It appears now “mathematical modelling” is the new buzzword to try and sell Australia’s gun control joke. A colleague of the Fake Professor Philip Alpers (who co-authored this latest research) and long time anti-gun campaigner, Simon Chapman is the latest Howard-era fossil to rush to a defence of the anti-gun narrative.
Chapman’s usual schtick is to use sensationalist verbiage with some statistical gymnastics and we weren’t disappointed with this sophist drivel in the SMH:
“The centrepiece of the law reforms was the outlawing from civilian ownership the rapid-firing, mass-killing machines that armed forces carry. In 2016 with two colleagues, I published a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association where we told the world that 20 years on, Australia had not had a single mass shooting. In the 18 years up to and including the Port Arthur massacre, we’d had 13 where five or more (not including the perpetrator) were killed.
The New Yorker named our evaluation of the impact of the new laws as one of five most notable medical research reports of 2016. Today, 22 years on, Australia still has not experienced a mass shooting. Nada. Zilch.
Griffiths University researcher, gun violence expert and former chair of the International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting, Samara McPhedran has said: “It is possible that the concentration of incidents in one decade was a statistical anomaly. Mass shootings are rare events, and the long gap between incidents post-1996 may simply reflect a return to a more ‘normal’ state of affairs, similar to the years before 1987.
In February, in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school killings, The New York Times put the US National Rifle Association’s response to the Australian lesson this way: “Such episodes are rare enough that it would be statistically incorrect for gun control supporters to draw a cause-and-effect conclusion.
In research published today in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, we have tested this “rare events are still rare” dismissal. Using the eye-watering mathematics used to test the likelihood of rare events being truly rare (insurance companies have long used these techniques to assess risk and set premiums), we tested the “null” hypothesis that the rate of mass shootings in Australia in the 18 years before the 1996 law reforms remained unchanged in the 22 years afterwards. We set out to see if the obvious, was indeed obvious.”
The conclusion of that research:
“Without a 22-year randomized controlled trial assigning only parts of a national population to live under the National Firearms Agreement, establishing a definitive causal connection between this legislation and the 22-year absence of mass firearm homicides is not possible. However, a standard rare events model provides strong evidence against the hypothesis that this prolonged absence simply reflects a continuation of a pre-existing pattern of rare events.”
Further, he general flaw in this research is that “rare events” do not have patterns as previous events being random and also rare do not have causal connections with each other. The model was also based on an assumption that “3 mass shootings every 4 years so therefore 16 have been avoided.” Further, the research does not explore or account for any other factor other than purely the National Firearms Agreement.
Dr Samara McPhedran also responded to Chapman, elaborating on the above and putting him well and truly back in his box. McPhedran succinctly elaborates that the so-called “mass shooting” phenomenon was incredibly rare in Australia even before the 10-year period spanning 1987 to 1996.
Chapman has no credentials in the field of firearms or criminology. He did his PhD on cigarettes and advertising and spends most of his time campaigning against smoking.
There was a 46% decline in the firearm death rate between 1980 and 1995 well before John Howard’s laws:
Furthermore, knives have always been the preferred weapon of homicide in Australia and remains unchanged:
He also fails to explain why New Zealand also experienced a decline at the same time despite not changing firearms laws or having a “mass shooting” since 1997, courtesy of the G Solution:
And the United States per capita homicide rate has declined 49% since 1980 despite the firearm supply nearly doubling:
Explain these transnational, long term statistical declines in the face of greatly varying legislation, Simon. We’ll wait.
Chapman also lies about full auto firearms being available (they were in Tasmania until 1996 despite never being used in crime) and lies about semi-auto firearms being available after 1996. He also makes no mention of other countries such as New Zealand, Canada and the rest which also have access to these firearms and not having experienced epic levels of crime or shootings.
The study from 2016 that Chapman is referencing came to the following conclusion:
This is after Chapman moved the goal posts yet again on what defines a mass shooting, and made sure it was fatal mass shooting purely to get around the Hunt massacre in 2014:
No mass shootings since 1996 is a lie and an insult to those who have been killed and shot with firearms and killed by other means since 1996.
As we’ve stated before, what defines a mass shooting? There are many varied definitions out there in use among criminologists and law enforcement institutions alone. Who’s definition is correct? And is being shot and not killed any less valid a definition than being shot and killed? Is being killed by any other means worse than being shot? Of course not and debate will rage on as to what the definition actually is, despite it’s ever changing definition in Australia.
Chapman is the undisputed king of manipulating statistics to find what he wants to and this latest “research” is nothing more than that. What would you expect from a former member of Gun Control Australia?
Chapman once called semi-auto rifles “fightening death machines.” The only thing “frightening” is the continued level of dishonesty in Chapman’s so-called research, as he yet again tries to sound terribly self-important on an issue he has been terribly dishonest about since 1996.
Chapman claimed later in his op-ed that the gun lobby “doesn’t want to fight anymore.”
Au Contraire, Simon. We’re always up for a debate but really the question is, are you and your Sydney Uni echo chamber colleagues when you aren’t furiously blocking everyone who disagrees with you on Twitter:
Oops, too late.