Well, as usual, the massacre in Denver brought the loons out of the closet. Before the bodies had fully cooled, Mayor “Salt Control” Bloomberg was demanding action:
You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country.
Mayor Bloomberg is for denying gun ownership to everyone but his heavily-armed personal security team and government social control personnel. I can understand that kind of lust for power. Big Gulps are out of control. Salt shakers are rampaging through quiet American neighborhoods. We need to get a handle on this, because “everything seemingly is spinning out of control.”
In an effort to support their control-freak agendas, politicians buy a lot of propaganda masquerading as science. Here’s a snippet from LiveScience.com, a fairly well-respected science news site. It describes work, bought by your taxpayer dollars, looking at data on households with guns and homicide rates. Matthew Miller of the Harvard School of Public Health found this:
 In the top firearm-household states, homicide rates were more than double the rates found for states in the lowest firearm group. Overall, the top-gun states showed homicide rates that were 60 percent higher than all other states.
Who is Matthew Miller, M.D.? Well, he claims to be an expert on suicide, studying things like the effect of fatulosity (that’s BMI if you’re a Food Nazi) on the propensity to off yourself1. Seems like a perfect colleague for Mayor “Big Gulp” Bloomberg.
But look at what they’re doing here. It’s shameful. The LiveScience article may be just parroting Miller’s paper, so you have to give them the benefit of the doubt. But you know it’s raw propaganda when they highlight a table showing the top five states in terms of household gun ownership alongside the claim that “the top-gun states showed homicide rates that were 60 percent higher…”, and all five states they show in the table rank nearer the bottom than the top in homicide. The top five states are listed below with their percentages of household gun ownership. In parentheses and bold is the rank of that state in homicides per 100,000 according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2010:
- Wyoming – 59.7% (50)
- Alaska – 57.8% (26)
- Montana – 57.7% (33)
- South Dakota – 56.6% (36)
- (Almost Heaven) West Virginia – 55.4% (37)
In other words, the top five states in household gun ownership are all in the bottom half of homicide rate rankings, and Wyoming, with the highest gun ownership rate in the nation, is dead last, as it were, in homicides per 100,000.
The wiggle out of what would otherwise be a barefaced lie is Louisana and Mississippi. They are states near the top of the list in percent household gun ownership with high homicide rates. But any fool still drawing breath could see that something else is going on here. If, of course, they were looking for the truth.
Well, I’m retired, lazy, and don’t have a million dollars of your money to waste on this bullshit, but I was able to get my hands on the household data Miller used without too much effort, along with some FBI and Census data. So I thought I might nose around a little.
Using the methods preferred by Doc Miller and his epidemiology crowd, I decided to run a couple of regressions on some data. So let’s start with percent household gun ownership and homicide rates. By the way, I’m personally convinced Miller ran this regression but simply failed to publish it. After all, regression is what he does. Look at his other papers.
Anyway, the correlation coefficient for percent household gun ownership and homicide rates turned out to be 0.08. Basically zero. Obviously, the rate of household gun ownership has nothing to do with the homicide rate. I wonder why Doc Miller didn’t report that? Must have been an oversight.
But I started thinkin’… a dangerous thing to do in a Progressive State… that there had to be something that was driving homicide rates. And even without a million bucks of your money, I remembered South Chicago had a higher death rate than Afghanistan. Oh yeah, and there’s Detroit. And South Memphis. And Camden. And Baltimore. Hm.
So I got my hands on state-level demographic data and regressed percent black population in a state on homicide rate. Lawdamercy, the correlation was 0.76! Now folks, that’s about as big as epidemiological correlations get and about as “no-brainer” as “research” goes.
But still, I was not satisfied. In contrast to Doc Miller’s more political approach, I scrutinized the actual state numbers. And I thought I might have seen a trend. I remembered all those frightened Americans I saw in YouTube videos and on Fox News who live on the Arizona and Texas border with Mexico. And I remembered the Danger sign I saw in the news story about the AZ border. It’s been erected in Organ Pipe National Park (AZ) warning Americans not to enter because of heavily-armed, violent drug smugglers and human trafficking.
I couldn’t find good data on illegal Latino populations (that’s why they call them undocumented), so I just eliminated the border states (FL, TX, NM, AZ, and CA) from the regression analysis. Once you back out some of the border violence, the correlation coefficient between percent black population and homicides jumps to 0.84. That’s even huger than huge. For those of you interested in such things, it’s an R2 = 0.70.
So passing a law to prohibit the sale and possession of guns by black Americans would seem a direct route to a dramatic reduction in the gun homicide rate. If gun laws actually worked the way politicians claim they work before the laws are passed and they’ve confiscated your guns. In fact, the first gun control laws in America were designed to do precisely that: keep blacks on the plantations from arming themselves. Given the level of violence in black communities, it’s law-abiding black citizens that need a household defensive weapon the most. It’s little consolation when the police show up after your kid has been shot to death by a drug-addled degenerate trying to steal your TV. And even if they burn the bastard who did it, your kid’s still dead.
Now here’s the thing… if we could eliminate mass murder by passing laws, the Israelis wouldn’t need to worry about being shredded by ball bearings and rusty nails while having lunch in a pizza parlor. I’m fairly sure bomb belts are illegal there. And concealed carry is probably out of the question.
But here’s the thing I don’t like: I don’t like a law that says regular folks can’t possess a defensive weapon because black thugs and Latino drug smugglers are killing each other. I’m sorry for them, and I wish they would stop, but taking my gun away because of what they do is – in my not-so-humble opinion – collective punishment; i.e., “the punishment of a group of people as a result of the behavior of one or more other individuals or groups”. Collective punishment is a blatant human rights violation. Hells’ bells, it’s even a violation of the Geneva Convention.
LiveScience.com should either be ashamed of itself and do some groveling for knowingly propagandizing in favor of collective punishment, or they should fire the author of that article, Jeanna Bryner, for journalistic malpractice.
1 By the way, he didn’t find anything, but spent a lot of your money doing it. Well, actually, he did find something: fatulous people are less likely to commit suicide. But that didn’t make the Noo Yawk Timez for some reason.