Mr Obama Goes to Chick-Fil-A

So, did Mr Obama use the Colorado shooting to set the stage for policy changes:

Every day, in fact, every day and a half, the number of young people we lose to violence is about the same as the number of people we lost in that movie theater. For every Columbine or Virginia Tech, there are dozens gunned down on the streets of Chicago and Atlanta, here in New Orleans. For every Tucson or Aurora, there’s daily heartbreak over young Americans shot in Milwaukee or Cleveland.

Hmm. Which policy? Restrict guns or reinforce traditional marriage? Which is more likely a root cause, restrictions on guns or broken families and single/absent parents? The latter is more likely the cause, the former the more likely policy in mind.

Smart guy, our President … or not.

30 Responses to Mr Obama Goes to Chick-Fil-A

  1. You are assigned the task of having to walk through the worst city in a particular state at midnight totally on foot, totally unarmed. Which of the following policies would make you feel less anxious about this:

    1. Knowing that the state has a rigerous stop and frisk policy as well as a policy that tracks known gang members and prohibits them from carrying guns including strict background checks at gun stores and tough sentences for probation violations w/guns as well as serious tracking of ‘straw purchasers’ and gun runners.

    2. Knowing that a state has none of these, but plenty of Chick-Fil-A’s which refuse same sex marriage benefits.

  2. Boonton,
    Logic evaporated in your vicinity yesterday. Apparently you think fixing the inner city violence problem hinges on getting Chick-Fil-A onsite. Explain that.

  3. Actually if you read my question carefully, you’d probably guess #1, which has nothing to do with Chick-Fil-A’s is more likely to produce a less violent city.

    More problematically for you, the link between ‘inner city’ violence and marriage doesn’t appear to be that strong. Inner city violence rates have been trending down for the last two decades. Have the inner cities been blooming with renewed traditional marriage?

  4. LOL WTF. Are you serious?

  5. JA,
    I have no clue at what you might be outraged about. Give me a hint.

  6. LOL = outrage?

  7. Boonton,
    WTF … seems more in line with outrage … But that’s irrelevant. I have no idea what Mr JA is talking about. He left no clue.

  8. Well to answer your question absent all other alternatives, restricting guns would work better on inner city violence than ‘reinforcing marriage’.

    1. Textbook example, NYC, which has a massive ‘stop and frisk’ policy to get guns off the street and now enjoys an exceptionally low murder rate, esp. compared to several decades ago.

    2. ‘Reinforcing marriage’ is a weasel phrase because it is almost totally meaningless.

    Notice the types of studies that are almost always used to make the case you’re trying to make. Population A has a higher rate of marriage than Population B and Population A has less crime, drugs, depression, unemployment, whatnot than Population B.

    That may sound like an insight but it’s not. The question is can you make Population B look like Population A in terms of marriage rates? None of these studies look at whether this is feasible via policies either extreme or mild. If you do will the factor you’re interesting in (violence, say) see its rate change to mirror that of Population A?

    The linkeage to violent outcomes is removed and indirect in a way it is not with guns. A criminal doing a robbery with a gun is more dangerous than one with a knife, logically guns are desired because they are better at doing violence than other means. Should a criminal be denied access to a gun, he will on average be less violent.

    Now of course that’s not looking at the whole picture. I’d rather all the muggers in a city carry knives instead of guns, but that hardly makes the life of a mugger a good one if he’s not using a gun. Some policies that might promote marriage, like an income policy for low skilled workers to be able to make a decent lifestyle if they ‘play by the rules’, or counseling for troubled marriages with children, might also improve the life of a mugger in such a way that he drops crime altogether. But the impact is much less direct, and that goes for favorite liberal policies as well. Good schools, afterschool programs, summer jobs programs etc. might be good in themselves, but if a city was suffering a wave of mugging the most effecient way to control it would be direct police action.

  9. Boonton,
    Today the Chicago Tribune had an front page article about the mayor’s choices (Mr Emmanuel). He promised to put 1,000 cops on the streets on patrols. He did that not by hiring new policemen but by transferring them from tasks forces (like working with gangs). Now we’ve got a murder rate increase which they (the Trib) ties to the choice he made.

    ‘Reinforcing marriage’ is a weasel phrase because it is almost totally meaningless.

    Well, social welfare and divorce law programs enacted by well meaning liberals destroyed the nuclear family in the inner city. Apparently you can’t see that as connected with inner city lack of education and violence. The inability to see that connection is your weaseling, not mine.

    “Some policies might promote marriage” … like you have to be married and seeking jobs to get welfare?

    “or counseling for troubled marriages with children” … LOL WTF (heh).

  10. Boonton,

    Textbook example, NYC, which has a massive ‘stop and frisk’ policy to get guns off the street and now enjoys an exceptionally low murder rate, esp. compared to several decades ago.

    Irrelevant. That has nothing to do with licensing and obtaining legal firearms (or getting licensed for concealed carry).

  11. Today the Chicago Tribune had an front page article about the mayor’s choices… Now we’ve got a murder rate increase which they (the Trib) ties to the choice he made.

    One would think a self-proclaimed mathematician would actually pay attention to numbers rather than let the media do it for him.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Chicago

    Homicides in 2011 440

    Back in 2000 it was 628, in 1990 it was 851.

    As of June 27 there’s been 240 people killed in chicago. Assuming the same amount are killed in the 2nd half of the year as the first half, that would give you 480 for the entire year. In other words, you’re talking about noise for a variable that has been going up and down by nearly 100 for many years.

    As for whether or not the change in policies are a factor, I’d ask have the actual homicides been examined? For example, have gang related homicides gone up (or homicides among gangs monitored by said tasks forces)? If not then it becomes less plausible to believe leaving more cops on gang related task forces would have altered the course of 2012.

    Well, social welfare and divorce law programs enacted by well meaning liberals destroyed the nuclear family in the inner city. Apparently you can’t see that as connected with inner city lack of education and violence.

    Yawn, welfare has been over nearly 20 years now. I guess you didn’t get the memo about the reforms put in place back in the days of Clinton. As for divorce, I’m not clear why easy or hard divorce laws would impact the actual marriage rate. The inner city nuclear family isn’t rare because many families go through divorce, it’s rare because few marry to begin with.

    And you still continue to dodge the issue that the data doesn’t confirm your little story. For example, note not the rates of illegitimacy but the slope of the lines:

    http://childtrendsdatabank.org/figures/75-Figure-1.gif

    Notice that the slopes appear to roughly the same for non-hispanic whites as for blacks. This is a problem for your narrative because the increase in welfare programs of the late 60’s should have impacted blacks more than whites. If welfare programs make it easier for those in poverty to have illegitimate children, then you’ll see faster rates of increase among populations with higher poverty levels than those with less. Both being the same indicates something over than welfare programs is driving the metric.

    “Some policies might promote marriage” … like you have to be married and seeking jobs to get welfare?

    I would say an excellent policy, for diminishing the statistical advantage marriage has over non-marriage. Also leaves quite a few questions unanswered.

    Guns again
    Irrelevant. That has nothing to do with licensing and obtaining legal firearms (or getting licensed for concealed carry).

    Your irrelevant is irrelevant. You asked why Mr. Obama was talking about gun and crime policy in response to inner city violence rather than marriage rates. By your own standard, someone advocating licensing and legal concealed carry as a solution is missing the point just as badly.

  12. Boonton,

    One would think a self-proclaimed mathematician would actually pay attention to numbers rather than let the media do it for him.

    Then why do you compare 2011 to 200? The article is comaparing 2012 to recent years … not to decades prior. But even so, if you open up that can of worms. What do you supposed happened in the early 60? Hmm?

    I guess you didn’t get the memo about the reforms put in place back in the days of Clinton.

    Yah, and perhaps it had an effect (see prior graph). No new gun laws, but that graph bent down. Guess you’ll be backtracking all the gun nonsense now.

    You asked why Mr. Obama was talking about gun and crime policy in response to inner city violence rather than marriage rates

    Odd then that Black politicians (like Obama) see getting away from the single parent families as a key issue to raising the inner city families out of poverty and reducing crime. Yet you disagree. Put your desire to win argument aside. You’re barking up the wrong tree on this one.

  13. Boonton,
    You touted the movie “Gangs of New York” some time ago. Was the violence in that time a social problem or a guns problem? “Gun control laws” were the obvious fix there, eh?

  14. Then why do you compare 2011 to 200? The article is comaparing 2012 to recent years … not to decades prior.

    You’re assuming the # of homicides in Chicago is a constant that doesn’t change unless an outside force acts? It seems more resonable to assume the # of homicides is a rather random variable that will oscilliate around some mean unless some underlying dynamic changes.

    The other reason to look at the last ten years is possibly regression to the mean. The homicide rate in Chicago cannot become either zero or negative. After falling so far, the odds of a ‘bounce back’ go up. Note that even if the final 2012 # comes in at 480, notice what 2007-8 looked like. 2007 was 442, but then 2008 shot up to 510. So you’re telling me 2011 was back down to 2007’s level. OK so what?

    What do you supposed happened in the early 60? Hmm?

    Not much, you might have forgotten that the bulk of the Great Society came at the end of the 60’s, probably wasn’t even really ‘felt’ by society until the 70s, yet the bulk of the increase in Chicago’s murder rate was the early to mid 60’s. If illegitimacy is your driver then you’re even more off base, unless you think babies came out of the womb shooting people, you’d need a good 15-20 year lag to account for illegitimate welfare baby boomers to get old enough to start causing mayham.

    You touted the movie “Gangs of New York” some time ago. Was the violence in that time a social problem or a guns problem? “Gun control laws” were the obvious fix there, eh?

    Why do you think there’s a single ‘fix’ that applies to all times and all places?

  15. Boonton,
    Let’s see, you credit New York’s “stop and search” for reducing the gun violence in the city. So, presumably if you stopped doing that and it went up, then you’d figure there might be a connection. Yet when Chicago stops their anti-gang measures … it isn’t … instead it’s “a rather random variable”. You’re own arguments aren’t consistent internally.

    The Trib article was about consequences and Mr Emmanuel’s choices which had unintended consequence. He pulls 1k cops from gang observation in response for a call to have more police elsewhere … and the consequences was noted. He decides to increase the school hours to solve one demand and is now dealing with salary demands from teachers unions.

    Not much

    Huh? Not much happened in the early 60s in Chicago? Hello? Race riots anyone?

    Why do you think there’s a single ‘fix’ that applies to all times and all places?

    Because studies have showed that availability of legal guns is uncorrelated with increased crime (contra those who oppose guns and those who support them (who think that they reduce crime)). Changes in gun violence and crime are correlated with changes in society and enforcement.

  16. Boonton,
    And (I’m guessing I shouldn’t stop there) changes in society have been effected before. The 60s divorce + Great Society changes (welfare) did in fact destroy the inner city nuclear family. That change is seen today. This was a time when laws enacted did in fact move culture. Presumably other changes can be made which will help to restore it … but none that you want to discuss. You won’t even admit the possibility it seems.

  17. Let’s see, you credit New York’s “stop and search” for reducing the gun violence in the city. So, presumably if you stopped doing that and it went up, then you’d figure there might be a connection.

    Well I’d say more data would be needed. NY’s stop and search is concentrated in a handful of neighborhoods so if the increase in gun crime happened in other neighborhoods then I’d be skeptical that you could blame ceasing stop and search based on that.

    Regardless, though, if you’re going to be objective about this then you have to define some threshold below which you’re not going to be able to attribute an explanation. For example, if over 3 years Chicagos homicides are 411, 412, 410 are yougoing to sit there and tell us that policy X was responsible for the increase in year 2 and policy y for the decline in year 3? Or would it be more reasonable to say that you’re not going to ever be able to explain the cause of that variation. If, however, you go from 411 to 822, I would say that would merit some effort to explain.

    But here’s a slightly different theory, weather. Notice the monthly graph of Baltimore’s murders on http://yuppietrash.blogspot.com/2011/01/baltimore-murder-charts-year-end-2010.html

    It does seem like there’s more murders in May, June, July and August. For Northern cities that makes a bit of sense….when the weather gets warmer people hang out on the streets more, they also drink more which increases the chances of confrontations. So if you have an early summer you might see a jump in homicides earlier in the year. This is the perial of looking at year over year numbers and demanding explanations.

    The Trib article was about consequences and Mr Emmanuel’s choices which had unintended consequence. He pulls 1k cops from gang observation in response for a call to have more police elsewhere …

    It is a common problem of perception to get fooled into thinking that just because an explanation sounds plausible that establishes it as reality. Do you even have a breakdown of types of homicide in chicago this year versus last year? If not then how do you know more ‘gang observation’ would have kept the homicide rate constant?

    Huh? Not much happened in the early 60s in Chicago? Hello? Race riots anyone?

    Your graph shows a steep rise in Chicago murders that began in 62-70 and since then it has never fallen back down. The problem with your explanation; liberal welfare destroying traditional marriage in the cities, is that it doesn’t fit the time period. The 60’s should have been low then with the crime creeping up in the early 70’s with the real steep climb perhaps being around 1980.

    You’ve fallen into the myth that the 60’s was the era of hippies and Austin Powers etc. To be honest that was mostly the early 70’s. The 60’s for most people looked more like the Brady Bunch than Woodstock.

    Because studies have showed that availability of legal guns is uncorrelated with increased crime

    How does this answer my question?

    “Why do you think there’s a single ‘fix’ that applies to all times and all places?”

    The 60s divorce + Great Society changes (welfare) did in fact destroy the inner city nuclear family. That change is seen today. This was a time when laws enacted did in fact move culture.

    By having your own evidence cut against your hypothesis you think simply asserting it more forcefully counts as evidence in itself. As Christopher Hitchens once said, that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

  18. Let’s explore the contrast between your statement and my question a bit more:

    Because studies have showed that availability of legal guns is uncorrelated with increased crime

    “Why do you think there’s a single ‘fix’ that applies to all times and all places?”

    An analogy I was thinking about driving this morning was the # of auto fatalities in a year. This is clearly a number that has a lot of different factors influencing it. Just to think of a few, how many people drive drunk, how people drive, how cars are designed, how highways and roads are designed, how many hospitals are around and first responders so crashes can be addressed quickly to minimize the odds of death etc.

    In the last 20 years or so our society has really gone ballistic on drunk driving and that has probably resulted in quite a few lives saved. Nice.

    But imagine an alternative hihstory where the crusade against DWI didn’t happen. In this society we are still just like Mad Men where while DWI is techincally illegal it’s not all that strange for people to ‘have one for the road’…hell even drive with a glass of scotch in their hand!

    All things being equal, this alternative society probable sees more auto fatalities each year. But suppose they aren’t. Suppose they put much more investment into all the other factors than we have. Say they have cars that automatically disengage the gas pedal if they pick up speeding. Say their cars have exterior air bags that blunt the impact of a crazy driver ramming into another car. Say their cars won’t start unless all passengers have seat belts. They make it so that even if the cars look ugly, it’s almost impossible for them to get into a high speed crash and any crash they do get into will result in minimal damage to human life. In such a world they may have just as many or even fewer fatalities as we have.

    So from this limited sample of just two cases, you might conclude that drunk driving has no correlation to auto fatalities therefore the entire campaign against drunk driving was misguided and wasteful.

    So we have NYC which probably is at one extreme in gun control and has witnessed a drop in crime steeper than any other American city and enjoys a lower rate of crime than just about any large Southern city of somewhat comparable size that embraced the whole ‘conceal carry’ meme. This would seem to belie your ‘no correlation’ hypothesis. Now perhaps like my hypthetical NYC is doing other things to offset their gun policy which may be either ineffective or even harmful. But bad news for you, NYC is on what you’d consider the wrong side of almost all other factors you’d say matters. They have more SSM, more welfare, more liberal orientated social policies than just about any comparable right wing city you can think of. So either you’re wrong on gun control or wrong on marriage policies being the key to social dysfunction. Take your pick, you can have both here if you want!

  19. Boonton,
    Except one problem NYC’s policy of “stop and search” is not gun control, per se. It’s enforcement of gun control. They aren’t stopping people and taking their guns randomly. They’re searching and removing guns (and likely arresting those individuals) with illegal guns.

    Take your pick, you can have both here if you want!

    Actually no. Are children of single parent homes more likely or less likely to be in poverty, on drugs, in gangs, and in trouble (violent and otherwise) with the law? Yes. You know that. I know that. We’re not actually disputing that. Apparently however, noticing that and acknowledging that as a root cause of inner city violence, poverty and the like (for white Democrats) is hard to do. Go for it. I’m rooting for you. Admit it. Once you’ve made that leap, your whole argument collapses (which is possibly (apparently?) why you won’t go there today).

    Both of your car examples depend on notions that law can influence behavior and, oddly enough, those factors I noted earlier who influence public opinion, i.e., politicians, religious leaders, academics, &c. Is that car thing an argument for or against your notion that Mr Obama has a choice of root causes, being guns or inner city culture/single family homes/and so on? Hmmm?

  20. I’m not going to touch your first paragraph much. NYC both has pretty strict gun laws and enforces those laws pretty strictly. If you need any confirmation just go over to the NRA and research what a regular person in NYC has to do in order to legally carry a concealed weapon and compare that to other states deemed more gun friendly.

    Are children of single parent homes more likely or less likely to be in poverty, on drugs, in gangs, and in trouble (violent and otherwise) with the law?

    Without pulling up the data I’d say more, but you seem to have forgotten correlation versus causation. And the problem is not my argument but your lack of data.

    You’ve alleged two causation relationships here:

    Breakdown of traditional family -> crime

    Liberals (or their policies) – > breakdown of traditional family.

    For some reason, you’ve gotten yourself bogged down in trying to explain what may, in fact, be a non-existant rise in crime in Chicago for the year 2012 relative to 2011. You’ve been intelligent enough to NOT try to claim that there’s some noticeable difference between Chicago families of 2011 and the first half of 2012. But at your urging I’ve looked at the data and we’ve seen a downward trend of violence in Chicago that’s been going on for at least ten years.

    So looking at your first alleged causation, I’ll have to ask is it your belief that the traditional family has mounted some type of comeback over the last ten years in Chicago? Has Chicago implemented some aggressive set of policies to boost traditional families over the last ten years? If not then that doesn’t help your first suspected causation.

    Next suspected causation also doesn’t stand up to the data. If the expansion of welfare caused the breakdown, then why do we see demographic groups that utilize welfare at lower rates (whites) increasing illegitimacy at about the same rate as those that utilize welfare more intensley? Why does the increase not coincide with the actual increase in welfare in the late 60’s and 70’s but happen before? Why has the reform of welfare not resulted in any noticeable change in illegitimacy rates?

    You’ve gotten yourself trapped in a classic case of perception bias, the narrative bias. You have heard a good story that makes sense and sounds coherent but that is not evidence that it is true.

    The right has, back in the days when they cared a bit more about reality, tried to reconcile that. You may recall back in ’88 they tried to recast the narrative as a top down one….the lower classes started having babies out of wedlock because they were trying to copy the behavior of elite upper class role models (who were usually liberal) like Murphey Brown. This narrative, though, didn’t have a long shelf life because it wasn’t too long before people started noticing Republican elites did just as good a job engaging in questionable sexual behavior as Democrats.

    Both of your car examples depend on notions that law can influence behavior …

    Actually the car example cited engineering. In the alternative universe cars and roads were just made differently. I didn’t say why, perhaps they passed laws requiring it or perhaps their markets just have a different dynamic (say insurance companies are more powerful, people are more influenced by safety reviews of cars rather than reviews based on their style and performance). The point is, let’s say some variable of interest to you is given by the following:

    Y = f(x1,x2,x3,x4,…xn)

    Y, which could be crime, illegitimacy, homicides, or auto crashes, is a function of various independent variables starting with X1 and going to Xn. Notice I simply assert its a function, I don’t give an equation, I don’t explain whether increasing or decreasing the variables will cause Y to increase or decrease.

    I tell you two populations, Red and Blue have different Y’s

    Yred > Yblue

    I also tell you X1 of red is higher than X1 of blue.

    If X1 was the only variable that impacted Y, then the relationship is easy….add more X1 and you’ll get more Y. Want less Y then decrease X1.

    But if that is not the only variable then you can say nothing about the relationship. X1 might, in fact, cause Y to decrease but Red has more because its other variables offset the impact of higher X1.

  21. Notice I can play the narrative game too.

    Take the right wing narrative:

    Breakdown of traditional family -> crime

    Liberals (or their policies) – > breakdown of traditional family.

    and just flip the causation:

    Crime -> breakdown of traditional family

    breakdown of traditional family -> liberal policies

    The first new causation makes more narrative sense. Consider some classic film stories like The Godfather II, Goodfellas, or even Holy Rollers (not saying its a classic). In all those stories it’s not the traditional family that fails leading the person to crime, the person is seduced by crime and it ends up destroying the traditional family. In the Godfather, for example, Michael spends the entire epic unable to contemplate why his family implodes on him while he consolidates the power of his crime family. We see, from his father’s history, that the dons who maintained successful families did so by holding back the crime element. The more real life stories make the causation more clear. Henry Hill’s family and marriage were ultimately undone by his success as a criminal. In Holy Rollers, the lead character’s acceptance and potential marriage in the Hasidic community gets derailed by his success smuggling ecstasy. In fact this narrative is much, much more common than the opposite…..person’s family falls apart and that results in him becoming a criminal.

    Likewise the second causation works just as well as a narrative. It would explain, for example, why the increase in welfare in the late 60’s and 70’s came *after* the family started breaking rather than before. It positions liberals are responding to a crises rather than causing one. The narrative game cuts both ways so you should be careful.

  22. Boonton,

    I’m not going to touch your first paragraph much. NYC both has pretty strict gun laws and enforces those laws pretty strictly. If you need any confirmation just go over to the NRA and research what a regular person in NYC has to do in order to legally carry a concealed weapon and compare that to other states deemed more gun friendly.

    I’m in Illinois. NYC is gun friendly by comparison. Chicago had allowed no guns at all until the courts realized that was illegal. You’re on this thing where you think guns are the primary problem, yet you also state that Chicago has had a decades long decrease in gun violence (with a possible uptick in the second quarter of this year as noted by the local papers), but this law was rescinded just a few years ago. A problem for you then is to explain the decrease in the face of relaxing gun laws … if in fact you (really) believe that legal guns are the problem.

    My point on NYC is that “stop and search” is not going to take a gun from a gal carrying a .38 snub nose in her purse with a license for concealed carry.

    If the expansion of welfare caused the breakdown, then why do we see demographic groups that utilize welfare at lower rates (whites) increasing illegitimacy at about the same rate as those that utilize welfare more intensley?

    Because the breakdown of family doesn’t affect those with houses and savings the same way as it does those without.

    You’ve gotten yourself trapped in a classic case of perception bias, the narrative bias. You have heard a good story that makes sense and sounds coherent but that is not evidence that it is true.

    Yes you have.

    Actually the car example cited engineering.

    I see. And in a real universe (like ours), e.g., seat belts and air bags, have been driven in the main by regulation and fear of lawsuits. We call these things “laws”.

    Likewise the second causation works just as well as a narrative. It would explain, for example, why the increase in welfare in the late 60′s and 70′s came *after* the family started breaking rather than before. It positions liberals are responding to a crises rather than causing one. The narrative game cuts both ways so you should be careful.

    You’re hunting a straw man. I’m not saying that law/policy drives culture. I’m saying its a two way street, law/policy influence culture and culture influences law/policy. Works both ways. But law/policy can influence culture and practice. However, what I am holding to is that legal guns are not the problem in inner city violence. Criminals normally aren’t getting their guns through legal channels. You can (even in Illinois) get licensed and own a machine gun. The inner city gangs using Uzis aren’t doing that. And you knew that … but hey, it doesn’t fit your narrative, so let’s keep running with it. Kinda like the let’s restrict/remove “100 round magazine” narrative going on in the press right now … when normal 1911 .45 in the hands of a practiced shooter can put 100 rounds downrange in less than a minute and the Aurora shooter did not have such a magazine had nothing at all like that (and let’s not even mention those pundits on the left talking about mythical 100 round mags for shotguns).

  23. I don’t think anything of value is to be gained by looking at whose more gun controlly, NYC or Chicago. For all pratical purposes NYC does not have legal guns carried by non-cops.

    I never said that guns are the primary problem, in fact I laid out quite clearly multiple times that complex problems do not usually yield a single solution.

    My point on NYC is that “stop and search” is not going to take a gun from a gal carrying a .38 snub nose in her purse with a license for concealed carry.

    Such a gal is unlikely to get a license unless she is a private security guard, bodyguard, or transports large amounts of money.

    Because the breakdown of family doesn’t affect those with houses and savings the same way as it does those without.

    You’re missing it. You are trying to say increasing welfare caused family breakdown. OK then the record should show higher *increases* in illegitimacy in those groups that have more welfare use then those that have less. Instead we see that both groups started increasing illegitimacy at the same rate and same time. Blacks are higher because they started from a higher baseline to begin with.

    That plus the fact that increase began *before* the expansion of welfare makes your causality claim problematic.

    I see. And in a real universe (like ours), e.g., seat belts and air bags, have been driven in the main by regulation and fear of lawsuits. We call these things “laws”.

    And higher end cars do not have added air bags and other safety measures that are not strictly required by regulation? No one would ever want to buy a car based on its safety features?

    Criminals normally aren’t getting their guns through legal channels. You can (even in Illinois) get licensed and own a machine gun. The inner city gangs using Uzis aren’t doing that.

    How many murders in Chicago were done by gang members blasting uzis this year? Talk about mistaking narrative for reality.

    But there is a relationship between legal channels and illegal ones. Easy availability in one boosts ownership in the other. There’s a reason why many illegal guns in NYC trace themselves back to ‘straw purchasers’ in places like Virginia rather than legal purchasers from NYC….which is where you’d think it would be easier to set up a system for getting guns to an illegal market.

  24. Boonton,

    I never said that guns are the primary problem, in fact I laid out quite clearly multiple times that complex problems do not usually yield a single solution.

    Never mind then, you’re going with “plan B” for Mr Obama, i.e., not guns.

    Such a gal is unlikely to get a license unless she is a private security guard, bodyguard, or transports large amounts of money.

    Looking more carefully, that seems to be the case. So … soon (apparently) New York City is about to be hit by Federal laws requiring concealed carry reciprocity. When that occurs do you expect an uptick in gun violence or not?

    You are trying to say increasing welfare caused family breakdown.

    Replace “caused” with “contributed to” and we’ll have a real basis for discussion.

    That plus the fact that increase began *before* the expansion of welfare makes your causality claim problematic.

    Nope.

    No one would ever want to buy a car based on its safety features?

    I think you’ll find that’s rarely the primary consideration. Are you saying belts and bags are not influence by regulations and seat belt laws?

    BTW, googling “Chicago’s South and West Sides have experienced a 50% surge in gun related homicides” … which even if statistically insignificant in your eyes certainly hasn’t been politically insignificant. That “summer” boost has been larger than normal this year.

    Googling, it looks like most gang guns are stolen. A small minority of them are the unusual ones (either automatic or accurate).

    There’s a reason why many illegal guns in NYC trace themselves back to ‘straw purchasers’ in places like Virginia …

    And … what conclusion do you draw from that?

  25. Looking more carefully, that seems to be the case. So … soon (apparently) New York City is about to be hit by Federal laws requiring concealed carry reciprocity.

    Unlikely, reciprocity depends on the state agreeing to honor another state’s carry laws. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concealed_carry_in_the_United_States#Reciprocity) NY is unlikely to do that any time soon and I doubt any such bill would ever clear the Senate. At most you may have a limited right of out of state residents with conceal carry permits the right to travel through NYC with their weapons for purposes of transport. In NJ, I believe, you only have the right to bring the gun to your house. You have to go directly to your house, the gun must be carried in the trunk of the car in a hard case, unloaded. Even if your’re toting a concealed carry permit from Texas or Florida, you can’t make side trips or wander down the street packing it in NJ.

    Replace “caused” with “contributed to” and we’ll have a real basis for discussion.

    Except we’ll have to replace this statement of yours as well:

    “Well, social welfare and divorce law programs enacted by well meaning liberals destroyed the nuclear family in the inner city.”

    By retreating from a claim of causality to a wimpy one of ‘contributed to’ you end up ditching any credibility here. ‘Contributed to’ ends up being meaningless as it’s rhetorically designed to be totally immune to refutation. I could just as easily say sun spots contributed to some family breakups. Whose to prove me wrong?

    Car safety

    I think you’ll find that’s rarely the primary consideration. Are you saying belts and bags are not influence by regulations and seat belt laws?

    I recall a previous boss opting to buy a high end Lexus because he liked the safety features as he figured in a few years he would give it to his son as his first car and he assumed it was a given that you will end up in a car accident when you start driving.

    Cars certainly do often go beyond the bare min. required by regulation in terms of safety in order to appeal to consumers. Granted seat belts are required….yet if that regulation was dropped I’d be surprised if any auto maker started selling models without them. Air bags, you might recall, were introduced as an optional item in cars and were not originally required. Even today some cars go well beyond what is required in terms of air bags. Not sure why you feel its important to nitpick my hypothetical, but you’re not getting very far it seems.

    BTW, googling “Chicago’s South and West Sides have experienced a 50% surge in gun related homicides” … which even if statistically insignificant in your eyes certainly hasn’t been politically insignificant. That “summer” boost has been larger than normal this year.

    well if you go home and kill your wife tonight your household will experience a stunningly high increase in homicides, which I hope would be quite unprecedented as I’d imagine very few homicides typically happen in your house each year. Yet as dramatic and bad as that would be, it would hardly be earth shattering news in a nation of over a quarter billion people. You can always generate a headline by playing with baselines and by making your baseline very small (just the southside, just block 123, just Mark’s house) you can make percentages sound even more dramatic. Whether it’s politically significant or not is irrelevant to the question of whether it should be.

    One would have to return to the same questions, what does gun crime look like in just the South side for the last few years? What has been its standard deviation? It may or may not be unusual to see it jumping up and down dramatically by 50% or even more from year to year.

    Googling, it looks like most gang guns are stolen. A small minority of them are the unusual ones (either automatic or accurate).

    Stolen from whom and how? Certainly if very few law abiding citizens own guns its going to be rather tricky to steal them for a gang member. If large amounts of guns are really stolen from law abiding people every year, that would certainly call into question your claim about guns preventing crime.

    More reasonably, I suspect you’re seeing two factors. One is that straw buyers, when a gun used in a crime is traced back to them, will probably prefer to claim that the gun was lost or stolen long ago rather than discuss their involvement in selling guns to the black market. The other is that when a gun does enter the black market and begins to be carried by gangs and others, they probably change hands quite a few times with more than a few hand changes being caused by theft.

  26. Boonton,
    No.

    Unlikely, reciprocity depends on the state agreeing to honor another state’s carry laws.

    Not what I was talking about. New federal legislation under consideration (HR 822, S 2231, and S 2188) are all federal bills which would establish that any state that allows concealed carry must allow the license/carry for people allowed/licensed to carry in other states. New Jersey may have the same anti-women’s rights laws as Illinois regarding concealed carry.

    Let me back up a bit. What do you think is the tall pole in the tent regarding inner city crime (“tall pole”-> the thing holding matters up)? What is the root cause/primary issue for the inner city violence touted originally by Mr Obama? Guns or other social factors?

  27. Not what I was talking about. New federal legislation under consideration…

    Not going anywhere and is probably unconstitutional.

    Let me back up a bit. What do you think is the tall pole in the tent regarding inner city crime (“tall pole”-> the thing holding matters up)? What is the root cause/primary issue for the inner city violence touted originally by Mr Obama? Guns or other social factors?

    Social factors? That’s like everything besides guns isn’t it? (OK I suppose sun spots wouldn’t be included). If say of the 100 top factors, none amounted to even 1%, there would be no single factor that you could call the tall pole.

    I’ll turn the question around on you, what is the tall pole? It certainly isn’t SSM or gay rights (explain NYC versus, say, Dallas). It certainly isn’t illegitimacy (again explain NYC versus other cities). Nor is it welfare or Democratic versus Republican mayors, governors, etc.

  28. So out of curiousity I figured I’d dive a bit more into Chicago homicides 2011 vs 2012 to see what I could flush out. http://homicides.redeyechicago.com/date/2012/1/ let’s you download stats to Excel. I factored out homicides in 2011/12 that were caused by auto crashes and falling out of a building and get the following:

    Month 2012 2011 %
    Jan 38 27 141%
    Feb 28 25 152%
    Mar 50 22 173%
    Apr 41 30 127%
    May 51 37 103%
    Jun 47 44 86%
    Jul 48 54 70%

    Chicago seemes like it started the year with a homicide spree that has now become a homicide decline. But the year to date figure, because of the extra homicides at the beginning of the year, will show more homicides year to date.

    I figured it would be interesting to test my weather hypothesis by putting the # of hot days in each month for each year. But it’s harder to get that data than one would think. Instead, though, I found this interesting table on
    http://climateillinois.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/southern-illinois-tale-of-extreme-back-to-back-years/

    Chicago has been exceptionally dry from March to June compared to 2011. This is probably almost as good. Gets warmer earlier in the year (and non-rainy days are usually warmer days…cept for the dead of winter). People hang out in the streets when the weather is warm. People hanging out means more chances of confrontation which means more crime.

    Your alternative hypothesis of cops not watching gangs as closely may or may not work. Sadly the data doesn’t break the homicides down by motive much. I’ll email you the spreadsheet if you want.

  29. Boonton
    Hmm, now … the paper was reporting that most of the killings were in a small area (Englewood I think) a 20×20 block section of Chicago. How then to fit your warm weather hypothesis with localization of the increased killings. Perhaps changes in policing, which is the paper’s hypothesis (not mine), have a bigger effect than you suspect. One other, perhaps unrelated thing, the first two (three?) week’s of January, the number of homicides was 0, but then the Jan increase all came in a bloody final week.

    Interestingly enough this conversation has been fruitful in that I’ve come away with “mental health” as the tall pole in the tent, i.e., the avenue where there is both room for straightforward improvement which would have the biggest impact. So on the question to Obama of gun control vs other factors for urban violence … I’m gonna going with mental health. But we’ll see where he goes. What do you think he will recommend? Gun control? Other urban social improvement? Mental health?

  30. Sorting the 2012 data into a pivot table and selecting only gunshot as the cause of death I’m only seeing 9 out of 266 as coming from Englewood. Austin (21), New City (17) Chicago Lawn and Greater Grand Crossing (13 each) as well as others have more. West Englewood has 10 so if you combine the two you get 19 which is still less than Austin.

    Combining the two Englewood’s together we see:

    Jan 4
    Feb 1
    March 6
    Apr 3
    June 3
    Jul 2

    I think you’re missing the more important issue. The data is actually showing a drop in homicides relative to last year after a spike early in the year. This leads to two possible cases:

    1. Chicago, for some reason, had their ‘normal homicides’ happen earlier in 2012 than normal.

    2. Chicago had a spike in homicides early in the year but the whole year itself will end up lower than 2011. Right now, though, the first half year looks like it’s heavy because of that spike.

    In order for there to be a true increase in homicides for 2011, the downward trend has to reverse itself and turn into a late year spike that’ s sufficient to bring the year in at a higher number than 2011.

    As for the larger trend, you’re still trying to address what has caused Chicago (and many other cities) going from a ‘normal’ of nearly 1,000 homicides per year to a new normal of less than 500 per year?

    It is not ‘normal’ for a large US city like Chicago to have close to zero homicides per year so the ’80-20′ rule would imply that the initial decrease was the result of ‘low hanging fruit’ which implies the remaining homicides are the result of diverse factors with a lot more randomness. This would mean when you get down to the current levels, you’re going to see the data jump around quite erractically. If a jump happens after one particular new policy is enacted, one should avoid the temptation to leap to the conclusion that policy caused the jump.

    As for urban violence in general, which was Obama’s point. Even when the overall level of crime is decreasing, many urban black communities have higher than average crime rates and higher than average victimization rates. I’m not sure you’re going to find any particular ‘tall pole’ in that tent.

    Mental illness is probably a good thing to address (see the David Brooks column I cited). Even though mass killings like the movie theatre ones are relatively rare, a ‘mental health safety net’ that doesn’t have as many holes as ours have may have stopped at least a few of them as well as resolve a lot of much smaller crimes and miseary that is never reported on the national level because it’s viewed as ‘normal’.

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