Additional confirmation of Vin Suprynowicz's discussion

Another article in a Bee newspaper on the Merced Pitchfork murders indirectly discusses the law making the gun inaccessible to minors. The article states:

"Ashley sacrificed her life to save the lives of her sisters," said the Rev. Tom Driscoll of Gospel Defenders Church. He described how the tiny girl tackled the intruder, Jonathon David Bruce, and wrapped herself around him, yelling to her siblings, "Go. Go. Get away."

Bruce killed Ashley with the same wide-blade pitchfork he used to kill her little brother. When sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call at the Vassar Avenue home, Bruce attacked them with the same farm tool, authorities said. He was shot 13 times and died at the scene. Investigators have said that they suspect Bruce was under the influence of drugs.

"This case is far from over," said their father, John Carpenter, from the church pulpit. "The real murderer is still loose. The real murderer is the drug dealer who supplied the drugs. . . . It's a big business."

And he implied that the two children might be alive if gun laws were different. "From the White House to the outhouse, why are you taking away handguns?"

He said there was a gun in the house that the older sisters knew how to use, "but I had to put it away in a supposedly safe place. The only thing I forgot to put a lock on was my pitchfork."

Taken together, the different articles in these various posts indicate that the gun was locked; it was placed in a way that was not accessible by the children; both the father and the great-uncle, the Rev. John Hilton, believed that if the gun had been accessible children's lives would have been saved; and these moves were done because of fear of the California state law. As an aside, despite these murders getting extensive media attention, I can not find any news articles in any other newspapers in the state of California or other places that mentioned these facts. E-mails to me claiming that I must have known that Suprynowicz's discussion was "a lie" or "untrue" are obviously incorrect.


I have gotten a couple really amusing responses to my May 24th post. Apparently some don?t really believe that the Fox News quote from John Carpenter is really from John Carpenter. Instead, Fox News is supposedly just quoting me saying what I said that Carpenter said. I have even been told that it is impossible for Carpenter to have actually made this quote because it contradicts what (they believe) happened in the Merced pitchfork murders.

To believe that a television network would do this involves a really high level conspiracy theory. However, if a television segment actually runs a quote from someone on the air, it is because that person gave the network the quote. Otherwise the conspiracy theorists would have to believe that Fox News actually had me posing as the other person. Here is the text the Fox News story as it ran on July 5, 2002 from a Nexis search:

One example John Lott could cite is the Merced family, whose guns were put away because of California's safe storage law. John Carpenter believes it cost him the lives of two children after a man broke into his home with a pitchfork.

If a gun would have been here today, I'd have at least a daughter alive.

Unfortunately, the transcription service does not make it clear that the "Unidentified Male" is John Carpenter, but the July 8th piece posted by reporter Dan Springer on the Fox News web site that I referenced on May 24th should correct any misimpressions.

For follow up posts on this discussion see: The Merced Pitchfork Killings and Vin Suprynowicz's quote.


Johnlott.org (description of book, downloadable data sets, and discussions of previous controversies)

Academic papers:

Social Science Research Network

Book Reviews:

For a list of book reviews on The Bias Against Guns, click here.

List of my Op-eds

Posts by topic

Appalachian law school attack

Baghdad murder rate

Arming Pilots

Fraudulent website pretending to be run by me

The Merced Pitchfork Killings and Vin Suprynowicz's quote

Ayres and Donohue

Stanford Law Review

Mother Jones article


Craig Newmark

Eric Rasmusen

William Sjostrom

Dr. T's EconLinks.com

Interview with National Review Online

Lyonette Louis-Jacques's page on Firearms Regulation Worldwide

The End of Myth: An Interview with Dr. John Lott

Cold Comfort, Economist John Lott discusses the benefits of guns--and the hazards of pointing them out.

An interview with John R. Lott, Jr. author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws

Some data not found at www.johnlott.org:

Updated Media Analysis of Appalachian Law School Attack

Since the first news search was done additional news stories have been added to Nexis:

There are thus now 218 unique stories, and a total of 294 stories counting duplicates (the stories in yellow were duplicates): Excel file for general overview and specific stories. Explicit mentions of defensive gun use increase from 2 to 3 now.

Journal of Legal Studies paper on spoiled ballots during the 2000 Presidential Election

Data set from USA Today, STATA 7.0 data set

"Do" File for some of the basic regressions from the paper