The act of acknowledging a mistake and be willing to change your mind is not only a clear sign of intellectual honesty but also an exhibition of bravery, considering how the political pressure makes this kind of action almost impossible to achieve. Fortunately, the latest example of someone who decided to recognize an error and be part of the other side of the political spectrum on a certain issue was Leah Libresco, who went for advocating gun control to arguing against it.
Writing in The Washington Post, the prestigious statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, the site run by famed statistician Nate Silver, openly admits that she changed her mind on gun control. In fact, she explained she evolved from blaming the National Rifle Association (NRA) for gun deaths to realizing more stringent, blanket gun control was not the proper answer to gun deaths.
Of course, considering the enormous implications of making this bold move, Libresco went from being praised by liberals to becoming some kind of pariah. Unsurprisingly, this can’t be considered as an unexpected situation, given the fact that gun control has been one of the most controversial topics in the U.S over the last few years, and one of the most important points in the Democratic agenda.
In her piece, Libresco starts by confessing that before she started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to upset her, and she blamed the NRA for blocking the restriction of silencers, shrinking magazine sizes, and the banning of assault weapons.
Soon after that, the statistician started to analyze data from the roughly 33,000 lives ended by guns each single year in America, and a light bulb suddenly went on. It was the first drop of water that eventually would end up in a brilliant cascade of clarity.
Libresco explained that soon after examining the evidence, she realized that the best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored to protect what she considered “subtypes of potential victims,” instead of broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.
Brilliantly, the statistician dismisses the oft-stated myth that the tight gun laws in Australia and Great Britain had any kind of relevance for the United States. She wrote that none of these nations experienced any sort of drop in mass shootings or other gun-related crime that could be attributed to their bans and buybacks.
Of course, this part of the article was extremely damaging for the leftist narrative on this delicate issue, given the fact that for years, Democrats have pointed out that America should imitate the Australian and British system on gun control.
Furthermore, Libresco wrote that when she looked at the other oft-praised policies, she found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an assault weapon. According to what she said in her piece, this is nothing more than an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, including a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a bayonet mount, a pistol grip or a folding stock.
However, she said, guns are modular, and any hobbyist could easily add any of these features at home, just as if they were snapping some “Legos” together. On the other hand, regarding silencers, Libresco explained that while these limit the hearing damage for shooters, they don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. In order to provide the clearest example, she explained that an AR-15 with a silencer is definitely as loud as a jackhammer.
In the article, the statistician also noted that two-thirds of gun deaths in America every year are suicides. According to her words, very little proposed restrictions would make it harder for people with guns on hand to use them.
Segueing to the next-largest set of gun deaths, women killed –mostly as the result of domestic violence- and young men aged from 15 to 34, killed in homicides, Libresco explained that few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.
The statistician suggested that in order to help women endangered by specific men, police should prioritize them and enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Regarding older men, who make up the largest amount of gun suicides, Libresco wrote they need better access to people who could care for them and get them help.
Finally, regarding younger men at risk of violence, she said they need to be identified before they kill someone or lose their lives. She also said they need to be connected to mentors who could help them de-escalate conflicts.
Libresco concluded that they need to save lives by focusing on a range of tactics in order to protect “the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers,” instead of “sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.”