Could a husband-and-wife team of math department eggheads at UC Irvine have picked a more controversial issue to explain through formulas?
Professors Dominik Wodarz and Natalia Komarova are using numbers and graphs and whizzamabangs to chart whether gun owners are more likely to die via homicide and whether data leans more favorably toward banning firearms or arming everyone. Let's just say Sarah Palin won't cheer the results.
Nonprofit, international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication PLOS One this week published “Dependence of the Firearm-Related Homicide Rate on Gun Availability: A Mathematical Analysis,” and scrolling through it makes my head hurt. No one said there would be math with this job.
With the caveat “Limited data available in the literature were used to demonstrate how the model can be parameterized,” the mathing couple found “this preliminary analysis suggests that a ban of private firearm possession, or possibly a partial reduction in gun availability, might lower the rate of firearm-induced homicides.”
What the what now? Sounds like we need another caveat.
“This, however, should not be seen as a policy recommendation, due to the limited data available to inform and parameterize the model. However, the model clearly defines what needs to be measured, and provides a basis for a scientific discussion about assumptions and data.”
Um … so … let the blasts from both sides of the gun debate begin!?!
The authors claim to have no competing interest in how their research pans out. We'll see how long it takes Open Carry Once Out of the Womb Inc. to shoot that assertion down.