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Skyler Bailey: A new look at the Vermont Public Radio ‘Gunshots’ data
VT Digger ^ | 02 Sep 2018 | Skyler Bailey

Posted on 09/03/2018 6:45:09 PM PDT by GreyHoundSailor

Vermont is widely known to be among the safest states in the union, but when it comes to gun violence new research shows that the Green Mountain state is safer than previously thought.

I conducted independent research using news articles and obituaries to dig deeper into the Vermont Public Radio “Gunshots” series. The research demonstrates the inaccuracy of common interpretations of the VPR gun homicide figures. It also calls into question some of the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting statistics, which form the basis of a vast body of policy studies and statistical analyses. The cumulative effect of these findings is that widely circulated data and the popular perception of gun violence in Vermont are substantially inflated.

In August 2017, Vermont Public Radio released a series of articles and podcasts examining guns in Vermont which culminated in the widely read online article, “Gunshots: Vermont Gun Deaths, 2011-2016, The role of guns in life – and death – in Vermont.”

The centerpiece of the article was a database of information culled from the death certificates of those who had died of gunshot wounds over a six-year period, which was compiled by doctors, researchers and staff. A link to the database was included within the Gunshots article.(1) The database contains date and time of injury, date of death, location of injury, cause of death, and the marital status, education level and age of the victims.(2) Names were redacted, and almost no information about the circumstances surrounding the incidents was included.

The VPR data amounts to a misrepresentation of the extent of gun violence in Vermont. The claim is made within the text of the article that, “There were 47 people shot and killed by someone else in Vermont from 2011 through 2016.”(3)

It is noted, however, that “In five cases, medical examiners documented that the person killed was shot by police or law enforcement.”(4) In the absence of any further differentiation among the types and nature of the firearm deaths, readers are left with the reasonable conclusion that of those 47 gun homicides, five were law enforcement shootings and 42 were the result of acts of murder. Lobbyist groups for and against gun control as well as politicians have presented the data in this way.(5)

Using the VPR database as a point of departure, internet searches for each of the gun homicides revealed contemporaneous news articles about these events. Injury dates included in the database facilitated positive identification of shooting incidents in news reports. Using this process, all of the victims were identified and specific information regarding each of these deaths was compiled. Analysis of the new data enables a more textured and nuanced view of gun violence in Vermont and forces new perspectives on the VPR findings.

The news articles revealed that a large portion of the gun homicides in the VPR database were not murders. The following examples of firearm fatalities were included among the homicides:

One young man, believing the firearm was not loaded, pointed a stolen handgun at his friend’s head and pulled the trigger.(6)

A teenager shot and killed his abusive father, who had drawn a gun on the teen and threatened to kill him.(7)

During a no-knock raid, a homeowner aimed an un-primed muzzle-loading rifle at his front door; when law enforcement forced entry they immediately fired 13 rounds, hitting the victim seven times.(8)

One victim was shot to death by his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend while in the act of stabbing her repeatedly with a knife.(9)

None of these can be appropriately categorized as firearm murders. My new research has established that fully 34 percent of the 47 gun homicides in the VPR database were not gun murders committed in Vermont.

• one of them was a murder committed in New York state • four of them were the result of accidents or unintentional discharge • four of them were successful defensive uses of a firearm resulting in the death of the attacker. • seven of them were instances where law enforcement shot and killed the victim in the line of duty. This is two more than were so noted in the VPR database. • 31 of them were acts of murder committed with firearms

The year 2012 highlights the substantial impact these findings have on Vermont gun violence statistics. In text and in charts, VPR’s Gunshots evidences seven gun homicides in Vermont during that year.(10)

The VPR database notes that two of them were police shootings in the line of duty. Contemporaneous news sources reveal that of the remaining five gun homicides, one was caused by the accidental discharge of a shotgun during cleaning,(11)

One did not take place in Vermont (the shooting occurred in Crown Point, New York)(12),

And one of them was a successful defensive use of a gun: a homeowner shot two people who were breaking into the home, and one of them subsequently died of his wounds.(13)

Despite these findings, individuals and groups lobbying for gun control have repeated the VPR figures as though there were seven gun murders in Vermont in 2012. The result of research of news articles is supported by the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting statistics, which accurately show that there were two gun murders that year.(14)

A more troubling example is the year 2016, because it calls into question the accuracy of official FBI crime statistics. The VPR database contains seven gun homicides that year, two of which are noted as being the result of law enforcement action.(15) News sources indicate that one of the others was the result of an accident,(16) and one was likely a successful defensive use of a firearm. Thus the number of real gun murders in Vermont that year was three.

The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2016 shows that there were six gun murders in Vermont that year.(17) A large body of statistical analysis is based on the FBI crime reports and so there may be far-reaching implications for the fact that the number of gun murders in Vermont in 2016 was half the officially recognized figure. The FBI report indicates that Vermont tied with Wyoming for fewest gun murders in 2016; the news searches show that Vermont had the fewest, and that the state’s official gun murder rate of 0.96 was really only 0.48.

The rate of murder by firearm in Vermont is low enough that in-depth analysis of every gun murder in the state is not only possible, but can be accomplished quickly with minimal resources.

That VPR neglected to gain this type of data in their reporting on the issue has left many readers, lobbyists and politicians with an incorrect representation of the nature and extent of gun violence in Vermont – a representation which has been repeated publicly in efforts to formulate legislation and public policy. A study of contemporaneous news accounts of the incidents of gun murder reveals that Vermont is much safer than has been previously thought.

(Notes available at website)

TOPICS: Local News; Reference; Society
KEYWORDS: banglist; firearms; murderrate; vermont
This citizen journalist managed to present a much better report than the Vermont Public Radio journalists, who get paid to do the job. I find it disgusting that all the NY, NJ, MA, CT, RI political whack-jobs and 'Bernie Bots' move to VT to get a start in politics and gun control is always the first item on their agenda.
1 posted on 09/03/2018 6:45:09 PM PDT by GreyHoundSailor
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To: GreyHoundSailor

Just ab average weekend in Chicago.

2 posted on 09/03/2018 8:03:41 PM PDT by Forty-Niner (The barely bare, berry Bear formily known as Ursus Arctos Horrilibis (or U.A. Californicus))
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To: Forty-Niner

Six years’ worth of firearm homicides in VT would be a quiet weekend in many cities.

3 posted on 09/03/2018 8:15:13 PM PDT by GreyHoundSailor
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To: GreyHoundSailor

Vermont is safe.

Vermont is white.

That is all!!!!!!!!


4 posted on 09/03/2018 8:18:03 PM PDT by Mears
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To: GreyHoundSailor

WOW! Thats great work! Liberals are shallow people, they tend to take things at surface value, without digging much deeper to get a full understanding.

5 posted on 09/03/2018 8:19:32 PM PDT by Paradox (Don't call them mainstream, there is nothing mainstream about the MSM.)
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To: GreyHoundSailor

I’m sure liberals will credit the 10 round mag limit that traitor Phil Scot signed into law.

6 posted on 09/03/2018 10:08:20 PM PDT by JamesP81 (Traitors are more dangerous than enemies. Vote and act accordingly.)
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To: Mears

Vermont is the original ‘Constitutional Carry’ State, proving that an armed society is a polite society.

7 posted on 09/03/2018 10:23:52 PM PDT by GreyHoundSailor
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To: JamesP81

The day after he signed the mag limit law, I received my fifth of five rather large packages at the local post office. Now we just drive to NH.

8 posted on 09/03/2018 10:26:31 PM PDT by GreyHoundSailor
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