Sunday, July 3, 2016

Gun Truths

The humor magazine/website Cracked, as some know, turns out a lot of serious content. Their book The De-Textbook contains "the stuff you didn't know about the stuff you thought you knew."

The section on guns is particularly interesting. After pointing out that nonmilitary bulletproof vests are not magic force fields, that automatic rifles need to be reloaded in three seconds and are generally only used in the military for suppressive fire (as in "Cover me!"), and that silencers only lower the sound of a gun shot by about 20 decibels (i.e., still as loud as a jackhammer), they get to what I think is the most important bit of misinformation we have all gotten from the media:

Every gunshot is a controlled explosion going off inside your hand, and learning to control the direction you explode it in is really freaking hard. The New York City Police Department did a huge study in the 1970s and found that when the bad guy was more than ten feet away, the shots missed 90 percent of the time. In real-life gunfights involving trained shooters, shots fired at that range only hit their target 10 percent of the time....

....the same NYPD study found that the force's top range shooters did no better in actual gunfights than anybody else. Probably that's because controlling explosions with your hands like a freaking wizard gets harder when both you and the thing you're trying to hit are running, ducking, and screaming like possessed toddlers.

Maybe you're thinking, "That's why I'm bringing a shotgun! You don't even have to aim with those!" Well, that's true, in a video game. In real life, no, a shotgun can't take out everybody standing within a five-foot-side corridor in front of you (buckshot only spreads in a pattern a few inches wide).
Ten feet. Ten percent. But when a person uses a gun to commit suicide, those odds go way up. Guns don't make us safer on balance, and if we could fund research on guns as a public health hazard, more of us would know that.

1 comment:

Gina said...

Wow, you wouldn't know by the way shooting guns is portrayed on TV and in movies. I'm amazed at what good shots fictional characters are! But that's just the point: it's FICTION. I sometimes think, however, that lack of accuracy is not necessarily a good thing when a gun is in the hands of a stupid idiot who thinks he's a gangster.