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6/21/2017 8:25:40 PM
Posted: 1/2/2002 4:48:30 AM EDT
January 1, 2002 http://www.washtimes.com/national/20020101-9981049.htm Author under fire on accuracy of gun research By Robert Stacy McCain THE WASHINGTON TIMES Michael Bellesiles' book "Arming America" won praise from gun-control advocates for "demolishing the myth" behind the individual right to gun ownership, with reviewers calling the book "exciting" and "valuable and thought-provoking." Now Mr. Bellesiles' book, which contended that private gun ownership was uncommon in early America, is being called something else: a fraud. Several scholars, including some who favor gun-control laws, say the research in "Arming America" is inaccurate or even deliberately deceptive. They say the book misinterprets Colonial documents, misquotes early federal laws, distorts historical accounts and cites San Francisco records that officials agree were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Gun rights activists denounced the Bellesiles book when it was published in September 2000. In recent months, liberals, too, have turned against Mr. Bellesiles. Serious errors in "Arming America" have been exposed in the Boston Globe and the New York Times, and pundit Russell Baker has dubbed Mr. Bellesiles "the Milli Vanilli of the academic community." "There's absolutely no question in my mind of intentional deception on [Mr. Bellesiles´] part," says Clayton Cramer, author of two books on the history of American gun laws, who says he's found "hundreds and hundreds" of errors in "Arming America." "Simple mistakes will not explain what's gone on here. This is more than typos. This is massive misrepresentation of his own sources," Mr. Cramer said, calling Mr. Bellesiles' 603-page book "a target-rich environment for finding deception or fraud." On his Web site — www.claytoncramer.com — Mr. Cramer shows how Mr. Bellesiles' falsely contended that a 1792 federal law required Congress to supply guns to militia members, when in fact the law required militia members to provide their own guns. It is an important distinction, according to legal scholars, because private ownership of guns for militia service is linked to the constitutional "right to keep and bear arms." By saying the 1792 law made the federal government — not individual citizens — the source of militia guns, "Arming America" struck at the heart of Second Amendment protections. "Bellesiles made no secret of his political agenda," author Richard Poe says. "He stated it plainly. And he apparently bent the facts to suit his agenda, with extravagant disdain for the truth." The most serious charge against Mr. Bellesiles, a professor at Emory University in Atlanta, is that he based his book in part on records that do not exist. Mr. Bellesiles said he had researched more than 10,000 probate inventories — lists of estate items included in official wills — and found that, contrary to popular belief, guns were uncommon in early American homes. "America's gun culture is an invented tradition," Mr. Bellesiles wrote, disputing frontier legends of the pioneer cabin with a musket hanging above the hearth.
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 4:52:06 AM EDT
His assertion that gun ownership was rare in America until the mid-19th century made Mr. Bellesiles a hero of gun-control advocates, who praised him for "debunk[ing] the mythology propagated by the gun lobby." Michael Barnes, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said Mr. Bellesiles "has removed one more weapon in the gun lobby's arsenal of fallacies against common-sense gun laws." In April, Mr. Bellesiles was awarded the Bancroft Prize, perhaps the most prestigious award for an American historian. Repeatedly, "Arming America" drew praise for Mr. Bellesiles' heavily footnoted use of probate records, which The Washington Post called the author's "freshest and most interesting source." But in many cases, researchers say, that evidence is nonexistent. In the most glaring instance, Mr. Bellesiles cites guns listed in probate records for San Francisco between 1849 and 1859. However, authorities say, all such records were destroyed in the city's 1906 earthquake. "All official probate records were destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake and fire because the city hall burned down," a reference librarian at the city's Sutro Library told National Review's Melissa Seckora.
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 4:53:13 AM EDT
Like other critics, Miss Seckora found that Mr. Bellesiles changed his story when confronted with questions about his research. Mr. Cramer says Mr. Bellesiles has "changed his story three times" about misquoting the 1792 Militia Act. In recent months, "Arming America" has attracted a growing swarm of researchers who have found other serious errors. Northwestern University law professor James Lindgren says Mr. Bellesiles "counted guns in about 100 wills [in Colonial Rhode Island] where people died without wills." Although researchers often disagree over the interpretation of data, scholars say, making up sources is an offense almost unheard of among serious historians. "Everyone makes some mistakes," Bentley College history professor Joyce Malcolm said. "It's just in this case, the mistakes were wholesale. The book is just riddled with errors. It was so astounding, as a historian, I felt my jaw drop." Mrs. Malcolm, whose 1994 book "To Keep and Bear Arms" traced the British roots of the Second Amendment, said the possibility Mr. Bellesiles fabricated data "takes your breath away." "All his mistakes tend to support his thesis, every single one of them," she said. "It's hard to believe it's in good faith." Mr. Bellesiles did not return telephone calls seeking comment on "Arming America." In the November issue of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) newsletter, however, he replied to his "ideologically charged" critics, saying he was the victim of "personal attacks," including "hateful, threatening, and expletive-laced phone calls, mail, e-mail and faxes." In his OAH article, Mr. Bellesiles said many of his notes for "Arming America" were destroyed when his Emory office was flooded in April 2000 and that he "had to reconstruct where I read the probate files from memory." He said an upcoming issue of the William and Mary Quarterly devoted to the "Arming America" controversy "will explore alternative readings of the evidence." The nature of the charges against Mr. Bellesiles causes some academics to insist on anonymity in discussing what one professor called "the worst historical scandal in memory." James Melton, chairman of the Emory University history department, has asked Mr. Bellesiles to answer his accusers in detail. Mr. Bellesiles must "defend himself and the integrity of his scholarship immediately," Mr. Melton told the Boston Globe in October, adding: "Depending upon his response, the university will respond appropriately." Emory's demand that Mr. Bellesiles' defend his work is ominous, author John Lott says. "The fact that Emory is asking him to respond to these critics is something I don't remember a university asking a professor to do," says Mr. Lott, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, whose 1998 book "More Guns, Less Crime" stirred debate over firearms laws. "I imagine Emory would be forced to take some kind of dramatic response, if [the accusations of fraud are] true."
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 5:09:41 AM EDT
He is a pro gun plant.....lying to get Sarah into a false sense of they are right, then crushing them with theior own lies.....
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 5:39:53 AM EDT
GRRRRRRRR!!! I read this earlier! As a historian by degree and avocation, I read this story about the pack of lies that this scumbag claimed as truth with growing alarm and rage! Hell, I remember my profs drumming "good" research methods and practices into my head: Use multiple sources, use original sources, cross check, be sceptical, It's OK to have an agenda or thesis...but NEVER go in with an agenda...then self fulfill that agenda with your research. If the research leads you down another path...so be it. Report that factually! Finally NEVER cook the books. Someone will find you out and your reputation, and far more importantly, the reputation of all historians is sullied. Totally phony citations??? Lying about his research? Stuff just made up? Damn, had I ever tried that crap in college, I would have been quickly shown the door. I fervently hope that Emory university sanctions this man severely. While he most likely can not be prosecuted in criminal court, the university should FIRE the bastard, NOW. Hopefully that would also mean that he would never teach again at the university level. (Having said that...I doubt it would happen, since some dean, somewhere would agree with his tactics..."for the higher good" and hire him to fill our childrens' heads full of mush! Further, were I president of the publishing company...or better yet, a stockholder, I would demand a return of the moneys paid to him for publishing rights. That book is now a world famous turkey, clearly written with malice aforethought. The thing that REALLY pissed me off is that last April, he won the prestigious Bancroft Prize, the Holy Grail of history awards, apparently for this "scholarly" piece of crap! He is (was?) the poster boy for the eastern liberal elites and the anti-gun lobby, all whom embraced his work with a fervent reverence and took for granted that his work was the old Unvarnished Truth! They hailed it as if it were a recently discovered new gospel to the New Testament. Gee, I wonder if the denunciations will get as much media coverage as his initial book publication did. [pissed][pissed][pissed][pissed]
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 7:11:39 AM EDT
LMAO! A liberal lie to serve his own agenda? Heavens no! That could *never* happen! Right?
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 10:43:05 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Chairborne_Ranger: LMAO! A liberal lie to serve his own agenda? Heavens no! That could *never* happen! Right?
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WE know they do it all the time. Problem is, the press grabs their scat and spatters it all over page one above the fold and on the network news...for the great unaware masses to graze on. Trust me, intelligent people actually BELIEVE that stuff. It is amazing...but they do. Example: He states that most homes on the American frontier in the late 18th century did NOT have a firearm "over the hearth". Is there ANYBODY out there in the rational land of sentient beings who for one second believes THAT? Since the western-moving pioneers were both farmers and meat-eating hunter gatherers, and since they also had to deal with hostile Indians on a regular basis, I would submit that no one with two brain cells to rub together would believe his lie that Joe Farmer didn't have a rifle or shotgun (or both?) "over the hearth"! That simply defies all logic. Hey...NOTE to my liberal friends: Like it or not...this country was conquered by white settlers of northern European descent. Through the use of steel, the gun and disease, they swept across the continent in less than 100 years, driving the Indians, Mexicans, Russians, French, Spanish, English and assorted other folks out ahead of them. Most especially, guns in the hands of Americans allowed them to complete Manifest Destiny. Fact. Live with it. [soapbox]
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 4:35:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/2/2002 4:35:53 PM EDT by Redmanfms]
Originally Posted By LWilde: The thing that REALLY pissed me off is that last April, he won the prestigious Bancroft Prize, the Holy Grail of history awards, apparently for this "scholarly" piece of crap! He is (was?) the poster boy for the eastern liberal elites and the anti-gun lobby, all whom embraced his work with a fervent reverence and took for granted that his work was the old Unvarnished Truth! They hailed it as if it were a recently discovered new gospel to the New Testament. Gee, I wonder if the denunciations will get as much media coverage as his initial book publication did. [pissed][pissed][pissed][pissed]
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Is it common for historians who receive the Bancroft Prize to get it within 7 months of their books being published? It took the Nobel committee almost 50 years to give the inventor of the semi-conductor a Nobel Prize, but this guy gets the Holy Grail (as you put it) not even a year after his book is published, and during a time when the validity of his conclusions and authenticity of his research were being called into question? That's fucked up. It pretty much proves to me that most of academia is completely full of shit, especially historians (no offense LWilde).
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 4:44:45 PM EDT
Bellesiles is a liberal, so it's ok if he lies.
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 4:52:56 PM EDT
What pisses me off is that his research was discredited a year ago yet antis still use his bs in published articles. Last year my local paper published a letter to the editor in which the writer repeated Bellesiles' false "data" concerning gun ownership pre-Civil War. The writer didn't mention Bellesiles in his letter, but I knew right away where he got his information. I wrote a rebuttal letter, but was so angry that I went over the 300 word limit, but I sent it to the paper anyway (I know,dumb).
Link Posted: 1/2/2002 5:09:30 PM EDT
Originally Posted By raven: Bellesiles is a liberal, so it's ok if he lies.
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His cause is just- the ends justify the means. Why? Because.......... he's doing it for the chiiiiiildren![rolleyes]
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