“We don’t live in more violent times. We live in more televised times.” – Marilyn Manson He is right and wrong, and one influences another. And such influences affect what happens in schools. A really long-term study has some clues. Take-aways Television bent the curve on the frequency of mass school shootings around 1966. Average death rates in school shootings has doubled since 1966. High school males are the top problem spot. 175 years of “data” A recent (2017) academic paper sought to dig into school shootings going all the way back to 1840. Audacious, but we have to accept that mining data before the advent of modern national media is a bit risky. A school shooting might have only made county news in 1899, but it’s national news today. Before wee dive in, we’ll note that the definition used in this paper was broad. Specifically, “An event is included …Continue reading →
“California has the toughest gun safety laws in the nation.” —Gavin Newsom Problem is, it has made no difference. Take-aways California’s suicide rate is low due to demographics. California’s gun homicide rate is slightly below average and tied with states with nearly no gun laws. Gun laws and gun homicide rates do not correlate at all, denuding claims about “toughest gun safety laws.” The suicide slide
“Do it for the children,” my California friend used to say in a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation. Her point was that any time a politician mentioned children, they were trying to sneak something past you. She was right. The meme “guns are the leading cause of death for children” is popular but wrong, and it should be uttered in a thick Austrian accent. Define “child” A key problem with the English language is that one word can have many definitions. Add political opportunism, and there can be hundreds. Common dictionaries define “child” as “a person between birth and puberty.” This is why we tend to speak of “children” and “teenagers” and “adults” as distinctly different groups. And anyone who has raised a child from birth to beyond age 14 will attest that their darling little angels turn into disgusting little devils once hormones take command of their brains and bodies.
Everytown for Gun Safety is rank. And by that, we mean their state gun control law ranking system is rank(ed at the top of the silliness scale). Takeaways Everytown’s state law ranking system: Is arbitrary, lacking any criminological basis. Shows very little gun violence variability between states based on their gun laws. Omits the most violent district, which has stringent gun laws. Includes suicides, which are inappropriate in such an analysis. Echoing the Brady Campaign The moribund Brady Campaign (or whatever they are calling themselves this week) used to produce a state gun law scorecard every year. It was, in a word, a gun control wish list and nothing more. We keep their last scorecard criteria to reference their arbitrary scoring system for reference and a few laughs (whichever laws they were promoting that year tended get a higher score).
When it comes to children and guns, both the New York Times and California Governor Gavin Newsom seem to lack both honesty and basic math skills. The former created a misleading meme using bad definitions and incorrect analysis. The latter, being a politician of the craven variety, aped bad data without even a cursory fact check. The Equine Effluvium Conflates different age groups Omits many rows of data about child and teen deaths that are higher than gun deaths Portrays teen age street gang members as “children” Ignores age-related issues or the underlying causes of deaths The Data is Raw The Times perpetrated intellectual fraud by using a subset of the causes of death common to children and to teens (two different groups) and amalgamating them into one entirely inaccurate meme. The fallacious point they want you to believe is that guns are now the leading cause of death among …Continue reading →
You have very likely stood next to someone in line at the grocery store who was carrying a concealed handgun. Multiple times. Perhaps in the same day. A tally from the largest survey of gun ownership and usage produced some surprising data, including how people in may-issue states ignore a lack of permits. Takeaways 4% of all adults in America carry daily. About 6M, or nearly 120,000 in each state. 30% of all handgun owners carry once or more a month. In may-issue and shall-issue states, a sizable number of people carry without permits. Nine times as many people carry daily than there are on-duty police. Carry rate is lower in permitless states than shall-issue states. The Source We recently reported about the largest modern survey of gun ownership. From that, other researchers extracted data on public carry of firearms. Key is that there is not presently a larger, more …Continue reading →
Even sullied terms can be analyzed. We came across a quality study that looks at “mass [not-just-public] shootings” and paints a not-quite-alarming story. Main Take-aways As defined more broadly herein: Mass shootings are not steadily increasing and are decreasing as a function of population. Most mass shootings are in private residences and are “family related.” Assault weapons are a minority share of guns used. A third of assailants had mental health issues, higher than the general population but lower than mass public. Mass shootings can have a profound impact on an individual’s mental health, whether directly affected or not. The senseless violence and loss of life can cause individuals to feel anxious, depressed, or traumatized. For some, it may trigger feelings of grief, anger, and helplessness. In the aftermath of a mass shooting, it’s important to seek professional help if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Many detox locations …Continue reading →
We normally don’t post a blog entry for a single academic paper, but this one is important because it is the largest well-conducted survey concerning gun ownership and self-defense with guns (as well as other topics) to date. The survey size makes most of the data unassailable, and thus “gold standard.” Take-aways 54,000 people contacted, 16,708 gun owners within that group. Low-side concurrence with other surveys concerning defensive gun use (DGU). New insight into public carry and self-defense, both public and private. Scale data for assault weapons (AR-15s specifically) and magazine capacities more than 10 rounds. Why this paper matters Much of what we know about guns has some limitations:
Who is more likely to shoot you, an NRA member or a member of the Crips? The primary difference between these two groups is culture. NRA members tend to be law-and-order types, whereas Crips (or members of any garden variety American street gang) are rather indifferent or openly hostile to laws. It is the adherence to a social norm – in this case, obeying or not obeying the law – that influences one’s probability to act violently, which in tern means using a gun to commit unilateral violence (e.g., not self-defense). We saw this in one study that details the propensity of people in poor and crime-ridden neighborhoods to get and use guns for criminal activities. But what cultural norms influence such behavior? We found a cross-national survey of culture and wanted to see if we could map similarities between nations concerning culture, violence and guns. The Main Take-Aways Gun …Continue reading →
There must be an election coming. The current California governor is making presidential maneuvers and the New York Times appears to be propping up his (inaccurate) statements about guns. I lived in that politician’s home turf for 22 years, during his political rise, so I have a deeper than average interest – and knowledge – of what the reality is, and in which alternate reality the politician resides. Main Take-aways California’s gun homicide rate is exactly the national average. Their overall suicide rate is rising, but is 29% lower that national averages, which bends the curve on gun suicide rates. For mass public shootings, California has 17% more incidents and 60% more deaths than the national average. The New York Times agitprop In a rather choice bit of partisan hackery, the New York Times (NYT) makes the following assertions about California and guns.