My morning reads:

• “Peak farmland” is here, food crop area to fall (Reuters)
• Time to Learn From AIG’s Bailout (WSJ)
WTF? Banks Seek a Shield in Mortgage Rules (DealBook) see also US banks increase retention of mortgages (FT Alphaville)
• Josh Barro: Inside the Brain of the Hard-Money Advocate (The Ticker)
• Time for Nominal Growth Targets (Project Syndicate) see also Fed drops the pretense, buys bonds (Bill Fleckenstein)
• Understanding trust: The role of false consensus (VOX)
• Twitter Rolls Out Option To Download Your Twitter Archive: Request Every Tweet You’ve Ever Made In One File  (Tech Crunch)
Bruce Bartlett: Revenge of the Reality-Based Community (The American Conservative)
• Apple Looks Back At The Best Of iTunes, 2012 (Fast Company)
• Disappearing ice (Prospero) see also  Rising Temperatures Threaten Fundamental Change for Ski Slopes (NYT)

What are you reading?

 

On the Guns Thing, I would Just Like to Point Out…

Source: Global Sociology

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

68 Responses to “10 Tuesday AM Reads”

  1. RC says:

    Oh Jeez, a new “peak” … peak farmland now. This is the problem with environmentalists who might be well meaning but clueless. Most 3rd world countries can increase their yield by several orders of magnitude by making scientific changes to their farming practices (along with better infrastructure mainly irrigation).
    Just like science showed that “peak Oil” was BS (due to the advent of horizontal drilling. This is called engineering).

  2. Moss says:

    So..does the gun chart show correlation proves causation?

  3. VennData says:

    Cerberus to Sell Freedom Group, a Gunmaker

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/cerberus-to-sell-gunmaker-freedom-group/

    Cerberus, the Private Equity firm, really needs some tax cuts even beyond the ultra low carried interest rate they get.

    http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/carriedinterest.asp

    It’s good to make sure they and their shareholders get their returns regardless of the externalities.

    http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Externalities.html

    We must put the economic needs of the 1% above all else, they create jobs. You don’t when you buy and invest, but they do, somehow…

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-09-29/business/35494243_1_job-creator-investment-income-long-term-care

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/09/rich-americans-arent-the-real-job-creators/262833/

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/19/tax-cuts-for-job-creators/

    We must cut medical care for the elderly much more deeply before we even think of raising their tax rates.

  4. gibbswtr says:

    This chart is another example of bullshit numbers and a false conclusion. Yes there are a lot of guns in the US and likely to be more, but that fact alone does not explain why some mentally disabled jerk decides to go on a rampage, the problem is far more complex having to do with our nation’s view of mental illness, the use of drugs to “cure” mental illness, the constant bombardment of everyone by violence and death and murder.

    I am the very example of the person who would be a responsible gun owner. I am not mentally ill ( although I am in the investment business) I have extensive training, and I have used a gun to take a life, and at one time trained to be an air marshall. I am also the type of person who is likley to be a victim of gun violence ( older, live alone, in public at odd hours) yet I do not own a gun nor will I. I realize that legally with my training I am at risk of criminal or civil prosecution if I use a gun to defend myself, and there is nothing I have that is more valuable than my life.

    All the crap about if people had been armed they would have taken this guy down is crap. Most people in a combat situation couldn’t hit the side of a barn with a cannon, it takes time and training to learn to shoot well in a stressful situaiton. The only reason this guy was able to kill as many as he did was that the rounds from this type of rifle will kill if they hit someone, and he had a lot of ammunition.

    The chart here does not explain anything it is stating the obvious with the thrill of discovery. There are lots of guns in Switzerland too and Israel.

    ~~~

    BR: Guns dont kill people, mentally ill people kill people?

  5. gordo365 says:

    Moss – no – it suggests that data doesn’t support the theory that if more people had guns we’d have fewer gun related deaths. It’s logical rubbish. Pure marketing crap from the death merchants. (ie gun manufacturing lobby)

  6. louiswi says:

    Notice the most of the citizens of the country in the upper right hand corner of the gun chart are descendants from countries in the lower left hand corner of the chart.

  7. gordo365 says:

    @gibbswtr – There are alot of guns AND gun deaths in Switzerland. That is the F(*&$ing point of the chart.

  8. hmsuter says:

    on guns : in the case of switzerland you must know, that every soldier has his assault rifle at home with a set of amunition.Other countries in the graph have a large traditions of hunting. It es clear, the more weapons you have spread the more incidents you have. All stringent controls and restrictions don’t help. You have to reduce the number of rifles in the population, to have a lasting effect.

  9. A says:

    GUNS:

    The data for Mexico and Canada would be even lower if it weren’t for the illegal guns being smuggled in from the the USA. Just ask the drug cartels.

    I’m beginning to wonder what has become the most dangerous activity: attending a European football game; flying over the middle east, or, walking anywhere in America.

  10. warrenprosser says:

    GUNS:

    broooo your X and Y are flipped? c’mon at least present the data correctly……

    by logical deduction, if you want to make your point, X causes Y ,not Y causes X. FWIW 1 outlier makes that entire R^2. I am a professional quant FWIW, and frankly you could make the same (illogical deduction) that Switzerland (which as full autos/real assault rifles) has a low crime rate……… also diminishing marginal rates of death tooo…. not to mention that car kill people lets ban them too. just saying

    ~~~

    BR: Yes, you’ve nailed the key issue here — the proper labeling of axes — for without that, we would not be a civilized nation.

  11. Bruman says:

    There is something very interesting about this chart though. The US is an outlier in many ways.

    If you removed the US from the sample and reran the regression, and then the line would actually be much steeper. If you used that line to predict where the US should be on that line, you would find that the actual US position lies far BELOW what would be predicted by a much steeper line.

    Now the chart is not set up well. If the theory is that gun ownership leads to higher homicide rates, then gun ownership should be on the horizontal X axis, and not the Y axis, because this is how we (by convention) read charts. It’s only those who are careful enough to look at the axis labels who will notice that gun ownership is actually on the Y axis. This probably was done because a steep line looks much more convincing, even if it happens to reverse the implied causal connection.

    Taken together, however, it does suggest that the US has many more gun deaths than would be predicted by gun ownership alone.

    I personally wouldn’t mind mind much if assault rifles and stuff were banned, but I am a little surprised to find myself thinking that 2nd amendment lovers have a point when they say that gun ownership is not the root cause of these problems. We need to figure out why we are so much more violent than other industrialized nations, and how to deal with that.

  12. tjmc says:

    Good looking chart. No data sources cited?

    ~~~

    BR: Link at bottom

  13. b_thunder says:

    Everyone knows that there’s more guns per capita in the USA than can be explained rationally. It’s all public knowledge, it’s on every tv show and every pundit’s “talking points” list.

    What I never see is the chart comparing the number of kids that use prescription psychotropic drugs. Was the school shooter medicated? At what age was he first prescribed the meds? And what about the Colorado movie theater shooter? We know he visited a shrink just a few days prior to his shooting spree. Was he too on something? We don’t know. We’re not told. I think there’s a substantial probability that both shooters were on similar medications. Yes, that doesn’t prove that there’s causation, but… what about all these “may cause suicidal thoughts” “black box” warning labels? Would we solve the problem if the “shooter” didn’t have ar-15 and took out “only” 3 or 5 people with an knife or a baseball bat? The Pharma Lobby is stronger and bigger than the gun lobby. There’s 100X more money to be made peddling prozac and ritalin than ar-15s and glocks. So we’ll never find out if there is causation…

    Both mass murderers were described by some as “geniuses.” Dr. Michael Burry, featured in Michel Lewis’ “The Big Short” was also autistic and kind of genius. Why did he become a successful money manager and the other two became mass murderers? I (expletive) wanna know if they’re just more ill than Dr. Burry, or Dr. Burry’s parents kept him off the psychotropic meds.

  14. b_thunder says:

    P.S. Having vented about the psychotropic meds, I’d like to say that I readily support a gun licensing law modeled on the driver’s licensing laws: to own a firearm one needs to pass a medical test, demonstrate basic skills and ability to safely handle the weapon (that’s in addition to criminal background check)

    P.P.S. Many people I know own multiple firearms, I’m talking over 10 firearms each. One individual owns at least 365 of them… he shoots a different gun every day on his own land. Because of people like that the chart doesn’t show the “whole truth.”

  15. willid3 says:

    Britain has already shown how austerity and the fiscal cliff work out
    http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019919958_britishcliffxml.html?syndication=rss

  16. willid3 says:

    hm…and i thought the conservatives supported the military. evidently that only applies to buying equipment. but those saying they supporting the troops dont really mean what they say
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/12/stealth-target-of-defense-spending-cuts-americas-highly-effective-socialized-medicine-provider-the-va-system-and-military-benefits-generally.html

  17. Lugnut says:

    I for one, would like to see a chart that shows the correlation of the rise of public attacks by mentally unstable people, to the decrease (due to closure) of available public mental institutions and hospitals to house them in.

    A lot of the same pundits that would otherwise back the ‘mainstreaming’ of mentally ill people who shouldnt be walking around, are likelythe ones calling the loudest for assault weapons bans.

    Further ignored is the fact that the system ‘worked’. The kid tried to buy a rfile at the local Dicks Sporting Goods but was turned away when he tried to circumvent the waiting period. Mom screwed up, she provided the availability to assualt weapons, the training, and wasn’t able to get him the institutional help he needed. 26 kids and adults paid the price, and now we get the feel the wrath of do good legislation in return, while ignoring the actual issues. Color me not surprised.

    PS I am a gun owner who lives in NJ, where most all of these assault weapons are already on the banned list, so I have no real horse in this race.

  18. louiswi says:

    Here is something the president could do and do right now. The government could institute a program to give every law abiding adult a 1776 style flintlock musket and the 2nd amendment would be more than satisfied. Even “little winker” Scalia would have to agree with that one.

    The rest of the modern weaponry could then be outlawed y congressional action. We don’t allow our citizens nuclear weapons or tanks or bazookas so I find it hard to believe the constitution really intended to allow for modern weapons such as assault rifles and high capacity magazines, do you?

  19. Livermore Shimervore says:

    This notion that the gun culture and the actions of lone nuts are mutually exclusive is nonsense.

    Our nutters live in a gun-loving culture along with the sane. Only in a gun-loving culture would a parent think it perfectly sensible to teach a child with very obvious social disorder issues how to operate an assault rifle. This man child wasn’t taught how to shoot a hunting rifle… he was taught to accurately fire a high capacity, high powered assault weapon. That should be a felony.

    And then for the kicker she handled the weapons irresponsibly by failing to keep the weapons in a safe or with what should be mandatory trigger locks for any home with children, people with mental disorders or occupants on anti-depressants. That too should be a crime.

    What we have is a mixture of gun worship and glmourizing with absolutely no legal consequences for irresponsible gun ownership.

  20. SkepticalOx says:

    Why do the gun-advocates quickly jump onto pointing out the mental health issue situation? Obviously this is a problem and their needs to be improvement. It is not an either-or situation.

    If his mom didn’t have the assault rifle, their is a high chance that a lot less students would be dead today. If the weapons had biometric locks on them so that they could only be used by the license holder, there is a high chance a lot less kids would be dead today.

    @gibbswtr, Israel and Switzerland also has mandatory military service (hey, training is included!). Do you support that too?

  21. Brody says:

    The Big Picture Data shouldn’t be “homicides by firearms by country,” rather homicides per country.

    It is much more important to discuss why so many murders among us, why other countries have fewer murders per capita, and why others have more.

    Who cares what tool is used to commit murder. Tools will always be available to a murderer

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate_by_decade

  22. Brody says:

    Really, who can claim that gun ownership per capita is the most important variable in homicides per country? Or even play a role.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_world_by_intentional_homicide_rate.png

  23. SkepticalOx says:

    “Who cares what tool is used to commit murder. Tools will always be available to a murderer”.

    Again, either-or, black and white thinking. This, by the way, is mass murder, not just a single homicide. A whole lot harder to murder 20+ people in a certain amount of time for a mentally-deranged 20 year old with a knife, or even a less powerful gun (not to mention all other safety measures that could have been put into place to prevent unauthorized use of these guns that the NRA & co fight against).

    We don’t eliminate murders. We won’t eliminate mass murders. But at least we decrease the chances of another event like this happening with sensible solutions. People should be free to do as they wish unless it harms others, and having a mother with a mentally-ill child being careless with her assault rifle & guns is, like a drunk person driving, a bad thing waiting to happen.

  24. TheUnrepentantGunner says:

    As someone who’s never fired a real gun (only paintball and bb gun), and generally not pro gun, i find the chart to be sleazy.

    For starters, the countries seem somewhat cherry picked. Nowhere is this more clear that they include england and wales, but EXCLUDE Scotland (not to mention northern ireland).

    Is it the united kingdom or isnt it? If you have england in the chart why not those two quasi countries as well.

    There are other examples of cherry picking. It isn’t just a list of european countries + the US.

    Secondly, In many cases, the reporting on these things in the first place is wayyyyy off. For example, Mexico in recent years had a very high rate of murders, many with guns, many with even more barbaric means. However, buying a gun legally in mexico is extremely difficult. The official “guns per x,000″ people number would be quite low. The reality of course is they get smuggled in through the border, kind of the reverse of smuggling people into america.

    I don’t think it’s just alist of wealthy countries, or big countries (see Poland on the list).

    I would *love* to see the numbers for places such as Russia, for example, if you could get them.

    Anyway, while the overall point is probably true to some degree if you took all the countries and somehow could get overall numbers, i would quickly call bullshit on the correlation being that strong, and again, I’m no NRA member or passionate about the 2nd amendment or anything.

  25. willid3 says:

    maybe the XL pipeline will end up like the one on the Kalamazoo. seems its still be cleaned up. 2 years later. and has cost 800 million and counting
    http://fuelfix.com/blog/2012/12/18/keystone-xl-will-not-use-advanced-spill-protection-tech/

    and that was a river. the XL pipeline threatens an aquifer. that we have no idea how to clean up or even if its possible. and that aquifer is used by most of the Midwest as a source of water

  26. dguillor says:

    The problem with the gun chart is that it plots gun deaths not deaths. The statistics for Australia point out the fallacy. Since the gun laws were drastically tightened in 1996 the rate of gun homicide and suicide has dropped dramatically but the overall rate of suicide and homicide has remained constant. People are still killing people. Only the tools have changed.

  27. Concerned Neighbour says:

    Surely most can agree the low hanging fruit re: gun control is to outlaw the high capacity ammunition clips and military-grade weaponry from civilian ownership. Do people really need assault rifles and/or 50-round magazines to hunt or “defend their family”. Such restrictions aren’t going to prevent horrific rampages, but they will limit their severity.

    Re: the markets, anyone notice the S&P is now ~2% below multi-year highs? What with fundamentals having long been damned and all.

  28. SkepticalOx says:

    @TheUnrepentantGunner

    On Mexico, a lot of the weapons come from… wait for it, it’s next door neighbor, the USA. (Politifact)

  29. TheUnrepentantGunner says:

    exactly my point skeptical, but you couldnt get ownership numbers there anyway is what im saying, even though that country would theoretically strengthen the correlation with accurate numbers (but not the official numbers).

    Though, overall, i’m guessing the true correlation globally is closer to .4

  30. SkepticalOx says:

    @dguillor

    Except “mass murders” (like the Sandy Hook incident), have gone down in Australia. More than a dozen mass murders in the previous 18 years to their 1996 gun-control law vs. at most two after. (Wikipedia)

  31. uzer says:

    Can the answers to why the US is an outlier in the chart be found by following the money? I suspect following the money would yield answers to many seemingly perplexing societal questions.

  32. Moss says:

    I do believe the US also has the highest rate of incarceration per capita.

    I wonder what the frequency of gun use is based on what the 2nd amendment states as the rational for gun ownership. Maintain the security of a free state? Do all these guns work against wire taps? Will they bring down drones? Shoot out surveillance cameras?

    We know they are good for target practice.

  33. Conan says:

    Two things need to be considered when reading a chart like this:

    1) What is the effect of the so called “War on Drugs” gang killing, etc. This type of violence is one of the leading causes of gun deaths.

    2) Most of the countries, especially Europe and Canada have socialized medicine, how much of a factor is that we don’t treat our mentally ill population as well as other countries?

    Lastly what, if any are the common traits of these types of people? There has been a lot of studies on serial killers. Who is delving into what is root causes of this small number of people doing so much harm. As an Engineer we have a saying, if you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it.

    ~~~

    BR: Good points — to the war on drugs, I would also add broad endemic poverty as well.

  34. gordo365 says:

    Another story with GUN CHART and references…

    http://www.businessinsider.com/shooting-gun-laws-2012-12

  35. spooz says:

    At the very least I would like to see large capacity magazines banned; after arguing with a libertarian about the definition of assault weapons, its clear the gun lobby has managed to give us some slippery definitions.

    Regarding a Big Pharma connection, IMO, if mental health care in our country was more about helping vulnerable kids develop coping strategies at the earliest age instead of throwing a Big Pharma bandaid on and tweaking the cocktail as other symptoms (side effects) develop, we may been able to nurture a future Zuckerberg instead of a Lanza.

    “But pediatric psychopharmacology is a billion-dollar business that sustains Pharma, Pharma investors on Wall Street, doctors, researchers, medical centers, clinical research organizations, medical journals, Pharma’s PR and ghostwriting firms, pharmacy benefits managers, and the FDA itself—which judges its value on how many drugs it approves. The only losers are kids given a probable life sentence of expensive and dangerous drugs, the families of these children, and the taxpayers and insured persons who pay for the drugs.”

    http://www.alternet.org/story/155459/how_big_pharma_and_the_psychiatric_

  36. RW says:

    Pretty clear most commenters either didn’t read the article or don’t know how to interpret data or both but all the objections thus far — excepting the completely off-topic or non sequitur — are dealt with in the article and its subsequent comments.

    The Y-axis is clearly labeled “% of homicides with firearms” and the X-axis is clearly a ratio labeled “Homicide by firearm rate per 100,000 pop” so there can be no doubt about the pattern being illustrated. The correlation is indeed weakened by the weight of the three outliers but the pattern remains intact if they are removed even though there would be scant point in doing something like that, and comparing relatively wealthy, fully developed democracies (“apples-to-apples”) is more appropriate than any alternative.

    NB: Adding poor countries and/or tyrannies would hardly clarify democratic decision making (assuming enough citizens bother to analyze the data) and adding countries that forbid or restrict gun ownership would only serve to illustrate that school attackers who can’t get a gun use weapons such knives instead with the result being far fewer or even no fatalities; not exactly a demonstration the NRA leadership would want anyone to see I suspect.

  37. ConscienceofaConservative says:

    Banks may get safe harbor in mortgages

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/banks-seek-a-shield-in-mortgage-rules/

  38. [...] The surrounding text is here:  http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/12/10-tuesday-am-reads-48/ [...]

  39. RW says:

    Shale gas has shaken up the world, and now the world wants in on the action

    Folks have been dwelling on market distortions caused by the Fed even though the situation is actually the reverse, the Fed is trying to cure a market failure caused by overleveraging and fraud in the private financial sector but in shale gas we have a real distortion going on and its getting bigger. The dangers are becoming more apparent but where are the investment opportunities? I’m still trying to figure that one out but think LNG is in that mix.

    Errata

    Watching all the NRA trolls come out is exasperating albeit vaguely interesting from an agnotological standpoint. It is also a growing source of hilarity: even when grim, laughter beats weeping sometimes.

    When I’m Called Off, I Got A Sawed Off
    Professor Glenn Reynolds, who holds the Jubilation T. Cornpone Shootin’ Arm chair at the University of Tennessee, has a few questions for all you skinny-jeans-wearin’ latte-sippin’ emo-emotin’ prefer-our-kids-alive-more-than-dead fancy-pants gun-grabbin city slicker man-card-less metrosexual homoseckshuls.

    McArdle Wins Worst Newtown Reaction Award
    …if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly

    ROFL

    “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” -Mark Twain

  40. jb.mcmunn says:

    You can prove anything with statistics but only to people who don’t understand statistics. Bruman brings up an excellent point that should be emphasized and expanded upon.

    First of all, to get the relationship between the two variables you square R, so the regression suggests that the line describes only HALF (0.7 squared) of the relationship between the two variables.

    Secondly, as Bruman mentioned if you left out the extreme outlier (USA) the line would be very different and I suspect the R value would drop quite a bit. As Bruman mentioned the line would probably go much more vertical.

    Third, read the graph vertically:

    1. Switzerland, with 3-4X as many guns per capita as Italy or Belgium, has the same firearm homicide rate.

    2. The same can be seen for Finland vs Portugal and Ireland – 5X as many guns per capita but the same firearm homicide rate.

    3. Iceland has 30X the firearms per capita as Romania and the same firearm homicide rate.

    4. Reading horizontally you can see that Iceland is safer than Canada – same ownership rate, far lower homicide rate. Similarly, Finland beats Switzerland.

    This suggests that you can trust the people of certain countries with guns much more than their cohorts. Iceland appears to be extremely responsible.

    Where I disagree with Bruman is the statement that by making the line more vertical the USA would look better. On the contrary, the countries below the line are relatively more dangerous. Thus, the USA would a real standout BELOW the line.

    The USA is a definite outlier. The question is why. Maybe the Europeans, having killed each other in massive numbers for millennia, have a better mindset whereas we’re still new at this.

  41. Rationality says:

    The chart is an excerpt from a full study and is not representative of the full conclusion from the study. As the chart is presented now, it would appear that the number of guns alone is the issue. Comparing homicides per million to income inequality, no one outpaces the USA on the per million data set….and only singapore outpaces the US in income inequality.

    http://globalsociology.com/2012/12/15/on-the-guns-thing-i-would-just-like-to-point-out/

    ~~~

    BR: The study says that is A factor, not the factor. And Singapore with even greater income inequality has much lower homicides per capita then the USA does. You consistently manage to get these things wrong. I cannot tell why

  42. beaufou says:

    @RW
    Oh boy, that was bad. Now I’m just waiting for Ann Coulter to tell us bullets are good for you.

  43. Jojo says:

    @louiswi said: “Here is something the president could do and do right now. The government could institute a program to give every law abiding adult a 1776 style flintlock musket and the 2nd amendment would be more than satisfied. Even “little winker” Scalia would have to agree with that one.

    The rest of the modern weaponry could then be outlawed y congressional action. We don’t allow our citizens nuclear weapons or tanks or bazookas so I find it hard to believe the constitution really intended to allow for modern weapons such as assault rifles and high capacity magazines, do you?”
    ———-
    Great idea! Now that is thinking outside the box.

    Or how about we give everyone a gun of their choice but outlaw ammunition? Would that work? They could use the gun to bang someone over the head with it (assuming they could get close enough) :)

  44. gibbswtr says:

    BR- by definition anyone who does this stuff is mentally ill. Guns can and do make it easier to do it for sure but what keeps normal people and soldiers from going nuts is a fully developed moral conscience, mentally ill people do not have that.

  45. VennData says:

    “…Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other prominent Republicans are privately warning conservatives to put a sock in it when it comes to arguments that turn off large swaths of voters, sources tell us. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy is doing the same on the House side…”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/grand-old-white-male-party-gets-diversity-memo-85203.html#ixzz2FRAZVTfQ

    That’s it, Keep QUIET about your true beliefs, your plans for American. Not only will that really get people interested when you get elected and go back on them…

    But the upside-down flag guys you’ve trained to not listen to reason won’t vote for you in the first place…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/us/politics/upside-down-flags-mark-conservative-anger-on-obama.html

  46. GB says:

    Sorry to be late, but @RC’s “Oh Jeez” is too funny to pass up. Way to get that post up (FIRST!) without reading a word of the peak farmland article.

    Another famous presumptuous rant:

    “Sick” (Shel Silverstein)
    http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16480

  47. Gibbon says:

    The Toothpaste is Out of the Tube

  48. jdljdl says:

    Scroll down halfway on the Global Sociology Blog (graph source) to see also similar chart on Homicides/million – Income Inequality or link: http://globalsociology.com/files/2012/12/violence-1lzcie0.gif

    Note the outlier.

    Why wouldn’t economic hardship and inequality (leading to stress, conflict, crime, etc.) increase mental instability? See The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirit_Level:_Why_More_Equal_Societies_Almost_Always_Do_Better

    Perhaps Congress could react positively and progressively to the pressures of the “fiscal cliff” and the tragedy of Sandy Hook and accomplish a great deal, swiftly.

    A person can dream.

  49. RW says:

    jb.mcmunn’s response to Bruman’s comment makes it clear the USA is an outlier in the gun homicide equation but raises some additional questions, one of which can be answered with reasonable confidence.

    Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership because military service is mandatory and ex-military are kept on reserve with the requirement they maintain their issued weapon(s) in good working order. This explains part of the reason gun ownership is high but gun homicide is low — all gun owners are well trained and, either actively or in reserve, still under some degree of discipline.

    In addition, Swiss reservists are not permitted to own ammunition for the weapon(s) they are issued; that can only be dispensed at a military armory when they are called for training or service. So it is not particularly surprising the Swiss gun homicide rate is relatively low even though their gun ownership % is relatively high.

    I believe Finland and Iceland have comparable control systems although I am uncertain regarding their structure. Some clarification there would illuminate but I strongly suspect the hypothesis that high rates of gun ownership in the absence of significant control systems correlates strongly with increased gun homicides would survive intact.

  50. Lugnut says:

    Re: my point above earlier regarding correlating attacks by mentally ill people and mental institutions:

    Fox is now reporting Mom was going through preliminary steps to have her son commtted.

  51. old trader says:

    I wish that the anti-gun folks would at least get their nomenclature correct. The Bushmaster is NOT an assault rifle. The US miltary defintion of an “assault rifle” includes the stipulation that such a weapon have an “adjustable” rate of fire (typically a switch that can be set to single shot, short bursts…typically 2-3 rounds per trigger squeeze, and fully auotmatic….like a machine gun).

    Fully automatic weapons are VERY hard to get (for civilians), as well as being tremendously expensive (as in thousands of $$ apiece).

  52. Very poor gun chart as others have pointed out. Haven’t read all the comments but any reason why so many non-european countries left out? Seems many left out to prove point. For instance why is Brazil not on there? Only 8 firearms per 100 people (vs 88.8 in US) but 18.8 homicides per 100,000 (vs only 2.9 for US). Or where’s mexico? South Africa? You will find the correlation quickly breaks down…many factors beyond the NUMBER of guns determines what people DO with those guns.

  53. Master Shake says:

    I’d like the see the gun chart showing just the caucasian American data. The data point would be much lower and to the left, and would tell a tale BR doesn’t want to hear.

    ~~~

    BR: Your argument is “Its all the darkies fault” ? Thats the sort of junk you bring here? Hit the bricks, asshole — were done with you

  54. Joe Friday says:

    old trader,

    I wish that the anti-gun folks would at least get their nomenclature correct. The Bushmaster is NOT an assault rifle. The US miltary defintion of an ‘assault rifle’ includes the stipulation that such a weapon have an ‘adjustable’ rate of fire (typically a switch that can be set to single shot, short bursts…typically 2-3 rounds per trigger squeeze, and fully auotmatic….like a machine gun).

    You’re being too literal. It’s about assault TYPE of weapons.

    What’s relevant is the weapon and large capacity clips the shooter used to murder 20 first-graders and 6 adults would not have been available if the Republicans had not blocked the renewal of the assault-weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 through 2004.

    Your objection, as well as the objection of everyone else in this thread in regards to the gun chart, reminds me of the old adage about the lawyer who can’t argue the law so he pounds on the table.

  55. Joe Friday says:

    old trader,

    I wish that the anti-gun folks would at least get their nomenclature correct. The Bushmaster is NOT an assault rifle. The US miltary defintion of an ‘assault rifle’ includes the stipulation that such a weapon have an ‘adjustable’ rate of fire (typically a switch that can be set to single shot, short bursts…typically 2-3 rounds per trigger squeeze, and fully auotmatic….like a machine gun).

    You’re being too literal. It’s about assault TYPE of weapons.

    What’s relevant is the weapon and large capacity clips the shooter used to murder 20 first-graders and 6 adults would not have been available if the Republicans had not blocked the renewal of the assault-weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 through 2004.

    Your objection, as well as the objection of everyone else in this thread in regards to the gun chart, reminds me of the old adage about the lawyer who can’t argue the law so he pounds on the table.

  56. Joe Friday says:

    Some kinda glitch. I only posted once.

  57. Giovanni says:

    Not to change the subject at all, but which agri-chemical/’food’ manufacturing conglomerate funded the peak farmland study?

  58. ellsworth says:

    I’m sure a lot of people may think this is a dumb idea, but for shits and giggles, I’d love to see a comparison between gun homicides and sales of “violent” video games. Does America’s fascination with shoot-em-up video games help gamify or desensitize people to death?

    Many of my family members have had guns (primarily hunting) all of my life…but I remember as a kid we were never allowed to have toy guns and later gun-related video games. Guns were always to be taken seriously.

  59. Joe Friday says:

    ellsworth,

    Go up to the Canadian border. You could throw a rock.

    They play the same video games we do. Since most of the population lives near the border, they watch our TV. Canadian TV is more sexually explicit that our (broadcast) TV.

    Contrast the murder rate by gun.

    Try to purchase an assault weapon.

    It’s not the video games, it’s not TV or films.

  60. bart says:

    BR: Guns dont kill people, mentally ill people kill people? .

    How many of the last 10 or so horrific incidents like Sandy Hook were done by sane people?
    My point is primarily that psychopathy etc. is a huge and very lightly acknowledged factor.

    Also, the Bath incident in 1927 or so didn’t involve guns.