Newest piece in the New York Daily News: "The myth of American gun violence"
In the wake of the murders in Charleston, President Obama has made more exaggerations and false claims about gun violence in America. He made two public addresses this past week — one to the nation on Thursday and one to the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Friday. On both occasions, he gave distorted impressions of how rates of violence in America compare with those in the rest of the world.
In his address to the nation, Obama claimed that, “We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”
But Obama overlooks Norway, where Anders Behring Breivik used a gun to kill 67 people and wound 110 others. Still others were killed by bombs that Breivik detonated. Three of the six worst K-12 school shootings ever have occurred in Europe. Germany saw two of these — one in 2002 at Erfurt and another in 2009 at Winnenden. The combined death toll was 34. France and Belgium have both faced multiple terrorist attacks over the past year.
After adjusting for America’s much larger population, we see that many European countries actually have higher rates of death in mass public shootings.
Let’s look at such mass public shootings (four or more people killed, and not in the course of committing another crime) from 2009 to the present. To make a fair comparison with American shootings, I have excluded terrorist attacks that might be better classified as struggles over sovereignty, such as the 22 people killed in the Macedonian town of Kumanovo last month.
Norway had the highest annual death rate, with two mass public shooting fatalities per million people. Macedonia had a rate of 0.38, Serbia 0.28, Slovakia 0.20, Finland 0.14, Belgium 0.14, and the Czech Republic 0.13. The U.S. comes in eighth with 0.095 mass public shooting fatalities per million people, with Austria close behind. . . .
Response to Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes' claims at "ArmedwithReaon" about my research
Recently Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes claimed that defensive gun use was a myth. Gary Kleck wrote a response where he noted that these authors were merely repeating earlier criticisms and ignored the responses that he and others have made to those critiques.
Well, DeFilippis and Hughes use the same approach in discussing my research (a screen shot of their original post is saved here). Let's try to go through these points in order that they are presented:
-- Tim Lambert as a source. Professor Jim Purtilo at the University of Maryland put up a post in 2004 that he has updated over the years that shows that Lambert has been caught falsifying evidence on multiple occasions and has otherwise been dishonest. See:
- Tim Lambert types are the reason nobody can trust WP presentations
- History of namecalling in WP talk sections
- Detailed history of edits on WP's Lott page
- Other points
In an audacious display of cherry-picking, Lott argues that there were “more guns” between 1977 to 1992 by choosing to examine two seemingly arbitrary surveys on gun ownership, and then sloppily applying a formula he devised to correct for survey limitations. Since 1959, however, there have been at least 86 surveys examining gun ownership, and none of them show any clear trend establishing a rise in gun ownership. Differences between surveys appear to be dependent almost entirely on sampling errors, question wordings, and people’s willingness to answer questions honestly.
However, we know this assertion is factually untenable, based on surveys showing that 5-11% of US adults already carried guns for self-protection before the implementation of concealed carry laws.
It’s extremely unlikely, therefore, for the 1% of the population identified by Lott who obtained concealed carry permits after the passage of “shall-issue” laws to be responsible for all the crime decrease.
On Hood and Neeley -- "zip codes with the highest violent crime before Texas passed its concealed carry law had the smallest number of new permits issued per capita."I have a long discussion about why purely cross-sectional analysis is unreliable. Regarding: "zip codes with the highest violent crime before Texas passed its concealed carry law had the smallest number of new permits issued per capita.” Well, given that it cost $140 and 10 hours of training to get a permit, it isn’t very surprising to me that poor areas have both high crime rates and low permit rates. As to cherry-picking, even if cross-sectional analysis was useful, somehow the authors have to explain why they picked one city in the entire US to look at. In any case, I note this paper and respond to it in MGLC.
Note on the Dade county data.
Dade county police records, which cataloged arrest and non-arrests incidents for permit holders in a five-year period, also disproves Lott’s point. This data showed unequivocally that defensive gun use by permit holders is extremely rare. In Dade county, for example, there were only 12 incidents of a concealed carry permit owner encountering a criminal, compared with 100,000 violent crimes occurring in that period. . . .Anyone who has been following the debate on justifiable police homicides knows that the data is not very reliable. The justifiable homicide data for civilians is even worse.
As Albert Alschuler explains in “Two Guns, Four Guns, Six Guns, More Guns: Does Arming the Public Reduce Crime,” Lott’s work is filled with bizarre results that are inconsistent with established facts in criminology. . . .My responses to these claims can be found in MGLC (here and here), though DeFilippis and Hughes ignore my responses.
Dennis Hennigan writes, “the absence of an effect on robbery does much to destroy the theory that more law-abiding citizens carrying concealed guns in public deter crime.”My response to this type of point is available here in MGLC.
Black and Nagin noticed that there were large variations in state-specific estimates for the effect of “shall-issue” laws on crime. For example, Lott’s findings indicated that right-to-carry laws caused “murders to decline in Florida, but increase in West Virginia. Assaults fall in Maine but increase in Pennsylvania.” In addition, “the magnitudes of the estimates are often implausibly large. The parameter estimates that RTC laws increased murders by 105 percent in West Virginia but reduced aggravated assaults by 67 percent in Maine. . . .Again, DeFilippis and Hughes ignore that I have extensive discussions on this in both MGLC and a 1998 paper published in the Journal of Legal Studies.
Regarding Ted Goertzel's comments, DeFilippis and Hughes plagiarize/copied his comments in their discussion of Dan Black and Nagin. In general their approach is to copy, slightly rewrite other critiques, and then ignore what I have written in response.
DeFilippis and Hughes write:
Within a year, two econometricians, Dan Black and Daniel Nagin validated this concern. By altering Lott’s statistical models with a couple of superficial modeling changes, or by re-running Lott’s own methods on a different grouping of the data, they were able to produce entirely different results.Goertzel wrote:
Within a year, two determined econometricians, Dan Black and Daniel Nagin (1998) published a study showing that if they changed the statistical model a little bit, or applied it to different segments of the data, Lott and Mustard's findings disappeared. Black and Nagin found that when Florida was removed from the sample there was "no detectable impact of the right-to-carry laws on the rate of murder and rape." They concluded that "inference based on the Lott and Mustard model is inappropriate, and their results cannot be used responsibly to formulate public policy."This is one time where DeFilippis and Hughes pretend that they are actually linking to what I wrote in response to Goertzel, but instead they misstate what I wrote and link back again to Goertzel. My responses to Goertzel were similar to what I just note above in response to Black and Nagin.
DeFilippis and Hughes claim "Lott’s response to Goetzl was to shrug him off, insisting that he had enough controls to account for the problem." But that is not accurate. I point out that I was also concerned that the sensitivity of specifications. That is why I pointed to papers such as the one by Bartley and Cohen that provided tests of whether the results were indeed sensitive.
As to Ayres and Donohue's 2003 law review paper, DeFilippis and Hughes are just simply wrong about the facts. They write:
"Fortunately, Lott’s data set ended in 1992, permitting researchers to test Lott’s own model with new data. Researchers Ian Ayres, from Yale Law School, and John Donohue, from Stanford Law School, did just this, and examined 14 additional jurisdictions between 1992 and 1996 that adopted concealed carry laws."The 2nd edition of MGLC came out in 2000 and, as noted above, it had data through 1996. I provided Ayres and Donohue with my data set and they added one year to the study, 1997. That single year did not change the results. While Ayres and Donohue also claimed that the my research had ended with 1992, anyone who checks the 2nd edition of the book or reads chapter 9 in the third edition will see that I had looked at data from 1977 to 1996.
The reply to Ayres and Donohue in the law review was by Florenz Plassmann and John Whitley. I had helped them out and Whitley notes "We thank John Lott for his support, comments and discussion." There were minor data errors in the additional years that they added from 1997 to 2000, but those errors didn't alter their main results that dealt with count data. They had accidentally left 180 cell blank out of some 7 million cells. Donohue has himself made much more serious data errors in his own work on this issue. For example, he repeats the data for one county in Alaska 73 times, says that Kansas' right to carry law was passed in 1996 and not 2006, and made other errors. I did co-author a corrected version of the Plassmann and Whitley paper that fixed the data errors and is available here. But DeFilippis and Hughes can't even get it straight what paper I co-authored.
In any case, for those who want my response, you can read what I wrote in MGLC (the link only provides part of my discussion).
1) Note that Kleck has also said many positive things about my research. For example, see this quote: “John Lott has done the most extensive, thorough, and sophisticated study we have on the effects of loosening gun control laws. Regardless of whether one agrees with his conclusions, his work is mandatory reading for anyone who is open-minded and serious about the gun control issue. Especially fascinating is his account of the often unscrupulous reactions to his research by gun control advocates, academic critics, and the news media.”
2) I have discussed Kleck's quote in MGLC (see attached file).
3) The vast majority of peer reviewed research that looks at national data on crime rates supports my research (see table 2 here and also here).
4) There are a lot of prominent academics and people involved in law enforcement who have said positive things about my research. I can list a few here, but I don't really see the point.
—Stan Liebowitz, University of Texas at Dallas
—Thomas Sowell, Stanford University
that what is at stake is not just the right to carry arms but rather our performance in controlling a diverse array of criminal behaviors. Perhaps most disturbing is Lott’s documentation of the role of the media and academic commentators in distorting research findings that they regard as politically incorrect.”
Newest piece at Fox News: "Why Tom Brady may have a strong case for a lawsuit against the NFL"
If a new study from the American Enterprise Institute is correct, the Patriots and their quarterback Tom Brady are going to sue the NFL for defamation in the so-called “Deflate gate” scandal. The accusation that the Patriots had broken the rules during their playoff game earlier this year with the Indianapolis Colts permanently tarnished Tom Brady’s stellar football career, but it looks as the NFL hid importance evidence and misinterpreted what they did report.
Brady not only looks set to win his appeal of the NFL’s four game suspension, but he has a good chance to win a defamation suit against the league.
The NFL’s evidence against the Patriots seemed straightforward: when referees measured the air pressure at halftime, the eleven Patriot footballs had experienced a significantly larger air pressure drop than the four Colts balls that were measured. Before the game, the referee had measured the air pressure in the footballs at 12.5 PSI (pounds per square inch) for the Patriots and 13.1 PSI for the Colts. At half time, the Patriots had fallen to 11.3 PSI but only down to 12.53 for the Colts.
The difference was statistically significant. The pressure in the Patriot balls had fallen by more than those for the Colts. Case closed, right? Not so fast. . . .The piece continues here.
Ronald Reagan carried a concealed handgun with him for 14 years
One of President Ronald Reagan’s leading biographers says that Reagan carried a concealed handgun for about 14 years following his attempted assassination at the hands of John Hinckley Jr., confirming a recent claim made by author Brad Meltzer.
Meltzer, a best-selling thriller writer, wrote in the New York Daily News over the weekend that he was told about Reagan’s heat-packing ways while researching an upcoming novel. While touring the headquarters of the Secret Service, Meltzer says one of the agents there mentioned that Reagan carried a revolver in his briefcase during his years as president.
“Whatever you think of Reagan, you have to admit, he had a black belt in badassery,” Meltzer wrote.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Craig Shirley, a notable Reagan biographer, who said that Meltzer’s claim is completely true and independently confirmed by his own research. . . .
Yet more evidence that these killers are deterred by people with guns: Charleston, South Carolina Church Shooter
Last week, while they were drinking in the back of Scriven's house, Roof blurted out his plan about carrying out a mass shooting at the College of Charleston.
"I don't think the church was his primary target because he told us he was going for the school," Scriven said Friday. "But I think he couldn't get into the school because of the security ... so I think he just settled for the church." . . .
Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard in order to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officers may be in teams; they may be dressed in normal patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external ballistic vests and Kevlar helmets or other tactical gear. The officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns or handguns. Do exactly as the officers instruct. The first responding officers will be focused on stopping the active shooter and creating a safe environment for medical assistance to be brought in to aid the injured. . . .
"His mom had taken the gun from him and somehow he went back and took it from her."
Uber and Lyft prohibiting firearms for drivers, riders
We have adopted a no-firearms policy to ensure that both riders and drivers feel safe and comfortable on the platform. We made this policy change after assessing existing policies and carefully reviewing recent feedback from both riders and driver-partners.
Something that you probably won't hear about regarding George Zimmerman
A prosecutor on Thursday upgraded to attempted murder the most serious charge against a man accused of shooting into George Zimmerman's vehicle while they were driving down a busy road last month.
State Attorney Phil Archer charged 36-year-old Matthew Apperson with attempted second-degree murder. Apperson had been charged earlier with aggravated assault and battery for firing a gun into Zimmerman's car during a traffic run-in last month on a busy road in an Orlando suburb. Zimmerman had minor injuries.
Apperson also faces an aggravated assault charge and a charge of shooting into an occupied vehicle.
"Our law enforcement community and the State Attorney's Office works vigorously to ensure people may travel our busy streets, going about their business, without fear," Archer said in a statement announcing the new charge. "Every resident and visitor to Seminole County deserves this freedom." . . .
Labels: george zimmerman
Newest piece at Fox News: "Gun-free zones an easy target for killers"
The horrible tragedy last night that left nine people dead at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., probably could have been avoided. Like so many other attacks, the massacre took place in a gun-free zone, a place where the general public was banned from having guns. The gun-free zone obviously didn’t stop the killer from bringing a gun into the church.
Indeed, the circumstantial evidence is strong that these killers don’t attack randomly; they keep picking the few gun-free zones to do virtually all their attacks.
For some reason, people who would never put up a “gun-free zone” sign in front of their own homes, put up such signs for other sensitive areas that we would like to protect.
Time after time, we see that these killers tell us they pick soft targets. With just two exceptions, from at least 1950, all the mass public shootings have occurred in these gun-free zones. From last summer’s mass public killers in Santa Barbara and Canada, to the Aurora movie theater shooter, these killers made it abundantly clear in their diaries or on Facebook how they avoided targets where people with guns could stop them.
And even when concealed handgun permit holders don’t deter the killers, the permit holders stop them. Just a couple of weeks ago, a mass public shooting at a liquor store in Conyers, Ga., was stopped by a concealed handgun permit holder. A couple of people had already been killed by the time the permit holder arrived, but according to Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett:
"I believe that if Mr. Scott did not return fire at the suspect, then more of those customers would have [been] hit by a gun. It didn’t appear that he cared who he shot or where he was shooting until someone was shooting back at him. So, in my opinion, he saved other lives in that store."
Yet, even though there was a video of this heroic action, the story got no national news coverage. Case after case occurs where concealed handgun permit holders stop what would have been mass shootings. While many don’t get news coverage because the permit holder prevents people from being killed, some, such as the recent Georgia case, still don’t get coverage even when there are dead bodies.
These heroes just don’t stop attacks in small towns in Georgia. . . . .
John Stossel on CNN's airing of ‘Deceitful’ Blackfish Documentary
But in January 2013, when director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary Blackfish about these alleged abuses debuted at Sundance, the niche murmurs began to get louder. And after the doc first aired on CNN in October, the protests hit the mainstream. . . .John Stossel shows the false claims made in the movie.
Jake Tapper: When Bill Clinton complained about guns in Baltimore, ask him why the law-abiding poor can't carry
Bill Clinton on CNN's State of the Union:
. . . The Baltimore thing came on the heels of what happened in Ferguson, what happened in New York City and all these other places. And their is a big national movement about whether the lives of young African-American men count.
You can’t have people walking around with guns. I used to tell people when we did Bosnia, Kosovo anything like that, you get enough people with weapons around and there will be unintended consequences. People make mistakes People do wrong. Things happen. To hold a community together you got to have a high level of community trust. . . .
Latest Fox News piece: "Connecticut's strict gun licensing law linked to steep drop in homicides? Not really"
A new study in the American Journal of Public Health claims that the state of Connecticut’s 1995 gun licensing law has reduced firearm homicide rates by 40 percent. But this just released study gives academics a bad name. Not surprisingly, anti-gun activist and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and the left-wing Joyce Foundation funded the research.
The study cherry picks which states with gun licensing laws are examined, which years are looked at, and the type of crime to study. Any normal researcher would look at all the states in the country that have passed a similar law and compares the changes in crime trends between those states that passed the laws to those that didn’t.
Sure, from 1995 to 2005 the firearm homicide rate in Connecticut did indeed fall from 3.13 to 1.88 per 100,000 people, a 40% drop over a ten-year period. Not mentioned is that the firearms homicide rate was falling even faster immediately before the licensing law went into effect, falling from 4.5 to 3.13 per 100,000 residents -- more than a 30 percent drop in just two years.
When researchers throw out data, there had better be a good reason. They didn’t have one. They cite a paper that looked at the impact of smoking for 12 years after cigarette taxes were increased. What cigarettes have to do with explaining crime rates and what 12 years has to do with only looking at 10 years of data is never explained, though possibly they thought no one would actually read the paper they cited.
In any case, their results change appreciably if just one more year is added to their data. Between 1995 and 2006, Connecticut’s firearm homicide rate fell by just 16 percent. By comparison, the rates for the U.S. and the rest of the Northeast fell respectively by 27 percent and 22 percent. If Connecticut’s firearm homicide rate didn’t fall as much as the rest of the country, why should we think that the licensing law was so beneficial?
Why the authors of the study chose to ignore other violent crimes also becomes clear pretty quickly. Relative to the rest of the United States, Connecticut’s overall violent crime rate as well as its robbery and aggravated assault rates were clearly falling prior to the prior to the 1995 law and rising afterwards. Rape was unchanged. . . .
Media Matters misdirects on FBI report on mass shootings
Media Matters has put out its typical misinformation. This time on Jason Riley's piece on the now acknowledged errors in the FBI report on public shootings. As I wrote last October in a post at the Crime Prevention Research Center:
While the FBI report provides graphs illustrating “active shooting incidents,” not mass shootings, given the way that the report was written, the media has understandably interpreted the report as implying that mass public shootings have massively increased over time. . . .The bottom line here is that neither Media Matters nor some of the authors from a FBI report on public shootings were able to defend the data used in the FBI report so they focus on a red herring, whether the media got confused about the report being on mass public shootings. Media Matters doesn't even try to defend the 20 missing mass shooting cases that should clearly have been included in the Blair and Martaindale data set. Nor does Media Matters try to defend the way that the FBI report measured active shooter cases.
Jason Riley explicitly mentions that Blair and Martaindale complain that the media misunderstood their point on the issue of Mass shootings/active shooters (Riley writes: "[Blair and Martaindale] said that the news media “got it wrong” last year when they 'mistakenly reported mass shootings were on the rise'”, Riley provides a directly link to their piece in the ACJS, and John Lott's report explicitly spends a great deal of time discussing the problems with their measure of "active shooters." Whether one wants to lump together mass public shootings with cases where a shot is fired in public and no one is hit, Lott's point was that Blair and Martaindale's measure of these active shooter cases is biased towards picking up just recent cases and thus tends to make it look as if there were an increase in public shootings over time.
Labels: media matters Lott
1964 Johnny Seven OMA Toy Gun Commercial: I remember this ad from when I was a kid
Labels: Guns in Media
Did Clinton's State Department work to protect a pedophile from an investigation?
State Department Inspector General officials edited out passages of a high-profile report in 2013 that could have embarrassed Hillary Clinton just days before she quit President Obama's Cabinet.The officials excised details of a cover up of misconduct by Clinton's security team.The edits raise concerns that investigators were subjected to "undue influence" from agency officials.The Washington Examiner obtained earlier drafts of the report which differ markedly from the final version. References to specific cases in which high-level State officials intervened and descriptions of the extent and frequency of those interventions appear in several early drafts but were later eliminated.The unexplained gaps in the final version, and the removal of passages that would have damaged the State Department, call into question the independence of Harold Geisel, who was State's temporary inspector general throughout Clinton's four years at the head of the department.
The drafts were provided to the Examiner by Richard Higbie, a senior criminal investigator at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, after he said he disclosed the documents to several members of Congress and multiple congressional committees under federal whistleblower protections. . . .For those who don't remember, here is another article on Hillary's first criminal defense case where she defended a pedophile in court. From The Daily Beast:
Hillary Clinton is known as a champion of women and girls, but one woman who says she was raped as a 12-year-old in Arkansas doesn’t think Hillary deserves that honor. This woman says Hillary smeared her and used dishonest tactics to successfully get her attacker off with a light sentence—even though, she claims, Clinton knew he was guilty.
The victim in the 1975 sexual abuse case that became Clinton’s first criminal defense case as a 27-year-old lawyer has only spoken to the media once since her attack, a contested, short interaction with a reporter in 2008, during Clinton’s last presidential campaign run. Now 52, she wants to speak out after hearing Clinton talk about her case on newly discovered audio recordings from the 1980s, unearthed by the Washington Free Beacon and made public this week.
In a long, emotional interview with The Daily Beast, she accused Clinton of intentionally lying about her in court documents, going to extraordinary lengths to discredit evidence of the rape, and later callously acknowledging and laughing about her attackers’ guilt on the recordings.
“Hillary Clinton took me through Hell,” the victim said.
Newest piece at Fox News: "There is no nationwide crime wave (and police killings are not up)"
Since 1991, murder and violent crime have plummeted in the U. S. But in a widely discussed op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled "The New Nationwide Crime Wave,” Heather Mac Donald recently made a startling claim: “Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America.” She demonstrated this by citing murder rate increases in six cities.
Murders of police were also surging out of control, she said; they had “jumped 89% in 2014."
Last week, Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at New York’s Manhattan Institute appeared on numerous TV channels, including Fox News and CNN. As is so common, the claims have become exaggerated, giving the impression that crime is on the rise all across the U.S.
Fortunately, that’s all hype. Mac Donald simply cherry-picked those places that had experienced rising crime rates. Overall, the 15 largest cities have actually experienced a slight decrease in murders. There has been a 2 percent drop from the first five months of 2014 to the first five months of this year. Murder rates rose in eight cities and fell in seven. There is no nationwide murder wave. . . .
Police do a dangerous job, and any dramatic increase in police killings would be horrible. But the nationwide spike in police killings is not all that Mac Donald claims it is. After averaging 55 police deaths per year for a decade, the number of deaths fell to 27 in 2013. The number went back up to 51 in 2014. Though that was a large increase, the unusual year was 2013, not 2014.
But the biggest problem with these last numbers is that, unlike the crime numbers that compare periods clearly before and after the “Ferguson effect” and the Baltimore riots, the spike in police killings occurred too early. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, murders of police through May nationwide are down 38 percent this year compared to last year (16 versus 26). . . .