dramatically changes the balance of power between criminals and potential victims. A central fact of criminology is that lawbreakers often attack “soft targets” or “easy prey.” In the words of the textbook Forensic Science: Advanced Investigations, “Very often, a criminal chooses a target based on the vulnerability of the victim.” The academic book The Psychology of Criminal and Antisocial Behavior: Victim and Offender Perspectives says it like this: “Predators, irrespective of their end game, are exceptionally good at identifying the weak members of the herd.

Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens transform them into hard targets, which often prevents crime without even firing a shot. This is borne out by a 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons across the U.S., which found that 40% of them had decided not to commit a crime because they knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun.”

For all of the reasons above, to assess the true effects of gun ownership on murder, one must account for all murders, not just those committed with guns.

Second, Stephens makes a common blunder by confusing association with causation. Even if the study he cited had found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had higher levels of murder, this would not show that “more guns means more murder.” As explained in a textbook about analyzing data:

Association is not the same as causation. This issue is a persistent problem in empirical analysis in the social sciences. Often the investigator will plot two variables and use the tight relationship obtained to draw absolutely ridiculous or completely erroneous conclusions. Because we so often confuse association and causation, it is extremely easy to be convinced that a tight relationship between two variables means that one is causing the other. This is simply not true.

The reason it’s not true is because there are numerous possible factors that impact homicide rates, and without an experimental study, it is extremely difficult to identify, measure, and account for the effects of all such factors. In fact, the authors of the study in question make this point three times, writing, “we could not determine causation,” “we could not determine causation,” and “it is not possible in a panel study such as ours to determine causality.”

Despite those explicit and repeated warnings in the study, Stephens misrepresents it as though it proves causation. Coming from Stephens, who is a Pulitzer Prize winner and has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, this kind of error belies gross negligence. The fact that association does not prove causation is taught in high school statistics, and the Common Core math standards require students to distinguish between correlation and causation.

Fabrication # 2: More Guns Means Less Safety

Stephens also contends that “more guns means less safety.” As proof of this, he writes that “the F.B.I. counted a total of 268 justifiable homicides by private citizens involving firearms in 2015; that is, felons killed in the course of committing a felony. Yet that same year, there were 489 ‘unintentional firearms deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.”

Stephens’ comparison of firearm accidents to justifiable firearm homicides does not prove his point, because it presumes that firearms improve safety only when they are used to kill criminals. As explained in a 300+ page analysis of firearms studies published in 2005 by the National Academies of Science, effective defensive gun use need not ever lead the perpetrator to be wounded or killed. Rather, to assess the benefits of self-defense, one needs to measure crime and injury averted. The particular outcome of an offender is of little relevance.

Likewise, a 1995 paper in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology states:

This is also too serious a matter to base conclusions on silly statistics comparing the number of lives taken with guns with the number of criminals killed by victims. Killing a criminal is not a benefit to the victim, but rather a nightmare to be suffered for years afterward.

The purpose of having a gun for self-defense is not to kill or hurt criminals but to prevent criminals from killing or hurting others. Hence, in the vast majority of cases where someone uses a gun for self-defense, a bullet is never fired because the would-be assailant retreats when he discovers that his target is armed.

Fabrication # 3: Guns Are Far More Likely to Be Used for Harm Than Self-Defense

Other bogus assertions in these Times editorials come from Michael Shermer, a Ph.D. who teaches a course at Chapman University entitled Skepticism 101: How to Think Like a Scientist.” According to Shermer, “a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault, an accidental death or injury, a suicide attempt or a homicide than it is for self-defense.

Shermer bases this claim on a 1998 paper in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, which examined records of all fatal and nonfatal shootings in three U.S. cities” that “occurred in or around a residence.” The study found that “for every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides and 11 attempted or completed suicides.

Like Stephens, Shermer grossly misrepresents the findings of the study he cites. This study does not measure how often guns are used “for self-defense,” as he claims. Instead, it measures how often they are “used to injure or kill in self-defense.” Hence, it excludes every case where a gun is used for self-defense and the criminal is not shot. Again, this ignores the vast bulk of defensive gun uses and benefits.

This study also suffers from the implicit assumption that everyone who commits suicide with a gun would not take their lives by other means if they didn’t have a gun. That notion is abjectly false. As the 2005 National Academies of Science gun control analysis says, “Some gun control policies may reduce the number of gun suicides, but they have not yet been shown to reduce the overall risk of suicide in any population.

In order to measure what Shermer is driving at with his fake fact, one must compare all of the lives that would be saved if guns did not exist to all of the lives that would be lost. This is very difficult to determine, but the most solid existing data suggests that guns help save far more lives than they cost.

In 2014, roughly 14,249 murders were committed with firearms in the United States, and 586 fatal firearm accidents occurred. Assuming that none of these murders would have taken place if guns were unavailable in the U.S., about 15,000 lives might have been saved.

In comparison, a 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 0.5% of households had members who had used a gun for defense during a situation in which they thought someone almost certainly would have been killed if they had not used a gun for protection. This amounts to 162,000 such incidents per year. And it excludes all military service, police work, or work as a security guard.

In sum, these data suggest that civilian usage of guns costs about 15,000 lives per year and saves roughly 162,000 lives per year. Since the latter figure is from the 1990s and is based on people’s subjective views of what would have happened if they did not use a gun, it should be taken with a grain of salt. However, the figure of 162,000 who said they saved a life is only 16% of a much larger number of people in this survey who said they used a gun for defense. Hence, this is not a case where a majority of defensive gun users may have exaggerated the life-saving import of what they did.

Moreover, anti-gun criminologist Marvin E. Wolfgang praised this study, which was conducted by pro-gun researchers Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz and published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. In the same journal, Wolfgang wrote:

I am as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country.”

Nonetheless, the methodological soundness of the current Kleck and Gertz study is clear. I cannot further debate it.

The Kleck and Gertz study impresses me for the caution the authors exercise and the elaborate nuances they examine methodologically. I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology.”

Other credible studies provide evidence that the number of defensive gun uses are substantial.

Anti-gun researcher David McDowall and others conducted a major survey of defensive gun use that was published by the Journal of Quantitative Criminology in 2000. The authors did not take their survey results to their logical conclusions by using the common practice of weighting them to find what the results would be for a nationally representative survey sample. But when one does this, the results imply that U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 990,000 times per year. This figure accounts only for “clear” cases of defensive gun use and is based upon a weighting calculation designed to minimize defensive gun uses.

Likewise, a 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.

Fabrication # 4: Owning a Gun Increases Your Risk of Homicide and Suicide

Shermer also cites a 2003 paper from the Annals of Emergency Medicine, which he summarizes by saying that it found “gun-owning households were 41 percent more likely to experience a homicide and 244 percent more like[ly] to experience a suicide.” He follows this up by stating, “The Second Amendment protects your right to own a gun, but having one in your home involves a risk-benefit calculation you should seriously consider.

Like Stephens, Shermer mistakes association for causation. This study, like many others in the social sciences, attempts to divine causation by using statistical techniques to “control” for the effects of certain variables. These techniques, however, cannot objectively rule out the possibility that other factors are at play. This is called “omitted variable bias,” and the study in question directly states that it omits many variables that could bias its results, including “mental illness among subjects or family members and histories of violence, illicit drug and alcohol use, time spent (exposed) at home, and lifestyle factors like gang membership and drug dealing.

Furthermore, this study is a “case control” study, and as the above-cited National Academies of Science report explains, case control studies cannot determine “causal mechanisms.” This is because gun “ownership is not a random decision,” and “homicide victims may possess firearms precisely because they are likely to be victimized.” In other words, the study may actually show a reverse causation in which vulnerability to murder causes people to buy guns.

Summary

Journalism standards give commentators “wide latitude” to express their views, but this is not a license to butcher the truth. In the words of New York Times deputy editorial page editor Trish Hall, “the facts in a piece must be supported and validated. You can have any opinion you would like, but you cant say that a certain battle began on a certain day if it did not.” Yet, these two Times op-eds do just that.

By spreading these fabrications, the Times editors, Stephens, and Shermer can cause tremendous harm. They may, for example, convince people who will use a gun to save their own lives or the lives of others from ever getting a gun. Their falsehoods may also convince voters to elect politicians who will appoint judges that effectively repeal the Second Amendment. Stephens actually calls for that in his op-ed. In turn, this could have widespread ripple effects on murder and other crimes.

In the realm of public policy, false information can have deadly consequences. This is not just a problem for the gun control side of this debate but for the gun rights side also. When people place their viewpoints over the truth, they value their biases more than the well-being and very lives of themselves and others.

[Source: James D. Agresti / Justfacts.com -/- Media Relations]
(James D. Agresti is the president of
Just Facts, a nonprofit institute dedicated to publishing verifiable facts about public policy)

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