"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, March 22, 2013

Congressional Innumeracy Update

A few weeks ago I mentioned Maxine Waters' statement that the sequester would cost 170 million American jobs -- more than the entire American workforce.   Yesterday there was this from Charlie Rangel:

New York Rep. Charlie Rangel appeared on MSNBC this morning to opine about the assault weapons ban getting dropped from the Senate gun-control bill. 
He made a few claims about politics as usual and the power money can have in this type of a case, but his most noteworthy comment was about his knowledge on crime statistics. 
“I’m ashamed to admit it but its politics and its money, The NRA has taken this position, there is no reason, there is no foundation. There is no hunter that needs automatic military weapons to enjoy the culture of going hunting,” the Democrat told MSNBC’s Chris Jansing. 
“We’re talking about millions of kids dying — being shot down by assault weapons,” he continued. “Were talking about handguns easier in the inner cities, to get these guns in the inner cities, than to get computers. This is not just a political issue, it’s a moral issue…” 
The FBI’s 2011 data says only 323 people were killed by rifles, compared to 728 people who were killed by hands, fists, feet etc. Handguns are much more likely to be used in a homicide with 6,220 killed nationwide in 2011.
There were a little over 16,000 homicides nationwide in 2010.   Of those, 11,000 were by firearms.   So it's likely that there hasn't been more than a million murders by firearms in America in the past century.   Of those, only a small percentage have been with rifles, and of those only a vanishingly small percentage have been with "assault weapons," whatever that means.  

The innumeracy of a Charlie Rangel is frightening.   This man is allowed to vote on budgets!   Anybody think he could explalin the concept of amortization of unfunded liabilities?

By the way, most Republicans would be OK with a ban on "automatic" weapons, since they would know that fully automatic weapons (machine guns) have been outlawed since the 1930s.  

Sheesh!   Do journalists have any responsibility to simply refuse to permit politicians to spout obvious falsehoods on their networks?

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