Saturday, 2 May 2009

Typically sloppy SMH fact checking

Anne Davies of the SMH goes to a gun show in Virginia and gets confused:

Two weeks ago, when the flow of military-style guns from the US to the Mexican drug gangs threatened to become a diplomatic issue, Mr Obama was asked whether he still believed assault weapons should be banned.
This supposed "diplomatic issue" was based on the falacious idea that "90% of the weapons used to commit crime in Mexico come from the US".

Although Fox News is at the other end of the political spectrum from the SMH, they did at least bother to publish the statistics on the point of origin for weapons seized from crims in Mexico.

They point out that 29,000 weapons were siezed from crims in Mexico last year.

Of those 29,000, 11,000 were submitted to the US ATF for tracing. So from the get go, even if all of those 11,000 weapons originated in the US, they make up only 38% of siezures.

Of those 11,000, the ATF was able to succesfully trace 6,000. You need things like a serial number to trace a weapon, and many don't have them - particularly those made in non-western countries.

So even if every one of those 6,000 originated in the US, they would make up only 20.6% of all siezures.

Where is the 90% figure coming from then?

Of those 6,000 that could be traced, 5,114 did come from the US - that's 85.2%, which has been rounded up to 90% by those that have an agenda to push. But 5,114 divided by 29,000 comes to only 17.6%.

Anne Davies, as usual, has her head up her arse.

Why did the Mexicans not bother to ship 18,000 weapons to the ATF for tracing?

Because they were the sort of weapon that just isn't manufactured in the US, like the AK-47. Those 18,000 weapons are coming from places like China, Russia, South Korea, South Africa and Spain.

The SMH wouldn't be so bad if it was good for wrapping fish, but it's not even very good at that.

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