Human risk perception / Jason Daley's article

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Human risk perception / Jason Daley's article

Postby kevincthieke » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:25 pm

Hello Messrs. Ariely and Folger,

A great collection of articles this year; thank you!

I was reading "What You Don't Know Can Kill You" by Jason Daley at the exact same time that the mass shooting in Newtown, CT was front and center in the news. The focus of the article was human risk perception as it reacts to "scientific" threats like radiation and nanotechnology. It would be interesting to read how those same risk perceptions influence gun ownership. Gun owners seem to think of themselves as safer because they own a firearm - but is that true? Do you know of any research or writings that either support or debunk the perception that possessing a gun makes one safer? How "hard-wired" into the brain of the typical NRA member is the belief that more guns makes for a safer society? I'd love to see someone tackle that in the next anthology.

Cheers; job well done!
Kevin Thieke

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Location: New Mexico

Re: Human risk perception / Jason Daley's article

Postby tim » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:07 pm

Hi Kevin,

A number of studies in the U.S. suggest that homicide rates are higher in counties with higher rates of gun ownership.

Here are a few links that might interest you:

The second link (from has a good summary of the issues. The bottom line, it seems, is that more data are needed to settle the question, but efforts to conduct such studies have been hampered by the NRA! Here's a quote from the factcheck web site:

"There is work the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could and should be doing, she said, but has not since the late 1990s. CDC has been wary of studying gun issues after NRA lobbyists convinced Congress to cut into its funding after a series of studies in the mid-1990s were viewed by the NRA as advocating for gun control."

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