Letters to the Editor

Scrutinize gun statistics

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In a commentary, “Six facts about mass shootings” in the Oct. 2 Herald-Leader by Frederic Lemieux, the author referenced his study to support the first fact, “More guns don’t make you safer.” He said the United States had more than double the mass shootings as the other 24 countries combined in his study. That statistic is true for raw numbers but doesn’t give the mass-shooting numbers equal standing to be able to compare the countries.

Statistics can support any conclusion if you use the right formulas. For example, using his numbers and the current population of each country, one can also conclude that the U.S. has the third-most mass shootings.

Thus, New Zealand is the highest ranked with 0.64 mass shootings per million population, Finland is ranked second with 0.36 mass shootings per million population and the U.S. is ranked third with 0.24 mass shootings per million population. Using this calculation, New Zealand has 2.6 times as many mass shootings as the U.S. and Finland has 1.5 times as many as the U.S.

I am not in the pro- or anti-gun camp. I am just a person who decries the use of statistics to support particular agenda and want everyone to scrutinize the conclusions drawn from them.

D.H. Smith