Well, once again good ole Mitch Albom set off my ‘critical thinking bullshit detector’ on my commute home. Today he had on a guest who was discussing some research he was apparently trying to collect on the Michigan Concealed Carry law as part of the acknowledgement of it being passed 10 years ago.
Among some of the other things that were discussed, the guest had pointed out some of the things that the law proposed to do. Obviously, it established a legal process for a ‘no fault’ CCW. (‘no fault’ in this instance refers to the fact that instead of having to prove a ‘need’ to have such a permit, the responsibility instead falls upon the issuing body to prove cause not to provide one to anyone applying) It also established anonymity protection for the applicants, i.e. not adding their names to some kind of publicly accessible registry. But apparently, it also established reporting guidelines to better assess any impact on illegal activities that permit owners might be involved with in any way.
Apparently, one of the beefs that Mr. Albom wanted to highlight is that this reporting standard did not carry with it any penalties for non-compliance. And also apparently, many jurisdictions have not been complying with these reporting guidelines.
Now at this point let me say that I agree with both Mr. Albom and his guest. If there is a requirement in the law that crimes related to CCW permit holders be reported, they should be. If, for whatever reason, jurisdictions are not reporting these statistics then that is a legitimate beef to take up with those jurisdictions. But that is where my agreements end. And the fact that Mr. Albom felt the need to make this ‘news’ at all reminded me all to clearly of the non-issue news about the potential hazards of Reardon metal in the book Atlas Shrugged.
I’ll give Mitch credit that he did present both sides of the arguments. He did point out at least twice that you can neither say that crimes are occurring as a result of increased handgun carrying by-way-of legal CCW permit carrying citizens nor can you say that crimes are being prevented by CCW permit carrying citizens when such statistics are not reported. But he then went on at least half a dozen times to suggest that the statistics on CCW related crimes are under-reported.
If you cannot determine either way, then that is nothing more than an assumption. You could just as easily assume that these statistics are not being reported because these jurisdictions in question have little or nothing to report! With that said, the latter is still an assumption, but I would argue it is a safer assumption than the one he is alleging by way of suggesting an under-reporting of CCW related crime. He also added to this suggestion that ‘there’s not way to tell’. But I think there is.
There are organizations with political motives on both sides of the debate that could benefit from news one way or another. (he tacitly eluded to this as well but did not correlate it as it would have no doubt damaged his presumption of ‘under reported crimes) Both sides have people who monitor the news and would report on any and all successes and/or abuses (respective to their political motive) that benefited their side of the debate. BUT….. the media tends to reverberate the negative, anti-gun sentiments wider, farther and longer than any pro-gun news.
If in fact there were known abuses of the law by CCW permit holders, the media would pounce on that like a bunch of blood crazed hounds. Witness the case of Bernie Goetz as a gleaming example of the kind of media bias I am referring to. Although not a legal-CCW related case, the media went crazy over the coverage of the criminal charges against Mr. Goetz and almost entirely glossed over the criminal acts being committed against him at the time. (they also grossly under reported the ‘effects’ of his actions on the crime statistics in the NY subway in the weeks following his criminal act of self-defense)
To say there is ‘no way to know for sure’ simply because statistics are under-reported to support either claim, is to over look the media blood-lust for anti-gun rhetoric, in the midst of perpetuating more anti-gun rhetoric!
Unfortunately Mr. Albom, I must say yet again….