The lead and how to swing it

Interesting article by Kevin Drum on the possible effects that lead had on the decrease in violent crime rates. I don’t know that we’ll ever know for sure that caused the huge decrease in violent crime rates over the last 20 years — whether it’s increased incarceration (I doubt this), Roe v. Wade, lead — but I do wish people were more aware of the fact that violent crime has in fact decreased dramatically. Polls show that most people think crime is steadily increasing in this country.






164 replies
  1. 1
    👽 Martin says:

    Polls show that most people think crime is steadily increasing in this country.

    More white people being killed in spree killings. Less inner city crime.

    The only crime that matters is crime against people that look like me.

  2. 2
    flukebucket says:

    Most people think that all of our financial woes are due to big bucks buying T-bone steaks and driving Cadillacs too. And there is no amount of data that will convince them otherwise. As a wing nut friend of mine once told me, “I don’t care what the facts are I know what I believe!”

  3. 3
    Cassidy says:

    Oh no! Vioent crime only started decreasing after the AWB was allowed to expire. Mentioning otherwise is a “typical liberal response”. A wingnut told me so.

  4. 4
    Poopyman says:

    Why, everyone knows that it’s due to an armed society!

  5. 5
    scav says:

    @Poopyman: I thought it was a byproduct of reduced taxes on the wealthy.

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    What do the reporters at Fox news say? The media should accept some of the blame for the ignorance in our country but that would take to much effort.

  7. 7
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    I thought the falling crime rate had been tied to the aging of the baby-boomers, who were at their most violence-prone in the ’60s through early ’80s, although I guess I’m not aware if data prior to that period showed a decreased incidence of violent crime on a per capita basis.

    I also guess lead levels wouldn’t be exclusive to the boomer-bulge crime theory.

    Also, too, I guess it wouldn’t hurt me to read the Drum article before commenting. But then, I won’t be able to get to that till tonight.
    =o )

  8. 8
    handsmile says:

    I would think the phrase “Failed Media Experiment” helps to explain the polls. The “lead” is still bleeding.

    The collapse of the crack cocaine epidemic is often cited as another possible reason for the decrease in serious crime. Here’s another link summarizing the debate:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl.....e-plunging

  9. 9
    mapaghimagsik says:

    Because Jesus?

  10. 10
    Jack the Second says:

    I like the lead explanation because it pleases me to think that we were only killing each other so wantonly because we were all slightly brain-damaged, and as we slowly get less brain damaged we become better people.

  11. 11
    Balconesfault says:

    Unfortunately, we’ve reduced a lot of the lead contamination of our air not only via regulation (although eliminating tetra-ethyl lead was HUGE), but by exporting manufacturing.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06.....&_r=0

  12. 12
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I think the decrease in crime is caused by the lack of prayer in the schools.

  13. 13
    Todd says:

    Things which seem to have factual correlations to diminished crime rates:

    1. Education
    2. Contraception and Abortion
    3. Increased living standards

    In other words, when people are invested in their lives, they’re unlikely to commit criminal acts.

  14. 14
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Related, but not really:

    http://marginalrevolution.com/.....-down.html

    The prison population is decreasing, for the first time since the 1970’s. We’re actually seeing a decline in the incarceration rate for the first time since… since a long time ago, anyway.

  15. 15
    artem1s says:

    most major cities have serious lead abatement programs but are just now starting to get results from multi-year studies on effects on urban populations. unfortunately abatement tends to focus on paint. the real problem lies in the soil that gets churned up over and over again anytime there is any digging or even just a dry summer. rust belt cities need to start focusing on topsoil replacement in urban residential areas but no one has the funding. no one knows how many respiratory/allergy/alzheimer’s problems are being caused by lead contaminated soil.

  16. 16
    cathyx says:

    I heard of this a few months ago. Very interesting theory. Unleaded gasoline being the big benefit.

  17. 17
    Poopyman says:

    Did the later Roman Empire have a similar violent crime epidemic? (As distinct from the institutional violence, that is.)

  18. 18

    How rigorous is this? Because I’m reminded of the chart on the church of FSM implicating that global warming caused the decline in Pirates.

    Correlation and Causation, etc.

  19. 19
    ET says:

    I live in DC and frankly everyone thinks crime was as bad as it was in the late 1980’s early 1990. On just murder DC topped out at over 400 in the early 1990’s and this year had less than 100. The least it has been since the early 1960’s. But reading local blogs/listervs you would think it was “Escape from New York”.

    Some of it I think has to do with the fact that DC has a lot of people from elsewhere – and much of that elsewhere is from gated communities and cul-de-sac in exurbs of cities. I would add that many of these newly arrived equate brown people sitting on their porch with people just waiting to cause you trouble because they grew up in areas where people don’t have porches in the front to sit on so they just aren’t used to urban stoop sitting as a form community. For those that have been in DC forever and think things are bad, I wonder if it’s siege/bunker mentality.

  20. 20
    Pococurante says:

    Crime rates dropping, fewer homicides than ever before, and yet so many here believe that rather than amend the constitution we should simply post gun owner addresses and hound registered owners back into the underground.

    Despite that legal owners are not those committing the crimes.

    @Todd:

    In other words, when people are invested in their lives, they’re unlikely to commit criminal acts.

    Yes interesting isn’t it. No fascist abuse of the Constitution required.

    Interesting is the overlap with those here who believe abortion and pot smoking should not be handled the same way.

    I agree that abortion should be legal but rare, that pot smoking should be available and those with addiction should have legal recourse to health care, but wonder why another exercise of constitutional rights is somehow different.

    When almost inevitably the real criminal use of guns is by criminals, not by registered gun owners.

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Pococurante: Strawman alert. Not many here are opposed to gun ownership. The degree of regulation is open to argument.

  22. 22
    Sly says:

    Here on Long Island there is an epidemic of home invasions going on for the past decade or so despite the fact that there really hasn’t been any such thing and you’re statistically less likely to be the victim of a burglary than you were during an era when people “felt safe keeping their doors unlocked at night.”

    Part of it is an over-saturation of crime reporting, which makes the anecdotal outliers seem like the statistical norm. Part of it is also racism; I live in an area that is far more racially and ethnically integrated than it was even a quarter of a century ago, and the fact that Long Island has historically been the place for racist dickheads of this state to move to hasn’t helped matters.

    Likewise, we didn’t have a major drug epidemic here until white kids started OD’ing on their parents painkillers in the late 90s, and its usually blamed on “those people” from the center island, Queens, or the Bronx.

  23. 23
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Pococurante:
    Had to make this a gun owner thing again, huh?

    Despite that legal owners are not those committing the crimes.

    Despite the fact that 3/4 of guns used in crimes were legally acquired.

  24. 24
    Pococurante says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The degree of regulation is open to argument.

    You haven’t been paying attention the last few days. We’ve had calls to create public lists, with address (contemplate that) for CHL citizens. Zero tolerance under any circumstance.

  25. 25
    👽 Martin says:

    @Pococurante:

    Interesting is the overlap with those here who believe abortion and pot smoking should not be handled the same way.

    Where does unlawful drugs come from? Not from lawful drug owners. Can people who get abortions uniquely enable someone else to get an abortion? No.

    But where do unlawful guns come from? Typically from lawful gun owners – either through theft or gun show sales or online sales, and so on.

    Change that, and attitudes will change. Period.

  26. 26
    scav says:

    OT Fiscal cliff we missed. Vatican City’s having to go all-cash because they’re not up to speed on the whole combatting money-laundering thing. BBC. They really planning on working their way through the entire list of the seven deadlies?

  27. 27
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: How cute, we have another paid hack. This one has a better thesaurus than PO, though.

  28. 28
    Suffern ACE says:

    OT: But who is the anchor at CNN in the afternoons? Woman, appears to be very thin, falsely blonde, and very dumb and superficial. (She thought Al Gore selling Current TV to al Jazeera rather than Glenn Beck was really weird (well, you know, its Al Gore, he he) because they are basically the same.

  29. 29
    Pococurante says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Conflating the issue. Were these regulated and licensed gun owners?

    No.

    Were these gun show unregulated purchasers, who fronted for mobsters, in some cases by the Feds themselves?

    Yes.

    Note my emphasis on regulated and licensed owners.

    As in abortion and pot, regulation and tracking make for a safer society. Making all three unobserved, unregulated, unlicensed, and illegal… is where things go wrong.

    @👽 Martin:

    Change that, and attitudes will change. Period.

    Agreed. Until then stop taking cheap shots at those who voluntarily put themselves before the law.

    @Cassidy: You are one of those who believe public lists with home addresses is the proper way to deal with those who put themselves voluntarily in front of the law, those who by statistics are actually better citizens than those who don’t. In short you are a fascist no different than those who publish the home addresses of abortion providers.

  30. 30
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Pococurante: Is having concealed carry permit a matter of public record? If so, why should the information be kept from the public?

  31. 31
    mapaghimagsik says:

    But I thought this was going to be the thread that was all about me!

  32. 32
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Pococurante: Imagine, asking that public records be public. The gall of some people.

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mapaghimagsik: It is okay; I thought my school prayer comment was pretty good. I guess we both learn to live with disappointment.

  34. 34
    gene108 says:

    I think video games are responsible for the decrease in violent crime.

    After the NES made it big, in the late 1980’s-early 1990’s, children no longer had a need to go out side to entertain themselves and relieve boredom.

  35. 35
    Eric S says:

    Back in High School I attended a few lectures at Argonne National Labs. It was part of a process of having HS kids come in and kind of intern at the labs to see if they were interested in science careers. At one of the lectures a researcher brought up a connection between criminal behavior and a higher than normal level of heavy metal trace elements in hair samples. He was quick to point out that testing for trace metal in a person’s hair couldn’t be used as a predictor of criminal behavior but that there was evidence of a connection. That would have been in 1988/89.

  36. 36
    Pococurante says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Is having concealed carry permit a matter of public record? If so, why should the information be kept from the public?

    Pure statistics, at least in Texas, are a matter of public record. You have full transparency to the number of licenses permitted, refused, or confiscated as well as stats on percentage of crimes committed.

    Personalized records are not. In Texas you are no more entitled to see which neighbors are registered CHL than those with pre-existing health conditions.

  37. 37
    SenyorDave says:

    Just for some persepctive, these are the FBI stats for the last 20 years for the violent crime rate. These are the rates per 100,000 people. The total violent crime rate in 1992 was twice what it was in 2011.

    1992 757.7
    1993 747.1
    1994 713.6
    1995 684.5
    1996 636.6
    1997 611
    1998 567.6
    1999 523
    2000 506.5
    2001 504.5
    2002 494.4
    2003 475.8
    2004 463.2
    2005 469
    2006 479.3
    2007 471.8
    2008 458.6
    2009 431.9
    2010 404.5
    2011 386.3

  38. 38
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    *steeples fingers*
    Yes, there is always next thread…

  39. 39
    handsmile says:

    Somewhat tangential perhaps, but the topic gives me the opportunity to recommend one of the best books I read last year: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by neuroscientist Steven Pinker. He contends that “We may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.”

    It’s a quite astonishing, even counterintuitive, volume that reviews through exhaustive source analyses and quantitative measures the history of human violence. Internationally renowned for his work in cognition and linguistics, this is an unexpected work from Pinker; the methods by which he defends his thesis are not.

    Provocative in all the best ways, this is a demanding but very rewarding book, recently published in paperback edition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....Our_Nature

  40. 40
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Today is just an off day. You mention male prostitutes and just assume it’ll be gold, but everyone just goes right by.

  41. 41
    Pococurante says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Ok. Any other public lists of citizens exercising their constitutional rights you feel should be published> Pre-existing health conditions, abortion providers, tax assayers, pollution regulators, etc….

    Those who violate the law are publicly registered. Not citizens obeying the law.

  42. 42
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @Pococurante:

    Yes interesting isn’t it. No fascist abuse of the Constitution required.

    Le sigh.

    This is always the rub on these discussions. There’s a pretty wide gulf between “complete ban on anything resembling a firearm” and “machine guns for everyone”. Maybe we could discuss some sort of reasonable compromise between the two that protects both the rights and the safety of the American public.

    Then again, maybe not.

  43. 43
    Cassidy says:

    exercising their constitutional rights

    Someone has a shitty poker face.

  44. 44
    Cassidy says:

    exercising their constitutional rights

    Someone has a shitty p0ker face.

  45. 45
    cathyx says:

    @SenyorDave: If you take those statistics back to when leaded gasoline was no longer available, you will see a direct correlation.

  46. 46
    Napoleon says:

    That Drum article is very persuasive. What I find most persuasive is how the argument lines up to data worldwide.

    @SenyorDave:

    Amazing. I knew that there has been a huge decline over the last 20 to 30 years but what is most amazing with the numbers you post that it contains only one year that the rate was higher then the year before. Not only is the trend clear but its not noisy or bumpy at all.

  47. 47
    Pococurante says:

    @Cassidy: Heh. Another one of your future lists? No of course not. It’s actually a funny comment on your part.

    Unless one lives in Uganda. There they think your lists make a lot of sense. Crazy world eh?

    @FormerSwingVoter:

    Then again, maybe not.

    That would be nice. Except the threads of the last week suggest emoprogs prefer shaming those and putting out for hoocodanode retribution who are not the problem.

  48. 48
    ant says:

    I wonder how much of this dropping of crime stats can be attributed to paying police departments more money for every year that crime goes down.

    I’m sure the police would never fudge the numbers to get more money though……… Would they?

  49. 49
    Todd says:

    @Pococurante:

    Yes interesting isn’t it. No fascist abuse of the Constitution required.

    I’ve long been amused at the babbling lunacy of wingers. They never hated the cops until they started getting treated like little brown people.

  50. 50
    Cassidy says:

    @Pococurante: Man. You must be playing talking point bingo today. Do you get a bonus for how many you can shoehorn in?

  51. 51
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Pococurante: If it’s a matter of public record, as it is, say, in NY, then it’s a matter of public record. If I know your name, I can research your campaign contributions, I can find out when you bought your house and how much you paid for it, how many bathrooms it has, how big a plot of land you own, etc. All public records. If the carry permit is a public record, why are you entitled to not disclose that one item?

  52. 52
    Roger Moore says:

    @artem1s:

    unfortunately abatement tends to focus on paint.

    Paint is actually a very serious problem, since it can lead to the kind of really severe poisoning that causes severe mental problems. I’d also expect it to be a more tractable problem than soil pollution, which may make it a better target for limited cleanup funds.

  53. 53
    Todd says:

    @Pococurante:

    We’ve had calls to create public lists, with address (contemplate that) for CHL citizens.

    I’m down with that. Although, you could probably get a pretty high correlation rate if you simply registered and published the purchasers of camo ballcaps, trucknutz and skoal.

  54. 54
    Napoleon says:

    @ant:

    I’m sure the police would never fudge the numbers to get more money though……… Would they?

    Maybe they would, but in this case the murder rate (a subset of that number) has dropped in a similar manner and it is pretty tough to fudge that number since, you know, people tend to report and follow up on dead bodies in the street.

  55. 55
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn: Actually, this was widely assumed until the “super-criminal” youngsters born 1980-on failed to create a giant bolus of crime.

    This totally upended a huge theory in criminology and has fueled the search for new hypotheses.

    The abortion theory was interesting (and inflammatory, always fun!) but I think the Pb theory is killing it. Look at the comparative stats across countries and time. There was a previous crime wave in the US during the industrial phase, then a dropoff when lead was reined in, then the increase when we decided to atomize it in the air.

    It doesn’t explain everything, but it’s clearly a first order effect. And it has strong, easily tested prior plausibility, which none of the other theories I’m aware of have.

    The social inequality thing seems to be a second-order effect. The research documenting this is impressive and is to be lauded. Criminologists and sociologists long suspected poverty of being a driving factor and now it has shown to be poverty–with a twist. (And crime isn’t the only negative outcome.)

  56. 56
    Napoleon says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Hell, you can get floor plans in some places.

  57. 57
    Pococurante says:

    @Napoleon:

    Amazing. I knew that there has been a huge decline over the last 20 to 30 years but what is most amazing with the numbers you post that it contains only one year that the rate was hire then the year before. Not only is the trend clear but its not noisy or bumpy at all.

    The overall decline in crime seems to be, interestingly, the hippie idea that we all are self-aware. Blips and massacres have nothing in line with gun laws.

    Fox News keeps some folks in a constant state of fear on their pet issues. It drives revenue. No different on the left.

  58. 58
    ellennelle says:

    @Todd:

    if you read the article, you’ll see that your list of explanations does not hold up under scrutiny.

    looking at history, when these factors are compared to the crime rates, they don’t correlate very well at all, especially with the continuing decline in crime. not even poverty rates do (poverty has been going up, crime rates down for quite a while now). the things you list sure don’t account for as much of the variance as lead in gas does; 90%. that is of huge statistical significance.

    it appears that, most likely, if all these things you list were in place (and they have been), and there was a high lead contamination factor, we’d see an increase in crime and violent behavior anyway.

    the article quotes an epidemiologist who makes the following points. if an epidemic follows communication lines, the culprit is info (e.g., bieber fever). if it follows transportation lines, the culprit is a microbe (think flu). if it follows a fan pattern, it’s an insect (malaria). and if it spreads out universally, it’s a molecule; lead fits this pattern.

    really, go read the article. the correlation has borne out not just in comparing cities against rural areas, but both of these in countries all over the world. pretty powerful stuff.

    i am a neuropsychologist, and have been an expert witness for cases representing kids exposed to lead paint; what that stuff does to the growing brain is gawdawful.

    what it does to any brain cannot be good. i’ve wondered if it is somehow involved in the Alzheimer’s epidemic.

    it’s deadly stuff. especially when we remind ourselves that there is some suggestion lead contributed to the downfall of rome (heavy lead counts in bones, etc), what with all the lead in their fancy water pipes and all.

    wouldn’t it be ironic if yet another world empire designed its own demise by lead through some fancy modern luxury, like running water or fossil fuels that don’t make their fast combustion engines knock?

  59. 59
    Cassidy says:

    Fox News keeps some folks in a constant state of fear on their pet issues. It drives revenue. No different on the left.

    “BOTH SIDES DO IT”

    Someone’s trying for that timeshare.

  60. 60
    gogol's wife says:

    @Pococurante:

    Twenty dead six-year-olds is just a blip. Not any more. We’ve had enough.

  61. 61
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @handsmile: Well, sure. But this can only explain a small portion of the overall picture. Third order, maybe. Or, like the “we just locked more people up” theory, has not in any way established causality. (Frankly, even the correlation looks dubious to me.)

    Lead poisoning could actually be a cofactor in the increased incidence of drug abuse in the late 20th century, since lead poisoning damages the ‘superego’, the frontal cortex which plans and makes decisions and sees the future. Someone with impaired functioning in this region will engage in more impulsive behavior. While there are other factors involved in curbing narcotics use, I think lead exposure may have been a small part of a perfect storm.

    Of course, a lot of the human calamity was not the drug use. It was all the other societal externalities.

  62. 62
    cathyx says:

    @Roger Moore: The story I heard gave the blame to leaded gasoline. Once the lead was taken out, the crime rates started to drop.

  63. 63
    Roger Moore says:

    @SenyorDave:

    1992 757.7
    1993 747.1

    2000 506.5
    2001 504.5

    2008 458.6
    2009 431.9
    2010 404.5
    2011 386.3

    Is it just me, or does it look as if violent crime falls faster under Democratic presidents than Republicans?

  64. 64
    Xenos says:

    To think we never used lead in gasoline until industry decided to convince us that ‘engine knock’ was the worse thing ever and we just had to spread a neurotoxing everywhere in order to avoid it.

  65. 65
    Mike in NC says:

    Polls show that most people think crime is steadily increasing in this country.

    What percentage of them are elderly white people driven to paranoia and panic by FOX News? A big chunk, I suspect.

  66. 66
    Pococurante says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Ok. You are down with less privacy. Any areas that would be exceptions? Is there anything anymore that should be shielded from the public at large?

    @Cassidy: What are your sacred cows you are willing to sacrifice for the greater good.

    You already know I detest the NRA. But I’m not willing to go to your extreme direction that everyone must give up everything just so you feel better about yourself.

    It is well established that those who comply with the law are the least risk to the greater citizenry. rather than focus on where current law goes wrong I see only a desire to punish those that actually comply.

  67. 67
    Brachiator says:

    @Pococurante:

    Crime rates dropping, fewer homicides than ever before, and yet so many here believe that rather than amend the constitution we should simply post gun owner addresses and hound registered owners back into the underground.

    I think that gun owners should be shot. But that’s just me.

    Despite that legal owners are not those committing the crimes….When almost inevitably the real criminal use of guns is by criminals, not by registered gun owners.

    This is both wrong and wrong-headed. Many who kill people with guns were “law abiding citizens” until they got angry or went nuts or otherwise decided to kill someone.

    And then there are all the “law abiding citizens” who cynically sell guns to anyone, even to people they know are criminals, or upset, or angry, or otherwise seeking a weapon to do harm.

    I agree that abortion should be legal but rare, that pot smoking should be available and those with addiction should have legal recourse to health care, but wonder why another exercise of constitutional rights is somehow different.

    How often or infrequently a woman has an abortion ain’t your business. Pot smoking, whether for medical or recreational reasons, should not be your business.

  68. 68
    Punchy says:

    With his pay-per-view action, I guess we’ll never know how Sullivan feels about lead-based crime.

  69. 69
    Ruckus says:

    I wonder if there is more than one answer. Actually I don’t wonder at all. Many of the things listed do in fact work. Some of them have unintended consequences. Lead was a big problem and is still an issue. It’s lessening use probably does help. Increased incarceration works to get and keep the most violent off the streets. Of course it has taken many non violent people off the streets as well(3 strikes here in CA) and probably helps perpetuate the crime has increased BS. Baby boomers. Having a large chunk of people getting older does lessen the rate of crime. And I’m sure there are other reasons. None of these by themselves are the answer but taken as a part of the whole they can help explain. What about welfare, medicaid, extended unemployment, tazers and militarized police departments? Computers to track and find criminals? Better forensics to get the actual person not just the one who looks right for the part?
    What is it about americans that we look for one easy answer, even if it isn’t the best or only answer?

  70. 70
    Culture of Truth says:

    I thought Giuliani ended all crime

  71. 71
    Pococurante says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Is it just me, or does it look as if violent crime falls faster under Democratic presidents than Republicans?

    Not just you. Economy improves and crimes decreases under Democratic governments. There is not scientifically established correlation but I’m content to infer one.

    @Mike in NC:

    A big chunk, I suspect.

    Same here, and there is a similar phenomenon on the left. Actual stats are less important than the fear, fear drives hate, and hate drives pressure on the government to put its energy into fads rather than actual fracture points.

  72. 72
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    Christ, first they blame copper for recent thefts, and now they’re blaming lead? When does rhodium and tungsten get on the shit list?

  73. 73
    Culture of Truth says:

    everyone must give up everything

    I am in this camp

  74. 74
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Pococurante:

    So what is the percentage of violent crimes committed with a firearm now compared to years in the past?

  75. 75
    👽 Martin says:

    @Napoleon:

    Hell, you can get floor plans in some places.

    You can get full loan history too – whether the previous owner took out HELOCs, loan amounts, total debt exposure, and so on.

  76. 76

    @Pococurante:
    What you afraid of?

    You’re the big bad man with the gun collection, aren’t you?

  77. 77
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @handsmile: http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…..e-plunging

    Here’s my problem with this article: when you have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. When you’re a criminologist or sociologist, everything starts to look like a criminal justice or sociological problem. Now, logically, there is no way every problem could have a sociological basis. That is because we live in the real world and not in the Matrix. But most sociologists (who do great work, not knocking them) are not conversant in too many fields other than the standard psychology, economics, and anthropology.

    So it’s not surprising that a thesis coming out of epidemiology might take them by surprise.

    Let’s not forget that the sociological community was confidently telling the newspapers about the coming crime wave in the 1990s which never. fucking. materialized. Instead, rates went down, and continued to go down, making the careers of charlatans like Giuliani.

    Note: if Giuliani were responsible, that would have been an NYC-only matter. It was systemic.

    Lead gasoline is also systemic, giving it first order plausibility WITHOUT knowing anything about human physiology, as opposed to ALL of the sociological theories being bandied about which depend on local and state government solutions and NGO attempts that varied from place to place. The US crime drop was UNCOUPLED from other countries but MYSTERIOUSLY CONSISTENT nationwide. So the lead gasoline policy is a wonderful suspect, given that it was a federally-enforced environmental change that happened all at once at the same time.

    There’s more to the lead theory, of course, but just by what I laid out above it totally kills all of the sociological/political theories right out of the gate. Even if the lead theory were disconfirmed, we would be looking for a prime suspect just like it.

  78. 78
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @artem1s: rust belt cities need to start focusing on topsoil replacement in urban residential areas but no one has the funding. no one knows how many respiratory/allergy/alzheimer’s problems are being caused by lead contaminated soil.

    Seconded. I guess people need to get more outraged. In Fluhduh the water issues are so severe that’s where all the energy is concentrated, but digging up brownfields and blowing lead (and other contaminants) everywhere is a major problem (especially when your local government lies about it).

  79. 79
    Roger Moore says:

    @cathyx:
    Lead in gasoline is an obvious culprit, but there is clearly also a problem with lead paint, especially decaying lead paint. Kids who grow with decaying lead paint wind up ingesting a huge amount, and it’s been clearly shown to cause problems with brain development. Guess what kind of people were most likely to be exposed to lead from paint. If you said “poor people living in substandard housing”, give yourself a star.

  80. 80
    Pococurante says:

    @Brachiator:

    This is both wrong and wrong-headed. Many who kill people with guns were “law abiding citizens” until they got angry or went nuts or otherwise decided to kill someone.

    Prove it.

    And then there are all the “law abiding citizens” who cynically sell guns to anyone, even to people they know are criminals, or upset, or angry, or otherwise seeking a weapon to do harm.

    I assume you mean gun show loopholes. That should be closed. I’ve said as much all week long.

    Those who buy guns while fronting are clearly not law abiding. Again better enforcement and regulation are appropriate. Not scapegoating citizens exercising constitutional rights within law.

    If you really disagree then step yourself through your last few years and ask yourself at what point you should turni you or people you know for violations. No matter how trivial.

    How often or infrequently a woman has an abortion ain’t your business. Pot smoking, whether for medical or recreational reasons, should not be your business.

    Nor is buying a gun per established laws. If you don’t like the constitution, work to change it.

    By the way neither pot nor abortion have express protection under the constitution, I can argue they should. I actively work for that.

    But you can’t with any credibility dispute gun ownership is in fact expressly protected.

    The only thing you can argue is the right degree of regulation.

    There we can have a discussion. Otherwise you sound like Cassidy, who with a straight face argues the Constitution does not give that protection as recently and narrowly upheld by the Supreme Court.

    Or are you delusional also.

  81. 81

    @Judas Escargot, Bringer of Loaves and Fish Sandwiches: I was thinking exactly this. I have guns. Put me on any list you want. My right to privacy is not absolute. The 2nd amendment isn’t absolute.

  82. 82
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Gotta give a hand to the paid NRA shill, he is earning his money here recently.

    As a gun owner, I have zero problem with posting the names and addresses of people who conceal carry, because those people are a threat to society and every person they come in contact with.

    I do not conceal carry. I would never dream of it. My guns at home are unloaded and locked in a fire-rated safe that is bolted to the concrete slab. My ammo is locked in a footlocker in another part of the house. This is for my own safety and the safety of anyone who comes in my house, invited or no. Guns are dangerous as hell. People need to realize that. Carrying them in public, open or concealed (and boy would I prefer open so I know who to stay away from) is not just stupid but crazy behavior that subjects your fellow citizens to very serious risks they never signed on for, and that has no place in a civilized society.

  83. 83
    Ruckus says:

    @Cassidy:
    It’s Wayne!

    I knew anonymity would get us one day.

  84. 84
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Poopyman: re: Roman empire, only the elites had lead pipes and most of the lead poisoning would have happened when the pipes were new as the insides collect calcium deposits.

    However, upper-class ladies liked to eat food with artificial sweetener made from lead. It was also cosmetic (made you pale).

    Most historians consider the lead-poisoning to be confined to the urban elites (not the urban poor), while elites on villas ate rustic food and drank spring water, perhaps explaining why all the great histories and philosophy texts were written in villas.

    The urban elites in Rome DID act pretty fucking crazy, hence the incessant lead poisoning jokes.

  85. 85
    worn says:

    @freelancer (iPhone): Go to Nevin’s site. He has a wealth of data available – both intracountry comparisons, as well as between nations whose Pb phase-outs occurred along different time frames. I’d provide a link, but I’m typing this on an iPhone while eating lunch at a restaurant. That, and this is the 8th tab open.

    Seriously, though, the evidence seems pretty compelling.

  86. 86
    ellennelle says:

    @Pococurante:

    hm. that’s just not correct. or rather, it’s sort of circular, no? i mean, the criminal use of guns by criminals? at least redundant.

    perhaps a better metric would be the amount of violence associated with gun ownership? there are actually stats for that, real data. as it happens, if you own a gun, you are 4-5 times more likely to be the victim of a gunshot. period. and that translates mathematically as 400-500% more likely. not good odds.

    the biggest problem is suicides by guns, followed closely by domestic violence with guns. these, and the situations that follow down the list, are all about people getting all heated up and agitated and – what’s this? i have a gun! i’ll settle it. bangbang you’re/i’m dead.

    if you call these people criminals – they’re not associated with theft or the like, just poor anger management – i suppose you may have a point.

    except that guns do such thorough and complete damage.

    but then, tell me how you explain all those kids who find guns and shoot and/or kill themselves? are they criminals? how does guns don’t kill people, people do square with that? did those kids kill themselves?

  87. 87
    geg6 says:

    Polls show that most people think crime is steadily increasing in this country.

    Don’t know if you’d noticed, Doug. But most people are fucking stupid.

  88. 88
    R-Jud says:

    @peach flavored shampoo:

    Christ, first they blame copper for recent thefts, and now they’re blaming lead? When does rhodium and tungsten get on the shit list?

    Molybdenum is behind the rise in Internet piracy. And yttrium is responsible for the skinny-jeans-on-men epidemic plaguing our youth.

  89. 89
    Enhanced Mooching Techniques says:

    @Pococurante:

    Crime rates dropping, fewer homicides than ever before, and yet so many here believe that rather than amend the constitution we should simply post gun owner addresses and hound registered owners back into the underground.

    What is the problem Poco; not willing to stand proud for exercising your Second Amendment Rights, granted by Christ Himself (’cause you know Jesus packs heat)?

    The only reason you would want to hide ownership is your worried the rest of us would figure out that guns are in the hands of damn fools who wouldn’t be allowed a plastic spoon in a sane society.

  90. 90
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ET: I live in DC and frankly everyone thinks crime was as bad as it was in the late 1980′s early 1990. On just murder DC topped out at over 400 in the early 1990′s and this year had less than 100. The least it has been since the early 1960′s. But reading local blogs/listervs you would think it was “Escape from New York”.

    Suburban punks who never would have stepped foot outside of the Federal Triangle with their parents during the “troubles”. They don’t have a fugging clue what they’re talking about.

    Actually, that might be a good thing, as those dumb hipsters wouldn’t have sunk all that money and time rehabilitating historic ‘hoods in NW and NE if they’d had any clue what the actual crime rate was around there.

    To me, the rate at which DC has changed is nothing short of shocking.

    You used to be able to buy pirated goods on card tables a few short blocks from the Capitol.

    East Cap looked like the Neutron Bomb had gone off.

  91. 91
    Pococurante says:

    @Judas Escargot, Bringer of Loaves and Fish Sandwiches:

    What you afraid of?

    You’re the big bad man with the gun collection, aren’t you?

    I’m afraid of citizens that are willing to give over more abilities to the government to make me expose every facet of my life simply because some left or right wing chicken hawk can’t sleep until knowing they “saved the children” from a threat mathematically proven to be infinitesimally not an issue.

    I own one gun. A shotgun I use to hunt ducks. I’m licensed to buy or carry whatever the law permits. But I own a single duck hunting gun. Oh wait, also a compound bow. Quake before my firepower.

    I answered your question – what are you afraid of… here is a hint: a car is far more likely to kill you, as is a Big Mac too many, or sitting at your desk more than five hours a day…

  92. 92
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ET: I would add that many of these newly arrived equate brown people sitting on their porch with people just waiting to cause you trouble because they grew up in areas where people don’t have porches in the front to sit on so they just aren’t used to urban stoop sitting as a form community.

    Yup, fear makes you stupid.

    For those that have been in DC forever and think things are bad, I wonder if it’s siege/bunker mentality.

    There is no. fucking. way. things are as bad as they were. Not even close. Whoever says otherwise must be as impervious to reality as a Limbaugh dittohead.

  93. 93
    Pococurante says:

    @ranchandsyrup: So we can also establish a list for books you buy, people you call on the telephone, websites you visit, things you say in public?

    Or is it only the 2nd amendment you single out.

  94. 94
    Ruckus says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:
    no place in a civilized society.
    This is a civilized society?
    One look at reality tv should kill that idea.

  95. 95
    scav says:

    anyone that demands proof that it is possible for a citizen having obeyed the law in all respects in the past to use a gun on the first occasion of his not obeying the law is an idiot or not arguing in good faith, despite the complete sentence structure.

  96. 96
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Pococurante: I’m not “down with” it, I’m telling you the way it is. Laws can be made to protect categories of information, with real penalties – see HIPAA. Laws can be made that other information is public, such as individual campaign contributions.

    In NY, the law says that concealed-carry permits are a public record. So a newspaper acts on that, and gun owners are apoplectic. That’s curious. A public record is a public record.

    They are not publishing the names and addresses of people who own guns, they published the names and addresses of a limited subset of people who have applied for and been granted the privilege to carry a gun in a concealed manner. That is not a constitutional right. It is a privilege, subject to licensing, just as the privilege to charge me money for drilling holes in my teeth.

  97. 97
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @scav: Hahaha, fuck yeah. Bout time the Italian government finally stood up to those crooks.

  98. 98
    Ruckus says:

    @geg6:
    Ah, the crux of the matter.

  99. 99
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Pococurante:

    I’m afraid of citizens that are willing to give over more abilities to the government…

    Do you own that M1-A1 all by yourself, or did you come to some sort of co-op arrangement with your buddies?

  100. 100
    Pococurante says:

    @ellennelle:

    but then, tell me how you explain all those kids who find guns and shoot and/or kill themselves? are they criminals? how does guns don’t kill people, people do square with that? did those kids kill themselves?

    What is the number one form of death that kills teenagers…

  101. 101
    JCT says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: As a fellow gun owner (and I have the exact setup you describe — right down to the safe bolted to the concrete in my garage), I concur 100%.

    No less than this is being irresponsible.

  102. 102
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @handsmile: Pinker didn’t do the research. He’s just engaging in more self-promotion.

    The research has been out for a while. I’d love to see other historians/sociologists critique or comment on it.

    I saw a talk Pinker gave about this research and it was pretty uninsightful. It’s not his field and … it shows.

    The notion that civilization is … civilizing is quite seductive, I must say.

  103. 103

    @Pococurante: slippery slope is a fallacy.

  104. 104
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Napoleon: I wouldn’t attribute this solely to be a first-order effect of the lead and its removal. There is probably a virtuous cycle as violence decreases.

  105. 105
    PeakVT says:

    @artem1s: Topsoil will have to be addressed, but the contamination is both widespread and uneven. Painted windows and doors should have a higher priority for remediation because their status is binary (contaminated or not) and there are secondary benefits to replacing old windows.

  106. 106
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @Pococurante:
    Yeah, I’m not sure why people are so eager to defend the newspaper that published that map. Totally within their rights to do, but also a total dick move. Someone can learn a lot about me through public records if they spend a lot of time and effort doing so, but that isn’t the same as having my name, address, and whatever-it-is-that-people-don’t-like-that-week published in an easy-to-interact-with web app. It was a dick move when a newspaper does it to legal gun owners, and it’s a dick move when bloggers do it to journalists.

    I remember when we were talking about strengthening the background check system, instead of which portions of the First Amendment should be strip-mined in an effort to protect/destroy the Second. Good times.

  107. 107
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ant: I think they actually fudged more in the past. Early 20th century.

    There are also ways to gauge crime other than relying on police reporting or FBI stats. Because system-gaming does occur.

  108. 108
    Pococurante says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Hmm gotcha.

    It is not that way in Texas. And yes I object. I’m on file with Texas as a CHL. Someone can requisition my records in a criminal case.

    But I cannot be posted on a general list with one exception – if I am a CHL trainer.

    And that comes closer to your example. Someone putting themselves out in public as a state-certified practitioner is published so consumers have clear evidence of qualification.

    That’s a far cry from someone that buys dental equipment, for their own personal purposes, being equally published.

    Or to put it another way many internists with an interest in gynecology understand abortion techniques. But we don’t consider it acceptable to post them publicly as abortion providers.

  109. 109
    catclub says:

    @Pococurante: Likely cars.

    The next question: What is the death rate per hour of interaction with various things.
    The average death rate for cars is: If you drive 60 MPH,
    24/7/365, you have about a 50% chance of dying after 70 or so years. Teenagers are worse, but not dramatically. So in spite of everything, cars in the US are amazingly safe, given how we use them and how much benefit we get from using them.

    How would those statistics work for guns?

  110. 110
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Roger Moore: It’s also something parents can do something about with education. They’re helpless when it comes to these soil issues.

    Fortunately the soil issue is less acute.

  111. 111
    geg6 says:

    @Pococurante:

    What are you so afraid of? You’re such a proud advocate of guns and gun ownership and how awesome guns are, I would think you’d be happy to let the world know about it. Myself, I have no problem with it. We have two guns in our house (both in a gun safe, unloaded, with the ammo stored separately). It’s the same for all the wimps who want to have concealed carry. What are they afraid of? If they’re such badasses that they have to carry a gun around all the time no matter what or where, then why so afraid to show it?

    I’ll tell you why. It’s because the vast majority of people to whom gun issues means the most are a bunch of wimps and cowards. You need your guns to feel secure, and not in the physical safety sense. It’s all about the quivering coward that lives in you/them. Protip: your guns and the quivering hysteria with which you defend them under any and all circumstances just telegraphs what cowards you are.

  112. 112
    chopper says:

    @Pococurante:

    if its based on a permit from the government, yes it’s a matter of public record and yes I should be able to look that up.

    if you get a permit to build a garage it should be public record. or to dig a well or to add liquor service to your restaurant or open a day care center.

    what that has to do with abortion I have no idea, but god bless you for giving it the ol’ college try.

  113. 113
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @Pococurante: none of those other things are deigned to kill people.

  114. 114
    gogol's wife says:

    Betty Cracker just put up a thread on gun control. Pococurante better get up there quick and derail the discussion onto publishing lists in newspapers.

  115. 115
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Pococurante:

    What is the number one form of death that kills teenagers…

    I’m guessing it’s automobile accidents, but it doesn’t matter. The questions should be, ‘Is anyone doing anything to abate the leading cause of death of teenagers? Is there a large group interfering with those efforts to abate the leading cause of death of teenagers?’

  116. 116
    Xenos says:

    Hey — it is online, from 2000:

    http://www.thenation.com/artic.....tory-lead#

    The true story about how it was never a good idea to put lead into gas in the first place, and how the American lead industry continued to market lead additives for gasoline to poor countries long after it was banned in the US.

    The big issue here s not how smart and lucky we are for taking the lead out of gasoline, but what do we do with an industry that cased widespread brain damage and third party victims of brain damage for more than 50 years.

    Think of all the murder and rape victims caused by the lead industry, think of the people who, to a degree at least, were turned into murderers and rapists by the lead industry.

    How do we respond to this, as a society?

  117. 117
    Ruckus says:

    @Pococurante:
    You think all of those things you just listed are not being done?
    What ads pop up when you open BJ? Some one is tracking what you look at and using that info. Your bank/cc company has a list of what you purchase. You think that info is totally private? What about your cell phone calls?

    You live in a society. We call it a free society but it is a society. And as a member of a society you are expected to act in a manner that does not overtly endanger others. I will grant you that a wealthy person has more leeway in that and will probably pay a less debilitating penalty, but that doesn’t change the living in a society aspect. This is not 1776, just in case you haven’t noticed. Actions that may have been normal at the time, carrying a gun for example, had less negative effect than now. The world has changed and a lot of us are tired of having to live in a war zone. YMMV.

  118. 118

    @Pococurante:

    I answered your question – what are you afraid of… here is a hint: a car is far more likely to kill you, as is a Big Mac too many, or sitting at your desk more than five hours a day…

    My car is publicly registered (with a license plate mounted on both back and front to identify me). My car is also insured to cover any damages I might do with it, either by accident or on purpose. More than you could say for your gun.

    My HMO also knows my profession, presumably so they can run it through their actuarial tables as they decide what to charge me.

    Nobody's coming after your shotgun anytime soon, and you know this as well as I. So I reject your entire line of argument.

  119. 119
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    No less than this is being irresponsible.

    @JCT: You know it. I’ve seen three “accidental discharges”, one by a cop, in the last five years at my local range. That was enough. I don’t care how good or smart you are, or think you are, your loaded gun is a menace to anyone within its maximum range no matter how you carry it.

    People carrying loaded firearms in public are a menace to everyone in the public sphere. Period.

  120. 120
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ruckus:

    What is it about americans that we look for one easy answer, even if it isn’t the best or only answer?

    We don’t look for one easy answer; we look for answers that confirm our prejudices. Liberals see social and environmental problems that need to be solved. Conservatives see bad people who have been locked up forever and increasing gun ownership scaring away criminals. We choose to highlights the parts of the solution that agree with what we already believed because its comforting and helps us to win future policy arguments.

  121. 121
    Pococurante says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Gotta give a hand to the paid NRA shill, he is earning his money here recently.

    You don’t say but I’ll assume that is aimed at me.

    I’ve already stated several times I cancelled my NRA membership in the mid-1980s, some seven years after it was taken over by a convicted murderer, bigot, and militia nut.

    I consider the NRA criminally and murderously irresponsible. I’ve said so several times.

    As a gun owner, I have zero problem with posting the names and addresses of people who conceal carry, because those people are a threat to society and every person they come in contact with.

    Good. Blaze the trail. Please post your address, guns owned, and where you store everything in your home.

    And again, CHL citizens are demonstrably proven to be the safest least criminally likely members of our society. I’ve already shared those stats from government resources this week.

    You of course are a pristine white snowflake. So post your details.

    My guns at home are unloaded and locked in a fire-rated safe that is bolted to the concrete slab. My ammo is locked in a footlocker in another part of the house.

    As is my duck gun. My compound bow as well. In fact also my 17th century replica bastard sword and homemade Welsh longbow. Gracious I am a massacre just waiting to happen.

    Carrying them in public, open or concealed (and boy would I prefer open so I know who to stay away from) is not just stupid but crazy behavior that subjects your fellow citizens to very serious risks they never signed on for, and that has no place in a civilized society.

    Except, again, clearly available reports from Texas, though of here as the craziest wing nut state around, show the exact opposite for conceal carry. And carrying in open gets the carruer killed.

    You are entitled to your own paranoia and emotive outbursts, but the facts don’t back you up.

  122. 122
    Pococurante says:

    @geg6:

    Myself, I have no problem with it. We have two guns in our house (both in a gun safe, unloaded, with the ammo stored separately).

    Glad to hear it. Real name, physical address, members of your household please.

  123. 123
    worn says:

    For those interested, here’s a PDF of some of the data from Rick Nevin’s site that I referenced earlier:

    http://ricknevin.com/uploads/T.....soning.pdf

    ETA: sorry about the non-live link. FYWP or FYIp related

  124. 124
  125. 125
    handsmile says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Appreciate your replies. My off-line life beckons so I can’t respond adequately to your closely reasoned comments.

    The reason I linked to the August 2011 Guardian was simply to introduce the reduction in crack cocaine abuse as one possible factor in the statistical decline of violent crime. The author quite evidently relies upon only sociological and criminological literature.

    I’ve not yet read the Mother Jones article (only Drum’s summary) which apparently draws upon epidemiological and other medical research. The “lead theory” would seem robust, with “first order plausibility” as you say, but I am unwilling to concur that “it totally kills all of the sociological/political theories right out of the gate.” Lead may be the “prime suspect” but it’s part of a criminal network.

    ETA: I see we really do disagree on Pinker. Perhaps at some other time…

  126. 126
    geg6 says:

    @Pococurante:

    We have never requested a concealed carry permit, which is what this was all about. Only wimps concealed carry.

  127. 127
    Pococurante says:

    @Judas Escargot, Bringer of Loaves and Fish Sandwiches:

    More than you could say for your gun.

    Again, as I’ve stated several times this week, I think each gun should carry its own liability policy. Each should be an RFID device tagged to a trigger lock.

    What seems missed repeatedly is that I am fully onboard with regulation and physical oversight. I just don’t agree in public lists, not that those who went through a rigorous process to make themselves known to the law are the problem.

    Your car is not on a public list. I assume you didn’t steal. I assume you don’t use it to commit crimes.

    So I reject your entire line of argument.

    So you think all citizens should be on a public list that details all their activities that are constitutional and lawful?

    Did you think that through all the way?

    I object that CHL is dangerous and I am backed up by twenty years of reports. I reject that public list of lawful and constitutional behavior belong on public lists, and I am backed up by the very reasons our country was founded.

    These two are the points I’ve maintained this week.

  128. 128
    geg6 says:

    @Pococurante:

    Your car is not on a public list

    Um, yes it is. That is what registration is all about. Anyone can look it up if they want to take the time to do it.

  129. 129
    Pococurante says:

    @geg6: Only wimps voluntarily submit themselves to a thorough background check, get their extended family and employer to submit to possible questioning, go before a peace officer for interview, subject themselves to week after week by state-certified instructor who can ruin their reputation with other state certification entities.

    Yes, those are the wimps.

    Not those who buy with no background check at a gun show. Not those who jack a gun from a home or car. Not those who bribe or coerce a front buyer.

    Just those who actually engage the law and volunteer to be vetted.

    Idiot.

  130. 130
    The Dude Abides says:

    @PeakVT: The replacement of those windows has to be done responsibly, though. The very act of replacement stirs up the lead.

  131. 131
    japa21 says:

    Poco’s basic argument is that people who don’t commit crimes don’t commit crimes and that people who commit crimes, commit crimes. Other than that, s/he has nothing.

    And regards the Second amendment, s/he states one cannot credibly dispute the right to own guns. Actually, many people do credibly dispute that the second amendment gives that right, including Supreme Court justices.

  132. 132
  133. 133
    El Cid says:

    @Pococurante:

    Only wimps voluntarily submit themselves to a thorough background check, get their extended family and employer to submit to possible questioning, go before a peace officer for interview, subject themselves to week after week by state-certified instructor who can ruin their reputation with other state certification entities.
    __
    Yes, those are the wimps.

    Bullshit. You’re just afraid. Think you’ll fail. Can’t handle it. Chicken. Bwaaaaaak. Bwak bwak bwak bwak. Bwaaaaaaaaak.

  134. 134
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Pococurante: I answered your question – what are you afraid of… here is a hint: a car is far more likely to kill you, as is a Big Mac too many, or sitting at your desk more than five hours a day…

    Hm, and what is regulated: cars. Big Macs also, too. Though Big Macs kill slowly, not acutely like cars. What an own-goal this is….

  135. 135
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @JCT: What do I say to my left libertarian gun-toting friend who leaves boxes of ammo all over the front room?

    Kinda makes me not want to visit.

    They have dogs, not kids.

  136. 136
    Brachiator says:

    @Pococurante:

    RE: This is both wrong and wrong-headed. Many who kill people with guns were “law abiding citizens” until they got angry or went nuts or otherwise decided to kill someone.

    Prove it.

    Read the newspapers. Say, for example, a cop who uses a gun to shoot his wife. The cop, by definition, was a “law abiding citizen” up until the moment he used the gun to kill his wife.

    This is elementary. Gun nuts always try to create a set of “the law abiding” vs a set of “criminals” and assert that no one can simultaneously be a member of both sets. This is neither true nor rational.

    Nor is buying a gun per established laws. If you don’t like the constitution, work to change it.

    Uh, no. It’s getting Justices appointed who will interpret the Constitution rationally. Gun laws can help accelerate rational interpretation.

    But you can’t with any credibility dispute gun ownership is in fact expressly protected.

    I can, and do. But thanks for trying.

    And no, I don’t sound like Cassidy since I have not taken the time to argue what I think the Constitution says about gun ownership. Don’t assume facts not in evidence.

    I think that gun ownership can co-exist with regulation, and even the outright prohibition of certain arms and ammunition. And all that any of us have here are our opinions, since none of us (as far as I know) are also sitting judges on any court.

  137. 137
    chopper says:

    @Pococurante:

    can’t wait to build an addition to my house without the neighbors knowing, cause fuck if government issued permits should be public record.

  138. 138
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Xenos: The big issue here s not how smart and lucky we are for taking the lead out of gasoline, but what do we do with an industry that cased widespread brain damage and third party victims of brain damage for more than 50 years.Think of all the murder and rape victims caused by the lead industry, think of the people who, to a degree at least, were turned into murderers and rapists by the lead industry.

    Think Kochs. Or maybe it was Dupont. They’re all assholes. They pay shills to question the science of toxicology. Right out of the tobacco playbook because they wrote it. There’s an entire industry devoted to discrediting environmentalists just for this reason. Progress (fat wallets for chemical and extractive industry trustees) marches on.

    I mean, look at that mountaintop removal shit. Or the ridiculous prices co’s pay to extract valuable minerals from public land (and then leave a giant mess). Or fracking.

    We’re not allowed to look at the big evil. Blame it on a n*****.

  139. 139
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Ruckus: This is not 1776, just in case you haven’t noticed. Actions that may have been normal at the time, carrying a gun for example, had less negative effect than now.

    When the war was over and the new constitutional government took power, some people found out the hard way that booting out the last tyrannical government did not lead in a straight line to the anarchical libertarian paradise.

  140. 140
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Roger Moore: Scientists see… Oh, I’m sorry. Science isn’t allowed at your table. Never mind, then.

  141. 141
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @handsmile: I look forward to it. I’m actually quite interested in that line of inquiry. Maybe I just have a personal dislike of the guy, but anyway, he IS self-promoting. He’s running around with a (somewhat) misleading summary of the work of someone else. Which I have yet to see integrated into an academic context by which it can be judged. As seductive as it is.

  142. 142
    Arclite says:

    I think the increasing use of video games by youth is one reason. All that time spent in Call of Duty means time not spent hanging with gangs, getting high, and out on the street where crimes happen. There’s a direct correlation between the increasing popularity of video games and a decrease in the crime rate. Causation is less clear, but simply as a time sink, that has to be part of the reason, no?

  143. 143
    kuvasz says:

    “If it bleeds, it leads” local news modus operendi drives into viewers heads that the world and local community is more violent.

    Just yesterday, my 82 year old father said that his community was more crime-ridden than in yesteryear, and I asked him if the town was more violent than it was when he was a kid in the ’30-’40s. To which he said yes. Then I reminded him of what he had told me when I was 10; that as a seven year old boy he watched a guy murdered outside his front steps in a gangland hit, in 1938.

  144. 144
    Brachiator says:

    The Drum article reminds me of (may be in part inspired by) a piece about lead in one of the year-end issues of The Economist, A toxin in your tank.

    Not all that long ago, lead seemed to be a magical substance. It whitened the skins of young women, outlined their eyes and turned their lips gloss-red. It made house-paint glow fresh and dry fast, and gave toy soldiers their gleaming uniforms. It tasted sweet, too, when you put that toy soldier in your mouth; a reminder that medieval folk added “sugar of lead” to food, and 18th-century oenophiles popped a spoonful into port. Lead stirred in silica gave pots a hard, shining glaze; a little lead oxide, added to glass, gave it a crystalline sparkle; white lead, ground with linseed oil, primed painters’ canvases and made them spring to life. Not least, lead spiked with tin and antimony made hot metal, which when cast into letters and lines of type spread free thought around the world….
    __
    It was all too good to be true, of course. Lead had a well-known darker side. Its alchemical symbol was the curved scythe, the sign of death. Despite the silvery dazzle of the fresh-cut ore, it soon acquired a dull and tarnished look. White-lead cream dried and eventually immobilised young, pretty skin; lead cooking pots may have brought down the Roman empire; lead chafed the hands of Benjamin Franklin at his printing press, and riddled the unwary with kidney damage, convulsions and lung disease. In 1924 alone its cold touch first maddened, then killed, 15 refinery workers who were developing tetraethyl lead for petrol. Yet the stuff made cars work so well that Ford and General Motors did not hesitate to keep on adding it.

    The article also cites the decline in crime that may have accompanied the decline in the use of lead.

    And there is this little odd, perhaps coincidence:

    But governments insisted, until by 2012 only a handful of countries still served up leaded petrol at the pumps; and even they, according to a deadline hopefully set by the United Nations, are meant to stop in 2013.
    __
    They are an interesting bunch: Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Myanmar, North Korea, Sierra Leone, Yemen. None is a happy place. All are afflicted by violence, and three by long-running wars. Opponents of lead in petrol, or in anything else, might conclude that their case is closed. Lead’s pernicious presence lowers intelligence and increases aggression, typified by the urge to roar through dusty cities in heavily armed, pollution-spewing trucks.

    Mad Max, with Leaded Petrol.

  145. 145
    Roger Moore says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    It’s also something parents can do something about with education.

    Not as much as you’d like. It’s really hard to keep a toddler from picking stuff up and chewing on it; if that stuff happens to have lead in it, they’re SOL. Also, the paint can flake off and produce fine dust that’s an inhalation hazard, which can’t be handled by education. Removing the paint completely is really the only good solution.

  146. 146
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Thank you for a very good response to someone who’d admitted he hadn’t read the article in question.

  147. 147
    JoyfulA says:

    @Pococurante: Abortion providers aren’t a threat to my well-being, and I don’t care if they’re next door. Sex offenders could be a small threat to me, and I’d probably peruse a public list if I had children or other vulnerable household members. I do see gun owners as a threat to me, and I’d like to know if that surly drunkard across the street has the firepower to kill me if he dislikes my yard signs.

    So, yes, I see published lists of gun owners as a public benefit. In fact, this information is probably available at the courthouse, and one of these days, I ought to take a look. Thanks for bringing up the subject.

  148. 148
    Roger Moore says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Science isn’t allowed at your table.

    It sure as hell is, since I’m a scientist myself. I’m just pointing out that people have a tendency to look at answers that confirm their biases rather than trying to see the big picture. This is even true of scientists. We’re usually pretty good about considering the big picture when we’re working within our field, but when we’re talking about social issues outside our field, we’re about as prone to seeing what we want to see as anyone else.

  149. 149
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    Late for dinner.

    It used to be a sociological phenom; suicides run in converse to murder. When suicide is high, murder is low.

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.co.....241911.php

  150. 150
    JCT says:

    @Another Halocene Human: No joke – nice “welcoming” message.

    We did not have guns in the house until the kids were grown and out, even with our precautions. And we trusted our kids.

  151. 151
    Fair Economist says:

    @Pococurante:

    I answered your question – what are you afraid of… here is a hint: a car is far more likely to kill you, as is a Big Mac too many, or sitting at your desk more than five hours a day…

    Actually cars and guns are about equally likely to kill you. According to Wikipedia, guns killed 31,224 in 2007 and cars killed 33,808 in 2009. Poor health habits are more likely to kill you, but since they mostly kill late in life they shorten an average life by about the same amount. Guns are a huge public health problem – the fact that they’re not the only big health problem is no reason not to fix it.

  152. 152
    Keith G says:

    @Pococurante: You seem to be expecting rational argumentation performed in good faith in order to explore the cracks and crevasses of an important public policy issue.

    Sucker.

  153. 153
    scav says:

    poco called for backup — too funny.

  154. 154
    Jebediah says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    I thought Giuliani ended all crime

    No, he just made it illegal.

  155. 155
    Keith G says:

    @scav: Proving my point there, bud.

  156. 156
    toschek says:

    Abortion? Really? Are you riffing on Bill Bennett or do you actually countenance that possibility?

  157. 157
    chopper says:

    @Keith G:

    actually, he seems to be deliberately conflating permit-based concealed carry with basic handgun ownership.

  158. 158
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @chopper:

    Oh, yes, yes yes. You are so correct. Well done.

  159. 159
    Ajaye says:

    @Pococurante:

    The list you decry was derived from PUBLIC RECORDS. Last time I checked all that stuff you mentioned such as abortion is not in the public domain. Are you saying that gun registration records should be sealed or illegal for the state to disclose? That is the first point.

    Second point, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell I would ever be harmed by someone else’s abortion, pot smoking, reading list, or whatever other totally inapt analogies have been used. There is however always a possibility that someone with a gun could harm me intentionally or not. I think i have more of an interest in making sure that my kids are in a gun free house when they visit a friend than you have in knowing what someone checked out of the library.

    Third point, you really can live your whole life without so much as touching a gun quite happily and with zero inconvenience. Guns, despite NRA rhetoric are not essential to average folks outside law enforcement except perhaps to folks who hunt because they can’t afford to buy food.

    Fourh point, other societies have imposed tight restrictions on guns and they have less gun violence. Period. They seem to manage okay. We are sick and tired of the notion that the price of our “second amendment rights” is an unceasing record of gun carnage.

  160. 160
    Ajaye says:

    I read the piece and found it persuasive. Hey gun nutz, how about that lead ammunition? Willing to give that up or are the ill effects of lead contamination just more collateral damage for your precious absolute “rights”.

    BTW, really stupid to analagize gun rights to any other rights. Someone else’s abortion can never be used as a lethal weapon against me. I can’t get lethally shot by a stash of pot.

    Also too, unlike cars, guns serve very little purpose overall as is evidenced by the civilized countries that have pretty much banned them completely. Seems folks in those places are doing just fine wihout guns.

    But this being Murika and all the best we can hope for is a slight reduction in gun carnage using various haphazard systems of regulation.

    And until Heller the SCOTUS had never interpreted the 2nd Amendment as conferring any individual rights, but this is our new reality thanks to Scalia et al so we need to carve out the reasonable limits on gun ownership piecemeal.

  161. 161
    NCSteve says:

    FFS, read the damn article and stop talking like ond of those climate change denial-curious types. They went in to state by state data and correlated changes in local lead levels to changes in local crime rates. They showed that crime rates correlated with lead levels at the ward level in New Orleans.

    The evidence is powerful.

  162. 162
    A moocher says:

    @Pococurante: Fuck you and die. Public records are public, asshole, which means that someone can obtain such data from official sources, and use it.. That does NOT imply that an anoymous poster is required to publish his or her details online to prove some kind of point to a piece of shit troll like you. You are a liar, and gun fetishest, and a waste of good carbon.

  163. 163
    Keith Hanson says:

    @Xenos:Reducing engine knock (or pre-ignition)=higher compression…
    Higher compression=more power per liter…
    More power per liter=better gas mileage…
    Reducing engine knock=longer engine life…
    Longer engine life=cleaner environment.
    Or it could all be a vast conspiracy of lead conglomerates.
    Personally, I believe that the reduction in violence is due to the Shadow Government finally perfecting the mind-control drug mixture that they are spewing into the air via chemtrails. I mean, we have to be drugged to put up with our “elected leaders” and the way we have been robbed of our rights and treasure in recent years.

  164. 164

    […] really posting this as an addendum to Doug J’s take on the lead/crime story.  He noted that Americans don’t actually realize how much crime […]

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