Gun violence in Chicago spiked last weekend

August 7, 2019 • 9:30 am

If you live in Chicago, you’re constantly reminded of the huge number of homicides in the city, many of them gang-related, most gun-related, and the largest proportion of identified victims African-American. According to the Chicago Tribune, which tracks these data, in the last 365 days there were 547 homicides. Of these, 314 involved guns, 209 had unknown causes, 19 involved stabbings, and 5 involved other causes. That is, of all homicides in which the cause could be ascertained,  93% involved guns.

Among the victims, 281 were African-Americans, 224 were not known, 34 were white, 5 were Hispanic, and 3 were Asian. That is, of all homicides in which the race of the victim could be ascertained, 87% were African-Americans. But only 30.5% of Chicago residents are African-American. The age of homicide victims spikes at about age 25. This is a terrible waste of young lives.

The peak of gun violence, as we all know, is in the summer, and I’ve heard gunshots in summer. Granted, the rate of gun deaths is down 11% from last year, but, as you see below, it’s still higher than in the years from 2013-2015. Whether this is a permanent decline in our city remains to be seen, but we still have about 1.5 homicides per day, most by guns. The U.S. and Latin America lead the world in gun deaths, and you can see the death rates of different countries caused by firearms in this chart on Wikipedia. The U.S., for instance, has 12.2 fire-arm related deaths per 100,000 population per year, while Britain has 0.23—a 53-fold difference.

Last weekend we had the biggest spate of gun violence this year, as the New York Times reported in the article below. Seven were killed and 52 wounded in 32 episodes, with more than 300 homicides this year.

An excerpt:

CHICAGO — While much of the nation’s attention was focused on the gun massacres in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, last weekend, Chicago was convulsed by its own burst of violence — the worst weekend the city has seen so far in 2019.

It was an extreme example of the routine but devastating gun violence, often related to gang conflicts, that cities like Chicago, Baltimore and St. Louis experience on a regular basis. The police said seven people were killed and 52 wounded by gunfire throughout Chicago from Friday evening to Sunday, including a 5-year-old boy who was shot in the leg while sitting in a car.

Early Sunday, 17 people were shot in a period of two hours in a small pocket on the city’s West Side, turning residential blocks into chaotic scenes of ambulances, grieving family members and cars pockmarked with bullets.

There were 32 separate shooting incidents throughout the weekend, the police said.

. . .Gun violence in Chicago tends to peak during the summer months, when school is out, the temperature is high and residents spend more time outside at social gatherings, which can be a magnet for conflict. Shootings and homicides have decreased in 2019, but there have been at least 300 homicides this year and 1,600 people shot, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Data from the Chicago Tribune:

Yes, America, we have a gun problem (the NRA would call it a “criminal problem”, but without easy availability of guns, does anybody doubt that homicides would drop?). My solution, which some readers oppose, is to impose extremely stringent controls on guns; in fact, I’d like to see them banned completely except for target practice or, in rare cases, pest control. My position is extreme, but I think it would save lives.

As an aside, Ivanka Trump tweeted about Chicago’s gun violence this week, and, although she got the total numbers right, she got the circumstances wrong, saying that all the deaths and injuries occurred in one incident:

Well, I can excuse that error, though the “violence faced by inner city communities” seems a bit racist, as there are plenty of homicides outside of the inner city. But her message is in the right direction: we have to do something about gun violence.

But because she is a Trump, that message was completely obscured by her mistake, and so HuffPost jumped on her. Rather than highlight the epidemic of gun violence in Chicago, they prefer to bash Ivanka for her mistake. To wit:

From the reportage:

According to Chicago Tribune, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was “livid” about Trump’s error-filled tweet.

“It wasn’t a playground, it was a park. It wasn’t seven dead. It wasn’t 52 wounded in one incident, which is what this suggests. It’s misleading,” Lightfoot said. “It’s important when we’re talking about people’s lives to actually get the facts correct, which one can easily do if you actually cared about getting it right.”

Lightfoot said her focus was to protect and run the city, and she wouldn’t allow herself to be distracted by “nonsense tweets from people who don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Our new Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, was all over the news last night—not calling attention to the gun violence, which on a yearly basis far exceeds deaths by mass shootings, but going after Ivanka Trump for her mistake about the circumstances.  In this case, contra Lightfoot, the circumstances of the shootings aren’t nearly as important as the constant toll of gun-related homicides. But such is the hatred of Trump (a hatred I share), that every issue somehow gets turned into a criticism of the President (even via his daughter).

Let’s forget Ivanka: we have to do something about guns. But, as I’ve said before, the cry for gun control—and most Americans favor stricter regulations—goes up right after mass shootings (we’ve had three lately), but over time dies down, and business gets back to normal. You can still order assault-style rifles online, which is a travesty. And, of course, the carnage leads to stuff like this, which is about the saddest sign of our problem that I can imagine:

163 thoughts on “Gun violence in Chicago spiked last weekend

  1. I agree with Mayor Lightfoot’s criticism. It’s one thing for Ivanka (whose exact position and role in the White House remains unidentified) to Tweet about Chicago’s gun violence. But in the complete absence of ANY action in terms of her position — a phone call, any outreach to Chicago officials — her Tweet comments are utterly worthless.

    Lightfoot is meeting weekly with CPD and demanding action. There’s no agreed-upon solution to Chicago’s violence, which has complex roots. Ivanka needs to walk the walk if she’s gonna talk. But, that ALL she does — superficial Tweets. No real action on developing solutions. Lightfoot doesn’t need Tweets from this ridiculous peanut gallery.

    1. “Ridiculous peanut gallery”: good way to describe pop-personality Ivanka. Los Angeles, with a population about 50% larger than Chicago’s, ‘only’ had 130 homicides so far this year.

    2. Yes, instead of working to solve the epidemic levels of gun violence in her city, she is instead combing twitter to find errors in tweets.

      It’s not a playground, it’s a park! Thank god Lightfoot is on the job!

      1. Oh, burn! Your comment wouldn’t be so ridiculous if we didn’t have a President who governs by Tweet.

        1. I don’t follow Trump on twitter. Imagine if everyone else did the same. Then we could pay attention to things that actually matter. A lot of people have suggested ignoring Trump on twitter… Buttigieg, repeatedly. But I guess we can’t look away…

  2. There are those who think that the extraordinary fervor from the El Paso murders is not due to the number of people killed, but that the shooter was white, and most of the victims not white. In other words, the outrage is not the murders themselves, but their intersectionality.

    I can tell you that when the nearly 50 gay Hispanic men in Orlando were murdered in 2016 , there was not the level of fervor that there is now. As example, I am seeing New York Times articles with over 6,000 comments (on facebook). That is rare. In fact, the initial reaction to Jussie Smollet, or the Covington kids was of even greater fervor. Trump, of course, a factor.

    You will recall that in Orlando the shooter was a male Muslim man. What I do remember was an immediate effort to homosexualize him (the reverse of Rock Hudson), which would render the crime non-intersectional. (BTW, Months after the event, the Washington Post published a small article detailing that the FBI had found no evidence to think he was gay…they followed the leads, but nothing.)

    What these events, and many others, point to is the fact that we live in a world that for a crime to have true moral purcahse, it must be intersectional.

    This is why I think, the crimes of Chicago, and Baltimore, and St. Louis (largely black on black) rarely rouse much passion, even at the local level.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Mayor Lightfoot will show more passion and drive ever again regarding crime in Chicago, than now, that Ivanka is involved.

    1. I think Lightfoot has already shown great passion and drive in regard to Chicago violence. If anyone has an easy solution — speak up! Ivanka’s Tweets are unhelpful. She has a position of considerable influence, yet she does nothing that will work towards a real solution. Empty words.

      I’ve seen many posts on social media about how “Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws.” That is complete BS. Yes, Chicago has gun laws, but what good are they? Gangs can go to neighboring Indiana and buy guns by the bushel to bring into our city. Same things at Gilroy, Ca. The shooter could not legally buy that gun in California, so he drove to neighboring Nevada.

      Gun laws at local level are worthless. Federal actionis needed. Clinton banned assault rifles and shootings were more rare.

      Ivanka, having a position in the Federal Government (although exactly what that is remains undefined), could be a real agent of change — but she is too unconcerned to even Tweet correct facts. At least she didn’t Tweet “I don’t care, do you?”

      If Ivanka cannot be bother to be part of the solution, then she is part of the problem.

      1. It is a serious felony to buy guns with the intention of reselling them to criminals.

        But besides that, if the guns themselves were the problem, then there would no doubt be high rates of violence corresponding to the rates of gun ownership in places where guns are more common.
        What I see is not a gun problem, but a gang problem. Even in Indiana, gun crime is largely a matter of gang violence in two cities.

        What mass shooters seem to have in common is that most of them come from “broken” families.

        I understand that the solutions to the problems of gun and other violence are very complicated. I am pretty sure that careful examination of the problem will not lead an open minded person to conclude that the sure solution is to disarm law abiding people who are not contributing to the problem.

        Out here, it is generally believed that most proposed gun control measures are not really meant to address actual causes of gun violence, but serve primarily to teach rural rubes who is in charge. I don’t really think that is the truth. I think it is just utopian thinking, coupled with a desire to feel like one is doing something, anything to solve the problem. That those adversely affected are people of no consequence is just a bonus.

        1. “It is a serious felony to buy guns with the intention of reselling them to criminals. ”

          And how, pray tell, do you determine the intent of a buyer to resell?

          There have been attempts to limit the number of guns per purchase (helps prevent such “straw purchases.” Those, along with other regulations that would be effective on a National level, fail in the current patchwork of State regulations — no matter how strict those regulations are. They are also opposed by the NRA.

          I live in Chicago in the city (no suburb). Everyone knows about the gun pipeline from Indiana. If I wanted to buy an illegal gun today, I know where to go. Other nations have criminals and families of broken homes. They are not awash in guns like we are.

          1. If you know someone who is selling illegal guns, why don’t you call the ATF?

            The line for anonymous tips is (1-800-283-4867)

            1. I wrote that I know where to go. So do the Chicago Police — why aren’t they making arrests in undercover stings?

              If I wanted to buy an illegal gun, why would I call the AFT on the illegal seller?

              Even though I don’t use heroin, I know where to go in Chicago if I did want to buy some. It’s not hard for a motivated person. This does not mean I know a specific person who is selling it so that I can then inform on. Do you grasp that?

              1. I guess some aspects of US urban life elude me. If I knew that someone in my community was selling illegal guns or heroin, I would be bugging the authorities nonstop. The same goes for such activity happening in an area of my community by persons unknown to me.

                I don’t think it can be healthy to ever just get used to those sorts of activities happening around one’s family. I suppose at some point fear of reprisal from the criminals overcomes the sense of outrage, and one just submits.

              2. max blancke: “If I knew that someone in my community was selling illegal guns or heroin, I would be bugging the authorities nonstop.”

                But as others have pointed out, make the heroin legal, and you could probably quit worrying about the gun violence. When has prohibition of *anything* ever worked?

                The War on Some Drugs is the perfect illustration of what we libertarians call the law of unintended consequences. But as inevitable as the consequences have always been, one must ask how “unintended” they can really be.

    2. There’s a qualitative difference between terrorism and most other violent crime. People who kill because they want someone else’s money or drugs or territory may be deplorable, but it’s comprehensible. People who murder for political or religious reasons and especially those who are willing to martyr themselves to do so are a different kind of horrifying.

    3. I think you may be reading too deep. I think the reason everyone’s so upset with the El Paso killings is not for any subtle intersectionality but for the obvious reasons; the guy published a manifesto that directly aligns with white supremacist talking points AND the President’s talking points AND Fox news talk. In January and February 2019, Trump took out over 2,000 Ads on Facebook in which he referred to illegal immigration as an INVASION (his caps). And this guy writes a manifesto talking about the invasion and how he’s going to repel it. The 60-70% of people in the country that aren’t die-hard Trump fans are really ticked off that his rhetoric is, if not technically inciting, then at least agreeing with the messages of violent extremists.

  3. I know, this comment may not be taken all that well, but the fact is that there IS a clear “racist” point to be made here.
    I was born and lived my first 45 years or so near the Austin district. Played golf and had picnics in Columbus park. My 3 older sisters and brother were born in West Suburban Hospital. The point is that I have a working perspective of that area and the ‘culture’ that thrives there.
    Please see this site for some stats. Yes, the websites name can be offensive, but look past that and see the map and the other stats surrounding Chicago gun violence.
    Note that the VAST majority of the gun violence is concentrated in a few areas. These are specifically black areas.
    What I would most like to add here is that these areas have a ‘culture’ that includes gangsta style ‘do not snitch’ rules which is what drives the extraordinarily low clearance rate. This in turn makes things worse.
    In MY opinion, it is this ‘culture’ of ‘gangster’ like thinking that is prevalent in Chicago’s black community among young black males that is the foundational root of the problem. There is little if any push back to this meme generally. Police are the ‘bad guys’ there.
    As clearly indicated by the map, the non black neighbor hoods do not have a ‘gun violence’ problem.
    At least in Chicago, this IS a black issue.
    The stats clearly indicate that.
    When the police arrive at the scene to investigate in these areas, they consistently get the “I didn’t see or know anything” response.
    So where does that leave the community? Into a downward spiral of lawlessness and violence by their own acceptance of it.
    That bit is always missing when these reports come out.

    1. Culturally things went downhill when jazz (Armstrong, Ellington, Mingus, Coltrane etc.) were replaced by hip hop/rap music.

      The fact that we celebrate and encourage both black and white trash culture I find very disturbing.

    2. Ahhh…so, I guess all those killing of blacks by policemen is because the police are listening to too much rap?

  4. I agree… forget Ivanka. Her tweets are of little value. If she actually cared about this she would try to convince the Orange Menace to support gun control.

    1. “Her tweets are of little value.”
      But of far more significance than yours or mime?

      Crazy world we live in.

  5. Ivanka Trump — has there ever been an emptier vessel, a more useless dilettante in an exalted West-Wing position — other than her husband perhaps?

    And she’s the “smart one” in the family.

      1. True, but at least he was “elected” (after a fashion). Ja-vanka gained its West-Wing sinecures purely as a matter of nepotistic fiat.

  6. How can it be that the cause of death in 209 cases is unknown? Aside from cases where a body has decomposed prior to discovery (cases which I should think would be quite rare), I don’t see how an autopsy could fail to reveal the cause of death in so many cases. How were they even adjudged homicides (as opposed to suicides or natural deaths) if the cause of death is unknown?

    AN UPDATE: On the Chicago Tribune website (where Jerry got his data), all the homicides for 2019 are listed, including links to Trib stories (if any). Looking only at cases in the “NOT KNOWN” category, I checked ten of the stories in the Trib. Eight were shootings, one a stabbing, and one “other”. Thus, the person compiling the causes of death has apparently not used the Trib‘s own stories in making the compilation. 90% of homicides being due to shootings may thus be a fair estimate for the entire set of homicides.

  7. Allow me to paraphrase Ivanka:

    “This stuff happens all the time, guys. So don’t make such a big deal of Mexicans in Walmart.”


  8. I would ask those seeking stringent gun control laws to consider:
    1. That other country’s laws did not have an impact on their gun crime rates in time series analysis. Other countries’ crime rates were low before and after new gun control laws. Cross-country comparisons are not necessarily useful. (It’s the correlation v causality issue.)
    1a. Many comparisons are made only within developed countries. The exclusion of developing countries, even those with stringent gun controls, confirms an understanding that gun availability is not the primary factor in violence.
    2. Gun and other types of violence have declined by half since 1993, at the same time as we’ve had a doubling of the number of guns in the US. That seems to rebut the notion that more guns = less crime.
    3. Making guns illegal may have the same effect as making heroin illegal: not eliminate the heroin/gun and concentrate the black market in the hands of criminals (while disarming non-criminals)
    4. Guns are used defensively more often than offensively. I would find it difficult to argue that person A cannot defend themselves because person B might misuse a gun.
    5. Finally, gun ownership is concentrated in rural and suburban areas whereas gun crime is concentrated in urban areas. Is taking guns away from suburban owners likely to make the country safer? Excluding inner cities, it’s been said that the US would have gun violence rates comparable to Europe.

    We all have the same goals – to eliminate violence where possible. But I fear that some extreme positions not only would not help, but actually cause greater loss of life. (#4/5)

      1. And I’ll leave the obligatory Bill Hicks quotation as well:

        England, where no one has guns: 14 deaths. United States, and I think you know how we feel about guns – whoo! I’m gettin’ a stiffy! 23,000 deaths from handguns. But there’s no connection, and you’d be a fool and a communist to make one.

        1. I agree, it’s foolish to think the large number of deaths in the United States from guns isn’t at least partially explainable along the lines of why there are so few cobra bite deaths.

          The reasons for opposing gun bans lie elsewhere.

        2. Down boy.

          No one claimed that guns aren’t involved in gun violence. The claim is that gun law differences don’t account for gun violence differences, that there was a decline in violence during a time when the number of guns increased, that bans won’t work, and that guns are used defensively. In other words (I’ll say it nicely) you have not responded to any of my points. Although you get a half a point for entertainment value. cobras and stiffies, oh my.

          1. Guns make killing easier. That’s why we give them to our soldiers. That whole self-defense argument you make? It relies on the fact that guns make killing easier, because the ease with which someone can kill another person with a gun means a relatively untrained, physically weak individual can quickly and easily level lethal force against a bigger, stronger, faster attacker.

            So, while it’s certainly possible for someone with a murderous rage or murderous bigotry to find some other way to kill people, Stephen Paddock could not have mowed down 59 people, uninterrupted for 10 minutes, with a katana. It’s much harder to accomplish that death toll with any other implement. Crusius would not have killed 22 people and injured 24 others with a kitchen knife. Or even with a car; look at the death tolls from vehicle ramming incidents; they rarely reach 10. Possibly the worst in modern history was Barcelona, and that killed 16.

            So I think you’re making something of a false argument. You’re trying to make the point that the number of personal violence incidents might not go down if we took guns away. Maybe. But that’s not the only thing that matters; deaths per incident matter too, and guns do, in practice, based on empirical data, achieve much higher numbers of deaths per incident than any other means. Because guns make killing easier.

    1. I was born and raised in Dayton and now live one hour away. No American should have the right to own a gun like that shooter had! ARs and “drum magazines” (50 rounds in each drum for 100 shells immediately available) have the overwhelming consequence for our society of Mass Murder! He killed 9 and wounded 26 in 24seconds of shooting. Thank the ceiling cat that police were on hand and did fantastic work.
      I don’t care how many American men get their egos stroked through through ownership of these and their ‘responsible’ use (target practice
      and secure storage). Their manufacture and future sale should be banned (and ammo).

      ARs and extended magazines mean, for us now, mass murder.

      I thoroughly dispute your contention that “defensive use of guns is greater than offensive use”. You must have one weird definition of “defensive use”.

      1. Re: Defensive gun use:

        The lowest defensive gun use statistic I could find was over 100,000 per year. The bulk of the studies land between 400,000 and 1.5mn. There are higher estimates at 2.5mn and 3mn, from legitimate sources as well. Maybe the real number is 700,000-800,000. Suffice it to say that defensive gun use is far higher (multiples of) gun homicides in this country.

        “Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010).” – from an Obama era, 2013 CDC/National Academies study.

        “Despite hundreds of thousands of times a year when Americans use firearms defensively, none of those incidents is likely to be reported in the mainstream media, even when lives are saved as a result. But one accidental firearm death in a home will be broadcast and rebroadcast from coast to coast.” – Thomas Sowell, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

        1. It should be clarified that just showing one’s gun to another is considered defensive gun use. No shooting is necessary for this designation, so yeah, in that context I can see the number of DGU as high as offensive use.

          1. Well, let’s not be disingenous. “showing a gun” is not a defensive gun use unless you are waving it at and threatening an unknown intruder. Sometimes the guns are fired, not always. While there are methodological differences in the research, the studies gravitate towards the hundreds of thousands per year. There IS a tradeoff to stringent gun control, in terms of innocent death, rape and robbery. To ignore this for ideological aversion to inanimate objects is not only dishonest, but harmful.

            1. Actually, that is not disingenuous. The defensive number is primarily based on self reporting through a survey, and there is a strong bias here (BJS, 2013…. actually Planty and Truman, 2013, DOJ/BJS NCJ241730, page 2, if anyone wants a useful reference)

              I have had the joy of living much of my life in places where being assaulted with a firearm was a non-negligable risk, have had students killed exiting the school when I taught in the city, had a lab coworker change career path (he was a surgical intern at the time) due to being attacked and losing the use of one hand (not a firearm in this case) and…. but I digress. I still shoot on the range. I have a reasonable understanding of what the risks are and where they are.

              I fully agree that the root cause of violence is not the existence of a particular tool. You can dig a hole with your hand. A backhoe is much faster and easier. You can drive a nail with a rock, but it is much faster and easier with a hammer. And faster and easier yet with an air nailer. Someone with just a rock is probably not going to get up in the morning and decide “I’m going to dig a basement and frame an addition today” and then do it (I had a neighbor do just that a few years ago). Holes were dug before backhoes. Houses were built before air nailers, if you get my point.

              As a side not (asbestos panties—- engage) that the Trayvon Martin shooting is not classed as homicide, and there are many, many others.

              1. I hear ya, but i’ve read an extensive discussion on whether survey data over or understates defensive gun usage. The answer is not clear and this is the best data available as far as i know. If you have better data, link us! If I’m wrong, I want to be corrected.

            2. What e said. Plus, that last sentence is ridiculous hyperbolic b.s. I own 2 guns, I don’t understand your framing of “ideological aversion to inanimate objects”.

        2. Your statistics will be disputed or ignored. Many people who discount self defense gun use live in communities or live lives that are so safe they can’t imagine the need.

        3. I’m still not buying that statistic! For starters, Thomas Sowell and Hoover Institute would never write anything against guns, way to right wing. Questionable source.
          Secondly, your category “offensive vs defensive”, does that include suicide, and what of accidental shootings?
          You suggest under-reporting of defensive use, but what of the many, many abusive husbands and boyfriends who threaten their wives and g-friends and that gun is always around and subtly or overtly a part of those threats? Very few individual incidents of that kind of gun use are reported, until finally after multiple even years of problems the woman bails.

          I’ll stick with Giffords Law Center stats. In 2010, 85 people a day died from all kinds of gun use. Almost 75,000 were treated at hospitals that year for gun shots. If you are suggesting that any significant number of these were people shooting to defend themselves and we don’t hear about it; your dreaming or watching too much Fox News. Trust Gifford, they are anti-gun abuse, honest, and frankly have no need to make up the numbers that are really there.
          Sorry, I’m sick of rationalizations. Dayton is my home town.

          1. A problem with the argument from defensive use is the number of attempted defenses that failed. This should be knowable – akin to the number of attempted murders that were prevented at the last minute.

            Lastly, where weee all the defensive gun owners in the typical mass murders? How many mass murders were aided by gun owners?

            1. I’m not sure I follow. Does the fact that some surgeries result in death make attempts at surgery less desirable?

              1. A failed attempt at defense would be a scenario where the intruder attacked the victim or their family despite the victim’s possession of a gun.

                I don’t know the number.

                I don’t understand what surgery has to do with any of that.

            2. I’m not sure your caveat invalidates the defensive gun argument like you may think. You’re claiming that since an a defensive action does not always provide a benefit, that it should not be allowed. The counter example is this: you have a situation where a rapist is intent on rape. If you do not oppose him, he is certain to rape. If you do oppose him, there is an x% chance the defense will be successful. Are you arguing that there is some number X% that allows you (or the government, or society) to tell the woman she cannot attempt a defense? I would find it difficult to make that argument, especially if it is someone other than the woman making that decision.

              1. The question rephrased is : in how many cases was a gun was used in self defense and the defense failed for any reason- gun didn’t work, gun couldn’t be found, gun shot missed, defender got shot first, etc. Those are not unusual expectations for such a confrontation.

                “You’re claiming that since an a defensive action does not always provide a benefit, that it should not be allowed.”

                I made no such claim.

          2. “Sowell is right wing” is not an argument.

            As for the rest, you dismiss several studies out of hand, then speculate about undercounted violence without data. I’m hoping for a bit more substance here. I hope you agree it’s a serious topic and worthy of serious discussion?

            1. My serious reply is, like the people of Dayton shouted at our Governor, “Do Something, Do Something!”
              No more of this gum flapping, no more showing off with “time series analysis”, etc.
              The many links between guns and excessive violence is obvious. Even if some gun regulation may not be very effective in provable results, it’s time to change the pro-gun culture (surely here in Ohio). Just pushing at the NRA and gun rationalizers will be worth while.
              End the pro-gun culture among pickup truck-driven rednecks, inner city youth, deranged white males (often young), men preparing for the apocalypse (zombie and otherwise)…
              Enough Talk, I think i’ll call the governors office again.

      2. I may agree with you on magazines of that size. But “ARs” are no more powerful than any rifle or “long gun” (the technical definition) and long guns are used in fewer than 2% of gun deaths. Actually a lower number than ‘fists, elbows, and feet’ according to the FBI.

        Believe it or not, there are (estimated) 5-8 mn AR-style rifles in the country and they are used for defense as well. Obviously very,very few are misused.

    2. Yo, G!

      It is true that guns don’t kill people. People kill people. People with guns, mostly. People that can kill large groups quickly, with little thought, and little need to pay attention to or focus on the targets as human beings in the process.

      I would love to see data that supports your claim that guns are used more defensively than offensively. Most everything I have seen contradicts your statement. Many of the ‘defensive’ uses are not meaningful, as if you draw your weapon because you imagine a raccoon in the garbage is a band of [insert preference of group here] coming to invade your home, that is not defensive use. You show me data to back your claim, and it will be addressed.

      As to causation vs correlation, I would need to look to the data, but I don’t think it is particularly relevant to the issue, which is that ALL firearms make it much easier to kill individuals or groups, sometimes with little forethought– crimes of passion–, sometimes with detailed, maniacal planning (see: the last week). NO OTHER tool, mechanism, infernal machine, or weapon that provides this capability is generally or easily available. That is why I can’t go into Wallyworld and buy a tactical nuclear weapon.

      1. “Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010).” – from an Obama era, 2013 CDC/National Academies study.

        This seems to be the latest, also CDC data interpreted by Gary Kleck. Link to an article containing links to the primary studies:

        1. It’s a pleasure to live and walk around in a country where we don’t have to worry about being shot.

        2. This seems to be some fair criticism of the Kleck defensive shooting occurrences.

          The article states that the number of people who self report defensive gun use is similar to the number of people who report being abducted by aliens.

          And I’ll just throw this in for fun.

      2. Your last comment, that all firearms make it easier to kill is correct. That is their purpose. It makes it easier to kill an attempted murderer or rapist, someone planting a bomb, soldiers of nations intent on taking over other nations, etc… They are tools. Sometimes tools are misused, but mostly, even guns are used properly, as the links on defensive guns uses show.

        I was impressed by this non-ideological article:

    3. “We all have the same goals – to eliminate violence where possible.” I don’t think so.

      There are those who would love to see more violence against blacks: white-on-blacks violence, fine. Black-on-black violence, even better.

      It just proves the *need* for whites to be vigilant against ‘those people.’

  9. At his standard walk-by South Lawn press scrum this morning on his way to Marine One to head to Dayton (or is it Toledo?) and El Paso, Trump said in the course of a single sentence that we shouldn’t politicize the recent mass shootings and, oh, didja hear that the Ohio shooter was a big fan of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? I shit you not, a single sentence.

    1. That’s your Trump hatred speaking. The President just told us what we shouldn’t do, then gave a helpful example

      1. Give me a break. You do realize that the “president” just politicized the issue by pointing out the Dayton’s shooter supported Bernie/Warren. Helpful example my ass.

        1. I’m sorry you don’t recognize irony when you see it. That’s easier to do if you imagine I may not be some evil deviant, but am trying to make a point, or a joke.

          1. Your comment had no tone of irony/sarcasm, so yeah, I didn’t recognize it. Sometimes it’s good online to write /s or such to denote one is being sarcastic.

            1. I’m sorry you didn’t recognize my intent, but have to go with Johnny Carson’s, “it’s not funny if you have to explain it.”

              1. In what way do you think your comment was funny in the first place? Doubt Johnny would think so. Pretty bland man.

              2. You are really asking me to explain? I’ll give you a hint – it’s subtle Trump mockery, it mocks his hypocrisy and his inability to admit mistakes.

    2. “that we shouldn’t politicize the recent mass shootings..”

      Would you agree that both sides of the political spectrum are using hyperbolic language and are playing a very dangerous game of identity politics?

        1. I take your point, but the reason this idiot is in the White House is because the Democrats were playing identity politics in the last election.

          I am not impressed by any of the democratic candidates and the “open border” and “white man bad” crowd will alienate core voters.

    3. Well seeing as everybody was shrieking white supremacist and blaming Trump for everything, I think his self-defensive statements made sense.

      1. Do you think Donald Trump deserves criticism for all his talk about immigrant “invasions”? For all his talk talk about “infestations” and “breeding” in our inner cities? For telling US congresswomen to “go back to where they came from”?

        Have you ever watched a Trump rally start to finish, Michael? Or closely followed his twitter feed?

        Do you deny that the El Paso shooter was a “white supremacist”?

  10. > in the last 365 days there were 547 homicides. Of these, 314 involved guns, 209 had unknown causes, 19 involved stabbings, and 5 involved other causes. That is, of all homicides in which the cause could be ascertained, 93% involved guns.

    I don’t think that math works out. 547 homicides. 314 involved guns. That’s 57%, not 93%.

    And why are there so many “unknown causes”? That is insanely high. 38% of homicides have unknown causes? That is incredibly fishy. How do they rule it a homicide without a known cause in so many cases? Gunshot wounds, stab wounds, and blunt force trauma are generally pretty easy to recognize.

    Lastly: “300 homicides this year and 1,600 people shot” Can we stop for a moment to appreciate the absolute AMAZING work by the Chicago trauma centers? Roughly 85% of the people who were shot survived!

    1. US surgeons are pretty skilled at dealing with gunshot wounds because they get a lot of practice.

      Someone could probably spin a good Onion style article out of that about how reducing gun violence jeopardizes those few victims who do get shot because of less experienced surgeons.

      1. I read an interesting article about the trauma centers in Memphis. One point they made is that the percentage of shootings that turn out to be non-fatal are rising because of the excellent standards of care.
        On the other hand, the perpetrators and victims are overwhelmingly from groups that rely on the public to pay the costs. Much of that is passed to the federal government, but the costs paid by cities like Memphis, Chicago, and New Orleans are sobering.

    2. What it is saying is that whoever gathered the data was really only interested in firearms and knives.

      As for the survival rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if US trauma centres were the best in the world at treating gunshot wounds.

      1. Many doctors now in the US get training from Army doctors as to the best treatment for gunshot wounds. They’re also trained to allow certain patients to die if they’re deemed too far gone…just like what happens in the battlefield. Either way, there aren’t any hospitals in the US that are in any way prepared for mass shootings like El Paso’s.

  11. “Let’s forget Ivanka.” Okay!I’m with you there, PCC(E)…Ah CRAP!! There she is again!! Oh well, perhaps by the end of the next decade it will be easier (to forget Ivana II,that is).

  12. “Among the victims, 281 were African-Americans”

    I assume in Chicago most of the perpetrators are african american gangs?

    When did Chicago become so violent? What was it like in the 50’s and 60’s?
    Is one of the major causes the breakdown of nuclear families (social welfare for mothers and high male incarceration)?

    1. One of the major causes is the Drug War. A lucrative market in illegal drugs encourages people to form gangs, take over turf, and defend the enterprise with violence. The gangs have plenty of money to buy guns, and they will legal or not. Rather than make guns illegal, make drugs legal.

      The parallel to Capone era violence and alcohol prohibition should offer some clues.

      1. Illicit drug use is a socio-medical problem and should be dealt with as such, not as a criminal justice problem. Decriminalize them all; take the profit motive (and, thus, the turf battles and retaliations) outta the mix.

        As the late Mr. Frey put it, we’re trapped in the politics of contraband.

        1. I wish they would legalize pot in New Mexico. We are just across the border from them, and our “town” does not have a hardware store, but we now have five pot dispensaries.

          Those shops have attracted the sort of people we have rarely had to deal with. The most visible are the scam artists who “just need money for gas” or have some hot jewelry for sale. No violence that I know of, but lots of petty theft.

          Thankfully, we live a very long way from town.

  13. According to the Washington Post many countries have issued travel warnings for prospective visitors to the U.S.

    1. In general, international tourism to the US has slowed down since Trump became potus. No surprise. In 2018, it amounted to a loss of $4.6 billion and 40,000 jobs. It’s called the “Trump Slump”.

        1. ” Venezuela have discouraged their citizens from traveling to the United States”

          These travel warnings sounds a bit political.
          Does the New Zealand government warn people not to enter certain high crime black areas in the US? I think not.

      1. After a quick search I readily found a multitude of articles relating warnings by Japan, Venezuela (yes, ironic) and Uruguay in response to these most recent shootings.

        Other articles also readily found (1st page of search results) relate warnings that many other governments have given their citizens about traveling to the US. My quick look found at least 25 different countries, since 2016, warning their citizens about issues ranging from higher than normal probability of terrorist attacks to warning about non-white males interacting with police to warning about being more reserved towards members of the opposite sex lest you get in trouble for sexual harassment.

        I was not skeptical and I think nearly all the warnings I quickly skimmed were reasonably warranted. I’m sure the US has tons of warnings for US travelers regarding many other countries. Why should the US, a relatively violent, corrupt and prudish country, not be the subject of warnings to travelers? Shit, I warn my kids constantly about this kind of stuff.

        1. ” Why should the US, a relatively violent, corrupt and prudish country, not be the subject of warnings..”

          Valid point, however the impression I got from the post is that these were recent travel warnings – in response to “Trumps violent America”.

      1. Not so, they are constantly revised and at the moment there are about nine countries, Hong Kong being one. There four risk categories;
        Exercise normal safety and security precautions(previously “no significant security risk”)
        Exercise increased caution (previously “some risk”)
        Avoid non-essential travel (previously “high risk”)
        Do not travel (previously “extreme risk”)

        1. FINLAND:

          On 18 August 2017, several people were stabbed in downtown Turku, in the southwest of Finland. Police arrested the attacker and four others, and treated the incident as an act of terrorism.

          New Zealanders in Finland are advised to keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities and exercising vigilance in public places, particularly at tourist sites, shopping areas and transport hubs.*

            1. “Murder, an every day event..”

              That is not informative New Zealand’s population is only a fraction of the US.

              Per capita murder rate by state or city would be more helpful.

            2. I think the point is that in most cases, you are most likely to be murdered by someone you know. This is less likely to happen to you while you are being a tourist, more likely while you are ‘at home’.

              If in any country there is a high chance of your being murdered as a tourist, either in the course of a robbery or because of random violence, that will certainly rate a high level warning on the tourist advisory page.


      2. “Looks like every country in the world are on the New Zealand list.”

        That is misleading. Every country is listed, with a link to further information, but many of those are low risk. Many of these travel advisories are quite detailed on the specific risks in various regions of the country concerned.

        The US gets a yellow flag:
        “!Exercise increased caution in the United States due to the threat of terrorism.”
        It then goes on in much more detail (including general items such as expecting delays of up to 2 hours thanks to the TSA, and the need for medical insurance.)

        Venezuela for example gets a red flag “!Do not travel”

        Finland and Ireland get a green flag “!Exercise normal safety and security precautions.”


  14. One comment above: “Clinton banned assault rifles and shootings were more rare.” Not exactly. First, it was not Clinton but both houses of Congress which passed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, although the Clinton administration supported it. The Act lapsed in 2004, and attempts to renew it have failed regularly. What is the difference?
    One likely explanation: in 1994, the Democrats held the White House and majorities in both house of Congress.

    “Shootings were more rare.” Also not exactly. There was apparently no general decrease in violent crime while the assault weapons ban was in force, a factor argued by opponents to its renewal. {Of course, most violent crimes involve handguns rather than long guns.] Mass shootings did seem to decrease, except for spikes in 1998-9 (Columbine). I guess those two bad years undermine the statistical significance of the decrease recorded in other years 1995 to 2005. But mass shootings sure went up again from 2007 on. There is an illuminating timeline chart at The Economist.

    1. OK, so mass shooting rather than just shootings.

      Mass shootings did seem to decrease, except for spikes in 1998-9 (Columbine). I guess those two bad years undermine the statistical significance of the decrease recorded in other years 1995 to 2005.

      Columbine is often cited as the beginning of the mass-shooting era. But mass shootings sure went up again from 2007 on.

      When the ban was allowed to expire.

      So, the assault rifle ban WAS effective.

      1. IIRC, the assault gun ban was for new gun sales. Plenty of assault weapons were available back then, and tens of millions more are available now.

        We also have 3 new Supreme Court rulings since then, which go into some detail about what characteristics of a gun or gun type would likely be protected by the 2nd Amendment. Usefulness and popularity are important factors, and assault weapons are deemed highly useful (for home protection) and obviously extremely popular.

        Attempts at banning them would likely be a terrible idea politically, because the effort might well be unconstitutional and there is no better recipe for redneck turnout at the polls than attempts at banning a class of gun.

        And you are also not going to see politicians passing legislation that would not just ban new sales, but confiscate 40 million old ones. It is politically insane. For the simple reason that the number of assault weapons owned by the public which are involved in mass shootings is a rounding error that easily falls to “zero”.

        Better to talk about those 50 or 100 round magazines, and keep your powder dry until Democrats hold both houses and the Presidency. And that won’t happen if people keep talking about banning guns now.

        1. Ban manufacture and sale of new ARs and its ammo. Confiscation is a ridiculous idea. Let them wither away, hopefully. Democratic candidates need to be honest. If this election then turns out to be, partly, a referendum on guns, so be it. We’ll just have to out turnout “the rednecks”.

  15. [i]My solution, which some readers oppose, is to impose extremely stringent controls on guns; in fact, I’d like to see them banned completely except for target practice or, in rare cases, pest control. My position is extreme, but I think it would save lives.[/i]

    Why not impose extremely stringent surveillance on Chicago? If suspects could be tracked from the moment they left home, a majority of these crimes would be solved. Take the guy whose company operated the surveillance plane over Baltimore, give him enough money to cover 24-hour surveillance and then release it on the city.

    1. Earlier comments addressed the prohibition era in Chicago. What goes for alcohol and drugs, also goes for guns. Violent gang members are going to import or manufacture guns. Like they do in Brazil.

      If you plan to smuggle or manufacture guns, it is no harder to produce a machine gun than a single shot. I would prefer that gang members not resort to violence. But I am also a realist enough that I prefer them carry a cheap handgun than a STEN knockoff.

      For people who live far from police patrols and response, strict gun controls would just turn us into prey. Or felons.

  16. A ray of hope: my Republican Ohio Governor has proposed modest state gun regulation reforms yesterday. ‘Modest’ reforms is all that we might be able to pass, but still, he is a Republican and any break in that gun-block is welcome.
    As an 18 year old in this state, you can’t buy a beer but you can buy an AR!

    1. “As an 18 year old in this state, you can’t buy a beer but you can buy an AR!”

      As a non-american I find your culture alien and fascinating!

      1. Do you find it “exceptional”? (Re: the fatuous “American Exceptionalism.” And Madeleine Albright’s “indispensable nation.”)

  17. “My solution, which some readers oppose, is to impose extremely stringent controls on guns; in fact, I’d like to see them banned completely except for target practice or, in rare cases, pest control. My position is extreme, but I think it would save lives”.

    Extreme, maybe, in the USA, but the sane approach as seen from the UK.

    1. You could repeal the gun laws in the UK and see no to negligible rise in gun crimes. Gun laws did not make a difference in the UK before their gun laws took effect. Gun violence in the US was 10x the UK’s when both countries had equivalent, liberal gun laws. The laws have not made and will not make a material difference. (I’m happy to link to a study on this if anyone is interested.)

      Consider this: In Houston, after the hurricanes, there was looting up and down. People were stealing, not just food, but sneakers and TV sets. In Japan, after Fukushima, there was NO looting. People waited in lines for the authorities and respected and helped their neighbors. Is there any wonder there is zero gun crime in Japan? Does anyone really think that a complete liberalization of gun ownership would turn the Japanese into crazed characters from Tarantino films? Conversely, Honduras has very stringent gun laws and very high crime rates. It’s not the tool, it’s the culture.

        1. Most gun murders are committed by repeat criminals. The violence problem is not spread evenly across the US. The BOJ did a study showing that big cities account for 57.7% of US homicides, rural areas only 7%. Apparently, the worst 1% of the counties have 19% of the population and 37% of the murders.

          David M. Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice: A closer look at the social networks of neighborhoods most afflicted often shows that only a small number of men drive most of the violence. Identify them and change their behavior, and it’s possible to have an immediate impact.

          1. The claim was that United States “culture” explains gun violence in the United States. If United States culture is associated with United States citizens, then it would be reasonable to expect United States expatriates to commit gun murders at the same frequency as citizens within the U.S.

            But of course that depends on what “culture” is, and how “culture” works. And I do not know the answers to that. But if a case was to be made that depends on “culture”, it needs to be clear.

            1. No, one would not expect that. Expats are subject to the laws in the countries in which they reside. Part of the shared culture of people in all countries is that one is subject to the laws of the jurisdictions in which one resides.

              (Exception: diplomatic immunity.)

              1. Precisely

                “Culture” is a nebulous property. It cannot be pointed at. It doesn’t sit in one place. How it can explain gun murders requires much more explanation in the first place.

                If culture were a distinct object, one might expect a country’s culture to follow the citizens of that country around the world as if they were infected with it.

              2. Well, the ‘culture’ in the black community in Chicago that thinks that police are bad, and that no one should talk to them IS a problem wouldn’t you agree Thyroid?
                That is the sole reason why the VAST majority of gun crimes and murders go unresolved.
                Is it ‘racist’ to point that out? Nope. Those are the actual facts that the data clearly supports.
                The black community in Chicago needs to change their ‘culture’ towards sensibility if this problem is ever going to go away.

              3. To get back to specifics – I want to know how many United States expats murder people with guns. There should be a number somewhere. I would then ask if the percent of gun murders by United States citizens within the United States equals the percent of gun murders by United States citizens outside the United States.

                Knowing this percentage will describe the relationship between gun murders and citizenship.

                Then the question would be how culture is related to citizenship and geographic location.

                I don’t know how else to even start quantitatively describing the relationship between “culture” and gun murders.

              4. That would be an interesting question. Of course it is difficult to define ‘culture’. Lets be less ambitious. If the number of guns is not correlated to the number of crimes when looking across countries, and the number of guns appears to be inversely correlated with the number of crimes in the US over the past 40 years, can we conclude that more guns =/= more crime? At least not necessarily? Can we at least agree that it weakens the argument from causality? Let’s at least agree that the problem lies elsewhere.

                The “culture” thesis of mine was merely proposing an alternative.

                But picking up your expatriates question, my (evidenceless) speculation would be that 1. expatriates tend to come from professional and technical backgrounds. Professionals in the US tend not to shoot each other up in the US. I would expect low levels of violence from this group if they lived abroad. 2. Expatriates would inevitably absorb some of the cultural environment of the home country over time. That might muddy the waters too.

              5. Tom T: “…that thinks that police are bad, and that no one should talk to them IS a problem wouldn’t you agree…?”

                I don’t do criminal law, but colleague of mine, a past president of a state association of defense lawyers, with some 40 years experience, states quite clearly that there are NO circumstances under which you should ever talk to the police, other than to say “lawyer.”

                Break that rule, and are you going to get Dudley Do-Right, or Jason Van Dyke? Knowing that the answer to that question may well depend on the relative levels of eumelanin and pheomelanin in your dermis?

              6. (comment put here because there’s no where else to put it and have it make any sense):

                Tom T. (I think):
                “Well, the ‘culture’ in the black community in Chicago that thinks that police are bad, and that no one should talk to them IS a problem wouldn’t you agree Thyroid?”

                I agree that the scenario you describe can only lead to problems – I’m not sure why that needs to be asked.

                However, I do not understand how a straight line can simply be drawn between “culture” can the scenario you describe – given that culture was supposed to carry a lot of weight in the equation.

              7. The ‘culture’ that embraces the ‘no snitch’ idea is the same exact culture that drives the dreadfully low clearance rate for murder in Chicago is was what I was pointing to.

              8. (another one for Tom T.):

                the link URL itself states it is for crimes within the United States.

                Nevertheless, I searched for “expatrate” and “expatrates” and the same website returned no results. That’s about as far as I can go right now. It is quite depressing, that site.

              9. Yes. It is truly sad and maddening but is also VERY telling.
                The actual crime numbers do not lie and they tell a sad tale of young black male behavior and how destructive their “gangsta” ‘culture’ has become.

              10. I misspelled expatriate here – I’ll try again later and report back if anything interesting comes up.

      1. But Japan has no gun suicides but 18 per 100,000 (2015) vs. the US total of 13.8 for gun and non-gun suicides. They do have their own culture problem it seems.

      2. I live in Houston, Texas. This looting after flooding of which you speak is news to me. Do you have a source ???

      3. For the record – because I am losing track of what was written where – the quote is here:

        “It’s not the tool, it’s the culture.”

  18. Those poor little kids. I’ve see tiny 4th graders carrying such a heavy load of books that their posture seems grotesque. Now they want to add another few pounds us useless weight. Sad.
    I’d like to see the US adopt a system like that in Canada. From what I understand of it, there are quite strict requirements which simply eliminates casual ownership, but does not ban guns outright.

    1. Not possible here due to the explicit interpretations of the Supreme Court on the 2nd Amendment.

      1. I think the currently prevailing interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is ridiculously wrnog. It is clear from the wording the context was that of late 18th century. Warfare was conducted by farmers with their own guns between planting and harvest. A reinterpretation will eventually set that straight, although I do not expect to live to see it.

        1. Couldn’t the same argument be made about the first amendment? Pre-internet, electronic media, etc…?

          I think the allowance of self defense is a core principal common to most ethical systems as an exception to rules against violence. If self-defense is permitted, that implies an effective self-defense is permitted. That is true even ignoring the ‘defense against tyranny’ argument.

          During the worst of the klan days, there were groups of black clergy men that called themselves the Deacons of Defense. They were armed to the teeth against the white supremacists and I, for one, am happy for it. Condoleeza Rice has spoken about her childhood memories about black self-defense while growing up in the South. Sometimes the only language criminals can understand is the threat of retaliatory violence. Sad but true.

          1. This argument is strengthened by understanding the purpose of the constitution is not to grant rights. Imposing limits on government is more accurate. The Bill of Rights, including the 2nd Amendment, was reluctantly added to the Constitution. Many founders felt it superfluous and even dangerous because of the implication rights didn’t preexist the Constitution. They agreed to include the Ninth and Tenth Amendments as a remedy.

            The right of self defense must be seen as the preeminent right. It is guaranteed by the Ninth Amendment, regardless of how you interpret the Second.

            1. It is clear by the wording of the 2nd Amendment that the intent of gun ownership was to keep a civilian militia ready for an invasion by musket bearing Brits, not to keep your neighbor from steeling your chickens. For chickens you have police – at least in other civilized societies. Guns are not a preeminent right. Not more preeminent that the right to live life without fear of domestic terror and gang violence. Self defense, hunting, collecting and target practice are not reasons to have 400 million guns in circulation. If we are being honest, it’s not the sacred text of the constitution that is standing in the way of background checks. It’s the gun industry and their front organization, the NRA.

              1. rickflick, “Guns are not a preeminent right. Not more preeminent that the right to live life without fear of domestic terror and gang violence.”

                1. Have you considered that you might have the causality link backwards? That people may needs guns because of the crime, not that guns cause the crimes? Have you considered that the many studies that confirm large numbers of defensive gun uses implies that gun ownership is what allows some people to ‘live without fear of domestic terror and gang violence’? and
                2. One of the inconvenient drawbacks (sarcasm) of basing a country on the notion of individual freedom is that we are asked to live with people with whom we disagree. In exchange for that, we get to live our lives as we like. The obvious caveat is that infringements on each others’ rights are curtailed. Gun ownership does not infringe on anyone’s rights. Assault & murder do, and are already proscribed. You might be presenting a false choice. Respectfully,

          2. Of course if someone takes a poke at you in a bar, you have a right to hit back to keep the jerk off you until the police arrive. That’s a right to self defense. But with guns and no good controls and restrictions, you end up with an arms race. Everyone wants the most guns and the most powerful weapons just in case somebody else attacks them. This has spiraled out of control so that millions are armed to the teeth. The 2nd amendment talks about a well regulated Militia. How can you say Americas 393,347,000 guns constitute a well regulated militia for defense in case the redcoats return? Self defense is a bogus excuse for El Paso and Dayton.

            1. I’ve never argued from the 2nd amendment, although it and the constitution more broadly provide plenty of support for self-defense.

              I’ve merely pointed out that defensive gun use is real and bans or highly restrictive laws would cause real harm. No one is looking to excuse El Paso or Dayton. My original post runs through the arguments.

    1. How bout this for proof of “culture war” and its extremes: the head of an Ohio gun rights group is quoted as saying that gun-regulation advocates “are dancing in the blood”, glad for another shooting so we can get what we want! I didn’t realize we were so monstrous!

  19. The following comment is not directed at the esteemed Professor Coyne, who I respect, admire and read on a daily basis, but instead directed at other lesser quality sources of ‘information’.

    It’s become popular among some sites to point out the violence and/or urban blight in Democratic voting districts and cities. Chicago is one of the more popular targets, perhaps because Obama has a history there.

    I find this disgusting for a few reasons:

    1) They ignore blight and violence in Republican voting districts, which does exist.

    2) The gloating.

    3) It’s divisive, and often thinly vailed racism.

    4) They make it harder for well meaning conservatives to give meaningful critiques.

    It seams to me, because I’ve made this exact mistake, that certain intellectuals could be lumped in as a bigot with these other clowns.

    I’ve been reading a fair amount of the ‘Never-Trump’ crowd recently. I enjoy them more then the anti-Trump left.

    More then a few of them might point out the fact that black-on-black violence is a bigger problem in the African-American community then cop killings, particularly white cop on black citizen killings.

    Well, I don’t want to say to much. I look forward to feed back, if any.

    PS, David Frum made a good point in that when we wanted to reduce drunk driving we increased the penalties for drunk driving with out analyzing the causes of alcoholism. The same should hold for gun laws. We don’t need to know all the whys and therefores, just make guns harder to get.

    1. I really appreciated a story from David Frum, who is (was?) himself a major NY real estate developer. Frum said Trump is not even in the top 20 developers, and is laughed at by the others.

      However, the drunk driving analogy is all wrong for your purpose. You don’t take away cars or make them harder to get because some people get drunk before driving them. This taking and restricting falls only on offenders, who have had due process.

    2. I don’t think you can address complicated problems without thorough understanding of exactly what the details of the problem are.

      In gun violence, the truth is that gun violence state averages are skewed by the fact that a huge proportion occurs in certain large cities, and in those cities, it is often centered on certain neighborhoods. In those neighborhoods, the violence is often centered on certain blocks, and the victims and perpetrators are usually linked by gang association, or are innocent people caught in the literal crossfire of gang violence.

      It is not racism, it is just data.

    3. Robert Van Orden: there is no equivalence between “increas[ing] the penalties for drunk driving” and “just mak[ing] guns harder to get.”

      Whatever one’s thoughts about violence, gun or otherwise, that’s just a non sequitur.

      The equivalent of increasing the penalties for drunk driving would be increasing the penalties for criminal firearms use. (Kind of pointless when the perpetrator has already decided that he’s going to be shot to death by police, or other armed citizens, but that doesn’t change the problem with your analogy.) The equivalent of making guns harder to get would be making cars (or alcohol, or both) harder to get. And somehow I don’t think that that’s what you’re proposing.

    4. Yes, I agree that some people will misuse facts to support noxious views. We should be careful and measured in our own interpretations and language to help minimize that, forcefully reject the ideas of people who would misuse them for derogatory purposes, yet have the courage to follow the data wherever it leads. This is possible, but increasingly difficult as the warring tribes have less and less interest in reconciling disagreements and greater interest in caricaturing and demonizing the other.

    5. Thank you to those that replied. I learn more when I engage.

      I believe fewer guns should equate to fewer gun deaths. I don’t have data to support.

      For the record, I’ve never touched a firearm and I intend to keep it that way. I’m safer that way. I have seen data to that effect, but I can’t be arsed to link it. It doesn’t matter. I’ll never carry, I hope.

      As an aside, how does Coyne produce so much content? Quality content, too. It took me near 20 minutes to produce this mediocre comment.

  20. Why is it that, when wailing about the mass-murders of this last week, most pundits concentrate on the fact that these killings were done with guns, and totally forget the mass slaughter done at the Boston Marathon awhile back — with homemade bombs? Why does nobody remember that the worst school-massacre in US history was done in 1927 in the town of Bath, Michigan — with bombs? Look at mass murders elsewhere in the world, and it’s bombs — not guns — that do the most, and most indiscriminate, killing. Why is this fact constantly forgotten?

  21. Second-grade spelling bee:

    Teacher: “Okay, Timmy, the word is ‘Kevlar.'”

    Timmy: “K-e-v-l-a-r.”

    Teacher: “Sorry, Timmy, you forgot to say ‘Capital K.'”

  22. Dang, blame it on weak attention span, engineering background, or just severe intolerance for generic BS, but I halted after the first para. The last sentence, to be exact. “That is, of all homicides in which the cause could be ascertained, 93% involved guns.”
    I pondered for a bit, checked the numbers on the referenced article, checked the FBI UCR, checked the census estimates and kept herking at that hairball.
    Technically, if there were 10 thousand “unknown” or a million “unknown”, the sentence is still the same – and still meaningless.

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