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Unconventional Wisdom

The Big Idea for Thursday, March 21, 2013

If truth is the first casualty in war, the same holds true for heated political debates, particularly in our digital age in which misinformation can spread virally. The debate over what to do about gun violence is a case in point.

If you possess a gun, are you more or less likely to commit a crime? Are you more or less likely to be the victim of a crime? Are you more or less likely to survive an encounter with a bear? Are you more or less likely to think someone else is armed?

Your answers to these questions depends a lot on your view of guns, the media you consume, and whether you are a gun owner yourself. Scientific studies, however, might tell a very different story. In the age of the "hive mind," of course, science often represents the unconventional wisdom, not the conventional wisdom. 

And so, to answer these types of questions objectively, Tom Hartsfield and Alex Berezow of RealClearScience have been mining data in an attempt to decipher what meaningful correlations exist between guns and violence, if indeed any do at all.

Their analyses have been instructive and controversial, to say the least.


  1. 1 Don't Bring a Gun to a Bear Fight, and Other Unconventional Firearm Wisdom
    Ross Pomeroy Experts' Corner
  2. 2 Two Important Arguments from Both 'Sides' of the Gun Debate
    Tauriq Moosa Against the New Taboo
  3. 3 Substituting Prices for Principles in the Gun Debate
    Daniel Altman Econ201
  4. 4 The Gun Control Battle. It's Not About Guns As Weapons, but Guns as Symbols.
    David Ropeik Risk: Reason and Reality

Unconventional Wisdom

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