Thirty-one percent of the gun owners said they had used a firearm to defend themselves or their property

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

The largest and most comprehensive survey of American gun owners ever conducted, based on a representative sample of about 54,000 adults, 16,708 of whom were gun owners, suggests that Americans use firearms in self-defense about 1.7 million times a year:

The overall adult gun ownership rate estimated by the survey, 32 percent, is consistent with recent research by Gallup and the Pew Research Center. So is the finding that the rate varies across racial and ethnic groups: It was about 25 percent among African Americans, 28 percent among Hispanics, 19 percent among Asians, and 34 percent among whites. Men accounted for about 58 percent of gun owners.

Because of the unusually large sample, the survey was able to produce state-specific estimates that are apt to be more reliable than previous estimates. Gun ownership rates ranged from about 16 percent in Massachusetts and Hawaii to more than 50 percent in Idaho and West Virginia.

The survey results indicate that Americans own some 415 million firearms, including 171 million handguns, 146 million rifles, and 98 million shotguns. About 30 percent of respondents reported that they had ever owned AR-15s or similar rifles, which are classified as “assault weapons” under several state laws and a proposed federal ban. Such legislation also commonly imposes a limit on magazine capacity, typically 10 rounds. Nearly half of the respondents (48 percent) said they had ever owned magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.

Those results underline the practical challenges that legislators face when they try to eliminate “assault weapons” or “large capacity” magazines. The survey suggests that up to 44 million AR-15-style rifles and up to 542 million magazines with capacities exceeding 10 rounds are already in circulation.

Those are upper-bound estimates, since people who reported that they ever owned such rifles or magazines may have subsequently sold them. But even allowing for some double counting, these numbers suggest how unrealistic it is to suppose that bans will have a significant impact on criminal use of the targeted products. At the same time, widespread ownership of those products by law-abiding Americans makes the bans vulnerable to constitutional challenges.

Two-thirds of the respondents who reported owning AR-15-style rifles said they used them for recreational target shooting, while half mentioned hunting and a third mentioned competitive shooting. Sixty-two percent said they used such rifles for home defense, and 35 percent cited defense outside the home. Yet politicians who want to ban these rifles insist they are good for nothing but mass murder.

[…]

Thirty-one percent of the gun owners said they had used a firearm to defend themselves or their property, often on multiple occasions. As in previous research, the vast majority of such incidents (82 percent) did not involve firing a gun, let alone injuring or killing an attacker. In more than four-fifths of the cases, respondents reported that brandishing or mentioning a firearm was enough to eliminate the threat.

That reality helps explain the wide divergence in estimates of defensive gun uses.

[…]

About half of the defensive gun uses identified by the survey involved more than one assailant. Four-fifths occurred inside the gun owner’s home or on his property, while 9 percent happened in a public place and 3 percent happened at work. The most commonly used firearms were handguns (66 percent), followed by shotguns (21 percent) and rifles (13 percent).

Crime’s costs are even higher than we thought

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

How bad is crime?, Ben Southwood asks:

In the paper, whose calculations were done in 2006, Americans were willing to pay $25,000 to avert a burglary across their society, $70,000 to avoid a serious assault, and nearly $10m to avoid a murder.

A more practical situation comes when juries award money to ‘make people whole’ for physical injury, pain, suffering, mental anguish, shock, and discomfort that they have experienced due to some illegal action. For example, one 68-year old lady was shot through the spine in a drive-by shooting, and left paraplegic — a jury gave her $2.7m in addition to her medical costs.

If you combine these awards, in a large sample, with separate ‘physician impairment ratings’ — basically how bad doctors think the injury is compared to death — then this is another method of estimating the statistical value of a life, something we have hundreds of estimates for, which typically comes out somewhere above $5m, depending on the wealth of the country and the methodology.

[...]

Their central estimate is that crime costs America $2.6 trillion annually, mostly coming from violent crime. This is about 12 percent of US GDP. By this metric, it would be, in GDP terms, one of the US’s biggest problems, on par with housing. For a country like the UK with a murder rate about five times lower, the problem is probably about five times smaller.

I actually think the American problem is considerably bigger than this estimate, because this study only includes the costs of crimes that actually get committed. However, people try their damnedest to avoid being the victims of crime. This leads to many extremely socially costly behaviours.

What are some of these extremely socially costly behaviors?

For example, one study by Julie Cullen and Steven Levitt finds that when crime rates across the city rise ten percent, city centre populations fall one percent — with people generally moving to the suburbs. One crime tends to push one person out of the city centre, on average.

Quantifying this in terms of a real world city, the roughly 400 percent increase in New York City’s murders from 1955 to 1975 (from around 300 to over 1,500 per year) would have been expected to empty the densest parts of the city out by about 40 percent, assuming that other crimes rose in line with murder. And indeed, the population of the centre city — Manhattan — fell about 35 percent over that period, while the population and physical extent of the suburbs grew rapidly.

Murders in New York City peaked in 1990 at over 2,000 per year, roughly as population reached its nadir in the city centre. They have cratered by over three quarters, to about 300. This would have likely driven city centre population up massively, much moreso than it actually did recover, but building restrictions have prevented this happening anywhere near as much as it might, meaning that it has driven up prices instead.

So this story implies that crime in city cores drives people to the suburbs, creating urban sprawl. If so, then crime’s costs are even higher than we thought.

Most regimes would have great difficulty killing large numbers of people quickly and procedurally

Sunday, July 17th, 2022

The “hogtie, throw to the ground, and shoot in the back of the head” approach to killing people was popular with both the Soviet Cheka and Nazi Einsatzgruppen:

The innovation that the CCP has adopted is to involve a large proportion of their police and judiciary in the process as directly as possible. […] Western governments generally take great care to insulate law enforcement personnel from state-sanctioned killing. The environment and process of an execution is controlled, clinical, and highly restricted. Very few cops ever see the inside of a death chamber. In PRC the opposite is true.

When the CCP decides to kill you, they usually do it outdoors, and often in semi-public places. Regular judicial personnel handle identity confirmation and terminal legal dispositions. Multiple officers are required to wrestle the victim to the ground and hold them there. Then another officer walks up with a gun, and bang, lights out.

Once the deed is done and the victim is deceased, or wounded badly enough that death is inevitable, they are often harvested for their organs. The medical personnel who do this are usually conscripted and not told in advance what they’ll be required to do.

At every step of the process the maximum number of personnel from the mainline police and judicial system are used to carry out the killing. Why? It spreads out the complicity by making sure that everybody who could have blood on their hands does. It’s insurance for the CCP.

The CCP knows that the biggest threat to its continued rule is members of its security apparatus deciding not to do their jobs anymore. One of the best ways to ensure that ordinary cops toe the line is to make them a crucial part of your killing machine. The logic is pretty straightforward: if a substantial fraction of your armed police have directly participated in “social cleansing” of undesireables like petty drug abusers, liquidation of badly-behaved members of minority groups, or outright political murders of people within the CCP hierarchy, it’s not particularly difficult to convince them that regime change would result in them being afforded the same treatment by whomever seizes power.

It’s also a technique for building a certain kind of very evil state capacity. Most regimes would have great difficulty killing large numbers of people quickly and procedurally, but not the CCP. They have a paramilitary police force that can conduct executions at scale. There’s no dedicated roving death squad, no group of commandos drugging people and dropping them out of airplanes, no warehouse-sized gas chambers, no mass graves. Just cops, judges, Maoist collective action, small arms, and crematoria.

Routine, in other words.

More than three-quarters of released drug offenders are rearrested for a nondrug crime

Wednesday, July 13th, 2022

Contrary to the claims in Michelle Alexander’s 2010 bestseller The New Jim Crow, drug prohibition is not driving incarceration rates, Rafael A. Mangual explains:

Yes, about half of federal prisoners are in on drug charges; but federal inmates constitute only 12 percent of all American prisoners — the vast majority are in state facilities. Those incarcerated primarily for drug offenses constitute less than 15 percent of state prisoners. Four times as many state inmates are behind bars for one of five very serious crimes: murder (14.2 percent), rape or sexual assault (12.8 percent), robbery (13.1 percent), aggravated or simple assault (10.5 percent), and burglary (9.4 percent). The terms served for state prisoners incarcerated primarily on drug charges typically aren’t that long, either. One in five state drug offenders serves less than six months in prison, and nearly half (45 percent) of drug offenders serve less than one year.

That a prisoner is categorized as a drug offender, moreover, does not mean that he is nonviolent or otherwise law-abiding. Most criminal cases are disposed of through plea bargains, and, given that charges often get downgraded or dropped as part of plea negotiations, an inmate’s conviction record will usually understate the crimes he committed. The claim that drug offenders are nonviolent and pose zero threat to the public if they’re put back on the street is also undermined by a striking fact: more than three-quarters of released drug offenders are rearrested for a nondrug crime. It’s worth noting that Baltimore police identified 118 homicide suspects in 2017, and 70 percent had been previously arrested on drug charges.

Not only are most prisoners doing time for serious, often violent, offenses; they’ve usually received (and blown) the second chance that so many reformers say they deserve. Justice Department studies from 2000 through 2009 reveal that only about 40 percent of state felony convictions result in a prison sentence. A Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) study of violent felons convicted over a 12-year period in America’s 75 largest counties shows that 56 percent of the offenders had a prior conviction record.

Even though most state prisoners are serious and serial offenders, nearly 40 percent of inmates serve less than a year in prison, with the median time served about 16 months. Lengthy sentences tend to be reserved for the most serious violent crimes — but even 20 percent of convicted murderers and nearly 60 percent of those convicted for rape or sexual assault serve less than five years of their sentences.

Craft-produced firearm used to assassinate Shinzo Abe

Saturday, July 9th, 2022

The assassin who shot and killed former Prime Minister Abe likely used a craft-produced, muzzle-loading, double-barrel smoothbore weapon, using separate-loading ammunition which was initiated by an electric firing mechanism:

The barrels of the firearm appear to be constructed from two metal tubes (most likely commercially available pipe) that were sealed at the rear using screw-on endcaps. The barrels are attached to a piece of wood using black adhesive tape (probably electrical tape). A pistol grip is attached to the wooden body of the weapon. There may also be other fasteners which are not visible underneath the tape. Based on the general arrangement of the firearm, its design, and its apparent build quality, it is likely that the weapon was a smoothbore design — that is, the barrels were not rifled — and the ammunition was fired under relatively low pressures. The significant plumes of smoke generated when the weapon was fired indicate that it does not make use of commercial small arms ammunition propellant (‘smokeless powder’), and may instead use blackpowder or an alternative propellant. This makes the use of ‘separate-loading’ ammunition (i.e., propellant and projectile loaded separately into the weapon) more likely, as well as increasing the likelihood that the weapon was a muzzle-loading design — that is, loaded from the bore (‘front’ of the barrel), rather than the breech (‘rear’ of the barrel) of the firearm.

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A popular design for simple craft-produced shotguns is the so-called ‘slam-fire shotgun’. Several observers have suggested this is the type of weapon used in the attack against Abe. However, these designs rely on conventional, impact-sensitive primers as found in modern small arms ammunition. The firing signature of the weapon suggests the use of an alternative propellant composition, as noted, and thus a slam-fire design is unlikely. The assailant likely used similar iron plumbing pipes and endcaps similar to those used on craft-produced firearms chambering conventional shotgun ammunition. However, the weapon appears to use an electric firing mechanism. Images of the firearm show that an electrical wire passes through each endcap. The trigger mechanism seems to connect these wires to two battery packs. There are several different designs of electrical firing mechanism. There have been, for example, significant developments focused on electric primers within the community of 3D-printed firearms designers. Probably the most prominent electric firing mechanism for 3D-printed firearms has been developed by the user ‘@SuckBoyTony1’. This mechanism uses an 80 kV High Voltage Pulse Generator that converts 6–12 V (the electric potential typically provided by battery packs such as that seen with the assailant’s weapon) into 80 kV. This high voltage creates a hot plasma arc between two conductive contacts that can be used to ignite flammable materials — such as propane in a grill or blackpowder in a firearm. In @SuckBoyTony1’s design, the contacts are held in place by a 3D-printed housing (see Figure 4). This igniter design can repeatedly create the hot plasma arc as long as the batteries can provide enough power and the contact rods are not worn off.

[…]

A few hours after the shooting, Japanese police raided the assailant’s home. Following this, images of three further firearms with similar physical features emerged. One example featured five barrels, arranged in two rows (see Figure 7); the second example featured six barrels, arranged in two rows (Figure 8); and the third featured nine barrels, arranged in three rows (Figure 9). Both are wrapped in a similar black adhesive tape, and both appear to use electrical firing systems similar to that seen on the weapon used in the shooting. Improved concealability is the most likely reason for the assailant’s selection of the double-barrelled example, although reliability may also have been a factor.

[…]

Japan has long implemented strict arms control laws. Under current Japanese law, civilians are barred from owning handguns and rifles under most circumstances, and shotguns are tightly regulated. The most recent estimate (2019) suggests that there are only 132,127 shotguns in private hands. Japan’s per capita rate of firearms ownership is the lowest amongst G7 countries, estimated at just 0.3 firearms per 100 people in 2018. As such—and in common with most craft-produced firearms users around the world—Abe’s assassin most likely made his own firearm because he could not gain access to an industrially produced example. Ammunition is also tightly regulated in Japan. Indeed, the strict control of conventional cartridges in Japan makes it more likely that the assailant selected separate-loading ammunition to avoid these legal restrictions. Reports that explosives were located at the assailant’s home may also indicate a store of loose propellant and/or a capability to produce propellant.

They yelled, fought, had fires, used power tools, and behaved in various undesirable ways

Thursday, June 30th, 2022

One of Scott Alexander’s commenters changed his take on homelessness significantly in the last year and a half:

The lot next to my house had a giant three story tree which formed a dome around its base. Shortly after moving into my house a camp of 5–15 homeless people (depending on the day) moved into the tree. They yelled, fought, had fires, used power tools, and behaved in various undesirable ways. I called the police on them for various offenses ~5 times without ever having even a single officer or official appear on site. About 8 months after they had moved in (I found the backstory out in retrospect) the lot was purchased by a developer. Construction workers came and told the homeless people they should leave because the tree was being cut down tomorrow. Per said construction workers the response was “over our dead bodies, we will burn it down first!” to which the construction workers, who were planning to cut the tree down anyways, responded with a shrug. Mind you the edge of this giant tree was ~15 feet from my house. That day/night the homeless people gathered >20 propane tanks and strapped them to the tree, then lit it on fire.

I woke at ~2 am to rattling bangs shaking my house, a weird bright red glow shining through my kitchen window, baking heat emanating from the windows, and my wife and six day old child screaming. We fled the house naked with our child, injuring my wife who had just given birth. I went back in once for some documents and clothes after determining the house was not actively on fire. After maybe 5 minutes the fire department showed up and put out the fire. The next day the construction workers cut down a sooty and much reduced tree. One cop spoke to me on the phone once and never followed up. All the same homeless people still roam the area and now live in a wash ~150 feet away.

I’ve now moved to a fancy expansive HOA community that costs more than twice as much. I used to think homelessness was a hard problem with no good solutions. I no longer think that. I’m now in favor of basically anything that results in fewer homeless people.

Americans often say they want community policing

Saturday, June 4th, 2022

Recent events remind us of Americans’ deep ambivalence and internal contradictions about policing:

Americans often say they want community policing, emphasizing de-escalation and outreach over proactive crime reduction and assertive policing. Many also oppose what they see as the “militarization” of police, rejecting the notion that American law enforcement should procure and train with tools such as sniper rifles and bullet-proof vests, let alone other more specialized equipment.

America in recent years has suffered a wave of anti-policing rhetoric, with the “Ferguson effect” beginning in 2014 and reaching a crescendo in the riots of 2020. Some radicals seek to defund them altogether.

But when an incident like Uvalde occurs, the public expects members of law enforcement to conduct what even America’s most elite special operations forces consider among the most challenging tactical tasks: a solo dynamic entry, room clearance, and structure search against a heavily armed perpetrator or perpetrators.

And the public is right to ask for this.

But few agencies select officers based on ability and willingness to perform this extremely high-impact/low-probability mission. Few agencies train officers to the high levels of proficiency required. The reality is that most law enforcement agencies require only the minimally mandated firearms qualifications, and at standards that are insufficient to meet the level of the challenge, in the event the worst should happen. Only a select few officers seek outside training and acquire the right tools, often at their own expense, to make themselves ready, lest they be called and found wanting.

Beyond bureaucratic training requirements, the task requires a certain mindset, a comfort with aggression, and a drive not doled out to all people in equal measure.

There are around 700,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States. As much as it may pain us to admit it, not all of them will be warriors, a word that is overused in certain circles but nevertheless remains apt. And, of course, police work requires many other interpersonal skills and training, some of which are 180-degree opposite from the psychological traits required to storm into a room alone against a determined and heavily armed gunman.

As historian Victor Davis Hanson eloquently writes, America possesses a deep discomfort with those who truly epitomize the combat virtues. While America loves the action hero, we breathe a sigh of relief at the movie’s end not only because the villain has been dispatched, but also because the hero rides away.

If we are honest with ourselves, most Americans don’t want this type of highly capable and dangerous man (and most of them will be men) doing our policing. Not on the good days, when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping.

Serial killing was something of a social contagion

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

With mass-killing shootings in the news, Steve Sailer wanted to point out that not all bad things are destined to increase forever:

For instance, according to the Radford University Database of known serial killers, the number of serial killers soared during what Robert Heinlein predicted c. 1940 would be known as the Crazy Years (1960s-1970s) before declining more recently.

Rise and Fall of Serial Killers

It appears that the idea of serial killing was something of a social contagion that spread first among whites, then among nonwhites. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hitchcock’s hugely influential 1960 movie Psycho, often thought as the founder of the “slasher pic” genre, played a role in this real life phenomenon, although how to measure that is beyond me.

It’s also hard to say what caused the decline over the last generation. It could be that serial killing became less appealing to the handful of sickos attracted to doing it.

Or it could be fear of being caught increased. According to Bill James, cops were long particularly bad at catching serial killers because they’d been trained not to fall for the idea that somebody was murdered by a random stranger: instead, it had to be somebody who knew the victim, an ex-boyfriend or the like. So if they had five dead women on their hands, they tended to look for five separate killers. This had been a fairly productive prejudice, since it kept them from going down the wrong path most of the time. But the huge publicity attendant to Ted Bundy c. 1980 forced cops to get serious about the serial killer phenomenon.

Almost any other evacuation location would be preferable to a parking lot

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Don’t evacuate into a parking lot after a terrorist attack, Greg Ellifritz warns:

A common tactic for bombers is to place one bomb and then detonate it. They place a second bomb at the site to which victims may be evacuating or where first responders might be staging. The secondary explosive often does more damage than the primary.

One of the best examples of terrorists using secondary devices is this bombing attack on a tourist hotel in Tripoli. Up to five gunman armed with rifles, grenades, and body armor entered the front lobby of the hotel and began shooting guests and staff at random. As people fled from the attackers out the back doors of the hotel, they gathered in the rear parking lot. The terrorists then detonated a pre-placed bomb loaded into one of the cars parked nearby. Nine people total were killed in the attack. The guns and grenades were the primary attack and the car bomb served very effectively as the secondary device.

[…]

The problem is that there is no way to ensure that one of the cars in the parking lot doesn’t contain a large bomb or even an additional team of terrorist gunmen. It’s relatively difficult to kill large numbers of people with a bomb inside a building. It’s almost impossible to bring a large bomb inside a building without being noticed. The maximal realistic payload is a backpack or duffel bag bomb weighing 20-40 lbs. That will certainly kill some folks, but it is nothing like the impact of 500 lbs of explosives in the trunk of a car. Additionally, walls and furniture inside a building soak up a lot of the blast and shrapnel, further limiting casualties.

It’s much easier and more efficient for the terrorists to place a bomb in a parking lot evacuation site and then drive victims outside by using either gunfire or a small bomb inside. It’s a tactic that has been used successfully for years.

[…]

Almost any other evacuation location would be preferable to a parking lot. Look for an open area with no cars, areas of disturbed soil, or trash receptacles. Ideally there should be some hard cover available nearby.

Some of you are likely thinking “This isn’t Tripoli. I don’t have to worry about car bombs and secondary devices here in America.” You are wrong. You might have forgotten about the bomb placed in a car in Times Square a couple years ago. Or how about the secondary device explosion that detonated after one of Eric Rudolph’s abortion clinic bombings? Terrorists use bombs here too.

On-duty police fatally shoot about 1,000 people every year

Thursday, March 17th, 2022

When Ferguson burst into flames, Robert VerBruggen notes, we knew very little about the true number of people killed by police, unarmed or otherwise:

In a survey conducted by Manhattan Institute colleague Eric Kaufmann, for example, eight in 10 African-Americans and about half of white Biden voters said that they thought that young black men were more likely to be shot to death by police than to die in a car accident — one of the largest mortality risks to the young and healthy. Another survey, by Skeptic magazine, showed that more than a third of liberal and very liberal respondents thought that the number of unarmed blacks killed by police each year was “about 1,000” or more. About a fifth of those calling themselves “very conservative” thought the same thing. Yet another survey, from a trio of academics, found that about four in 10 African-Americans reported being “very afraid” of being killed by the police, which was roughly twice the share of black respondents who reported being “very afraid” of being murdered by criminals, as well as about four times the share of whites who reported being “very afraid” of being killed by the police.

[…]

So what do the basic numbers and five years of research reveal? These are the major findings detailed in the following pages:

On-duty police fatally shoot about 1,000 people every year. This number and its racial breakdown have remained remarkably steady since 2015. The overall Post tally has ranged from a low of 958 in 2016, to a “record” of 1,055 in 2021 (reported as this paper went to press), with any pattern difficult to distinguish from random chance.

Approximately a quarter of those killed are black. This is roughly double the black share of the overall population, but it is in line with — and sometimes below — many other “bench-marks” that one might use for comparison, such as the racial breakdowns of arrests, murders, and violent-crime offenders as reported by victims in surveys.

Blacks are an even higher percentage of unarmed civilians shot and killed by police (34%), which is a potential sign of bias. However, not all shootings of unarmed civilians are unjustified, and it is difficult to objectively classify these cases in a more granular fashion. And contrary to the popular perceptions outlined above, confirmed fatal police shootings of unarmed African-Americans number about 22 per year.

More rigorous research into the question of whether police killings reflect racial bias is in its infancy, and it has been subject to intense debates over the appropriate methods. But existing studies are divided on the bias question. Many papers fail to find bias in lethal force, though one of the most careful studies in the literature — of an unnamed city with a high murder rate — does find that white cops discharge their guns several times as often as black cops when sent to 911 calls in heavily black neighborhoods.

Bernie Madoff’s sister and her husband dead in apparent murder-suicide

Monday, February 21st, 2022

The sister of infamous Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff and her husband have been found dead in an apparent murder-suicide:

Deputies who responded to a 911 call found 87-year-old Sondra Wiener and her 90-year-old husband Marvin dead from gunshot wounds in their Boynton Beach, Florida home on Thursday, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in the release Sunday.

Now I’m wondering if they were linked to Epstein somehow.

The French model agent who was charged with securing girls and young women for billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was found dead Saturday in a Paris prison cell

Saturday, February 19th, 2022

The French model agent who was charged with securing girls and young women for billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was found dead Saturday in a Paris prison cell:

Jean-Luc Brunel, 74, was found hanged by his bedsheets in his cell around 1:30 a.m. local time at La Sante prison, the Paris prosecutor’s office told CNN.

Brunel, who ran Karin Models in Paris, and later formed MC2 Model Management with Epstein, was awaiting trial on charges of sexual assault and rape. He was also being investigated for trafficking minors, including girls as young as 12 years old, according to French news reports.

[...]

Brunel — who was credited with launching the careers of models Christy Turlington, Monica Belluci and Angie Everhart — went into hiding after Epstein’s own suicide in a Manhattan lockup in August 2019.

[...]

“It was very convenient and yes suspicious,” a veteran Paris police detective told The Post, who nonetheless said he was not yet convinced Brunel was “suicided.”

You take some personal risks but benefit the community overall

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

A few months ago David Frum asserted that the way to reduce gun violence is by convincing ordinary, “responsible” handgun owners that their weapons make them and those around them less safe, which is odd, because he also notes that unintended shootings only account for 1 percent of U.S. gun deaths.

Steve Sailer says out loud what none of us are supposed to say and then continues with this:

One reason that America has surprisingly few Clockwork Orange–style home invasions with urban criminals driving out to the boonies to attack locals is because Boonie-Americans tend to be so well-armed.

For example, even in the 1990s when South-Central Los Angeles was like Grand Theft Auto, Los Angeles’s white and Asian suburbs were pretty safe. Here’s somebody’s current list of the safest municipalities in California. The safest city in Los Angeles County is lovely Rancho Palos Verdes overlooking the Pacific. Rancho Palos Verdes is 22 miles from Compton. In lightly armed England, that would be a sitting duck for inner city criminals to drive out.

Being a law-abiding legal gun-owner is like being vaccinated, Sailer reminds us: you take some personal risks but benefit the community overall.

You still won’t be able to compete for attention with all of the other sensational crimes

Saturday, December 11th, 2021

Leighton Woodhouse and his wife are scrambling to find daycare for their 16-month-old son:

We’ve had a “nanny share” up until now, which means we and another couple employ a nanny for both couples’ kids and split the cost. Our nanny is wonderful, and she lives just a few blocks from us. But a few weeks ago, someone walked up her street spraying bullets into random houses. One of the bullets found its way into her living room, as she and her family ducked for cover. At that moment, she and her husband decided they were moving their family out of Oakland.

The shooting didn’t even make the local news. Apparently, in the Bay Area right now, you can walk up a residential street firing your gun into houses, and you still won’t be able to compete for attention with all of the other sensational crimes.

Woodhouse, who considers himself progressive, nonetheless agrees with Michael Shellenberger (author of San Fransicko) that progressives do ruin cities:

After a summer of protests against police violence, progressive cities like New York, Seattle, Minneapolis, Austin, and Denver cut their police budgets in 2020 even during a national surge in violent crime. That surge has only continued into 2021, in some places by wide margins. The wave of murders in American cities has provoked political backlashes to the cuts, which have forced some local governments to backtrack from their defund agenda.

But that hasn’t stopped demoralized departments from bleeding officers through attrition. Austin, for example, which voted in 2020 to cut its police budget by a third before restoring most of it this year, is losing 15 to 22 officers per month. Its homicide rate is up 88 percent over last year, blowing past a previous homicide record that was set nearly four decades ago.

How do activists justify hobbling cities’ ability to respond to the crime wave by gutting their police forces? Here’s Cat Brooks, perhaps Oakland’s most prominent police abolitionist, in The Guardian: “The goal is to interrupt and respond to state violence,” she explained. “We’re good at responding but the only way you get to interruption is to reduce the number of interactions with police.”

That’s true: If you have fewer interactions between police and civilians, you’ll likely have fewer acts of violence perpetrated on civilians by police. The obvious problem with this “solution,” though, is that you’ll also have more crime.

Does the racial gap in arrests lessen as the crimes get more serious?

Monday, June 21st, 2021

Steve Sailer reviews Charles Murray’s short, lucid book Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America about the essential factors influencing society — intelligence and violence:

After The Bell Curve, the great and good made immense efforts to Close The Gap, if only to prove Murray wrong. For example, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, pushed by George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy, mandated the Lake Wobegonization of America: Every single public school student must score “proficient” by 2014.

That didn’t happen.

Similarly, Bill Gates poured huge sums into, first, the “small learning communities” fad of the 2000s and then the “Common Core” whoop-de-do of the 2010s. Neither accomplished anything noticeable.

Today, after 55 years of vast spending to eliminate the race gap on tests, the optimistic centrist education reformers of the “All We Have To Do Is Implement My Favorite Panacea” school are finally out of fashion, leaving Ibram X. Kendi and Charles Murray as the last men standing. One or the other must be right: either Murray (blacks, unfortunately, have problems because they tend to be less smart and more violent) or Kendi (any disparities demonstrate that whites are evil and therefore must pay).

[…]

But, The Establishment no longer really believes that race gaps can be reduced. Instead, the new conventional wisdom is Kendi’s: Tests must be abolished. This will make the problems caused by lower black intelligence go away for Underpants Gnomes reasons.

[…]

Murray, however, has uncovered newly available arrest statistics from the Open Data Initiative by race (with Hispanics usually broken out) and type of crime for thirteen cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

For property crime, Murray finds, Latinos were arrested 1.5 times as often as whites, a modest difference especially considering the disparity in average age.

[…]

Blacks in these thirteen cities were arrested for property offenses five times as often per capita as whites.

Are cops just racistly arresting blacks for ticky-tack property offenses like, say, taking an extra newspaper from the rack?

One way to get a clue about this is to look at more serious incidents, such as violent crimes. Does the racial gap in arrests lessen as the crimes get more serious?

No. Hispanics were arrested for violence about 2.7 times as often as whites, while blacks were arrested almost ten times as much.

How about murder, the most diligently investigated of all crimes?

Latinos are arrested for murder about five times more often per capita than whites, while blacks are about twenty times more likely than whites to be arrested for murder.

[…]

Whether Facing Reality will inspire a desperately needed national conversation on the reality of racial differences, or whether it will be deep-sixed like Human Diversity, remains to be seen.

But Murray has given it his best shot.