Why Bob Costas' wager for his gun critics is unfair

From Politico:
“Here’s what I would say to anybody who any time they hear the word guns automatically goes off, like, ‘Oh, they’re going to repeal the Second Amendment,’” Costas said. “Let’s make a bet, you and me. Let’s say over the next five years we’ll do a Google search. We’ll have an independent party monitor it. You keep track of how many good and constructive things are associated with athletes having a gun, and I’ll keep track of all the tragedies and criminality and folly. And let’s see who comes out ahead or behind as the case may be.” . . .
The problem here is a simple one.  It would be a fair bet if all the defensive gun uses got media attention, but athletes have little incentive to report every time that they use a gun defensively.  We know that people generally don't get news coverage for their defensive gun uses, and given how the leagues feel about athletes possessing guns, athletes have very little incentive to report these cases.

The problem might be that Costas actually believes that he will get an accurate representation of the rate of defensive guns uses from the media coverage.  If you want a good idea of how the media only tends to cover bad news from guns and not their benefits, see this discussion here.

An additional problem arises if Costas is willing to concede that the possibility that athletes have guns serves as a deterrent for criminals.  Put it this way: Would Costas be willing to put up a "Gun-free zone" sign on his home?  He might feel that he can hire enough security protections that he doesn't need it, but I suspect that he still wouldn't put up such a sign.  If so, even he must acknowledge that simply counting newspaper stories, even if they accurately recorded all events, would still not provide an accurate reflection of the benefits of gun ownership.


  1. And, perhaps, professional athletes are not a representative subset to use re: general criminality vs. the general population?

  2. Also, athletes are not the only ones who carry guns. Athletes are overwhelmingly young, physically strong, aggressive men. Those are all risk factors for the commission of homicide. The benefits of guns are primarily that older, weak, passive men and women can defend themselves.

  3. And it isn't just "Defensive Gun Uses" either. Costa said "good" -- how many athletes participate in charity shooting events. How many athletes safely practice at ranges without any media coverage.

    How do you measure the times a group of athletes get together for a range session and nothing happens?
    How many times does a parent take a child to the range?

    Those aren't reported by the media; they are completely ignored yet those types of activities comprise the overwhelmingly vast majority of firearm usage.

    Bob S.
    3 Boxes of BS

  4. I simply don't listen to anyone who wants to in a wholesale fashion take my rights away.
    Sad he has his soapbox...