Vox is wrong – we don’t have too many guns, we have too many criminals

One of my followers on G+ asked me to comment on a Vox article,
What no politician wants to admit about gun control
.

I’ve studied the evidence, and I don’t believe the effect of the Australian confiscation on homicides was significant.  You can play games with statistics to make it look that way, but they are games.

As for the major contention of the article, it’s simply wrong.  80% of U.S. crime, including gun violence, is associated with the drug trade and happens in urban areas where civil order has partially or totally collapsed.

Outside those areas, the U.S. looks like Switzerland or Norway – lots of guns, very little crime.  Those huge, peaceful swathes of high-gun-ownership areas show that our problem is not too many guns, it’s too many criminals.

The reason nobody at Vox or anywhere in the punditosphere wants to admit this is because of the racial angle.  The high-crime, high-violence areas of the U.S. are populated by blacks (who, at 12.5% of the population, commit 50% of index violent crimes).  The low-crime, lots-of-guns areas are white.

The predictively correct observation would be that in the U.S., lots of legal weapons owned by white people doesn’t produce high levels of gun violence any more than they do in Switzerland or Norway.   The U.S. has extraordinarily high levels of gun violence because American blacks (and to a lesser extent American Hispanics and other non-white, non-Asian minorities) are extraordinarily lawless.  As in, Third-World tribal badlands levels of lawless.

Nobody wants to be honest about this except a handful of evil scumbag racists (and me).  Thus, the entire policy discussion around U.S. firearms is pretty much fucked from the word go.

What would I do about it? Well, since I’m not an evil scumbag racist and in fact believe all laws and regulations should be absolutely colorblind, I would start by legalizing all drugs.  Then we could watch gun violence drop by 80% and look for the next principal driver.

237 thoughts on “Vox is wrong – we don’t have too many guns, we have too many criminals

  1. > “Vox is wrong”

    In other news, water is wet.

    (Don’t mean to be just snarky, but the blithering idiocy of the people at Vox is truly amazing.)

  2. So, the solution for you is “Good criminal is Dead criminal”?

  3. I agree with you on the reality of guns, criminals and violence. It is concentrated in the urban islands. Not only is it concentrated there, but it is hyper-concentrated in just a few neighborhoods. The reality is that 80% of the violence in this country occurs within a very few square miles of urban territory in NYC, Chicago, LA, DC, Baltimore, Newark, Detroit, etc.

    When you remove those statistics and consider the 280 million people living in suburban and rural America, the gun homicide rate is about 2 per 100,000. In other words, the median of western Europe. The gun homicide rate in the top 10 cities, by murder rate, is about 11 per 100,000 people. That is almost exactly the same as Mexico. In Mexico personal firearm ownership is extremely regulated. Clearly that is working well.

    Where I think we diverge is over the steps to solve the problem. It’s not just the War on Drugs. Although legalizing, regulating and taxing drugs in a manner equivalent to alcohol would be a great first step. And it would make a huge difference when there was no longer a huge blackmarket in drugs.

    However, these urban islands of violence have a couple other features that absolutely contribute to massive criminal problems. Broken families. Well over 50% of urban black men grow up in a fatherless household. Poverty held in place by welfare. There is no opportunity for black people in the ghetto. Mostly because of government intervention (and broken families). Government intervention in the form of welfare is making things worse, not better. Horrific schools. The suburban and rural high schools in the US are, by and large, pretty good. They have issues around unions and PC type stuff. But they aren’t teenage daycare facilities like the urban high schools. Breaking the government monopoly on K-12 education would go a long way towards solving this.

  4. Eric: “Then we could watch gun violence drop by 80% and look for the next principal driver.”

    I think you’re being blindly optimistic here.The level would go down, granted, but not by anywhere near that much. Inner city thug culture will simply find something else to fight about – or perhaps nothing at all.

  5. >So, the solution for you is “Good criminal is Dead criminal”?

    Or “deterred criminal”. Potential criminals respond to incentives; if you raise the risks and costs of criminal violence go up, there will be less of it.

  6. >What about correlation between gun control strength and casualties?

    It’s positive – that is, more gun control is correlated with more crime, not less. The Slate chart misleads by lumping in important confounders, perhaps the most significant of which is population density.

    If you look at changes in crime rates in individual jurisdictions before and after changes in gun laws, you get exactly the opposite correlation.

  7. “What about correlation between gun control strength and casualties?”

    That Slate article makes the exact same mistake as when we look at gun violence at the national level, but bringing it down one level to the states. Here’s the problem. The vast majority of all murders committed using a gun in NY State occur in New York City. Like 95% of them. Yet 65% of the population of NY State lives outside NYC proper. So, NYC gets off the hook for having a really horrible 3rd world level of crime by smoothing out the statistics with a suburban and rural population that is peaceful and law abiding.

  8. The problem of “gun violence” will never be solved because we keep trying to solve the wrong problem. I cringe every time I hear some politician or pundit ask the question “How to do we keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people?” That’s the wrong question; the right question is “What causes people to become mentally ill in a way that makes them want to murder innocent people?” Answer THAT question, and the whole problem of mass shootings goes away forever.

  9. >So, the solution for you is “Good criminal is Dead criminal”?

    The solution is Good criminal is not criminal as their job has been replaced by legitimate pharmacies.

  10. >That Slate article makes the exact same mistake as when we look at gun violence at the national level, but bringing it down one level to the states. Here’s the problem. The vast majority of all murders committed using a gun in NY State occur in New York City. Like 95% of them. Yet 65% of the population of NY State lives outside NYC proper. So, NYC gets off the hook for having a really horrible 3rd world level of crime by smoothing out the statistics with a suburban and rural population that is peaceful and law abiding.

    If what you are suggesting is that New York, Massachussetts, and New Jersey all have a higher proportion of suburban and rural population than Wyoming, Alaska, and Montana, I think you should be explicit that this is the claim you are making, and back it up with sources.

  11. “If what you are suggesting is that New York, Massachussetts, and New Jersey all have a higher proportion of suburban and rural population than Wyoming, Alaska, and Montana”

    I said no such thing.

    PS I could not find anywhere where the methodology for the “gun death rate” was explained. Since I have never before seen NY State ranked as nearly best and AK ranked as nearly worst for “gun death rate”, and I can’t find an explanation of their methodology, I am inclined to ignore a clearly partisan approach to this.

  12. Is it possible that they’re simply dividing by population? The argument that it’s inappropriate to control for population density is an argument that we should accept a state of affairs where the only way to be safe is to live far away from other people.

  13. I’ve noticed another glaring correlation, especially living in the once-infamous North Central neighbourhood of Regina, SK (aka locally as “The Hood”), between crime, especially violent crime, and actual behaviour-affecting faith in Jesus Christ. Of course, no one likes discussing that, or the fact that our Roseburg shooter was specifically targeting Christians – not just any Christians, but those Christians who are willing to say they are Christians to a man with a gun specifically on a rampage for such Christians. I’m not expecting it to be any different here, where I’ve been called insane to my face for agreeing with Jack T. Chick on theological grounds with no further discussion of the matter. But I’d like to see anyway: perhaps I’m insane by the Einstein definition, but sometimes its worth it.

  14. Okay, a little checking on the “gun death rate” thing. Turns out that is an inclusive number. All deaths involving a firearm, including murder, suicide, accidental and law enforcement, are included in that number. Anybody with half a brain can figure out that we are now comparing apples to oranges in two different ways. First, we are distorting the statistics by doing this at a state level. Urban vs. rural is critical, as has been discussed above. Second, we are talking about trying to reduce the number of murders, but using data that includes a bunch of other stuff. If you control the data so that you are only looking at murder and law enforcement shootings, the “gun death rate” looks much different, state by state.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2015/10/05/obamas-claim-that-states-with-the-most-gun-laws-tend-to-have-the-fewest-gun-deaths/

  15. “The argument that it’s inappropriate to control for population density is an argument that we should accept a state of affairs where the only way to be safe is to live far away from other people.”

    hahahahaha, no, that’s your interpretation of my argument. I am making an argument that a very small number of urban settings in the US accounts drives our crime statistics out of whack. The vast majority of the US population does not live in the ten cities with the worst crime stats. The US population is 315 million. 20 million people live in those ten really violent cities. 295 million people don’t. When you remove the ten cities from the stats as outliers, you discover that the rest of the country, living in small urban, suburban, and rural settings, experiences a violent crime rate about the same as Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Germany, or France.

  16. There’s something else the mainstream news, demagogues, and politicians (of both parties) won’t talk about. In almost all school shootings, the shooter is sexually frustrated. Anybody who watches porn or a hollywood movie or even a prime time TV is no doubt under the impression that there’s a beautiful woman around every corner, just waiting to suck your cock.

    Now, I don’t get as much action as Mr. Raymond, but I get plenty of strange. But I didn’t get much back in high school because I simply didn’t know how. It’s not something they teach in school, but they should. Sex ed classes shouldn’t spend their time with condoms and bananas, they should spend their time teaching how to approach women and hold a conversation.

  17. The elephant-in-the-room on this topic is that gun control is not about crime minimization. It is about ensuring the power and sustainability of government vis-a-vis an armed citizenry that could initiate another revolution should the current government morph into a tyranny. Those who advocate gun control the loudest are most likely to be incipient tyrants. The bully only fights when he possesses overwhelming odds.

  18. “As for the major contention of the article, it’s simply wrong. 80% of U.S. crime, including gun violence, is associated with the drug trade and happens in urban areas where civil order has partially or totally collapsed.”

    What would you say is the “major contention” of the article? Strangely enough, the Vox article does not mention crime. It is chiefly concerned with gun deaths per capita.

    “Outside those areas, the U.S. looks like Switzerland or Norway – lots of guns, very little crime”
    [citation needed]

    After reading this post, I have to wonder if you’re linking to the wrong Vox article.

  19. Dropping drug laws like the terrible things they are is a great start.

    The next best approach would be to break the cycle of poverty by enacting basic income laws (and, yes, replace a raft of welfare programs that bottom out when people start trying to get a leg up with poverty programs that don’t expensively try to make sure they aren’t misued and thus also make themselves far less effective and sometimes harmful).

  20. I think the explosion of coverage of mass shootings and the hand-wringing that follows is an extension of the sort of white guilt which put Obama in the White House, precisely because of the unmentionable situation you point out. “Well, gee,” they bloviate, “if we just got rid of guns, this wouldn’t happen.” In my estimation, it’s a way of saying, “Well, gee, if we just use this as an excuse to get rid of all guns, then the inner-city-drug-related-shootings problem goes away too, and that would be great, but we can’t talk about that because it puts blacks in a disproportionately bad light.” I think the people who nod their heads in agreement when the “ban all guns” argument is brought up are silently thinking this.

  21. I would LOVE for them to end the drug laws. Unfortunately, that 80% drop in crime wouldn’t happen immediately. Like the end of alcohol prohibition, it’ll take a generation or more for the current criminals to age out and for the drug gangs to be starved out. The money and power they’ve accumulated won’t disappear overnight. It would certainly eliminate a big recruitment tool that they have to bring new members in.

  22. “What no politician wants to admit about gun control.” Ooh, ooh, is it Warren v. District of Columbia, which held that the police don’t have a duty to “protect and serve” except in the most general of terms?

    No, wait, it’s Vox. Of course not. Why let the practical facts of the matter interfere with whether or not the argument makes you feel virtuous?

  23. >What would you say is the “major contention” of the article?

    That the major reason the U.S. has an exceptional rate of gun violence is that it has an exceptional number of guns. You’re right, I skipped a step; that most gun deaths in the U.S., per capita, are crime driven.

    You have reason to find the missing step confusing if you are from Europe, where gun suicides are something like 12x as common as in the U.S.

  24. > Second, we are talking about trying to reduce the number of murders, but using data that includes a bunch of other stuff.

    Why don’t you want to reduce the other stuff?

  25. > When you remove the ten cities from the stats as outliers, you discover that the rest of the country, living in small urban, suburban, and rural settings, experiences a violent crime rate about the same as Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Germany, or France.

    That would work if the cities you were removing were in the states with the highest numbers rather than the lowest.

  26. Jay Maynard: I don’t think the inner city thug culture would last very long without the drug revenues that sustain it.

  27. Instapundit linked to this piece arguing:

    Many gun control advocates seem to be under the impression that governments can pass new felony legislation that will take guns off the streets without requiring more aggressive policing, without putting more people in prison, and without the racial disparities in enforcement that characterize the rest of our criminal justice system. This is a fantasy.

    The article links to a piece in Reason calling New York’s “Stop and Frisk” policy the most effective gun control policy in the country.

    But most of the arguments the anti-gunners make are all about mood affiliation – guns are the magic totem of conservative rural whites, therefore they’re evil, and gun control is a way to punish those awful white people. None of them stop to think who gun control is really meant to control.

  28. Heroin has been completely illegal in the US for nearly a century. There is no legal use of it anywhere in the US medically or for research. Yet heroin use and associated deaths are nationally on the rise. Unpossible!!! All these politicians want to do is disarm peaceful law abiding citizens. If they cant rid society of heroin in a century, how are they going to get rid of guns? They lie and they deceive. Look at what has happened in NY State with the SAFE Act. 90% of gun owners have not complied. The government derives its power from the consent of the governed. All this issue is going to do is reinforce that it is losing the consent. If that happens, gun control will be about hitting your target, not about the state stealing my property.

  29. Europe, where gun suicides are something like 12× as common as in the U.S.

    Is that per gun or per capita? Because with gun ownership rates as much lower as media reports imply (and I’m quite well aware they’re lying to me, at least by cherry-picking facts) the first would be surprising, the second much more so. (More like jump-up-and-down-yelling-LIARS!–level surprising. Which is par for the course, I know.)

  30. >Is that per gun or per capita?

    Hmmm….I don’t remember. I’ll try to dig up my source for this.

  31. > You have reason to find the missing step confusing if you are from Europe, where gun suicides are something like 12x as common as in the U.S.

    Isn’t that the other way around? Something like 1/12 as common rather than 12x as common?

  32. “where gun suicides are something like 12x as common as in the U.S.”

    Statistics don’t seem to bear that out. Did you mean a different continent?

  33. I live in Oregon, and have friends and relatives in Roseburg, so I’d like to bring a local perspective.

    First of all, UCC is not in Roseburg. UCC is Northeast of Winchester which is north of Roseburg. Details matter, and when the media can’t even get the city right you know sloppy reporting is underway.

    Second, the shooter did NOT target Christians. He did ask some their religion, but shot them no matter what they said.

    Which brings me to my third and major point. This entire tragedy has been hijacked for other purposes. No pundit or politician has raised the real factual issues of UCC. Just like Bush invaded Iraq because we were attacked by Saudis people go off on their own canned gun philosophy.

    Any suggestion that would not have altered the outcomes at UCC should be shouted down. Now. Just like fixing code, you need to fix the problem you see in front of you, not the problem you wish you had.

    We owe it to the victims of the UCC shooting to actually analyze THIS event for the lessons it might teach us.

    I’ll start by putting down a few of the most common provably non-helpful suggestions myself.

    First off, many have been crying for better background checks, closing the gun show exception, etc. Well, Oregon does not have those holes to close. Background checks are required for all gun sales. All the guns the shooter had were legally purchased, by him, after full background checks. There was nothing in the shooter’s past that would have indicated to anyone that he should not have passed a background check. So, off the table, no more talk of background checks.

    Second, ban assault weapons and ban high capacity clips. Once again, there is zero evidence either of these played a role in the UCC shootings. The shooter used a single pistol. Type undisclosed so far. So, off the table, no more talk of banning assault weapons or high capacity clips.

    Third, change drug laws. Once again, there is no evidence that drugs played any part in this tragedy. So, drugs, off the table.

    Four, the long legacy of slavery, urban decay, and bad race relations is to blame. Once again, there is zero evidence any of those played a role at UCC. We are talking a 98% stable white rural community here. So, off the table! I would however entertain discussion as to why when white folks die, as opposed to black folks die, it is national news.

    Once again, we owe it to the victims of UCC to not let this conversation be hijacked. At least until the next nationally covered mass shooting.

    Look at the data here people, not at what you want to see. There are some interesting things to be examined here, just no one that cares to look.

    RGDS
    GARY

  34. >Isn’t that the other way around? Something like 1/12 as common rather than 12x as common?

    No. That’s one of the few consistent differences to show up in transatlantic comparisons: suicide more common in Europe, homicide more common in the U.S.

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  36. >I would however entertain discussion as to why when white folks die, as opposed to black folks die, it is national news.

    Stalin is reported to have said “One man’s death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.” We have brains from the Neolithic; we’re not well adapted to processing large numbers, we need stories. It’s easier for us to focus on events that are rare but psychologically prominent that commoner ones that don’t have individual distinguishers – story hooks.

    In the U.S., black people shoot each other a lot; white people don’t shoot each other much. A white-on-white shooting stands out from its background as exceptional and prominent. A black-on-black shooting is just the same shit on a different day. Thus, a black-on-black shooting in Detroit or South Chicago is a statistic, but a white-on-white shooting is a story.

    I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that, really. It’s not racial, you’d get the same false-prominence effect from any two different groups with strongly differing internal violence rates.

  37. @esr:
    But you spoke of “gun suicides” rather than (all) suicides. And a quick google suggests that suicide by gun is more common in the US while suicide by hanging is the most common method in Europe.

  38. But what if legalizing all drugs would actually skyrocket gun violence, for exactly the same reason? It may work in other countries, but as you said yourself, we have different situation.

  39. > Thus, a black-on-black shooting in Detroit or South Chicago is a statistic, but a white-on-white shooting is a story.

    The old saw: Dog bites man is not a story. Man bites dog is a story.

    But not so simple, Pretty much any black shot by a policeman is now news. In the short time since Ferguson a lot of white folks have been shot by police in Oregon, yet it is not news.

    For police shootings only Black Lives Matter.

    My guess is that UCC also is a convenient trigger for folks to say what they wanted to say, but just needed any old reason to bring it up. Like Bush just waiting for any old reason, good or bad, to invade Iraq.

    RGDS
    GARY

  40. > But what if legalizing all drugs would actually skyrocket gun violence,

    So, Oregon just started legal marijuana sales. You think that caused, enabled or encouraged UCC? Seriously? Take the money out of drugs and there is no reason for gang bangers to fight over it. Get those gang bangers more stoned and less drunk and I think the outcomes should be obvious.

    Join the new millennium, drugs are being legalized in some states, and the sky is not falling. Crime, other than a few more DUIs, is not changing. But I’ll give you that it may take a few more years to sort out the exact outcomes.

    The experiences of Portugal, Switzerland, UK, etc. show that legalizing most or all drugs cuts crime.

    RGDS
    GARY

  41. >>Four, the long legacy of slavery, urban decay, and bad race relations is to blame. Once again, there is zero evidence any of those played a role at UCC. We are talking a 98% stable white rural community here.

    Actually the shooter was as black as Obama. White father and Black mother. From his online postings he was a black lives matter supporter and Cop hater. Just another angry black man in the demographic of 17 – 35 that kill at a rate exceeding all other racial groups.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGTUcS-yQtQ — the whole thing is good, but the stats are at the 3 minute mark.

  42. Er, on the shooting them regardless of their answer on religion, from what I heard he would shoot to kill if they answered yes, and shoot to wound if they said no…

  43. That’s a picture of his father that you’ve linked to on CNN. The thing you’re replying to says his father is white and mother is black…

  44. > Er, on the shooting them regardless of their answer on religion, from what I heard he would shoot to kill if they answered yes, and shoot to wound if they said no…

    Yes, that was initially reported, but it is wrong and has been mostly retracted, at least if you believe this story from a local TV station that actually had reporters on scene very quickly:

    http://www.katu.com/news/local/Oregon-shooter-showed-little-sympathy-in-calculated-killings-330574661.html

    “Both Boylan and Scroggins said the gunman shot Christians in the head and wounded others, though there was at least one account that said he treated all religions with the same cold response.”

    “Rand McGowan, who was shot in the hand, told his mother it didn’t seem the shooter was deliberately targeting Christians.”

    Ditto this story in the states largest newspaper:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/10/oregon_shooting_2_days_later_h.html

    “Some witnesses reportedly said he targeted Christians in his attack, but at least one witness has disputed that, saying he asked victims about religion but didn’t specifically target Christians.”

    Most local news reports have shifted to McGowans side of the story. Local press conferences I have watched also quote the sheriff as saying religion was not a factor. Sorry I failed to turn up a link for those quickly. We’ll need to wait for the final incident report, but the buzz is now to discount the religion thing.

    RGDS
    GARY

  45. My apologies to jfre and kazrko. Thank you for taking the time to correct me.

    The UCC shooters mother is indeed black:

    https://archive.is/WNIMg

    A fact that has received zero coverage in local media and the few national sources I follow. Finding a photo of her took a bit of googling.

    So, yes, race is back on the table.

    RGDS
    GARY

  46. >Wrong, as white as me. Here is his photo and story on CNN.

    Nope. Half-black, half-white. What this means, of course, is that because he shot people he is airbrushed into an angry racist white man, but if he had been shot himself (even mere minutes after, say, robbing a convenience store or pounding a man’s head repeatedly into pavement) he would have become a saintly put-upon black victim of oppression.

  47. @esr, has he been “airbrushed” – either literally (or semi-literally through any other kind of photo-manipulation) or figuratively? One picture circulating around is not accompanied by any proof that it was actually used by CNN. CNN has denied ever airing any photo of the shooter, and yet someone decided to circulate a rumor that they had. There is clearly a recurring desire – on both sides of the aisle, to accuse the media of this kind of thing, and fabricate it if no real evidence can be found.

  48. @ esr

    As usual, I agree with your thesis but want to dispute a minor point.

    > Nobody wants to be honest about this except a handful of evil scumbag racists (and me).

    What about Thomas Sowell? I’ve read some of his columns and he’s honest about racial issues. See, for example, “Race, Politics and Lies”.

  49. Switzerland is often presented as a na example of a country with a high level of firearm ownership, and low crime. However the low crime levels are not due to the high firearm ownerships livels. Correlation is not causation.
    In Switzerland it is not permitted to have a firearm in a useable state in your house. You are required to store ammo and guns seperately. Between target practices most guns just sit in a corner in the basement somewhere.
    Deterrence of criminals by private citizens using a firearm is basically unheard. Firearm suicides, and crimes of passion, or desperation are unfortunately all to common.
    The low crime rates in Switzerland have more to do with a well functioning free market economy, which also gives opportunities to people with lower skill sets. Unskilled labor can earn 25$/hour, and this in spite of there being no official minimum wage. Unemployment is low. This reduces the number of people for whom crime is the best option.

  50. What about Thomas Sowell? I’ve read some of his columns and he’s honest about racial issues.

    Thomas Sowell doesn’t count because he’s an Uncle Tom. Only black people are allowed to criticize black culture or other black people, and Sowell’s hateful rhetoric demonstrates that he’s only perpetuating racial division to maintain his own personal status.

  51. The media and political messaging that surrounds the shooting incident in Oregon is but another skirmish in the memetic war that has been raging for several decades now. The advent of new communications technology has dramatically increased the saturation and repetition efficiency of wetware reprogramming. News monitoring is becoming the equivalent of prayer ritual. The real zombie apocalypse won’t be walking dead, but walking deadheads.

  52. I’m curious about one thing.

    Your 2nd amendment gives you the right to keep and bear arms.

    How, then, is it Legal/Constitutional to pass gun-control laws?

    (My google-fu fails me here for some reason).

  53. Stares at title… what… oh. That’s the _other_ Vox.

    Besides the whole thing is an absolutely moot point: guns are exactly like marijuana for Americans: attempting to control either of them is absolutely futile. While guns in Australia or the EU are like marijuana in Singapore or Quatar: there is not much of a culture of it, so it is fairly easy to ban. Culture. Is. Everything. Let’s take an opposite example: alcohol Prohibition was, um, at least not entirely a total failure in the US, due to the culture being influenced by teetotaler Puritans. Imagine trying that in France. Just imagine it. It would be beyond hilarious. If a Frenchman and an American has to choose between his gun and his wine, the American will choose his gun and the Frenchman will choose his wine. Culture is everything.

    #1 rule of not insane government: make an inventory of things that are a respected part of the local culture. Makes sure to not mess with them.

    @K_
    >The low crime rates in Switzerland have more to do with a well functioning free market economy

    My bet would be rather on being relatively sane (i.e. picky, filtery) about immigration. Crime isn’t simply an occupation, a way to earn a living. If it was so, you would see a lot of guys in prison who are in for clean theft only, no violence, no vandalism. But it is plain simply not so – the vast majority of burglars or carjackers in prison have a history of violence or vandalism. You can’t really explain that by needing money.

    Another thing – learn to trust crime stats less. Not sure about Switzerland, but German crime stats are definitely being doctored now, generally underplaying the migration factor in order not to generate “tensions”. On a more general note, if you think a government organization can be trusted to have accurate stats about its own efficiency, well, how about no. I’d rather focus on things like whether people allow their 10 years old kids to ride the subway alone or not. It used to be common.

  54. >@esr, has he been “airbrushed” – either literally (or semi-literally through any other kind of photo-manipulation) or figuratively?

    I was speaking figuratively of the way the media writes about him.

  55. >How, then, is it Legal/Constitutional to pass gun-control laws?

    I think it’s not. Constitutional, I mean. But it has been several decades since mere un-Constitutionality stopped or even slowed down our permanent political class much.

  56. @Shenpen
    “But it is plain simply not so – the vast majority of burglars or carjackers in prison have a history of violence or vandalism. You can’t really explain that by needing money.”

    I sometimes wonder why crime is much more violent in the States then in Europe. My experience is that most of the times all you need to do to for example chase a burglar away is just make it know to him that you know he’s there. My house got broken in to while I was still living in Holland while I was at home. I heard the guy, and as soon as I switched the light on upstairs the guy ran away as fast as he could. To my knowledge the typical criminal is a coward.

    “I’d rather focus on things like whether people allow their 10 years old kids to ride the subway alone or not. It used to be common.”

    Well, in Switzerland kids will walk by themselves to school, even to kindergarden. That already says something.

  57. “Outside those areas, the U.S. looks like Switzerland or Norway – lots of guns, very little crime. Those huge, peaceful swathes of high-gun-ownership areas show that our problem is not too many guns, it’s too many criminals.””

    So, you compare country-wide statistics with selected parts of the USA.

    These two countries too have inner cities with drug related crime. Their inner cities are pretty safe compared to the US countryside. Outside these cities, these countries have the crime rates of a US Nun’s monastery.

    Then tell me, why are the inner cities of Switzerland and Norway so much saver than the average village in the US South?

    Maybe it is the fact that the Swiss and Norse are able to contain themselves, and US citizens are should not be left alone with a gun? Just like Norway and Switzerland are able to set up cheap nation-wide comprehensive health insurance and the USA is not.

    Like, where do you find a region where there is a school shooting every few months? Where does the police alone kill more than 400 people a year?

    Where do more than 30 thousand people die each year from gun wounds:
    http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/TUTORIAL/GUNS/GUNSTAT.html

    In the U.S. for 2010, there were 31,513 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death: Suicide 19,308; Homicide 11,015; Accident 600. This makes firearms injuries one of the top ten causes of death in the U.S. The number of firearms-related injuries in the U.S., both fatal and non-fatal, increased through 1993, declined to 1999, and has remained relatively constant since. However, firearms injuries remain a leading cause of death in the U.S., particularly among youth (CDC, 2001) (Sherry et al, 2012).

    People with guns kill much more people than people without guns.

  58. @k
    ““I’d rather focus on things like whether people allow their 10 years old kids to ride the subway alone or not. It used to be common.”

    Well, in Switzerland kids will walk by themselves to school, even to kindergarden. That already says something.”

    That is still common where I live. The real killer is traffic, and municipalities are trying to reduce that danger aggressively.

  59. @deep lurker:
    “that suicide by gun is more common in the US while suicide by hanging is the most common method in Europe.”

    Semi-obvious question because I haven’t looked at the stats for a while but how does that correlate to gun availability. I’d bet the #1 method of suicide on water world was drowning.

    @shenpen
    “Stares at title… what… oh. That’s the _other_ Vox. ”

    Yeah that would have been me except i’ve grown suspicious from repeated incidents while reading Slate Star Codex. The number of times i’ve thought “Thats a pretty fricken enlightened position for Vox to be… wait… no the other one. Right.”…

  60. “Just like Norway and Switzerland are able to set up cheap nation-wide comprehensive health insurance and the USA is not.”

    Switzerland actually doesn’t have nation wide comprehensive health insurance. Switzerland has less government involvement in health care than the US. All health insurance is private. (And it isn’t cheap) There is no Swiss equivalent to medicare or medicaid.
    Don’t make the mistake in asuming that Europe acutally looks like the “Liberal Nirvana” the US left likes to make of it.
    The main reason why Switzerland is prosperous and peacefull is, to my observations, its political stabiltiy. In the US politics is tribal warfare. Swiss politics is boring. And that’s a good thing.

  61. @k
    “Switzerland actually doesn’t have nation wide comprehensive health insurance.”

    Sorry, but I saw this:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Switzerland

    Healthcare in Switzerland is universal[2] and is regulated by the Swiss Federal Law on Health Insurance. Health insurance is compulsory for all persons residing in Switzerland (within three months of taking up residence or being born in the country).[3][4][5] International civil servants, members of embassies, and their family members are exempted from compulsory health insurance. Requests for exemptions are handled by the respective cantonal authority and have to be addressed to them directly.[6]

    And for Norway:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Norway

    In Norway, all hospitals are funded by the public as part of the national budget.[1] However, while medical treatment is free of charge for any person younger than the age of sixteen, residents who have reached adulthood must pay a deductible each year before becoming eligible for an exemption card. The card entitles one to free healthcare for the remainder of that year.[2]

    All public hospitals in Norway are run by four Regional Health Authorities (RHA) overseen by the Ministry of Health and Care Services. In addition to these public hospitals, there are a small number of privately owned health clinics currently operating.

  62. @k
    “Switzerland actually doesn’t have nation wide comprehensive health insurance.”

    It has, see Wikipedia. My comment with specifics is awaiting moderation.

  63. @Winter: I live in Switzerland. Are you saying I am imagining the bills my insurance sends me?

  64. @k
    “@Winter: I live in Switzerland. Are you saying I am imagining the bills my insurance sends me?”

    This is what Wikipedia writes:

    Healthcare in Switzerland is universal[2] and is regulated by the Swiss Federal Law on Health Insurance. Health insurance is compulsory for all persons residing in Switzerland (within three months of taking up residence or being born in the country).[3][4][5] International civil servants, members of embassies, and their family members are exempted from compulsory health insurance. Requests for exemptions are handled by the respective cantonal authority and have to be addressed to them directly.[6]

    This counts in my book as “comprehensive health care insurance”. The Netherlands has the same system. I never said it has to be cheap or the insurance has to be Government Paid. The only point is that everyone has access to affordable health care insurance. In teh system like that in Switzerland, there are provisions to ensure that everyone can afford the compulsory insurance.

  65. @Winter: I guess the US has comprehensive nationwide health care as well then.

    However: To give you a few facts: I pay 270 CHF per month. For that I am only covered for “catastrophic” health events. Most years all my health expenses are out of my own pocket. That’s a far cry of a “government run single payer system”, which is what most people mean when they talk abougt “comprehensive nation wide health care”.

  66. @K_
    “That’s a far cry of a “government run single payer system”, which is what most people mean when they talk abougt “comprehensive nation wide health care”.”

    Then people cannot read. “comprehensive nation wide health care” seems very clear to me: Everyone in the country gets the health care they need. I do not see why it matters who pays what for the definition?

    And indeed, that is exactly what Obamacare was all about. In our eyes, they managed to make a mess of it, but it is the same idea.

  67. @Winter:
    “I do not see why it matters who pays what for the definition?”
    It does, as one of my arguments was that there was less government involvement in health care in Switzerland than in the US.
    The US has higher per capity public spending on health care than Switzerland, and lower per capita out of pocket spending.

  68. @K_
    “It does, as one of my arguments was that there was less government involvement in health care in Switzerland than in the US.
    The US has higher per capity public spending on health care than Switzerland, and lower per capita out of pocket spending.”

    But the amount of government involvement is not really a factor in whether or not a country has “comprehensive nation wide health care”.

    The USA is a case in point: The most expensive health care per capita in the world, versus the UK the least expensive health care per capita for any developed country. Government involvement is orthogonal to that.

  69. Eric Cowperthwaite: You said “NYC gets off the hook for having a really horrible 3rd world level of crime” – that’s untrue. NYC has a murder rate of 2.5 per 100,000 – about half the national average, actually. If you want to find a bad city, look at Baltimore, with a rate of 34.

  70. Why is it that every time there is a mass shooting in the US (which happen more often in the US than other parts of the world) gun nuts like most posters here including our host go out of their way to come up with reasons why they rooly trooly need all of their big, shiny guns to Stay Safe and remind us all that it ain’t the guns but it’s the people what do the shootin’?

    Leaving aside the questionable statistical analyses that are rolled out to support one argument or another about the correlation or otherwise between rates of gun violence and gun ownership, surely a more interesting – and pressing – question is: what is it about US culture, society, economic climate or whatever, that contributes to the apparently large number of mass (and particularly school) shootings, where large numbers of kids are killed. Does ready access to guns make those circumstances worse or better?

  71. The difference with health care systems is that
    – Switzerland forces everybody to have insurance, but the government does not run the system, and healthcare is not financed out of the treasury
    – Countries like Austria also have comprehensive insurance, but the financing is done partially through tax money, which is a VERY BAD THING, see Greece. As soon as the goons aka polticians have their dirty hands on the money, accountability vanishes.
    – IMO the only system that would work in the US is one that is legislated by the states, and done like Switzerland: the state makes the law, the insurance companies run the operation. Unfortunately, the current US administration tries to make the US into a mirror picture of EU Europe, which will not work, period.

  72. @K_

    >I sometimes wonder why crime is much more violent in the States then in Europe.

    You must be meaning Western Europe only – crime here in the East is pretty violent too. The weird part is that there are differences even in the region. The very same gypsies who commit the most crimes in the East tend to be non-violent in Romania and pretty violent in Hungary. My best theory is actually the opposite of what ESR suggests about the US: here it is low-density villages that are violent because when they burglar someone who does not have neighbors near they can just beat him to death without anyone hearing the noise. And urban crime tends to less violent, due to the noise.

    Of course criminals are coward to you (I imagine your voice as a 30-40 years old male) but typically when we find people beaten to death by burglars they are 90 years old living alone.

    So in this region my bet is that the main factor is 1) rural ghettoes, village ghettos, rural plays a role in noise not being an issue i.e. people can be beaten to death without anyone noticing 2) in the very same village helpless old people living alone.

    While Romania has more urbanized, due to Ceau having had this hobby of destroying villages.

    And Western Europe is also more urbanized. Holland is practically a city.

    I can be entirely wrong here, I am just trying to explain the observed pattern i.e. why we keep finding 90 years old people living in a house at the end of the village beaten to death.

    Walking to a kindergarten is no big feat – if you live in a safe neighborhood and usually the kindergarten is near. I mean per definition a place where someone like you decides to live must be safe because otherwise you would decide to live elsewhere. Letting a kid ride through the subway the dodgier parts of the city to visit grandma or go to some piano teacher, now that is something. And according to Dalrymple that used to be common in London.

  73. @K_

    >The main reason why Switzerland is prosperous and peacefull is, to my observations, its political stabiltiy. In the US politics is tribal warfare. Swiss politics is boring. And that’s a good thing.

    But you know why? Because it is mostly on the canton level and cantons are pretty monocultural. They can’t have that in the US, that would be “segregation”.

    I mean, the point is the following. Tribal-warfare politics, like USA or Hungary or Italy back in the 1980’s is caused by one very simple thing: when a given political organ or process has jurisdiction over a territory that contains more than one groups with a strong tribal identity, they will of course squabble. The solution is pretty simple, making all tribes as much as possible independent. Basically letting everybody, liberal, conservative, white, black, atheist, religious, having their own self-governing cantons. Given that in most of Europe the strongest identity tends to be ethno-linguistic, having mainly monolingual and very independent cantons is an obviously correct solution. But propose to an American Liberal that blacks or Hispanics should have their self-governing cantons and he will scream about the Bantustans of South Africa.

    This is a pattern well-proven by history that identity group independence is the only way to sensible politics. So either you have to brainwash everybody to have no identity than the sovereign level, basically civic nationalism, or you have to divide up or federalize countries down to the local identity group level. But you need to have sensible settlement patterns first. Switzerland is very lucky about this – even in Freiburg, the only major bilingual canton, there is such a nice clean cut line. If they wanted to split it into two cantons, it would be easy. Look at the settlement patterns of Bosnia and you will immediately understand why the Yugos went into civil war, why couldn’t they find a modus vivendi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republika_Srpska#/media/File:SAO_BIH_1991_1992.png

  74. US murder rate is about twice that of Norway, and blacks are responsible for about half of all murders in the US. I can’t find exact statistics for number of black Norwegians but the only African background country in the top 10 most common is Nigeria, with less than 1% of Norwegians having a Nigerian background. So if the US had comparable demographics to Norway then it would probably have a comparable murder rate.

    On the other hand Norway isn’t the most peaceful Western European country, so although it’s a big part of the story it can’t be the whole story. Sweden’s murder rate is one sixth that of the US, and Sweden has experienced massive immigration from violent parts of the world via its refugee system.

  75. Why is it that every time there is a mass shooting in the US (which happen more often in the US than other parts of the world) gun nuts like most posters here including our host go out of their way to come up with reasons why they rooly trooly need all of their big, shiny guns to Stay Safe and remind us all that it ain’t the guns but it’s the people what do the shootin’?

    The thing I see at least as often (I feel like it’s more often but i’m chalking that up to selection bias) is this inane reaction that if we could only just get rid of these pesky guns then these CLEARLY CRAZY PEOPLE wouldn’t cause any problem. Because apparently someone who feels the need to shoot a large number of people is completely incapable of using anything else.

    The reaction you’re talking about at least seems marginally rational to me given a certain point of view.
    “Mass Shooting” = “Liberals get all ban-happy”
    “Liberals getting all ban-happy” + “People not speaking up” = “Guns will be banned”
    “Guns being banned” = “My life is worse off”
    Therefore
    “Mass Shooting” + “People not speaking up” = “My life is worse off”
    Therefore
    “Mass Shooting” = “People speaking up”

  76. “because he shot people he is airbrushed into an angry racist white man”

    Just like George Zimmerman became a “white Hispanic”.

  77. Leaving aside the questionable statistical analyses that are rolled out to support one argument or another about the correlation or otherwise between rates of gun violence and gun ownership, surely a more interesting – and pressing – question is: what is it about US culture, society, economic climate or whatever, that contributes to the apparently large number of mass (and particularly school) shootings, where large numbers of kids are killed. Does ready access to guns make those circumstances worse or better?

    Feminism. The intentional gelding of beta and gamma males, the removal of fathers and male role models.

    Testosterone is a hell of a drug. And any boy that isn’t taught how to properly deal with the very real rages and rampant horniness that come from being awash in it is going to become a violent sociopath.

    Look at all these mass shooters. Every one of them is a Gamma. Most, if not all, were malignant narcissists. And they all had anger problems.

    And they all had absent or invisible fathers.

    America has always had lots of guns, but it’s only in the past 40 years or so where violent crime really took off. It’s been dropping steadily with increased police power for 20 years or so, but how did we get from 1620 to 1960 without having a couple mass shootings a year and gang shootings every day?

    And the answer is liberalism, and its screaming harpy girlfriend feminism.

  78. “Nobody wants to be honest about this except a handful of evil scumbag racists (and me).”

    Your numbers, regarding blacks as 12.5% of the population, and 50% of the violent crime, are also a bit of a game … try looking at it by income brackets.
    e.g. 99% of violent crimes are committed by people in the lowest 15% income bracket. 90%+ of Blacks are in that income bracket. Therefore a higher – and presumably more correct – correlation would be between poverty and violent crime: skin colour would be a more causal relationship.

    As a Canuck who spent fifteen-odd years stateside, there are a number of reasons for the difference in violence, and most are attributable to the wider poverty gap. Canada, like the UK, has national health care. There are estimates that over 90% of bankruptcies in the US have health bills in there (officially, its still running as the cause of 67%). We have non-expiring and adequate welfare (struggling in places). The government spends money on mental health programs here. And, of course, our prisons are run by the state, as not-for-profit. Our judges aren’t elected … as elections which invariably leads to a much higher incarceration rate, and a much higher wrongly-convicted rate.

    I spent a year in Philly when Ciaverella & Conahan were nabbed.

    Nearly forgot – progressive taxation, and inheritance taxes – two things (regardless of how ‘fair’ one believes them) which have been shown to mitigate the tendency of wealth to accumulate, with the corresponding growth in poverty. You can thank the neo-cons for gutting both of those policies stateside.

  79. So Obama was wrong – states with stricter gun laws don’t have lower homicide rates. Either for total homicide, or “total intentional homicide plus accidental gun death rates”.

    The correlation between the homicide rate and Brady score in all 51 jurisdictions is +.032 (on a scale of -1 to +1), which means that states with more gun restrictions on average have very slightly higher homicide rates, though the tendency is so small as to be essentially zero.

    Winter asks “These two countries too have inner cities with drug related crime. Their inner cities are pretty safe compared to the US countryside. Outside these cities, these countries have the crime rates of a US Nun’s monastery. Then tell me, why are the inner cities of Switzerland and Norway so much safer than the average village in the US South?”

    I would suggest looking around in inner-city Trondheim and Gothenburg, then looking around crime-ridden neighborhoods in American cities, and ask yourself what you notice about the people.

    Statistically, white Americans have a homicide rate of about 2.4 per 100,000. This is about twice as high as typical Western European homicide rates, and while it’s hard to tease out because different government agencies report offender race differently, some substantial part of the American rate may be homicides committed by Hispanics, who have higher crime rates than whites, but lower than blacks.

  80. Eric, you are not addressing the rampages. They are mostly carried out by whites.
    And …as for gun prevalence, I think you are confusing Norway and Finland.

  81. @Gary: Thanks for the details on that. I’ve been avoiding the story mainly because I don’t WANT to know the name of the moron psychopath. There’s only 2 things that we could do, short of universal confiscation, that will have the slightest impact on these mass shootings. 1. Eliminate gun-free zones, and 2. stop publicizing the names of the idiots who do this sort of thing so that it eliminates the fame angle. For #1, these incidents are low enough impact and rare enough that it’s probably not worth the fight to eliminate those. The only real impact is on politics. They give the gun controllers a reason to tell people “it’s not just the inner cities and drug gangs that gun violence affects!” while touting the larger number as if it were all like the tiny number of mass shootings. #2 is probably impossible because every news organization will want to be the first to break any detail out…

    @k: If Obamacare had merely mandated catastrophic insurance like Switzerland, and properly implemented health savings accounts for the rest of things, it would be a much better system. Catastrophic coverage is definitely cheaper and the way to go. As it is, my insurance costs have tripled and my deductables have done the same. As far as walking to school goes, I walked to school by myself a couple of decades ago and it was less safe than it is now. Our current not allowing kids to walk to school is helicopter parenting hysteria rather than it being unsafe. There’s a blog called Free Range Kids that documents this hysteria.

    @Shenpen: Or we could do what we always did in the US before we had multiculturalism. The Melting Pot, where everyone’s cultures are mixed together into one, we adopt some holidays and traditions from everyone and all embrace them. Celebrate all of the pieces that make up the whole, but treat it as a whole.

  82. (Maybe we should legally change all of their names to “Homicidal Idiot” and put their lamest photos in papers with horns, derpy eyes, and Hitler mustaches just to make it less attractive. ;)

  83. > Therefore a higher – and presumably more correct – correlation would be between poverty and violent crime: skin colour would be a more causal relationship.

    Claim not backed by evidence. Poor white people don’t shoot each other in anything like the volume you see on the South Side of Chicago.

    I’m not making a racial argument here – or to be more exact, I don’t care whether what is broken about American urban blacks is cultural/environmental or genetic the way a racist would. But something is broken. And it’s not something that income redistribution can fix – if anything about the mess is clear it’s that welfare dependency has worsened the problem.

  84. I grew up in Glasscock County in West Texas back in the 60’s and 70’s. Back then the population was about 1800 in almost 900 sq miles, and everyone not only had a lot of guns, almost everyone carried at least a shotgun, rifle, or pistol in their vehicle, usually a pickup, and usually on a back window rifle rack. The ethic mix was about 80% Anglo-German and 20% Mexican. There was exactly ONE murder from 1950 to 1980, and that was of the wealthiest man in the county by outside criminals. I don’t know if there were any murders after 1980 after I left permanently, but since my Dad would have told me, I doubt it.

    There were two gun suicides ever there too. One was by a man who was a terminal lung cancer case, the other a supposed manic depressive.

    Glasscock County was, and still is, a high trust area. The sheriff and his deputy have never had to kill anyone, and their biggest chores are keeping drunks off the road, usually by driving them home and occasional oil patch thefts. No one locks their homes or cars either. Thieves and wife beaters are not tolerated by anyone. The one man killed by a law enforcement officer (highway patrol) was a wife beater who was being taken into jail by the sheriff and the patrol officer when he tried to grab the officer’s gun and it went off during the struggle. La Raza tried to protest the shooting but the protestors were pelted with garbage and insults by the local Mexicans for trying to lionize a scumbag.

    That is typical for most rural west Texas counties. The local cities (Big Spring, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo) had much higher crime rates.

  85. That is typical for most rural west Texas counties. The local cities (Big Spring, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo) had much higher crime rates.

    But were still much, much safer than the even bigger cities….

  86. Walking to school? I didn’t walk to school from second grade (7 y.o.) until my senior year of high school (17 y.o.) (inclusive). That was because it was over a mile away. When I was in first grade I walked to school every day, because it was only a third of a mile. There’s a difference between helicopter parenting and sanity (carpooling, or taking the bus if possible.)

  87. The only time I didn’t walk to school was when it was 5 miles away (middle school.) The school that was 2 miles away I would walk to as young as 5yo up to 11. Of course, my parents had me riding my bicycle 3 miles when I was in junior high to do the weather records for the local airport (For $5 per day.) I had to run all of the weather instruments then write them down, then radio the numbers out.

    By high school though I was just across the street and that was an easy walk. When I had to go to work after high school, I’d take my truck up there so I didn’t have to walk home then drive (5 miles) to work.

  88. “Claim not backed by evidence. Poor white people don’t shoot each other in anything like the volume you see on the South Side of Chicago.”

    Income inequality is correlated with higher rates of violent crime
    World Bank Study, 2002, Fajnzylber & Lederman

    “While there is a correlation between blacks and Hispanics and crime, the data implies a stronger tie between poverty and crime than crime and any racial group, when gender is taken into consideration.[48] The direct correlation between crime and class, when factoring for race alone, is relatively weak. When gender, and familial history are factored, class correlates more strongly with crime than race or ethnicity.[49][50] Studies indicate that areas with low socioeconomic status may have the greatest correlation of crime with young and adult males, regardless of racial composition, though its effect on females is negligible.[49][50]”

    Wikipedia, Race and crime in the United States.

    In short, there’s lots of factors – higher population density, larger income inequality – that accounts for higher violent crime rates. Think of an area with large numbers of poor whites – and, offhand, all such groups in the US have a lower population density and lower income inequality compared to South Side Chicago.

  89. >Income inequality is correlated with higher rates of violent crime

    Nothing in the abstract addresses the question of whether, *at equivalent poverty levels*, blacks shoot each other more than whites do. It’s all carefully designed to tiptoe around that question, which actually tells me what the answer is. Cowards.

  90. Who’s letting criminals access guns? And why aren’t events in prisons more publicly monitored, so we know who’s teaching other crims how to commit more crimes once they’re let out? For that matter, why aren’t all violent offenders and fraudsters kept in sound-proof isolation? Sure, it’s costly in the short term, but hasn’t the cost of the prison system grown exponentially precisely because we haven’t done this?

  91. >You said “NYC gets off the hook for having a really horrible 3rd world level of crime” – that’s untrue. NYC has a murder rate of 2.5 per 100,000 – about half the national average, actually. If you want to find a bad city, look at Baltimore, with a rate of 34.

    New York’s crime rate was much higher in the relatively recent past. I grew up there in the 70’s and 80’s, I am aware.

    The crime rate is so low because, starting in the 90’s NYC effectively became a benign police state. It was competently (strong emphasis on the ‘competent’) done, and it worked.

    Of course the current Mayor is dismantling the police state, and crime is headed up fairly rapidly. Most large blue cities are not competently run, and have substantially higher crime. Poster child of that is Detroit, with Baltimore, New Orleans, Chicago, Memphis, Newark, every city in Ohio I can think of, etc, providing additional examples.

  92. If Income inequality is correlated with higher rates of violent crime, then the Great Depression must have been a bloodbath. And I don’t see how the country could have survived the Gilded Age, with both impossibly rich robber barons and so many truly desperate poor and hungry people (urban and rural).

  93. At least some part of the black violent crime rate is cultural, because it’s a lot higher than it was in the 1950s, and that’s not enough time for an evolutionary change.

    This also makes it hard to argue that racism causes/exacerbates black crime, because it’s hard to argue with a straight face that racism has been getting worse since the 50s.

  94. We should automatically publish the fully naked, post-mortem photos of these vermin.

    Let them all know – *this* is how you will be remembered

  95. @PapayaSF:
    You write: “If Income inequality is correlated with higher rates of violent crime, then the Great Depression must have been a bloodbath. And I don’t see how the country could have survived the Gilded Age,”

    Homicide rates in the 19th century were much higher then they were today. They were much higher even in the 18th century.
    See here:
    http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/06/long-term-trend-in-homicide-rates.html

    Re Health insurance in Switzerland: Technically speaking I don’t have “catastrophic insurance”. I just have a high deductible. But this basically comes down to the same. In normal years I visit my GP a few times, and pay him out of my own pocket. Once I needed surgery, and once my deductible was reached the insurance paid. I like the concept. Basic health care is maintenance. You don’t expect your car insurance to pick up the bill for oil changes either.

    Re political stability: The big difference between the US and CH is not that there is a high level of devolution to the local level. You have that in the states as well. It’s the way the executives at the different levels are choosen. US elections are “winner takes all” type of elections. Given the prize involved (you get to run the biggest army in the world!) it’s interesting that not even more money is spend on presidential campaigns. In Switzerland there is no head of state. (No Commander in Chief either…) Seats on councils and assemblies get assigned proportionally. So elections rarely bring big changes, and all major parties are always involved in government. Even though Switzerland is a “big government” state, at least the government doesn’t change its mind after each election cycle…

    Oh, and lastly: 1 mile is not to far to walk to school. Not even 2 miles :-) Not here at least. It’s considered good exercise, and good for the social and physical development of the kids.

  96. We used to have a lot of “suicide by cop”. I don’t read about them as much any more. Did the rate actually decrease? What changed? Could we do something similar to reduce the number of cowardly mass killers?

  97. “It’s all carefully designed to tiptoe around that question, which actually tells me what the answer is. Cowards.”

    Just because someone isn’t willing to examine a question, doesn’t mean the answer actually is the one that you want it to be and they don’t, even if it does make them cowards.

  98. @K_: No, that graph proves my point. The homicide rate drops from the Civil War to the turn of the century, which was the period when many “robber barons” made their fabulous fortunes, when there was mass immigration of the very poor, and when there was still a great deal of rural poverty. I can’t quickly find a chart, but I am pretty sure that income inequality went up during that period, but homicide rates went down.

  99. >Just because someone isn’t willing to examine a question, doesn’t mean the answer actually is the one that you want it to be and they don’t, even if it does make them cowards.

    I don’t have any particular desires about the answer in this case. I do want truthfulness and the courage to face difficult facts. That abstract exhibits neither.

  100. @bob: I get really suspicious whenever someone mentions “Suicide by cop.” Especially after watching the video of John Crawford in the walmart with the pellet rifle. There’s probably many cases like it where someone was openly carrying and was shot without being given the opportunity to surrender even when they weren’t holding the gun threateningly, or even realizing the police were there. In the report afterward they basically wrote it like it was a suicide by cop, and that they told him to put it down before shooting and that he was moving it threateningly, but in the video they come around the corner and fire with no warning at all. The first reaction he has to their presence is falling down after being shot.

    The only reason that this was even questioned was it turned out not to be a dangerous firearm and that there was no reason for him to be threatening with it. There’s probably dozens of other similar cases where it was a real firearm being openly carried legally and non-threateningly, but the police wrote it up as if it were threatening.

  101. @papayasf: Even if income inequality goes up, that’s not the most important measure of how well off people are. The matter is more of if with a reasonable amount of work someone can get by and have a good life, and if that work is available. The robber baron period, despite high income inequality, probably had great opportunity and reasonable prices for everyone. Some people at the top had ridiculous incomes, but it didn’t really matter because everyone was prospering. It’s only when you get agitators about income inequality that it becomes a problem.

  102. Some of the suicides by cop were real enough. One method was a high speed chase followed by brandishing a firearm. I think the police wised up on those.

  103. @Bob: I’m not saying all of them are wrong, it’s just that I don’t trust them without verification now.

    One contrary example is where a car drove off and backfired with a loud noise, they were then chased and hit with hundreds of bullets. They were unarmed.

  104. @ Christopher Smith

    > Sowell’s hateful rhetoric demonstrates that he’s only perpetuating racial division to maintain his own personal status.

    With all due respect, that’s a serious accusation I’m not ready to agree with. But even if you’re right, I don’t see how that affects the veracity – or lack thereof – of Sowell’s assertions on the matter.

    @ esr

    > But it has been several decades since mere un-Constitutionality stopped or even slowed down our permanent political class much.

    Who killed the Constitution? (Yes, that’s a book title; but I intend it as an honest question.)

  105. I’m not convinced that crimes are mostly committed by young male
    blacks or young male Hispanics. All that we know are arrest and
    conviction statistics. The criminal justice system in the US is so
    profoundly broken that we can conclude nothing about who is guilty
    from statistics on who is arrested, charged, or convicted. The people
    arrested and prosecuted are those the police and prosecutors think
    they will be able to convict. Those will tend to be members of groups
    that typical jurors tend to be prejudiced against, and tend to be
    individuals who have neither the knowledge nor the financial resources
    to put on a good defense.

  106. > All that we know are arrest and conviction statistics.

    Actually, that’s not all we know. We also have victimization surveys. Which tell us basically the same things about the sociological characteristics of criminals as the arrest and conviction stats do.

    This is important for a number of reasons, one of which is that it does a lot to scupper the notion that the justice system is systematically racist or classist. If it were, there would be predictable kinds of mismatches between what the police report about who is committing crimes and what the victims tell us.

  107. The article begins by bemoaning the number of mass shootings in the US. But mass shootings are a tiny fraction of gun murders, yes?

  108. I wasn’t saying backfires never happen, just that they are rare. I remember that case. I think of it as a Darwin Award more than anything else.

  109. The homicide rate in the USA has always been much higher than that in Western Europe. The current rates in the USA, ~5 per 100k people, are in line with those in the 1950’s.

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/us-vs-western-homicide-rates-2014-11?r=US&IR=T

    So, all these theories about changes in (black) culture being the cause of “crime” are Just-So-Stories not backed up by historical data.

    The explanation I find most convincing is that the USA is segregated along ethnic lines and the criminal roles, and especially gang violence, are filled on an ethnic basis. At various times, various ethnic groups were involved in violent criminal activities. Currently, the black and hispanics are filling these “jobs”, but every ethnic group did dominate it at some time or other (except the “English”).

    An explanation? Maybe this is just each ethnic group starting the SES stairs at the bottom: Violent crime, and then move up into white collar crimes until you reach the pinnacle: The Financial World.

  110. … several posts later and still not much genuine discussion of mass shootings as being in any sense a different class of crime than other violent homicides (other than @gamma’s not-very-convincing attempt to blame the evil feminists again).

    Why do pro-gun people (who always describe themselves as being all about Freedom) not want to examine the incidence of mass shootings as a problem in and of itself that might have very different causes to other incidences of guns being used for deadly purposes?

    It may very well be the case that owning a gun is your god-given right under the Constitution and your Glock will be prised only from your cold dead hands. But it surely can’t be that much of a conceptual leap to understand the anguish of a parent of a child shot and killed by a disturbed young person who had ready access to high-powered instruments of death and wonder what the price of that god-given right might really be?

  111. >Why do pro-gun people (who always describe themselves as being all about Freedom) not want to examine the incidence of mass shootings as a problem in and of itself that might have very different causes to other incidences of guns being used for deadly purposes?

    We’re not at all reluctant to do that. My own belief is that the main driver in mass shootings is long-term effects of SSRIs and other antidepressants.

    But supposing we knew that, I don’t see how it would change the policy logic. These incidents are too rare, and we don’t have any plausible interventions that would work. Well, other than more armed civilians prepared to shoot back.

  112. >So, all these theories about changes in (black) culture being the cause of “crime” are Just-So-Stories not backed up by historical data.

    Careful. You’re backing yourself into the position that either American blacks have been culturally broken since the 1950s or they have a genetic problem. Have fun with that.

  113. @ESR

    >I’m not making a racial argument here – or to be more exact, I don’t care whether what is broken about American urban blacks is cultural/environmental or genetic the way a racist would. But something is broken.

    I have no personal experience about it but what I picked up from the US media it seems to me that a major part is the typical arms race type tit-for-tat escalation, Rene Girard’s good old _mimetic violence_ concept: once some guys thought it is OK to solve disagreements over who gets how much money or something by shooting ,while formerly it was just loud arguing or fist-fights, after that everybody else carries guns and they try to shoot first if an argument goes awry.

    In other words, what you need to find out is who and why was that first sub-group of blacks who escalated the arms race from brawling to shooting, forcing all other sub-groups to do so too.

    Given that most male fighting is more about honor and status (even in a money disagreement, the one who wins the status decides how to share the loot) than about literally destroying the opponent, you have to find a sub-group of blacks who were not on the same status / honor / respect hiearchy than other blacks. Basically not part of the culture.

    I.e. who could not solve arguments by a bit of brawling, because the status win from that would not be admitted by the other blacks because they are somehow not of the same culture, and also for the same reason they felt the other blacks are so alien to them that killing them is not wrong, so they brought the first guns into the arguments and then everybody else did.

    It is obvious that in 95% of the cases they argue with guns because that is what everybody does, that is the subcultural norm. Self-reinforcing network effect and arms race. Again no experience on my side, but basically everything even remotely similar to that tends to work like that. But to find out who started that, you have to find a subgroup that was very alienated from the rest.

  114. @esr
    “Careful. You’re backing yourself into the position that either American blacks have been culturally broken since the 1950s or they have a genetic problem. Have fun with that.”

    For that to fly, we need to know who where the murderers in the 1950s. And I have no idea who they were.

    Given the history of black communities in the US, I have no problems accepting that US black culture is adapted to high levels of violence and self-help justice.

    A genetic cause is idiotic as the variation in murder rates in West Africa alone is 20:1 (Nigeria 20/100k, Sierra Leone 1.9/100k).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

    Furthermore, blacks in continental Europe are generally unremarkable wrt murder rates (that is, their involvement in crime can be predicted from their SES).

  115. @Winter

    >A genetic cause is idiotic as the variation in murder rates in West Africa alone is 20:1

    Which would still allow sub-racial genetics, ethnic or tribal level… but yes, that is unlikely, given that Nigeria actually has higher average IQ than Sierra Leone. Just want to point out that we should not really expect actual human biodiversity to correspond to these primitive old bare-eye-observational racial categories: it is probably far more fine grained. Compared to genetic HBD, the visual concept of race is like pre-Galilean bare-eye astronomy: bunch of shiny dots up there, some appear to be moving weird.

    Also, genetics do not have to be ancient. When the Khmer Rouge killed all Cambodians who were glasses, we would be right to expect their next generation to have better eyesight but less intellectual.

    Ultimately, just screw everything about race, racial history, and racial ancestry: let’s just study the actual genes of criminals in prison, whatever their skin color is! If there is a bingo, it does not matter much how exactly they inherited that one.

    It is kind of weird where when bare eye visual heuristics turn into prejudices which then emerge their opposite anti-prejudices (anti-racism) and both kinda forget that once you have actual genetic studies, you don’t need the heuristics anymore.

  116. >It is kind of weird where when bare eye visual heuristics turn into prejudices which then emerge their opposite anti-prejudices (anti-racism) and both kinda forget that once you have actual genetic studies, you don’t need the heuristics anymore.

    I agree. But I think the people who might otherwise implement such an approach are too frightened that such studies would end validating bare-eye prejudices to actually do them. And for at least one important metric – population mean IQ – their fear is probably justified.

  117. @esr
    “But I think the people who might otherwise implement such an approach are too frightened that such studies would end validating bare-eye prejudices to actually do them. And for at least one important metric – population mean IQ – their fear is probably justified.”

    Results on heredity of IQ differences between races are “mixed” to say the least.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyferth_study

    And then we have these gems of the Flynn effect and all the efforts that go into IQ tests to make the differences between boys and girls go away (boys get lower scores in language, girls on some non-language skills). And heredity is nothing but “if we keep the environment constant, differences have a genetic origin”. But we have no idea what in the environment we should keep constant.

    And this all has nothing at all to do with violent crimes. Even a cursory view on the crime rates since 1950 shows a doubling and halving between generations. Anyone silly enough to attribute that to genetics?
    http://uk.businessinsider.com/us-vs-western-homicide-rates-2014-11?r=US&IR=T

  118. Winter, I think it’s silly to think that variation in crime rate rates over time or between cultures somehow proves that genetics has nothing to do with it. Genetic propensities manifest themselves differently, depending on the environment and the culture. It seems obvious that environment and culture can discourage or encourage crime, but that could also influence the expression of a genetic component.

  119. @PapayaSF
    “Genetic propensities manifest themselves differently, depending on the environment and the culture. It seems obvious that environment and culture can discourage or encourage crime, but that could also influence the expression of a genetic component.”

    So, you agree that we can reduce violence by changing society?

    And, thus, that the US is singularly incompetent at handling violence?

  120. Of course society has an influence. I don’t think anyone disputes that. But the U.S. is not “singularly incompetent” regarding violence. Even on average, we aren’t the worst, and has been pointed out, our average is much worse because of our racial demographics. If you subtract blacks and hispanics from our crime stats, they are rather low.

    As for changing society, one huge problem is that we are doing things that encourage crime. There’s a well-established link between single-motherhood and crime and poverty among their children, and yet, we now pay women to be single mothers, and proclaim that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. As a result, we have more crime and poverty. This should not be a surprise.

  121. @PapayaFS
    “If you subtract blacks and hispanics from our crime stats, they are rather low.”

    Blacks communities have lived in the USA for over two centuries. Hispanics make up the majority of the population of the Americas, and have done so for four centuries. The inability of the US to integrate them is a huge badge of incompetence.

    It looks much more like these communities have taken up an economic niche vacated by other ethnic groups that have moved up the SES stairs.

    Btw, it is not that Western European societies did not integrate large amounts of “foreigners” in past centuries. It is just that these have been integrated too well to be visible.

  122. @PapayaSF
    “There’s a well-established link between single-motherhood and crime and poverty among their children, and yet, we now pay women to be single mothers, and proclaim that it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

    The problem predates your supposed cause by a long time. And there are many solutions tried and tested all over the world. But these solutions are utterly unacceptable to US politicians and voters.

    For instance, adequate education and distribution of anti-conception to minors. Better education in general. Counceling of single mothers.

  123. Hey, integration is a two-way street. If some people consider getting educated and avoiding crime to be “acting white,” then it’s not my fault. At some point people have to be held responsible for their own choices.

    Contraception is freely or cheaply available at every clinic and drugstore. Schools in black inner cities get tons of money, often more per pupil than ritzy suburbs. And what single mothers need is counseling to not become single mothers. The current cultural message is to “not be ashamed.”

  124. I think your view is close to that of the average white liberal: the problems of blacks in America are due to us not being European enough. I have friends who, when they talk about Baltimore, point to Denmark as a model. But of course Baltimore is not filled with Danes, and liberal Democrats have been in complete charge of Baltimore for generations now. Billions of federal tax dollars have flowed into the city, including (IIRC) another billion in “stimulus” money a few years ago. Per-pupil spending is among the highest in the country (about $15,000/pupil/year, I think). So why haven’t Baltimore’s Democrats turned it into Denmark yet?

  125. @PapayaSF
    “But of course Baltimore is not filled with Danes, and liberal Democrats have been in complete charge of Baltimore for generations now. ”

    Just as I wrote. People in the US are incapable of solving social problems that have been routinely solved by other societies. I call that incompetence, but I am open to other suggestions. But what I have heard upto now are all just excuses for incompetence.

    Btw, I never wrote that the incompetence was concentrated in one side of politics. I think they are all “Americans”.

  126. @Winter

    People in the US are incapable of solving social problems that have been routinely solved by other societies.

    Except the “social problem” of finding a big landmass, driving out the natives, breeding up a large population, and dominating art, science, medicine and engineering. Which everyone else fails at. The closest contenders, China and Russia got the first three steps solved then (so far) stalled out.

  127. And, of course, if it wasn’t for the US, Winter would be speaking German or Russian right now, assuming he and his ancestors even survived the 20th century. He can thank “American incompetence” for that.

  128. > My own belief is that the main driver in mass shootings is long-term effects of SSRIs and other antidepressants.

    Now there’s an interesting hypothesis that I hadn’t even considered. There’s a fairly well documented history of depressed people committing suicide after taking anti-depressants – sometimes antidepressant fail to mitigate depression but do mitigate enough of the lethargy caused by depression. Viewing a mass-shooting as a particularly destructive form of suicide makes sense to me.

    I think another part is that a violent, suicidally depressed individual might see a a mass shooting as an appealing way to die because it acts as a way for them to assert their dominance over other people just before they die. Minimizing media attention on the shooter and their personal life might mitigate some of this.

    Of course, having more armed civilians prepared to shoot back should make the suicide-by-mass-shooting a lot less attractive as well.

  129. @PapayaSF
    “And, of course, if it wasn’t for the US, Winter would be speaking German or Russian right now, assuming he and his ancestors even survived the 20th century. ”

    Which has nothing at all to do with the very high murder rates in the US.

    Except, maybe, as an illustration of the excuses the people in the US use to avoid solving the problems at home

  130. On the contrary, I think it’s quite connected. Our national characteristics manifest in both crime rates and being good at war.

  131. @PapayaSF
    “Our national characteristics manifest in both crime rates and being good at war.”

    Do I understand you correct in saying you think stopping the Germans, Russians, and Japanese was only possible because of, e.g.,, segregation of black people? Or due to the KKK? Or high rates of teenage moms?

    Somehow, I do not see the connection

  132. @Winter

    Which has nothing at all to do with the very high murder rates in the US.

    Except, maybe, as an illustration of the excuses the people in the US use to avoid solving the problems at home

    So, European with an American inferiority complex the size of Texas starts lecturing Americans on how to “solve the problems at home”, like it’s any of his fucking business. Lambastes them for not being able to solve “social problems”, when they have made massive headway on the most important social problems of all. But because they haven’t bothered to solve the pathetic problems Europeans concern themselves with (e.g. the plight of losers) they are “incompetent”. But wait.. it has “nothing at all to do with” the discussion.

  133. @Peril
    “So, European with an American inferiority complex the size of Texas starts lecturing Americans on how to “solve the problems at home”, like it’s any of his fucking business. ”

    This is a blogpost about a uniquely US problem. A problem many people in the US would like to solve. It sounds rather strange that you become angry when I point out that this specific problem, and a few others mentiined in passing, have been solved in many ways around the world.

    Your response does illustrate again one of the reasons it is not solved. You actually do not even want to look outside of your own backyard.

  134. So far only one or two people have mentioned the real reason the bitter clingers cling, and that is fear of the government. Every tyranny disarms the populace at some point. This country was established by armed revolt, and so far the government has failed to establish total tyranny over the heavily armed populace. The government fears the armed citizen, not the disarmed subject.

  135. > Your response does illustrate again one of the reasons it is not solved. You actually do not even want to look outside of your own backyard.

    It is most interesting how often Americans appear to genuinely find it difficult to imagine that things might really be different in places that aren’t America.

    The themes I see emerging from discussion here seem to coalesce around a view that gun violence in America is all (or mainly) the fault of:
    – feminists
    – single mothers
    – blacks and/or hispanics
    – the overprescription of anti-depressants

    Color me unconvinced. “Guns don’t kill people, [insert from list above] kill people” may well make for snappy bumper stickers, but surely honest and self-reflective thought might produce more insight than this.

    For example, is there anything worth examining in the almost fetishistic marketing of guns like a double-barrelled pump action shotgun with a magazine capacity of 14 rounds (plus 2 in the tube) into a very eager “enthusiast” market? Does this tell us anything about the culture of gun ownership in America?

  136. @winter
    “Hispanics make up the majority of the population of the Americas, and have done so for four centuries. ”

    and what *are* the homicide and violent crime rates in those majority hispanic nations of the Americas? Lower or higher than the US?

  137. @PapayaSF

    yes, but for some reason, Winter seems unaware of that…

  138. Where is the source for this 80% data point?

    Of course it also doesn’t address gun deaths caused by suicide, which is the majority of gun-related deaths, and an enormous problem here that isn’t present in other nations.

  139. @ Winter – re: endless harangue about the superiority of European society vis-a-vis the US.

    For several centuries now, you Europeans have been killing off your high-testosterone male cohort (warrior genes) in endless wars of attrition. Perhaps your low murder rate is due to the wussification of your male population through this shortsighted experiment in artificial selection. God help you should you ever need to fight a real war again.

  140. @Jim
    “and what *are* the homicide and violent crime rates in those majority hispanic nations of the Americas? ”

    Chili and Cuba have lower murder rates. Most are higher. But they are ALL much poorer. So if you want to classify the USA as a developing country, be my guest.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

    That a rich developed country is unable to integrate people that have lived next to it for centuries is telling.

  141. @TomA
    “For several centuries now, you Europeans have been killing off your high-testosterone male cohort (warrior genes) in endless wars of attrition.”

    Make that millenia. But that did not seem to stop the Germans only 65 years ago. So that did not work very well.

  142. @winter so now you are playing the “developed vs non-developed” nation game?

    Please define what it means to be a “developed” nation

  143. @Winter <blockquoteThis is a blogpost about a uniquely US problem. A problem many people in the US would like to solve. It sounds rather strange that you become angry when I point out that this specific problem, and a few others mentiined in passing, have been solved in many ways around the world.

    It sounds rather interesting that you think I’m angry. I don’t live in America, fool! And I don’t want the American system brought here, either. But the only reason you’re posting about this is your unresolved “European man” syndrome.

  144. @Winter

    That a rich developed country is unable to integrate people that have lived next to it for centuries is telling.

    Telling that Euroman thinks Americans should give a shit about “integrating” South Americans. Then who is going to carry on all the drug wars the Americans use in their excellent TV shows and movies?

  145. @Jim Richardson
    “Please define what it means to be a “developed” nation”

    Most definitions are based on per capita income, but there is also a Human Development Index which takes into account how income is turned “into education and health opportunities and therefore into higher levels of human development.”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Developed_country

    In more colloquial speech, a Developed Country also is safe, well organized, and low on corruption. I agree that that might be a European/Canadian/Australian/Eastern Asian bias.

  146. @Shopgirl
    “It sounds rather interesting that you think I’m angry.”

    Maybe I was “fooled” by your style?

    @Shopgirl
    “I don’t live in America, fool! And I don’t want the American system brought here, either.”

    Do you mean to say you post here in support of more “Americans” being killed?

    @Shopgirl
    “But the only reason you’re posting about this is your unresolved “European man” syndrome.”

    How do my supposed personal problems influence the causes behind the high murder rate in the USA?

  147. @Winter

    Do you mean to say you post here in support of more “Americans” being killed?

    I don’t care what they do, so long as they keep churning out awesome stuff. They can start burning their children in tar pits for all I care. Who will we turn turn to if the American film industry runs out of steam? China? BOLLYWOOD??? And Europe can barely figure out how to work a movie camera, let alone produce any actual movies.

  148. @winter
    With that broad and vague definition of ‘developed’, then Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and many other south and central american countries are developed, and all of them have higher homicide and crime rates than the US.

  149. First of all, Switzerland doesn’t have a comparable gun-owner-density because everyone in this country who has served in the swiss army is allowed to take their guns home. That’s the real reason, the very own personal interest in buying guns is almost non-existent. And secondly, Switzerland has a huge problem with young people in their 20s killing themselves with these very guns they are allowed to take home. Worst of all they are not shooting themselves by accident but due to the fact that in case of depression the weapon comes in handy. So please don’t compare Switzerland to the USA in this manner, don’t drag countries with an entirely different view on gun control than the USA into this.

  150. My comment got stuck in moderation, so here it is without the troublesome links:

    Ann Coulter:

    Children raised by a single mothers commit 72 percent of juvenile murders, 60 percent of rapes, 70 percent of suicides, have 70 percent of teenaged births, and are 70 percent of high school dropouts.

    Controlling for socioeconomic status, race and place of residence, the strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison is being raised by a single parent. The second strongest predictor is having a tattoo. A 1990 study by the Progressive Policy Institute showed that after controlling for single motherhood, the difference in black and white crime disappeared.

    Politifact:

    They found that once you control for other factors, such as family income, a child growing up in a mother-only household was almost twice as likely as a child growing up in a mother-father household to end up incarcerated. That would put the percentage somewhere around 60 percent, which is broadly in line with the other studies.

  151. > For example, is there anything worth examining in the almost fetishistic marketing of guns like a double-barrelled pump action shotgun with a magazine capacity of 14 rounds (plus 2 in the tube) into a very eager “enthusiast” market? Does this tell us anything about the culture of gun ownership in America?

    It sure does! I was going to piss away this month’s excess funds on new tires for the truck, but I’m going to buy one of those instead.

    Since both gun safes are full and there’s no room for a third, some unlucky rifle will have to be voted off the island now…

  152. “For example, is there anything worth examining in the almost fetishistic marketing of guns like a double-barrelled pump action shotgun with a magazine capacity of 14 rounds (plus 2 in the tube) into a very eager “enthusiast” market? Does this tell us anything about the culture of gun ownership in America?”

    Sure does, it tells us that the “gun culture” in the US is about having fun, and defending yourself. Not committing violent crimes.

  153. You know, I often wonder how different the national discourse would deb if the hoplophobic Left would just spend an afternoon at a range…

  154. >Since both gun safes are full and there’s no room for a third, some unlucky rifle will have to be voted off the island now…

    LOL. Somewhere, some European is reading this and wetting his panties.

  155. @Jay Maynard: A couple of years ago I went to Machine Guns Vegas and shot 50 rounds from a Thompson machine gun, which was a blast. I remember one of the Yelp reviews of the place, which was along the lines of: “I’m a left-wing vegetarian Berkeley woman and you wouldn’t think that I would like this sort of thing, but I did it and it was tremendous fun!”

  156. @ Jay Maynard

    > You know, I often wonder how different the national discourse would deb if the hoplophobic Left would just spend an afternoon at a range…

    Tsk, tsk. You missed the baby, you missed the blind man…

  157. @Jim et al
    “Sure does, it tells us that the “gun culture” in the US is about having fun, and defending yourself.”

    This is going down memory lane. These old debates about DUI, asbestos, wearing helmets, smoking, second hand smoke, etc. All the same arguments and the same emotions and the same parochial myopia.

    I still encounter people (mostly from the US) that claim smoking is not harmful. It is all a lSure does, it tells us that the “gun culture” in the US is about having fun, and defending yourself.iberal cospiracy.

  158. Sorry, my vingers are clumsy. The last comment should not end with Jim’s words but with:

    “It is all a Liberal conspiracy.”

  159. >I still encounter people (mostly from the US) that claim smoking is not harmful.

    Right. I think these people must have decamped for Europe because the rest of us pointed and laughed at them. American conservatives can be pretty dimwitted at times (see: religion) but I will concede that they know better than this.

  160. “American conservatives can be pretty dimwitted at times (see: religion)”

    Hmph.

  161. >I think you are missing a major data point in your analysis here:

    Articles like this that commingle whatever useful information they contain with crazed paranoid ravings are really not helpful.

  162. @Jay
    ““American conservatives can be pretty dimwitted at times (see: religion)”
    Hmph”

    I think I have to agree. Dimwitted people can be foind in all walks of life.

  163. @Gary E. Miller
    >> But what if legalizing all drugs would actually skyrocket gun violence,
    >So, Oregon just started legal marijuana sales.
    Read carefully, the talk is about all drugs. I’m not sure marijuana really is that much of a drug.
    Legalize cocaine and heroine and see what happens.

    > The experiences of Portugal, Switzerland, UK, etc. show that legalizing most or all drugs cuts crime.
    Again, read carefully. At the end I pointed exactly that:
    >> It may work in other countries, but as you said yourself, we have different situation.

    Also, none of these countries legalized nor all, nor most of drugs. They only legalized personal consumption in small doses, so it’s easier to catch dealers. Only marijuana is more-or-less legalized in some states.

    Put a legal heroine store and see how your neighborhood becomes Afghanistan.

  164. “Portugal, which in 2001 became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.”

    “Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success,” says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. “It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does.”

    http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html

  165. @Dzmitry and @Jim Richardson

    “I’m not sure marijuana really is that much of a drug.”

    Wow, Ronald Reagan is rolling over in his grave. Until recently that would put you in a tiny minority.

    Look at the Portugese experience, as Jim did. My brother married a Portuguese woman, and has spent much time there for decades. What @Jim said is not PR, it is the truth on the ground.

    “Put a legal heroine store and see how your neighborhood becomes Afghanistan.”

    Actually, you have it exactly backwards. Look at Mexico. All drugs were effectively legal in Mexico 40 years ago. You could walk into a pharmacia and buy anything you wanted. Their thought was that if someone was stupid enough to do bad things to their body then let them clean themselves up from the gene pool.

    It is only after the ‘War on Drugs’ when the USA forced Mexico to have a tight drug policy that the drug violence in Mexico started. There was some violence in Mexico before, but nothing like now, and not drug related Other Central and South American countries had similar trajectories, but I saw the Mexican one up close and personal.

    RGDS
    GARY

  166. I don’t trust NaturalNews as far as I can throw them. In particular, I don’t trust them not to perform what I call “extraordinary rendition on the data” to make it fit their foregone conclusions.

    That said, psychotropics are the class of medications with the least scientific support and the greatest potential for undesired side effects, in large part because psychiatry has long been pseudoscience and has only recently started to get its shit together w.r.t. empricism and testable results. These drugs do help some people — a member of my immediate family among them — but it’s better to not need them and if you must have them, work closely with a neurologist who carefully monitors you and can steer you towards meds that help with a minimum of harm.

  167. There’s something else the mainstream news, demagogues, and politicians (of both parties) won’t talk about. In almost all school shootings, the shooter is sexually frustrated. Anybody who watches porn or a hollywood movie or even a prime time TV is no doubt under the impression that there’s a beautiful woman around every corner, just waiting to suck your cock.

    I dunno, admittedly in Elliot Rodger’s sad case the semen had backed up to the brain and beyond but there’s a school of thought that reckons porn is desensitising for a lot of guys, leading them not to be arsed to make the effort to get laid. There are
    those who disagree, naturally.

  168. Sex ed classes shouldn’t spend their time with condoms and bananas, they should spend their time teaching how to approach women and hold a conversation.

    In terms of comfort levels with teenagers having sexual urges and acting on them, it’s a bit progressive for American politics. Such a curriculum would have to be VERY carefully constructed in order not to be creepy. Approaching a woman with sexual intent almost always makes you a creep; for if you were sexually interesting to women, they would be approaching you and you wouldn’t need to learn how to converse with them. There’s a reason why the PUA, “game”, and “redpill” communities are invariably considered creeps and the scum of the earth by women. They are attempting to subvert the natural female mate-selection process and that’s deeply offensive at best. At worst, issues of consent come into play; sufficiently misleading a woman into the sack is rape.

  169. Jeff Read on 2015-10-16 at 14:09:49 said:
    > Someone else:
    >>Sex ed classes shouldn’t spend their time with condoms and bananas,

    Sex Ed classes in state schools during hours that the law requires students to atted should restrict themselves to biology, the means of reproduction and academic discussions of birth control they should not be engaging in how-to and practical application (http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/?s=%22Teach+women+not+to+rape%22)

    >> they should spend their time teaching how to approach women and hold a conversation.
    > In terms of comfort levels with teenagers having sexual urges and acting on them,
    > it’s a bit progressive for American politics. Such a curriculum would have to be
    > VERY carefully constructed in order not to be creepy.

    I realize this is a shock to you, but there actually are organizations in the US, occasionally with state support of some kind or another that are teaching what the OP suggested.

    http://www.nljc.com/ is one. There are (or at least were when I were a child) others.

    Of course things like that–manners, polite behavior, dressing well etc. are so un-hip.

    Manners and how to behave in a civilized fashion around the opposite sex without turning into rutting monkeys

    What is really telling is that people WANT the state to get involved that deeply (how to put which Tab into which Slot and when) when we’ve clearly been figuring that out for a couple million years.

  170. k_:
    > Switzerland is often presented as a na example of a country with a high level of
    > firearm ownership, and low crime. However the low crime levels are not due to
    > the high firearm ownerships livels. Correlation is not causation.
    > In Switzerland it is not permitted to have a firearm in a useable state in your house.
    > You are required to store ammo and guns seperately.

    This is occasionally presented, as you did, as a counter argument. It is one unworthy of any person who is actually *thinking* about the issue.

    Seriously. Really. Think about it.

    I am willing to MURDER SOMEONE. To violate one of the 4 biggest taboos (Cannibalism, Incest, Murder, Rape) and what is stopping me is a *law* that says I can’t take the bullets from one room and put them in a gun in the OTHER room?

    Da Fuq man ARE YOU THINKING when you write this crap?

    If cultures had the mores with respect to the laws and violence, and if there were no genetic component to violence then we would expect there to be a linear relationship between the levels of gun violence and the prevalence of firearms and the fact that a law “prohibits” something is utterly unlikely to make a difference.

    See this:

    http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2472

    Lemme quote the interesting bit for the lazy:

    > Felons commit over 90 percent of murders, with the remainder carried out
    > primarily by juveniles and the mentally unbalanced. The United States
    > already has laws forbidding all three groups from owning guns, which, by
    > definition, are ineffective against the lawless.

    In Switzerland there is, at least as I understand it, there are mores that suggest that one obey the law and be a good member of the canton (tribe).

    In the US, *especially* in the areas where the majority of the gun violence occurs, there is significant social pressure to escalate conflict and to respond violently.

    Thus in Switzerland the law states that one must store one’s firearm empty, and people comply whereas in the US the law states that felons are not allowed to posses firearms, and a “model” was convicted for merely HOLDING a rifle during a photo shoot. Another felon was arrested when he went to a shooting range with 2 other people, one of whom allowed him to shoot the pistol.

    Given the amount of time it takes to get a box of bullets from one place, a magazine from a second place and get to the rifle, it is NOT that the law requires them to be separate that keeps the Swiss from killing each other, it is the nature of the Swiss and their society.

  171. winter on 2015-10-10 at 02:04:41 said:
    > That a rich developed country is unable to integrate people that have
    > lived next to it for centuries is telling.

    Well, first off Mexico wasn’t a country for “centuries”, and there wasn’t a US on it’s border for “centuries”. Mexico was granted (or won) it’s independence from Spain in the 1820s, and has been a f*king trainwreck of a kleptocratic state ever sense.

    This is what the US looked like in 1830: http://www.worldmapsonline.com/unitedstates1830.htm

    In 1836 large parts of what we now call “Texas” revolted against the military government that had taken over Mexico, and Mexico was unable to effectively police or protect it’s citizens in the northern areas. In 1846 the US military entered the area now know as New Mexico to fight the Amerinds that were running rampant. The Mexican Government considered this an invasion and thus the Mexican American war started.

    After the end of that war the US had taken possession of significant portions of Mexico (that, keep in mind, the Mexican government had demonstrated an inability to effectively police prior to the war

    Many, many people in those areas are dependents of the Mexicans who originally lived there.

    For about 120 years the US, especially the southwest, very successfully “integrated” people coming up (legally) from Mexico. They were woven into the warp and woof of America, and second and third generation Mexicans melted in quite well.

    Until the 1960s or 70s. When the idiot leftists started to assert that integration was cultural imperialism, that the “melting pot” approach was evil and that immigrants shouldn’t need to even learn the dominant language of the nation to live here. Heck, they didn’t even need to follow the *law* to come live here.

    Which is to say that we should allow them to come here and NOT integrate.

    Which is to say that the expectations placed on MY ancestors (from Albania and Italy)–to raise their children as Americans, to get them educated and more-or-less blend in were no longer in play.

    By 1994 it was so bad in Chicago that my wife didn’t realize one of the other employees was born and raised in Chicago–so heavy was her accent that my wife (the child of Polish immigrants) thought she’d been born and raised in Mexico and had only been in the US a few years.

    I was (and still am) looking into going over to Amsterdam for a few years, and one thing that I would not be allowed to homeschool my child, and that in public school she would be REQUIRED to be taught in Dutch.

    Why is such a rich, developed country like the Netherlands unable to teach my child in HER native language?

    Why? Because that is an INSANE REQUIREMENT. Just as it is an insane requirement that the ballots in California be printed in 7 languages. Not the help signs at a hospital, not the employment law notices, not airport signs. Ballots. Ballots from people who *wanted* to come to the US, *wanted* to become citizens, want to vote, but DO NOT want to learn the dominant language well enough to read a ballot in it.

    It is insane to call that “integration”.

    Just as it is an insane requirement that we accept anyone and everyone who wants to come here.

    The US is perfectly capable of assimilating a *significant* number of immigrants per year, but they have to be willing to come over here and integrate. They have make their children speak and learn English (well, American), they have to attempt to speak it themselves. This is how my grandparents were (my Italian grandmother spoke almost unaccented english. My Albanian grandmother spoke it badly, but she could get along).

  172. @William O. B’Livion

    The point is that Switzerland’s low crime rate can’t be attributed to the high firearm ownership by the conventionally argued mechanism of non-criminals carrying guns in public as a deterrent to crime, because they’re not allowed to do that.

  173. >At worst, issues of consent come into play; sufficiently misleading a woman into the sack is rape.

    No. It may be something else nasty, but it isn’t rape because no coercion is involved.

    Don’t abuse words like “rape” this way. When you do that, they lose the power they should have. When you trivialize the word “rape”, you begin to trivialize the act as well.

  174. No. It may be something else nasty, but it isn’t rape because no coercion is involved.

    Don’t abuse words like “rape” this way.

    While I also object to “regret rape”, I believe that rape by fraud, where the deception rises to the level that would be treated as fraud in a commercial context, is clearly of the same kind as forcible rape. Specifically, consider the case in which a woman (say, in the darkness) is deceived into believing that a man getting into bed with her is her husband, when she would not have willingly had sex with a stranger.

  175. >While I also object to “regret rape”, I believe that rape by fraud, where the deception rises to the level that would be treated as fraud in a commercial context, is clearly of the same kind as forcible rape. Specifically, consider the case in which a woman (say, in the darkness) is deceived into believing that a man getting into bed with her is her husband, when she would not have willingly had sex with a stranger.

    It would be better to call this “nonconsensual sex” or something else, because it is a different kind of thing from the same man climbing into here bed and forcing himself on her. These distinctions are important and we blur them at our own peril. Blurry language causes blurry thinking, which causes stupid and destructive behavior.

  176. Another interesting facet: a man misleading a woman to convince her to have sex is rape. Ok, so then a woman misleading a man to have sex is rape too. Now that is a fireworks display I’d like to watch.

    Preferably from behind a few TVTs of neutrino shielding.

  177. It would be better to call this “nonconsensual sex” or something else, because it is a different kind of thing from the same man climbing into here bed and forcing himself on her.

    Rape is defined as nonconsensual sex. Rape is also a term of art in criminal law in the USA and elsewhere. It’s what anyone who engages in the activities described will be charged with and convicted of. I think I’m justified in calling it rape.

    Why do you think the feminists are so pissed? Why do you think they’re marching in their underwear in “slut walks” and talking about “rape culture”? It’s because people in power are attempting to gerrymander the definition of rape such that women who were sexually violated were not “really raped”. Much as you are doing.

    Of course things like that–manners, polite behavior, dressing well etc. are so un-hip.

    Manners and how to behave in a civilized fashion around the opposite sex without turning into rutting monkeys

    Manners are something quite different from the point I was addressing.

    What is really telling is that people WANT the state to get involved that deeply (how to put which Tab into which Slot and when) when we’ve clearly been figuring that out for a couple million years.

    It’s a public health issue. The mechanics are easy to figure out. Doing so safely and with appropriate protections against unwanted pregnancy or disease is not so much, especially in the “heat of passion”. If you wait around to teach this stuff, teenagers will figure out the mechanics — and experiment with them — putting themselves at risk. And you can’t rely on the parents to provide effective instruction. So it falls to the state. States are good for plenty of things, you know.

  178. The thing about Elliott Rodger is that he was a handsome kid. He had the soft baby face features anime fangirls go nuts for; with the right leather clothing and spiky hairdo, he could have had cosplay girls crawling all over him. His problem wasn’t just sex or not having a girlfriend, although that he felt entitled to sex was part of it. Did you read his manifucksto? It goes on and on about how godlike he is and how inferior everyone else is. Definitely reeked of sociopathic tendencies but he didn’t have the charisma it takes to make people into tools to further glorify one’s own godliness. My guess is that such people turn stabby or shooty in a hurry when the world stubbornly and frustratingly refuses to recognize their own divinity.

  179. >Why do you think the feminists are so pissed?

    And why do you think they’re doing such an excellent job of getting themselves discredited and written off a shrieking, but ultimately trivial, mob of harpies? Most people can see what the agenda behind the “rape culture” schtick is and that it doesn’t do them any credit. Female identification with “feminism” is down to 28% and dropping. Most men just laugh. Gamergate is winning.

    I think this is actually a shame. We needed a healthy sexual-equality lobby just as we needed a healthy environmental lobby. Now we have neither, because left-wing politics turns every movement it takes over into the same old shit.

  180. Feminism has succumbed to the fate of all reform movements. They tend to start with some legitimate gripes. Then they achieve some of their goals, become more powerful, and need new goals. The leaders always want to lead, and you can’t lead by saying: “We won, so we’re going home now.” So ever-smaller problems must be found, usually with an increasing volume of anger about them to compensate.

    Look at MADD: they got what they wanted, but they kept changing their goals, advocating for ever-lower blood-alcohol limits. “Civil rights” is no longer about being allowed to vote or sit in the front of the bus, it’s about “micro-aggressions” and minor statistical disparities. And feminism has now similarly devolved into hysteria about largely imaginary issues like the “campus rape epidemic.”

  181. The problem, @esr, is that by claiming that it should have a different, more “sanitized” name, you are (maybe without intending to) suggesting that it is a lesser crime, which deserves a lesser punishment. Do you really think so? If not, why does it need to have a lesser name?

  182. And anyway, even if you disagree with it, the claim that there is no moral difference between what you call “rape” and what you call by the mealy-mouthed term “nonconsensual sex” is a substantive claim about one’s moral system, not a mere argument of terminology.

  183. > When you trivialize the word “rape”

    Basically why in the actual fuck do you think the acts that people are applying the word “rape” to are trivial? You can’t trivialize a word without using it to refer to something that is trivial.

  184. >The problem, @esr, is that by claiming that it should have a different, more “sanitized” name, you are (maybe without intending to) suggesting that it is a lesser crime, which deserves a lesser punishment. Do you really think so?

    Yes, I do. The use of force makes a difference – a large and morally consequential one.

  185. > Yes, I do. The use of force makes a difference – a large and morally consequential one.

    So by your reasoning “statutory rape” – sex with an underage person – should be given a different name too.

    It could be argued either way. On one hand there is robbery, extortion, theft, burglary, embezzlement, fraud, etc. Yes, there are important distinctions to be made between them, but they are all serious crimes – felonies. On the other hand we already have forcible rape, statutory rape, and rape by fraud, among others. So the question is whether “rape” should be limited to the sex crimes equivalent to robbery and maybe extortion, or whether “rape” should be a broader category covering a wider variety of felony-level sex crimes.

  186. “Statutory rape” is already another name, even though it includes the word “rape.” Everyone understands that “statutory rape” does not involve force.

  187. > Yes, I do. The use of force makes a difference – a large and morally consequential one.

    How many fewer years in jail do you think it should be?

    And can you at least recognize that those who disagree with you on this have actually considered their position rather than merely “blurry thinking, which causes stupid and destructive behavior”?

  188. >How many fewer years in jail do you think it should be?

    The number is less important than that there should be a difference. Otherwise think about the incentive structure you create: “Oh, since I’ve already committed fraudulent sex I won’t suffer any worse if I commit forcible rape.” Women get physically damaged in ugly ways by forcible rape that they don’t by fraudulent sex (look up “anal fistula”); by seeking to erase the distinction in language, thought, and judicial treatment you encourage this to happen.

    It is exactly as though you had opted to conflate…say…murder with felonious threats, rename them both “murder” and treat them equivalently. Your result won’t be the suppression of felonious threats but an increase in murders, because coercers no longer have anything to lose by escalating.

    >And can you at least recognize that those who disagree with you on this have actually considered their position rather than merely “blurry thinking, which causes stupid and destructive behavior”?

    No. People who can’t figure out the above, or refuse to recognize it when pointed out, are moral and practical imbeciles who deserve neither my respect nor even my tolerance. Their kind of idiocy has real costs in pain and innocent lives.

    Bear in mind that I teach women to how to kill rapists. I take the issues around it very seriously, and I don’t have any patience for people playing political-hobby-horse-of-the-week with them.

  189. I don’t really understand it, but one fairly sure sign of a leftist is inability to think rationally about incentives. Or perhaps unwillingness to allow their world view to be spoiled by such considerations.

  190. And yet, they will point to research (or “research”) that claims liberals are open to science and evidence, while anyone on the right is supposedly resistant to such things….

  191. @esr: Is there any chance you could provide your sources for the following:

    1. 80% of U.S. crime, including gun violence, is associated with the drug trade and happens in urban areas where civil order has partially or totally collapsed.

    2. Outside those areas, the U.S. looks like Switzerland or Norway – lots of guns, very little crime.

    3. The high-crime, high-violence areas of the U.S. are populated by blacks

    4. [blacks], at 12.5% of the population, commit 50% of index violent crimes

    Thanks,
    Tom

  192. >@esr: Is there any chance you could provide your sources for the following:

    Yes but it will take some digging. If you don’t see a response sooner, prod me again after NTPSec ships.

  193. I would like to see the citations for these as well.

    Some predictions:
    #1 is harder to prove in specific form, but I suspect the general claim (80% is drug-related) will hold up.
    #2 will hold up.
    #3 might hold up, but will be misleading even if it’s so, because it will suggest that being black is a cause of gun crime and I suspect the real cause is a combination of poverty and access to the illegal drug trade (which is harder to assess).
    #4 might hold up, but like #3, is probably ultimately caused by something else. (The reason to believe ethnic background is the cause would depend on controlling for culture and also controlling for precise ethnic origin (Yoruban != Bantu != nth-gen Jamaican != …), which is harder to assess.)

    And now I need to skim back to see if this has already been addressed.

  194. …Having now skimmed, I’m seeing the following rough summary:

    Leslie Richardson claims that income inequality is a stronger indicator of crime. (His/her cite isn’t clear on this; it might suggest instead that poverty is the stronger indicator. Otherwise, it would fail to explain societies in which everyone is poor and crime is nevertheless frequent.)

    Eric appears to claim that high crime’s primary cause is a specific cultural trope – namely, single parenthood – that happens to appear more frequently among American blacks. This would explain the disproportion of crime in America, and also might be consistent with high-crime societies in which everyone is impoverished, but I might be projecting a belief in high incidence of single parenthood to the latter. I don’t know.

  195. Does Leslie Richardson explain how U.S. crime went up between the ’50s and the ’70s, while income equality in the US did not? If I take a group of people who all make $10,000 a year, and give half of them a raise to $15,000 a year, income inequality will increase, so will crime? I think not.

  196. @PapayaSF – that depends, how much is the $10,000 worth afterward?

  197. @Random832: I don’t my scenario necessarily causes inflation, and I don’t think inflation can be blamed for crime, either.

  198. I didn’t mean to suggest either of those – merely that without knowing whether there is inflation, you can’t support the implicit claim that the people who didn’t get raises aren’t poorer at the end of the process.

  199. I am speaking of a hypothetical world (“spherical cows”). Assuming nothing else changes, and half the group gets a raise, does crime go up? According to the “inequality causes crime” argument, it should.

  200. The trouble I see with that argument is that the only empirical evidence you could possibly produce to support it would by definition not be hypothetical.

    Speaking in pure hypothetical terms, income inequality would cause some rise in crime, if we assume that income inequality leads to wealth inequality, and that people have the usually presumed set of economic incentives. If you believed that you could get away with theft or robbery despite it being illegal, by expending some amount of effort, wealth inequality suggests a higher chance that that effort will pay off. Eventually, enough people would perceive such a payoff that we would expect a higher incidence of people making the attempt.

  201. >single parenthood

    I don’t actually think it’s that simple. Yes, the prevalence of single parenthood is important, but the low average IQ of the black population, combined with our meritocratic habit of scholarshipping the bright ones out of the ghettos, can’t be helping. Add to that the dyscultural effects of welfare dependency, and you get a mess more toxic than a linear sum of the factors would predict.

  202. Well, I didn’t really say that the violent crime rate could be pinned on the singular issue of single parenthood among African Americans. I said that it was a major issue in the whole thing. This is a complex problem that includes The War on Drugs, abortion as a birth control substitute, the prejudice of low expectations, single parent families and more.

    That said, 72% of all black homes are single parent compared to about 30% of white homes. Homes without a father in them are heavily correlated with poverty and crime. The two best things we could do to lower the violent crime rate in this country are

    1. legalize and regulate the recreational drugs currently illegal
    2. reform our welfare and support systems to strengthen families. Or at least be family neutral.

  203. It is exactly as though you had opted to conflate…say…murder with felonious threats, rename them both “murder” and treat them equivalently. Your result won’t be the suppression of felonious threats but an increase in murders, because coercers no longer have anything to lose by escalating.

    We already do something like this with murder — look up “felony murder rule”. If anyone dies as the result of a felony you committed, even if you didn’t mean to kill them, even if you didn’t kill them yourself, you can be charged with murder and it’s almost always first-degree murder.

    Rape is sex without consent. If you want to punish forced rape more stringently than rape of deception or rape of a woman chemically incapacitated to give legal consent, then you can always tack on aggravated assault and battery charges. But rape is rape.

  204. > Rape is sex without consent. If you want to punish […] rape of deception

    How rape of deception is “rape”, i.e. by definition “sex without consent”?

  205. How rape of deception is “rape”, i.e. by definition “sex without consent”?

    Consent given under the belief that you are someone else doesn’t count as consent to have sex with you.

  206. >We already do something like this with murder — look up “felony murder rule”. If anyone dies as the result of a felony you committed, even if you didn’t mean to kill them, even if you didn’t kill them yourself, you can be charged with murder and it’s almost always first-degree murder.

    What did I say about incentives?

    Seriously, the incentive this rule provides is to make sure that, when you commit your felonies, that nobody dies. Because there’s that little detail of it only being invoked when someone is actually killed.

    Which is the quite different from the incentive provided by treating a felony the-same-as-murder whether or not anyone dies.

  207. You guys seriously have to learn not to feed the trolls, particularly winter.

    winter does not have a reasoned position that you can reason him out of. He has an emotional position (USA is evil) that he knows needs a fig leaf. When his first cover is blown, he switches to the next without missing a beat. Notice that on October 9th, when he realizes that most everyone here is well versed in the genetics of crime in America, he switches from “America is evil because of violence” to “America is evil because it hasn’t tamed the savages yet” without looking back.

  208. @Tom
    “1. 80% of U.S. crime, including gun violence, is associated with the drug trade and happens in urban areas where civil order has partially or totally collapsed.”

    Not unlikely. Crime rises with opportunity and the number of (single) young men without prospects. Big cities in the USA are supplying both in plenty.

    @Tom
    “2. Outside those areas, the U.S. looks like Switzerland or Norway – lots of guns, very little crime.”

    You forget that these countries too have their urban centers with outcast young men. You are comparing a “biased” subset of the population in the USA with the national average of whole countries. Outside these “crime hotspots”, these countries are more safe than a US nun’s convent. And if you search the comments above, you will find out that the gun situation in Norway and Switzerland are not as simple as you think.

    @Tom
    “3. The high-crime, high-violence areas of the U.S. are populated by blacks”

    In current day USA, blacks are at the bottom of the SES. In other times that were other ethnic groups (Irish, Italian, or now Middle American Hispanics in the West). In those times, it were those other ethnic groups that supplied the criminals. This is just a consequence of the ethnic structuring of society of the US, which has at time caste like aspects.

    @Tom
    “4. [blacks], at 12.5% of the population, commit 50% of index violent crimes”

    The lowest SES strata commit the majority of crimes in EVERY society. This is a combination of a lack of legal opportunities, a lack of legal protection, and the way crime is legally defined (e.g., a banker stealing billions is not a criminal, a boy selling pot is). The lowest SES strata in the US are made up out of blacks, so they will also supply most of the criminals and victims.

    @Tom
    “Thanks,
    Tom”

    You are welcome.

  209. @kjj
    “You guys seriously have to learn not to feed the trolls, particularly winter.”

    I would hate it when you heeded your own advice. But I can live with it.

    @kjj
    “winter does not have a reasoned position that you can reason him out of.”

    That is not quite true. But I agree that you cannot change my morals much. But I always give a reason of my position.

    @kjj
    “He has an emotional position (USA is evil) that he knows needs a fig leaf.”

    I think you are wrong here. There are people in the USA who are evil. There are policies that are evil, say the way Iraq was destructed. The role of money in USA politics would be described as a textbook example of corruption in any other country. There are structures, I think the criminal justice system, that have severely evil sides. Evil sides that shows themselves in the largest incarceration rate in the world. I also think the justice system is dysfunctional in the USA.

    But I think I have never written that the USA is evil. The simple reason is that I never thought that the “USA is evil”. I do not even understand what that could mean?

    @kjj
    “When his first cover is blown, he switches to the next without missing a beat.”

    I have no idea what cover you are referring to.

    @kjj
    “Notice that on October 9th, when he realizes that most everyone here is well versed in the genetics of crime in America,…”

    I must say that I seem to be the only person on this blog who has ever completed a course in population genetics. Correct me if I am wrong. I also tend to support my genetic arguments with real peer reviewed science papers on genetics. Which I have not seen by anybody else here.

    @kjj
    “… he switches from “America is evil because of violence” to “America is evil because it hasn’t tamed the savages yet” without looking back.”

    When the discussion changes topic, I tend to change my responses.

    This is a response to the argument that comes up quite often as a “fig leaf” for violence, that the USA is so much more ethnically diverse than Europe. However, this is not some external “act of god”. These ethnic groups have lived in and around the USA for centuries.

    “Blacks” are still a distinct ethnic group in the USA after 3 centuries of black communities living on what is US soil among the same communities that make up the current white population. That fact shows that the “ethnic diversity” is created by the very same society that now claims it is the cause of the troubles.

    During the time the US blacks and Hispanics have stayed distinct ethnic groups, European societies have assimilated a lot of people from in- and outside Europe (colonies, the Mediterranean). The current troubles in Europe are all from the ongoing assimilation processes of people whose parents moved to Europe.

    But I have no idea what genetics have to do with this cultural problem?

  210. Winter, the US assimilates cultures to a degree Europeans never dreamed of. If I were to emigrate to France, I’d never be French no matter how well I learned the language or adopted the culture. Someone who immigrates to the US can be American. Lots of them simply choose not to be.

    Tom was talking specifically about violent crime. I think even you will agree that the banker who steals billions – even if it’s truly stealing, instead of simply being a good businessman in a way you disapprove of – is not a violent criminal. Further, there are far more opportunities for young black men to sell pot than there are for anyone to steal billions from a bank, so comparing the rates of the two is nonsensical.

    And even the poorest Norwegians still have the Scandinavian work ethic and moral structure, something those trapped in American inner city thug culture singularly lack. This is reflected in their statistics.

  211. @Jay Maynard
    “Winter, the US assimilates cultures to a degree Europeans never dreamed of.”

    Obviously not for African American or Native American individuals.

    @Jay Maynard
    “If I were to emigrate to France, I’d never be French no matter how well I learned the language or adopted the culture.”

    The father of former French president Sarkozy is Hungarian born. The most famous singer of France, Charles Aznavour, has Armenian born parents.

    Here is a list of famous French immigrants:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_people_of_immigrant_origin

    @Jay Maynard
    “And even the poorest Norwegians still have the Scandinavian work ethic and moral structure, something those trapped in American inner city thug culture singularly lack.”

    That holds also for education, protection under the law, and job opportunities.

    @Jay Maynard
    “Tom was talking specifically about violent crime.”

    Many (most?) people are jailed in the USA for non-violent drug related crimes. Selling (or possessing) drugs is not a violent crime.

    @Jay Maynard
    “– even if it’s truly stealing, instead of simply being a good businessman in a way you disapprove of –”

    We are talking about bankers who broke US law. They were NOT brought before a court for “other” reasons.
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/jan/09/financial-crisis-why-no-executive-prosecutions/

  212. >Obviously not for African American or Native American individuals.

    You’re looking at an adverse-selection effect. Blacks and (especially) Amerinds who aren’t assimilated to the U.S. mainstream are those who have chosen not to be. One of the great untold stories of U.S. history is the quiet and peaceful assimilation of most of the Native American population; the holdouts got all the press because violent resistance is dramatic, but they were actually a minory of a minority. Peaceful assimilation was already well underway by the early 1800s; Google “Five Civilized Tribes” for discussion. I know about this because I am part descended from civilized Amerinds myself.

    >Many (most?) people are jailed in the USA for non-violent drug related crimes.

    You are excused for believing this myth because until recently I believed it myself. Read the link to Heather McDonald’s article on the mass-incarceration myth for extensive factual refutation.

  213. @esr
    “Read the link to Heather McDonald’s article on the mass-incarceration myth for extensive factual refutation.”

    Noted. In light of her presentation, there still remains the incredible number of people incarcerated (more than 1% of the male population).

    I take exception with this part of her statement:

    To be sure, the federal drug penalties are not sacrosanct. But though all sentencing schemes are ultimately arbitrary, our current penalty structure arguably has been arrived at empirically through trial and error. Sentences were increased incrementally in response to the rising crime rates of the 1960s and 1970s. Those rising crime rates were themselves the product of an earlier era of deincarceration and decriminalization. Sentences lengthened until they took a serious bite out of crime, in conjunction with the policing revolution of the 1990s.

    The rise and fall of crime rates were a global phenomenon (at least in the Western world). Both in the US and outside it, there was no relation to the penal system. Crime rates rose and fell in US cities irrespective of their Law Enforcement policies and incarceration rates. The same was seen in every country in Western Europe. There was no relation at all to local penal structure.

    What I also do not understand is the total lack of attention to anything other than incarceration as a tool to handle crime. Thinking that the only reason (other) people stay away from crime is a fear for prison time is a sure sign that you assume people are nothing but animals that have to be beaten into submission. Which actually seems to have been he prevailing ideology of slave holders on plantations.

  214. In light of her presentation, there still remains the incredible number of people incarcerated (more than 1% of the male population).

    The total of (confined in jail/prison + confined in mental institutions) is indistinguishable between the United States and western Europe. Individuals who can’t or won’t live successfully on their own are nearly impossible to confine involuntarily in the US, and most of those who would end up in mental institutions instead end up doing something that gets them put in jail (this, of course, only after they’ve caused significant harm to others, and then often without getting what treatment might be available for their conditions).

    This wasn’t always the case, but the mass deinstitutionalization movement, put in place by a hand-wringing American public to honor the generational guilt that drove JFK, simply dumped people out of institutions onto the streets.

  215. @Christopher Smith
    “The total of (confined in jail/prison + confined in mental institutions) is indistinguishable between the United States and western Europe.”

    Can you back this up with statistics?

    In the EU, the only way to get locked up in a mental institution (involuntary) is through the justice system. That is not different from the USA and the statistics are not different.

  216. >Can you back this up with statistics?

    I did, some years back, on this blog. I can’t find it, but here’s a number that points in that direction. The APA says 64% of U.S. prison inmates are mentally ill. So, basically, somewhere close to two thirds of our prison population actually belongs in a mental hospital.

  217. @esr
    “So, basically, somewhere close to two thirds of our prison population actually belongs in a mental hospital.”

    The claim was that the same number of people were locked up in other countries, they were just labelled as mental institutions. That is not true. Those who are mentally ill can also be treated outside of secured facilities where they are involuntarily locked up. Which is done elsewhere.

  218. ” Crime rates rose and fell in US cities irrespective of their Law Enforcement policies and incarceration rates. ”

    Demonstrably false. Crime rates in NYC fell first, before the rest of the country, and faster, after broken windows policing was instituted.

    And you can’t compare crime rates in the US with crime rats in Europe unless you show that the societies are similar…which you cannot.

  219. @Jay Maynard
    “And you can’t compare crime rates in the US with crime rats in Europe unless you show that the societies are similar…which you cannot.”

    Indeed. For a large part, European societies address social problems differently from the USA. Say, by trying to prevent problems more than to punish afterward. Also, there have not been large fractions of the population been kept seggregated for centuries.

    But that is also at the heart of the criticism: The society is different in the way it treats its members. That the USA seems to be monomaniacally welded to the penal system as the one and only tool to address crime.

  220. >Also, there have not been large fractions of the population been kept seggregated for centuries.

    Bwahahahahahaha. *pause* *breathe* BWAHAHAHAHA *wipes tears from eyes*

  221. Eric:
    > No. That’s one of the few consistent differences to show up in transatlantic comparisons: suicide more common in Europe, homicide more common in the U.S.

    In the US, gun deaths per year are on the order of 36k, of which 24k are suicides, and 12k are homicides, based on the last numbers I saw.

    This seems incompatible with your assertion. Did I not read deep enough in the comments?

  222. Winter:
    > What I also do not understand is the total lack of attention to anything other than incarceration as a tool to handle crime.

    Things are changing. Slowly, but they’re changing. Drug policing is starting to precess towards addiction treatment; mary jane is being decriminalized in lots of places as it’s being made legal in others; narcan(sp?) for heroin; and the head of the Cook County Jail is now a *mental health professional*.

    Things are changing.

    If we can get a couple more terms of democratic presidency, and a few more liberal Justices, I have no doubt at all they’ll change even faster. Liberals fix the actual *problems*, you see, like grownups. We don’t care if conservatives *say* that it makes us look like pansies; we’re interested in results. :-)

  223. Most politicians are lawyers. Most lawyers like to make work for other lawyers. Most lawyers have never been on the streets and seen what is going on in real life. They have been in school for their whole lives, then into law practice. Then most of them see that they can make as much or more money being a politician, keeping in mind that most of the politicians don’t really care what happens to the people and look out for themselves. They have a really good living and could care less for their constituents. Most lawyers, believe it or not go by the book so they don’t vote for abortion, capital punishment or the many other issues that people care about. If the state executes a person then other lawyers are out of work. Catholics don’t believe in abortion or capital punishment either. How many lawyers are catholic? Religion still controls the law and especially the Catholic religion. If we did away with most of the jails; brought back the lash or strap and executed more people, I’m sure, after while things would go back to the way there were about 70 or so years ago. No one likes pain and to say that capital punishment doesn’t discourage people from committing murder is pure horse manure, as we all know or should know.

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