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Discussion: (63 comments)

  1. Max Planck

    Just great. I know this is the kind of society you aspire to.

    Sick…

    1. Give it a rest, Maxie boy, you’re becoming tiresome.

    2. Ah, no.

      It is the Regressives who aspire to a society where only the bad guys and the State are allowed to own firearms. People who can defend themselves don’t need politicians. Politicians know this, and Regressive politicians especially resent this.

      1. Well said, Brotio.

    3. morganovich

      what sort of society?

      one where manufacturers are free to create products they think might meet a need and consumers are free to buy them (or not) as they like?

      yup, that sounds just terrible. who would want to live in a place like that?

      1. Max has a great deal of trouble with the concept of “voluntary”.

      2. That is the society Maxie Blank hates the most.

  2. Jon Murphy

    It is a shame such things are demanded. But evil will always exist.

    I suppose, in some ways, this is no different then the children of nobles in the Middle Ages through the early 19th Century wearing armor under their clothes to protect against kidnappings and assassinations.

    1. Jon

      How did wearing armor protect children from kidnapping? Did it make them too heavy to carry off? jk

      I’m not sure how much demand there is for bullet-proof children’s clothing, but the manufacturer is hoping there is. Yay free enterprise.

      1. Jon Murphy

        How did wearing armor protect children from kidnapping? Did it make them too heavy to carry off? jk

        Lol I think that was the logic. You’d need a separate horse just to carry the kid. Horses were big money.

      2. I’m not sure how much demand there is for bullet-proof children’s clothing, but the manufacturer is hoping there is. Yay free enterprise“…

        Yes ron h there is much to applaud free enterprise for…

        Something for almost any occassion

  3. Jon Murphy

    I haven’t really said much on this current hot-button issue of control one way or the other, so I’ll say my piece now.

    I apologize, Dr. Perry, for hijacking your post.

    I want to start out by saying that I oppose both the gun-control solution and the NRA solution. I am no friend of the NRA lobby nor the gun control lobby.

    Events like the shootings at Sandy Hook, Aurora, or the Oregon mall are scary. They shake our very foundations. These are not war zones; they are schools, movie theaters, and malls. Places we frequent every day. But these events are also random, which makes them even more terrifying.

    Random events are impossible to predict and damn near impossible to contain. Using data from the FBI and Bradley Center (a gun-control lobby), I looked at violent crime rates in the 50 states and ranked them according to how strong their gun control laws are. The pattern that emerged was randomness. States with strict gun control laws had high instances of violent crime. So did states with weaker gun control laws. States with weak gun control laws had low crime, and so did states with strong gun control laws. There was no rhyme or reason for it; it was random (if anyone would like to see this data, I’d be glad to post some charts).

    So, what does this mean? First, there will be no legislative solution. Gun control laws will not solve anything. Arming teachers will not solve anything. Putting armed cops in schools will not solve anything. Random events will occur regardless of how much planning goes in to stopping them.

    By the way, I highly recommend Nassim Taleb’s book Fooled by Randomness. He does an excellent job explaining how random events can appear to have a pattern, but it is really a false-positive. For that matter, I highly recommend anything by Taleb.

    Right now we are scared. We saw children (7 and 8 year olds) gunned down in cold blood, plus their teachers. Those of you with children or nieces and nephews are afraid that could happen to you. I don’t blame you. But please, do not let your fear control you. Do not let randomness dictate your policies and feed your emotions. Bad things happen when people at out of fear. Remember 9/11? A lot of bad legislation came out of that terrorist act. 1920′s Germany, same thing. 1900 Russia. US Civil War. World War II. So many scary events cause us to panic and do foolish things. Please, for the sake of Humanity, do not let your fear control you. You must control it. Act rationally.

    But back to Sandy Hook and the other killings of late, there is one topic no one will talk about. Gun violence is merely a symptom, not the cause. The problem here is mental health. All three recent shooters had mental issues, either untreated (Sandy Hook) or undiagnosed (Aurora, Oregon). When you look at the mass killings, or even murder in general, the perpetrator is often mentally ill. Look at the Fort Hood shootings. Look at the temple shootings in Wisconsin earlier. Columbine. The list goes on. If we want to protect the innocent, then we need to get the mentally ill people the help they so desperately need. We can’t keep treating them as pariahs.

    Right now, both “solutions” proposed by the opposing sides in this debate are just two sides of the same “police state” coin. Neither solution will a) solve the problem b) increase safety and liberty of the innocent or c) are desirable in a civilized and just nation. I urge you, when discussing this topic, think. Do not become a slave to fear.

    1. morganovich

      jon-

      i think you hit the nail on the head in terms of this just being hysteria, misattribution, and political opportunism.

      worth considering in looking at the data however:

      there are serious problems in using state level data as quite a large portion of gun regulations are county, not state based which leads to large heterogeneity within states and makes them quite fraught as aggregates.

      these guys took a lash at that:

      http://www.catb.org/esr/guns/gunslott.html

      to my mind, the best way to perform such a study would be on the county level around changes in gun policy.

      take the same place and look at 10 years before and after regs were loosened/tightened and see what happens.

      perhaps use nearby or similar counties or aggregates that did not change to provide a control group baseline.

      that sort of study would seem to provide some really meaningful data that i think has been absent.

      you should do it and get it published.

      i suspect you could be quite influential in the policy debate if you did.

      1. Jon Murphy

        Interesting thought, Morganovich. I will be the first to admit my study has problems. The FBI data isn’t purely comparable from year to year. The Bradley ratings are only at the state level.

        Do you know where I could get county level rankings or data on gun laws?

        Right now, I am doing a paper on income inequality in Major League Baseball. Violence patters may be a better use of my time…maybe.

        1. morganovich

          alas, i have no idea where that data can be found.

          might be worth starting the other way. look for counties that have changed gun laws and then see if you can get info on them.

          still not sure how to get a list like that though.

          perhaps this is why such a study has not been done.

          all the more glory for you if you succeed.

        2. Jon

          I’m looking forward to reading your study when it’s published.

          1. Jon Murphy

            Which one? Major League Baseball or gun control?

          2. Both sound interesting, but if I can only have one, I pick gun control.

    2. Jon,

      Have you read John Lott’s book, “More Guns, Less Crime”? I haven’t read it, but I believe he found patterns where you did not.

      1. Jon Murphy

        Ron suggested it to me. I will have to check it out.

    3. I don’t want my grandchildren going to schools that are so dangerous that armed guards are necessary. However, I’ve even more against them having to go to schools where there is a possibility of shooting and no one there to fight back.
      I notice that as always the loudest supporters of gun control are those politicians, actors and the wealthy who are surrounded by armed guards all day. I also notice that airports are protected by armed guards as are sports arenas and banks. Our county government has armed guards at all buildings and metal detectors at the court buildings. Even the local water authority stays locked all the time with 24 hour video surveillance. Even the police have armed guards!
      Aren’t our children as important as the folks down at the DMV or the players at the baseball field? How about the mayors kids? I think we have our priorities screwed up.

      1. At my children’s school, firearms are not only acceptable for teachers to have, but encouraged. All the kids know they are there, yet it doesn’t seem to cause problems. In fact, there are courses available in firearm safety and self-defense.

        As long as my income allows, they will never step foot inside a public school and will continue to attend this fine institution.

  4. Jon Murphy

    Thank you very much. I really appreciate the compliment.

  5. NRA solution“?!?!

    What is that?

    But these events are also random, which makes them even more terrifying“…

    No they’re not…

    Gun Free Zones don’t work

    1. Jon Murphy

      The NRA solution I was referring to was Wayne LaPerrie’s suggestion we put armed cops in every school.

      No they’re not…

      Gun Free Zones don’t work…

      Right, because violent crime is random.

      1. The NRA solution I was referring to was Wayne LaPerrie’s suggestion we put armed cops in every school“…

        OK jon and why isn’t that a good idea?

        After all where Obama sends his kids they have armed cops or whatever there…

        Are the kids at that particular school somehow more valuable than the kids in a school down the street from you?

        Right, because violent crime is random“…

        Really jon, then why has there never been any apparent mass shootings at a gun store?

        Did Colorado shooter single out Cinemark theater because it banned guns?

        1. OK jon and why isn’t that a good idea?

          I’ll pretend to be Jon for a moment, and answer that.

          “Because we don’t wish to live in a police state.”

          After all where Obama sends his kids they have armed cops or whatever there…

          Are the kids at that particular school somehow more valuable than the kids in a school down the street from you?

          No, but their parents can afford the extra security.

          I think Obama’s kids are protected by secret service.

          1. Jon Murphy

            Thanks, Ron. You pretty much captured me there.

            I do oppose LaPerrie’s plan because it is very much like a police state. Putting armed cops (or other authority figures, such as teachers) on every corner would reduce crime. But it also reduces liberty. Nazi Germany, Vlad Dracul’s Wallachia are great examples of this (by the way, I am not calling LaPerrie a Nazi. Just pointing out examples of martial law).

            Did Colorado shooter single out Cinemark theater because it banned guns?

            Maybe he did, but we will never know for sure. But mass killings have also happened in places where guns are plentiful (and often right at hand): Fort Hood, banks, etc.

            Now, just to be clear, I am not arguing, Juandos, that guns do not prevent violence. They may very well (there is some evidence from my study to suggest they might). I just don’t see any hard-core evidence that would suggest guns are particularly good at it. Same as I don’t see any evidence to suggest that gun control is particularly good at preventing violence, either.

          2. Jon Murphy

            As I’ve said before:

            A man who’d trade his liberty for a safe and dreamless sleep
            Doesn’t deserve the both of them, and neither shall he keep.

          3. Because we don’t wish to live in a police state“…

            Go have a few cocktails somewhere tonight ron h and then drive home and see if we don’t live in a police state…:-)

            Actually you brought up something I’ve always wondered about myself, how many parents would feel more comfortable knowing that there were some armed folks on patrol in their kids’ school?

            In the city of St. Louis, Mo I’ve been told that about a third of the public schools have armed guards there which seems rather a large number to me at least…

            No, but their parents can afford the extra security“…

            Well wasn’t the fact that some public schools in the burbs were better off than in in urban areas a reason that bussing started?

            Now obviously the school we’re talking about here in the case of Obama’s kids is a private school so of course all bets are off…

            I think Obama’s kids are protected by secret service“…

            Well there you go then, all taxpayers’ kids should have SS protection, after all its only fair…:-)

            Can you imagine having a job like being a kid’s body guard?

            Hours and hours of sheer, unmitigated boredom with always the promise of something potentially ugly hanging around in the background…

          4. Jon Murphy

            Can you imagine having a job like being a kid’s body guard?

            Hours and hours of sheer, unmitigated boredom with always the promise of something potentially ugly hanging around in the background…

            They made a movie about that and your description suits the movie well.

          5. Sinbad‘, eh jon?

            Can’t say I’ve heard of the movie though…

            Have you seen it?

          6. Jon

            Putting armed cops (or other authority figures, such as teachers) on every corner would reduce crime.

            I’m certainly opposed to posting armed security of any type at schools, but perhaps allowing teachers and other adult school employees who are permitted concealed carry away from school to also carry at school would reduce the horrendous body counts, or even deter some shooters. In other words, eliminate gun-free zones, which in my opinion act as magnets for deranged shooters.

            Did Colorado shooter single out Cinemark theater because it banned guns?

            Maybe he did, but we will never know for sure. But mass killings have also happened in places where guns are plentiful (and often right at hand): Fort Hood, banks, etc.

            Fact alert!

            Service personnel at Fort Hood did NOT carry weapons on base. They were only armed during training, and otherwise all personal weapons were locked away. Fort Hood was/is essentially a gun free zone where Hasan was able to fire approximately 200 rounds over a period of *TEN MINUTES* totally unopposed except for several heroic attempts to tackle him and hit him with furniture, until base civilian police Sergeant Kimberly Munley arrived. Ten minutes! Thirteen people dead and 29 wounded because no one but the shooter was armed.

            I was confused about that also before I found out Ft. Hood’s policy. I had always assumed military bases were at low risk of mass shootings.

            I just don’t see any hard-core evidence that would suggest guns are particularly good at it. Same as I don’t see any evidence to suggest that gun control is particularly good at preventing violence, either.

            Then if it doesn’t matter, maybe the best solution is to allow each individual to decide for themselves whether and where to arm themselves.

          7. Apparently Nidal Malik Hasan didn’t take the Fort Hood no-gun policy seriously, and brought 2 handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition to work that day despite knowing full well he was breaking a rule. What nerve! How can gun violence ever be stopped if some people ignore the rules?

          8. Apparently Nidal Malik Hasan didn’t take the Fort Hood no-gun policy seriously, and brought 2 handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition to work that day despite knowing full well he was breaking a rule. What nerve!“…

            Yeah ron h, we should expect more from an officer and a gentleman…:-)

            Hasan is a swine…

          9. juandos

            Well there you go then, all taxpayers’ kids should have SS protection, after all its only fair…:-)

            And it’s a great cure for unemployment, but do we really want that many federal employees crawling up our a$$es?

          10. …but do we really want that many federal employees crawling up our a$$es?

            I don’t ron h being an airline employee for 36 years sure didn’t make it any less intrusive for me…

            How do you feel about airports?

          11. Jon

            Think of it this way: If it’s important that a person be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public for their own protection, how much *more* important is that they be allowed to carry for the protection of classroom full of children?

          12. Think of it this way: If it’s important that a person be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public for their own protection, how much *more* important is that they be allowed to carry for the protection of classroom full of children?“…

            Well jon I don’t know for sure but I’m thinking it could be very important…

            These teachers thought it was important…

          13. Hours and hours of sheer, unmitigated boredom with always the promise of something potentially ugly hanging around in the background…

            That sounds like albacore fishing. Hours of boredom interspersed with minutes of madness.

          14. That sounds like albacore fishing. Hours of boredom interspersed with minutes of madness“…

            Well yeah ron h but one of the upsides is that the tuna isn’t intentionally shooting at you…:-)

          15. Actually you brought up something I’ve always wondered about myself, how many parents would feel more comfortable knowing that there were some armed folks on patrol in their kids’ school?

            I don’t know about others, but my own opinion is that when an armed guard is required, I’ve lost something. There’s something depressing about it. What kind of learning environment is a school with metal detectors and armed guards? It just makes it obvious that they are prisoners each day.

            Teacher! Leave them kids alone!

            Now, individuals arming themselves? That’s an entirely different story. Everyone I know who is armed is also polite.

            By the way, Do you ever encounter Chuck Berry on your evening strolls around the St Louis area? :)

            “Don’t let the heat overcome you when they play it so loud.”

            In the city of St. Louis, Mo I’ve been told that about a third of the public schools have armed guards there which seems rather a large number to me at least…

          16. There’s something depressing about it. What kind of learning environment is a school with metal detectors and armed guards? It just makes it obvious that they are prisoners each day“…

            Yeah ron h the kids are prisoners due to the deportment of other kids…

            Its always amazed me how many people do not raise their children to be polite and obedient to authority figures or even to acknowledge or even to acknowledge such…

            By the way, Do you ever encounter Chuck Berry on your evening strolls around the St Louis area?“…

            Yeah, I haven’t seen Berry in 20+ years…

            Occssionally used to run out to his place in Wentville, Mo…

            I don’t even know if he still has that place anymore considering what he had to spend on legal fees

            It did have an interesting pool, shaped like a Gibson guitar body…

          17. Damn! Where’s preview?

            Please ignore the last sentence in my previous comment.

          18. Jon

            If your still not convinced that concealed carry helps prevents crime, this should do the trick.

          19. this should do the trick“…

            What should the link have been ron h?

          20. and of course, the real link“…

            Hmmm, I’m wondering if Sen. Feinstein thinks that poor, misunderstood bozo with the shotgun waltz into an ‘assault diner‘?

          21. Jon Murphy

            Well hang on:

            I wasn’t saying not to allow concealed weapons. I was just saying that we should not actively arm teachers.

          22. I don’t even know if he still has that place anymore considering what he had to spend on legal fees…

            Shame. I saw him in concert a couple of years ago for the first time. I had always wanted to & never quite made it. I figured I’d better get to it before he quits for good.

            What a show! He followed Little Richard – another great I’d never seen in person.

          23. What a show! He followed Little Richard – another great I’d never seen in person“…

            Yeah ron h the Chuckster is a seriously talented individual and loves a crowd…

            He really knows howto merely play the guitar extremely well and the crowd too…

          24. “How do you feel about airports?”

            I don’t know, I can’t remember. What’s an “airport”?

            Actually I last flew in 2007 and didn’t get scanned or groped. I did wonder how many person hours are spent every day taking off & putting on shoes. Richard Reid must laugh himself to sleep every night in his prison cell.

            I no longer have any regular reason to fly, and I won’t unless I absolutely have to. It was bad enough before TSA.

          25. I no longer have any regular reason to fly, and I won’t unless I absolutely have to. It was bad enough before TSA“…

            Cute comment about Reid ron h and no, you’re not missing a damn thing by not going out for random pat down…

          26. These teachers thought it was important…

            From the article:

            Educators say they have no way of knowing how many teachers are armed

            That’s right. And neither does the shooter.

          27. That’s right. And neither does the shooter“…

            If that’s all it takes to stop another Newtown from happening that more than fine enough by me ron h

          28. Hmmm, I’m wondering if Sen. Feinstein thinks that poor, misunderstood bozo with the shotgun waltz into an ‘assault diner‘?

            Heh! Yeah, I’m sure he’ll use an entrapment defense. :)

        2. Well wasn’t the fact that some public schools in the burbs were better off than in in urban areas a reason that bussing started?

          Nope. It was strictly headcount. Every school MUST have exactly 12.6% black students. There were too few in the burbs and too many in the urbs. Insanity.

  6. Jon

    Thanks for your excellent, thoughtful comment. You have covered the subject pretty thoroughly. I agree that there are no good ways to prevent random events such as school shootings, at least not anything acceptable in a semi-free society.

    If I might quibble with one point, it’s that teachers or other adult school employees being armed wouldn’t help reduce injuries and deaths in these tragic incidents.. In my opinion the reason such shootings occur at schools is that they are gun free zones. Someone intent on shooting a large number of people is free to do so for a terribly long time, as there is no one to stop them, and they know it. We say: “If you wish to harm us, come on in. No one will stop you”. Not having that assurance might help reduce the numbers.

    I would be interested in seeing the charts you mentioned if it’s OK with Prof. Perry. One thing to consider when measuring crime rates vs gun laws is that the numbers don’t account for *prevented* crimes due to a potential victim being armed. These may not always be reported, as many gun owners don’t wish to deal with the hassle involved in justifying their possesion and use of a gun.

    If you are interested in an exhaustive study of the subject I would recommend this excellent source.

    As for the bullet-proof clothing for children, I think we’re seeing an enterprising entrepreneur taking advantage of people’s fear to make sales. Our children face much greater risks each day than being shot.

    1. Jon Murphy

      I will upload the charts tomorrow. I am quite tired tonight (loooooooooong weekend filled with family parties, hockey, and near-death experience).

      1. Jon

        I will upload the charts tomorrow. I am quite tired tonight (loooooooooong weekend filled with family parties, hockey, and near-death experience).

        Thanks Jon. Were you at a school shooting?

        1. Jon Murphy

          No. Driving in a blizzard. I have a Honda Civic. Not good for driving in white-out conditions.

        2. Jon Murphy

          By the way, Ron. There is a possibility I am unable to post because of the large number of links (it may get flagged as spam). If that should occur, I may have to email it to you

          1. OK rhiggs3 at earthlink dot net

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