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Reality check: using newspapers, police reports, and court records to assess defensive gun use
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  • Published on:
    Response from the Authors

    Dear Editor

    Our critics argue two points. First, they argue that newspapers are an inappropriate source of data on defensive gun use (DGU) because editors routinely and deliberately suppress stories of legitimate DGU that involve killing or wounding or firing at an adversary. (Some of these writers also argue that brandishing a gun in self-defense is even less likely to be reported in the newspaper because these...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    The value of news reports for injury surveillance

    Dear Editor

    I find it no coincidence that the letters so far [1-4] are taking issue with the methodology of Denton and Fabricius,[5] rather than the subject, even though several of the letter-writers are on record elsewhere as opposing gun control in many forms. (For example, see optometrist Gallant’s comments on gun safety at:
    http://i2i.org...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Reality Check for the Publisher

    Dear Editor

    It is understandable that a high school student can survey local newspaper articles and some associated police reports and get school credit for a project that has no scientific validity or value. It is disappointing but not surprising that the student's local newspaper published a story about the invalid project. It is shocking that a purportedly scholarly journal (Injury Prevention) accepted the no...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Gun Truths seldom told

    Dear Editor

    I personally understand the consternation of people regarding guns and gun use. Many people, never having had guns in their lives don't understand the benefits to people (of sound mind) and wish to cast all gun owners as criminals or just 'unintelligent'.

    I grew up with guns in the home. All of my friends around the US have as well. I have never known any of these people to have anything but the...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Wrong variable measured

    Dear Editor

    Denton and Fabricius make a number of errors in their recent study,[1] but perhaps the most sigificant error is their base assumption that measuring any given phenomenon through newspaper reporting gives an accurate measure of that phenomenon. What Denton and Fabricius have actualy measured is coverage of gun use in the Tribune during a non- randomly selected 103 days. Whether or not this has a correla...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    The DGU Controversy
    • Paul Gallant, Optometrist
    • Other Contributors:
      • Carol K. Oyster, and Joanne D. Eisen

    Dear Editor

    We were dismayed to read the recent article by Denton and Fabricius in which they gleaned the magnitude of annual defensive gun use (DGU) from local newspaper accounts.[1] We find the authors’ method of determining DGUs, and their suggestion for a new way to use firearms for self-defense, seriously flawed.

    The authors used the Tribune (Tempe, AZ) as a "daily survey of several million people...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    The "Fabricius Method" is not science

    Dear Editor

    Injury Prevention recently explored firearm issues, introducing what might be called the “Fabricius Method” of analysis. Invented by ASU professor William Fabricius with his 12-year-old son John Denton, it works simply enough. They counted gunfire stories in one newspaper, and concluded guns are rarely used for anything good. I imagine many heartily embrace this conclusion.

    Newspaper rep...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Reality Check: Flawed Methodology Fails to Discover Defensive Gun Uses

    Dear Editor

    The study by Denton and Fabricius [1] uses local newspaper accounts to discover instances of defensive gun use in the Phoenix, Arizona area during a brief period in 1998 and concludes that there are far fewer such occurrences than reported by criminologists who performed nationwide telephone surveys. While telephone surveys are certainly vulnerable to some significant sources of bias, including those re...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.