Addressing gun violence one bumper-sticker solution at a time

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published Tuesday, February 27, 2013

Most anyone who has taken a statistics class has heard the example of the incidence of rape rising when sales of ice cream increase. Does that mean rape is more likely to occur as ice cream sales rise? The evidence says yes.

But would banning ice cream sales result in a reduction in the number of rapes? Almost certainly not. Why? Because the correlation does not demonstrate the causation. Looked at another way, they have a shared cause, but there is no correlation. The cause in both cases is hotter temperatures. That is, rape is more likely to occur in warmer months, just as ice cream sales shoot up during the hot summer season. Banning the sale of ice cream to reduce rape makes about as much sense as banning guns to reduce violence.

We get bombarded with stats, figures and polling data every day. Much of this, particularly the polling data, is next to useless. But it doesn’t stop the media from fixating on often-times meaningless numbers to tell a story. Real facts and figures are harder to explain, thus the preferred use of polling numbers.

But hard facts don’t lie. According to the FBI, in 2011 there were 8,583 firearm-related homicide deaths in the United States. Suicides accounted for twice as many firearm-related deaths the same year.

One fact your local gun dealer would rather you ignore shows that guns purchased for self-protection are 43 times more likely to kill a family member or someone else you know than to kill an intruder, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In 2012, the city of Chicago had 500 homicides. Of those, (Click here to read the full column in the Tampa Tribune).


Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at:

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2 Responses to “Addressing gun violence one bumper-sticker solution at a time”

  1. Larry Says:

    Chris —
    You’re quite right to point out the way advocates deliberately confuse correlation and causation to make their case. And your final judgment that gun control laws don’t and won’t control gun violence is spot on. But you let your own critical judgment lapse a bit when you reported, apparently with a straight face, the 43 times more likely nonsense. This is as preposterous on the face of it as the ice cream/rape connection. (The New England Journal of Medicine has a history of publishing highly politicized articles.) I tackled this one recently in the highly serious Spectator column below.

  2. David Says:


    This is probably your best editorial yet. I guess we should outlaw warm weather to prevent rapes.


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