Brazil fact of the day

by on September 22, 2017 at 2:03 am in Current Affairs, Law | Permalink

Brazil, for example, has only 1/14th the number of guns per person that the U.S. does, but many more murders.

That is from Noah Smith, mostly about how to reduce crime.

1 Judah Benjamin Hur September 22, 2017 at 2:38 am

Lead water pipes? How serious is that? My family doesn’t drink tap water.

Perhaps Noah Smith should look at football. I grew up loving football, but I’m beginning to wonder if (American) football contributes significantly to criminal and self-destructive behavior. The recent story about 27 year old Aaron Hernandez having stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy is pretty scary. That’s pretty much the last straw for me considering allowing my son to ever play football.

Well over 10 million Americans have played high school football and perhaps most have some level of brain damage.

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2 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 4:16 am

Yet, you canget rid of football because it iis relted to the savagery of the American system. As famous professor Boris Sidis pointed out, “As in modern times, our college
authorities justify the brutalities of football and prize-fights, so in
ancient times the great moralists of those ages justified their gladiatorial games”. That’s what Washington, Jefferson, Marshall and Lincoln’s America has become, a 21th Century Rome, thirsty for young men’s blood.

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3 Tom T. September 22, 2017 at 7:51 am

Hernandez may show correlation but not necessarily causation. I’m not an expert, but certainly mental-health advocates have always maintained that mentally ill people are no more dangerous to other than anyone else.

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4 Anonymous September 22, 2017 at 8:07 am

I remember an America where we could all drink the tap water, if fact that was kind of the point.

As far as how bad lead is,

https://news.ku.edu/2017/09/15/flint-water-crisis-led-lower-fertility-rates-higher-fetal-death-rates-researchers-find

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5 RW Force September 22, 2017 at 1:56 pm
6 Borjigid September 22, 2017 at 8:46 am

Your family is not the country.

As for CTE, apparently it is exceptionally common amongst football players. Yet the number of football players who commit multiple homicides like Aaron Hernandez is exceptionally low (probably 1 out of everybody who has played in the NFL, ever).

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7 msgkings September 22, 2017 at 10:13 am

Um, OJ Simpson would like a word with you.

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8 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 10:17 am

Mr. Simpson was acquited.

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9 Johnnie Cochran September 22, 2017 at 11:15 am

If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit!

10 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 11:23 am

Exactly, presumption of innocence. And I like juice.

11 Ron Goldman September 22, 2017 at 11:57 am

They got him in the civil trial though.

12 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 3:02 pm

He was found liable, only.

13 Say what? September 23, 2017 at 12:28 am

It’s reasonable enough to think OJ Simpson murdered his wife, but Borjigid referred to multiple murders. Any plausible reason to think Simpson murdered anyone else?

14 Art Deco September 23, 2017 at 4:56 am

Any plausible reason to think Simpson murdered anyone else?

Ron Goldman.

15 A Truth Seeker September 23, 2017 at 8:30 am

Maybe two different people murdered them?

16 Nicole Brown Simpson September 23, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Yeah he killed my boyfriend too. I saw the whole thing while I still had a head fully connected to my neck

17 Andrew Clinterty September 24, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Actually the glove did fit—-the whole world including the judge and prosecutors

it was tried on ”OVER A PAIR OF CLINGY PROTECTIVE RUBBER GLOVES”

—a child could figure it out, let alone somebody like me who uses rubber gloves every day.

18 Andrew Clinterty September 24, 2017 at 6:49 pm

should read—-the whole world and the judge and the prosecutors missed it!

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19 Judah Benjamin Hur September 22, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Yes, my family is not the country, but one can try to avoid tap water. I still have no idea how serious the lead pipe problem is in the first place.

I said two things: violence and self-destruction. Both levels are very high among NFL football players. My primary concern is that if even a slight percentage increase in violence or suicide from the millions who have played several years of tackle football would result in staggering levels of carnage.

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20 Anonymous September 22, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Brazil doesn’t play American football. Brazil plays soccer, which is much less conducive to head trauma.

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21 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Which is why Brazil never fought a war of aggression.

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22 Judah Benjamin Hur September 22, 2017 at 6:27 pm

If you read the article you would realize the topic was actually about American crime. The point of mentioning Brazil is to illustrate that there are other things to be concerned about besides guns.

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23 Axa September 22, 2017 at 2:39 am

What was done or what happened in New York? Legalizing marijuana is good but not necessary to lower crime rates.

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24 Anon7 September 22, 2017 at 2:45 am

Such is life in Brazil today. Cuing TR…

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25 Thor September 22, 2017 at 2:52 am

“Cuing TR …”

So, has it come to this?

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26 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 4:06 am

It is sad to see Americans attacking Brazil in a desperate attempt to desguise the ultimate failure of their political, social and economical systems. In first place, many of the dead were criminals: it is expect that at least one thousand people will die facing the police in Rio de Janeiro State alone until December, 31th (Rio de Janeiro State comprises 1/15 of Brazil’s population, so you do the math). Second, it is not just handguns: imports of heavier weapons coming from neighboring countries help the organized crime to destabilize Brazil. Brazil is surrounded by alien, Spanish-speaking, hostile and unstable countries. Stopping the flow of weapons and drugs would probably demand regime changes or at least punitive expeditions. The 19th Century, when Brazil overthrew the governments of so-called Uruguay (rebelled Cisplatine Province of the former Empire of Brazil), Argentina and Paraguay was a golden age of culture, peace and prosperity in South America. Third, America is much more violent than any other comparable economy. Fourth, while Americans never had to fight for the survival of their country, Brazil has faced some existential risks (the loss of the Northern and Southern provinces in the early 1800s, the war against Paraguayan Aggression, the fact that the biggest slave-holding country in the world had to reorganize itself anew in 1888, the Revolution against the Portuguese dynasty that ruled us, the 1893 Revolution, the 1924 Revolution, the 1946 Japanese Rebellion, the terms-of-trade losses in the 1980s and so far and so on) that habpve damaged the tools the Brazilian state uses to deal with the crime challange. Fifth, such comparissons just omit how much better things have got in many states and cities. My city is safer than it has been in decades. Sixth, at least in the Northern States, traditionally overlooked by the central government, conflict escalation seems to have been tied to the robust economic growth they experienced in the Lula government years and the disruption of their traditional way of life. There, in the long run, crime rates will probably level off, maybe even fall. Seventh, for all its problems and flaws, Brazil has never had Jim Crows Laws, Philippine–American War Vietnams, Iraqs… Brazil nor celebrates its slavery past nor fights wars of aggression. All in all, it is clear that Brazil has taken the high road.

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27 msgkings September 22, 2017 at 10:10 am

Maybe you are Brazilian, maybe this is all an act, but no matter what you are one weird dude Thiago.

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28 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 10:49 am

No, I am not. I am considered a very steady and normal person by those who know me, I am well-liked and respected in my commumity.

29 Thadeu September 22, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Hahahaha!! That’s right, msgkings. Thiago cannot hide under his nationalistic proselytizing, no matter the username he adopts. I am Brazilian and I often don’t recognize this country that he praises so blindly.

30 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 9:32 pm

It is sad to see a Brazilian cowardly groveling like a dog before his American masters. Have heroes died in Avaí and Monte Castelo for that?!

31 Dan September 22, 2017 at 9:44 am

This felt like a very specific troll for the comments section

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32 msgkings September 22, 2017 at 10:09 am

Correct. Tyler likes to troll us, sometimes specifically.

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33 Viking September 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Perhaps TR is another incarnation of Tyrone?

The teetotaler side of Tyler, but with a Straussian message about not becoming like Brazil?

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34 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 2:59 pm

There is nothing wrong with Brazil.

35 Sure September 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm

We all totally believe you.

36 Gutter Trash September 22, 2017 at 3:15 am

“Decriminalization of drug use doesn’t mean legalizing drugs”

No, but legalizing un-taxed alcohol, for instance, reduces drug gangs more than merely decriminalizing alcohol use.

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37 LearnedHand September 22, 2017 at 3:40 am

Reducing the expected cost of taking drugs would presumably increase consumption, increase profits per street corner held and therefore increase incentives for violent struggle over street corners. Reduce crime maybe, OD deaths certainly…but not violent homicides.

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38 TMC September 22, 2017 at 8:15 am

Legalize drugs and street corner profits go to zero.

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39 FYI September 22, 2017 at 12:34 pm
40 P Burgos September 22, 2017 at 10:35 pm

Let’s assume that the 80/20 rule applies to drug users. If decriminalization leds to more of the top 20% of drug users to get treatment and stop using, it could theoretically reduce sales for criminal enterprise. I am not sure that this would happen in practice, but ultimately it seems that the only way to win the war on drugs would be to dramatically reduce demand by getting addicts to quit.

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41 Ben September 22, 2017 at 4:54 am

“Furthermore, the relationship between gun ownership and crime might just not be that strong — Brazil, for example, has only 1/14th the number of guns per person that the U.S. does, but many more murders.”

Truly a crazy statistic to use. Brazil has some deep-rooted social problems and is substantially poorer than the US – they are not comparable at all.

This is even more crazy as he has a graph at the top of his article showing that the US has a far higher homicide rate virtually all other rich nations.

And, the strictness of a rich country’s gun laws are essentially inversely proportional to the homicide rate as those countries with the strictest gun laws (such as the UK and Japan) have the lowest homicide rates and vice versa.

I’m not saying banning firearms now would necessarily be a good idea but gun control is absolutely the right way to go and if the Founding Fathers were starting with the Bill of Rights again, they’d save a lot of lives if they never came up with the Second Amendment.

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42 Nope September 22, 2017 at 5:07 am

The UK has the “lowest homicide rates”? What?

The Czech Republic, with extremely lax gun laws, has a lower homicide rate than the UK.

Austria, with moderately lax gun laws, has a homicide rate almost half that of the UK.

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43 Ben September 22, 2017 at 5:28 am

I didn’t mean overall, obviously, but out of the major countries in his graph.

There’s always going to be exceptions, but there’s a general trend.

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44 Nope September 22, 2017 at 5:30 am

The trend is that gun laws don’t seem to have much effect on homicide rates at all.

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45 Jan September 22, 2017 at 5:53 am

Correlation is not necessarily causation, and there various factors, but the correlation is fairly high.

“In fact, none of the states with the most gun violence require permits to purchase rifles, shotguns, or handguns. Gun owners are also not required to register their weapons in any of these states. Meanwhile, many of the states with the least gun violence require a permit or other form of identification to buy a gun.” And vice versa at the other end of the spectrum.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/13/24-7-wall-st-states-most-gun-violence/71003050/

46 Nope September 22, 2017 at 6:01 am

The strictest US states are still extremely lax by international standards.

47 Maz September 22, 2017 at 7:31 am

Jan, the correlation is high only if you include suicides in your definition of gun violence. There’s no correlation between gun ownership and homicide.

48 Jan September 22, 2017 at 7:42 am

I tend to think suicides matter. Increased access to guns increases suicide risk.

Nonetheless, higher overall gun violence is linked to higher homicides as well. “Seven of the the 10 states with the most gun violence reported homicide rates higher than the national rate.”

49 TMC September 22, 2017 at 8:28 am

Suicides matter only to muck up the conversation. America’s suicide rat is unexceptional, but we use guns more often as they are more available.

50 Colin September 22, 2017 at 10:06 am

FWIW, Guns & Ammo has a ranking of the best states for gun owners:

http://www.gunsandammo.com/network-topics/culture-politics-network/best-states-for-gun-owners-2015/

New Hampshire, Vermont, and Utah, are all in their top 10. All three also rank in the bottom 5 states for per capita homicide:

https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder-rates-nationally-and-state#MRord

51 FYI September 22, 2017 at 12:39 pm

“Suicides matter”. That is a fallacy king. Of course it matters! The point is that suicides are not caused by guns. Look at Japan, Korea, etc.

52 Careless September 22, 2017 at 2:14 pm

The trend is that gun laws don’t seem to have much effect on homicide rates at all.

And then Jan includes suicides. In a discussion of homicides.

Stop that.

53 Nope September 22, 2017 at 5:33 am

Adendum – look at homicide rates across US states for an example. Not huge variation in gun laws, but very large variation in homicide rates. States near the Canadian border have homicide rates very similar to the bordering Canadian provinces (excepting, of course, Michigan, Illinois, New York).

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54 Jan September 22, 2017 at 5:57 am

And do states on the southern border have high or low correlation with homicide rates in the bordering Mexican states?

55 buddyglass September 22, 2017 at 8:05 am

Data seems mixed. That said, it’s pretty “weird” that the U.S. has 2.5x the intentional homicide rate of the next highest 1st world country (Belgium) and roughly 3.5x the gun ownership rate of the next highest 1st world country (Finland). It’s not crazy to think the two might be related.

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56 Tarrou September 22, 2017 at 8:37 am

It’s not “weird”, it’s just that our demographics are wildly different from Finland or Belgium. If you restrict our homicide rate to non-black perpetrators, we have a homicide rate somewhat higher than western Europe, but pretty well in line with central and eastern Europe. What we do have that Europe mostly doesn’t is a large population of very high-crime demographics. And given those demographics, the US actually does pretty well on violent crime. Kind of how Texas schools don’t perform that well, but when you account for the percentage of low-performing groups in their population, they do better than Massachusetts.

Long story short, the crime rate in the US will be four or five times that in Europe as long as we have four or five times the high-crime demographics of Europe. Luckily for us, Europe is fast expanding their immigrant underclasses, so absent any change in the US, we can expect the ratio to reduce in the coming century.

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57 wait September 22, 2017 at 11:45 am

And what happens to the homicide rate of the rest of the Europe when you also restrict their homicide rates to non-minority perpetrators? But never mind, let’s twist one side of the statistics to fit our narrative!

58 M. Klaus September 22, 2017 at 5:08 am

Brazil is not only poorer, very importantly: its is much more unequal. Also as Steve Sailer would say, the ethnic composition, is quite different than US….

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59 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 5:20 am

“Also as Steve Sailer would say, the ethnic composition, is quite different than US….”
OK, then…

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60 Willitts September 22, 2017 at 8:40 am

I was just about to ask that. I have no idea what the ethnic composition of Brazil is.

How much does ethnicity correlate with high crime?

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61 The Anti-Gnostic September 22, 2017 at 8:51 am

Strongly.

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62 Art Deco September 22, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Brazil’s a 50-50 split between black / mulatto and white. Not sure whether the sources reporting that use a Brazilian or an North American definition of race. In a Brazilian context, two vectors determine racial classification – class and phenotype – rather than one as in the United States.

There’s some association between racial composition and homicide rates south-of-the-border but it’s really haphazard. The non-Latin Caribbean (which is predominantly black) has rates which vary between 2 per 100,000 and 40 per 100,000. You have white or light mestizo countries with contextually modest homicide rates (Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay) and similar loci with wretched rates (Puerto Rico – which has a rate 5x Uruguay’s). The Andean mestizo countries aren’t that bad (< 10 per 100,000). The three poorer Central American countries (also mestizo) have rates between 30 and 90 per 100,000. Colombia's had improvements in the last 15 years, Venezuela's gotten a great deal worse. Brazil's is the bell-weather, and currently about 25 per 100,000.

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63 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Whites (and Catholics) are predicted to become a minority in the next few years. Yet, no Charlottesville-like hysteria. However, Americans keep caring more about the more in Brazilian eyes than about the beam in their own eyes!

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64 dearieme September 22, 2017 at 6:42 am

“the strictness of a rich country’s gun laws are essentially inversely proportional to the homicide rate as those countries with the strictest gun laws (such as the UK and Japan) have the lowest homicide rates and vice versa.” But the homicide rate in Britain was also far below the US’s when British gun laws were less restrictive. Our present gun laws (which are anyway far less restrictive than many Americans imagine) are a symptom of political posturing not of fear of murder by gun.

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65 MOFO September 22, 2017 at 9:56 am

“Truly a crazy statistic to use. Brazil has some deep-rooted social problems and is substantially poorer than the US – they are not comparable at all.

This is even more crazy as he has a graph at the top of his article showing that the US has a far higher homicide rate virtually all other rich nations.”

So comparing the US to Brazil is crazy but comparing the US to other rich nations is not? Perhaps the US also has some deep-rooted social problems that make comparisons difficult.

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66 Jan September 22, 2017 at 5:45 am

US states with higher gun ownership also have more gun deaths: https://qz.com/437015/mapped-the-us-states-with-the-most-gun-owners-and-most-gun-deaths/

Women living in states with higher gun ownership rates are more likely to be murdered by people they know. And 9 in 10 murders of women are by people they know: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160126130130.htm

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67 Nope September 22, 2017 at 6:02 am

Due to substitution effects, it’s a red herring to look at gun deaths in lieu of intentional homicides.

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68 Jan September 22, 2017 at 7:48 am

Can we look at them as gun deaths?

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69 TMC September 22, 2017 at 8:33 am

How about ‘people they know’ deaths. If you look at a gun as a tool, and not a boogeyman, these debates get more believable.

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70 Careless September 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm

So so far you’ve switched “homicide” with “gun death” and now “gun death” with “murder”

Any more word games you’d like to play in this thread?

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71 celestus September 22, 2017 at 6:45 am

That’s culture of honor. Utah, Idaho, and South Dakota are 9-10-11 for lowest homicide rate. North Dakota and Montana are close to average but still below it. The top of the list is a who’s who of “states settled by Cavaliers, Borderers, and their assimilated slaves.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_homicide_rate

Sure if guns are more available then more suicidal people will use guns, and the “gun deaths” statistics in those states will get skewed. But that’s not a major issue.

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72 Jan September 22, 2017 at 7:46 am

If suicides are a share of gun deaths, why isn’t that a major issue?

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73 Jan September 22, 2017 at 7:49 am

*large share

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74 TMC September 22, 2017 at 8:36 am

Because our suicide rate is similar to countries with much stricter gun control. If your interest were genuine you would be concerned people are killing themselves rather than how they are killing themselves.

75 Thomas September 22, 2017 at 10:38 am

Because suicide is less bad than homicide, which you and the purveyor of your stats now, hence the intentional dishonesty of using ‘gun deaths’ as a stat in a debate about homicide rates.

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76 Maz September 22, 2017 at 7:37 am

Most of those gun deaths are suicides. There’s no correlation between homicide and gun ownership. Vermont, for example, has the highest gun ownership rate in the country, very few homicides and a rather high suicide rate.

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77 Jan September 22, 2017 at 7:44 am

Again. Suicides matter. And yes, it tracks to homicides as well, though the correlation is weaker.

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78 MOFO September 22, 2017 at 9:45 am

Of course suicides matter, but its a mostly different question than homicides. Deaths by auto accidents also matter, but no on is foolish enough to think that the solution to murder and the solution to auto accidents are the same thing. It stand to reason that discussing suicides (by gun or whatever other means) in the same conversation as murder (by gun or whatever other means) is therefore a distraction.

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79 Willitts September 22, 2017 at 9:46 am

No, suicides don’t matter. You don’t restrict guns for everyone because of the minuscule proportion of people who kill themselves using guns.

South Korea has an enormous suicide rate and almost no private access to guns. Their “preferred” method of suicide is hanging. People tend to use guns for suicide, when they can, because it is quick, painless, sure, and takes only a few moments of determination.

To the extent that people are free to end their own lives, a gun would be among the most humane, albeit messy, methods.

Women are three times more likely to attempt suicide, but only one third as likely as men to succeed. Men prefer using guns. Women prefer using drug overdoses. Certainly American women have access to guns, so there must be something else going on.

People do not need a paternalistic government protecting themselves from themselves. That opens the door for oppressive and subjective state determinations of what is in the best interest of its citizens. Freedom necessarily means tolerating things we simply do not like.

The fact is, you just like gun control. You don’t have any reasonable arguments in favor of it.

Also consider what the white, non-Hispanic gun crime rate is compared to other countries.

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80 Anonymous September 22, 2017 at 10:13 am

By the same logic terrorism *really* doesn’t matter, open that border!

81 MOFO September 22, 2017 at 10:26 am

Wut?

82 Anonymous September 22, 2017 at 10:54 am

Even fewer deaths.

At this point the page is done. Gun advocates have acknowledged more deaths of various kinds, and established that they just don’t care.

Congratulations. Shanah Tovah.

83 A Truth Seeker September 23, 2017 at 8:32 am

“You don’t restrict guns for everyone because of the minuscule proportion of people who kill themselves using guns.”
More people themselves in America, out of despair, than kill other people.

84 Maz September 22, 2017 at 10:08 am
85 Anonymous September 22, 2017 at 8:10 am

Let’s be sure not to count the three year old reaching into a purse as well.

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86 MOFO September 22, 2017 at 9:40 am

Last i checked, gun accidents were pretty low. Do you have a reliable stat that says otherwise?

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87 Anonymous September 22, 2017 at 9:49 am
88 MOFO September 22, 2017 at 10:17 am

That confirms that relative to the overall death rate from firearms, accidents are pretty low, although i would hardly call any of that a reliable stat.

89 Anonymous September 22, 2017 at 10:22 am

It confirms the bitter irony that deaths don’t matter if they interfere with swagger, the feels of the carrier.

90 MOFO September 22, 2017 at 10:27 am

What the fuck are you talking about?

91 Dick the Butcher September 22, 2017 at 8:13 am

This is only anecdotal. It seems they haven’t conducted a scientific study regarding the hundreds of millions of Americans’ guns that don’t kill anybody. I have owned guns (Lots Of Guns!) for more than 50 years. They must be defective. They never killed anyone.

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92 Anonymous September 22, 2017 at 10:08 am

Dumb. Wide statistical data is available. A robust finding is that presence of guns increase all cause mortality for a household. Congrats on beating the odds so far though.

(gun owners and statisticians are probably disjoint sets)

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93 MOFO September 22, 2017 at 10:18 am

Incorrect on both counts. There are findings that the presence of guns increase all cause mortality for a household, but they are hardly universal or robust.

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94 Anonymous September 22, 2017 at 10:11 am

To be fair, responsible gun owners understand the increased risk and try to mitigate it. They definitely don’t play dumb on the responsibility.

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95 The Anti Skiing League September 22, 2017 at 2:06 pm

US states with higher ski ownership also have more skiing deaths

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96 MattW September 22, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Take out suicide and the numbers are quite different. The topic at hand is murder, not guns.

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97 Evans_KY September 22, 2017 at 6:47 am

As long as community policing does not become stop-and-frisk, this is a good start. Lead abatement is a no brainier but we also must consider other environmental contaminants (other heavy metals, PFOA, etc). Education would show felons their worth and provide them a different path. Hardliners need to consider that being locked in a cell away from your family is punishment. Private prisons could become drug treatment facility centers. Revenue stream maintained for now. Many counties would fight losing the electoral advantage of prisons. Good riddance.

I would add one last reform. We need to allow felons to wipe the slate clean. Restore their voting rights and their dignity. We either believe in redemption or we do not.

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98 Art Deco September 22, 2017 at 3:01 pm

As long as community policing does not become stop-and-frisk, this is a good start.

Stop and frisk has a successful track record, ergo progtrash do not want it. When you lay aside the notion they have any decent impulses, it begins to make sense.

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99 buddyglass September 22, 2017 at 7:52 am

I like Noah’s list. However, I would add:

1. In addition to decriminalizing drug use, reschedule certain drugs that are not especially prone to overdoses and/or not that addictive. Make this class of drug legal to manufacture or sell. Marijuana comes to mind, but possibly others as well.

2. In addition to prison reform and education, pass laws that restrict businesses from discriminating on the basis of an applicant’s conviction and/or arrest record, except in situations where it makes special sense. For instance, a daycare should be able to discriminate against someone convicted of the sexual assault of a minor.

3. Improve the economic situation of low-income people in general. I’m reminded of Tyler’s link from a few days ago that claimed a reduction in shop-lifting when SNAP payments are disbursed biweekly instead of monthly. Make people’s situation less desperate and they’ll steal less, which makes them less likely to find themselves in violent conflict with a property owner.

4. IMO he sells “less guns” short as a means of reducing violent crime. Gun control probably won’t reduce drug/gang violence or violence by “hardened” criminals, but it might put a dent in crimes committed by “normal people” only because a gun is available. Also would reduce suicide and accidental shootings. Might turn mass shootings into mass stabbings, which are generally less deadly.

Question re: lead exposure:

What areas need soil cleanup? Wasn’t aware that was a thing. I know Kevin Drum wrote a bunch about this a couple years ago. It seems like most lead exposure is “on premise” in individuals’ homes. Might be hard to do a national cleanup. Maybe subsidize abatement and/or inspections so that they’re very cheap, to incentivize people getting their homes inspected/cleaned? Subsidize the testing of young(ish) children, say when they enter kindergarten, so that parents who discover their child has elevated lead levels have extra incentive to take action?

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100 Anonymous September 22, 2017 at 8:12 am

A report yesterday said kids test score were lower contra-cycle with SNAP payments as well.

https://twitter.com/rwest817/status/910855824695799808

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101 TMC September 22, 2017 at 8:55 am

Interesting study. Also this:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4943850/

‘They found that 42 percent of food stamp households were infrequent shoppers’ at most once a month

‘estimate a decline in calorie intake of food stamp participants of between 0.32 to 0.4 percent per day after benefits were received.’ So at thirty days it’s down 10-12%.

‘Benefits are spent rapidly with an average of 59 percent spent within the first week of issuance’

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102 Floccina September 22, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Seems like it would be better to send them out weekly.

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103 Barkley Rosser September 22, 2017 at 9:16 am

Noah’s point that we already have so many guns (more than twice as many per capita as our nearest rivals among other nations such as Yemen, Serbia, and Switzerland), that even abolishing the 2nd Amendment and imposing total gun control would not have much effect. Nevertheless, tightening the gun show loophole and tightening access for people with mental problems and bad legal backgrounds might help some at the margin, even if some of the other things he proposes might do more.

Yes, state correlation between gun ownership and suicide is very strong, and we have thousands of gun suicides in this nation. Looking across nations at suicide rates runs into major cultural issues, with the US pretty anti-suicide in attitudes, whereas it is much more acceptable in some other societies, even honorable in some under certain circumstances, see Japan and seppuku.

There is pretty much no correlation across states between gun ownership and homicides, however the most recent and most carefully done panel studies of what happens when states loosen their gun laws does seem to indicate that doing so does tend to increase homicide rates, if not super dramatically.

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104 Tarrou September 22, 2017 at 9:25 am

I see this all the time, and I have to ask, what do you think the “gun show loophole” is? Because I’m well acquainted with gun shows, and there are no loopholes. There is a “private long gun seller” loophole, but that has nothing to do with gun shows.

As for “tightening access for people with mental problems”, who exactly do you think should be empowered to do this? It sounds nice in theory, but what it boils down to is gun confiscation based on the opinion of someone. Who is that someone? How do we maintain due process? What appeals are possible? Will this incentivize gun owners to avoid therapy for mental problems?

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105 Anonymous September 22, 2017 at 9:56 am

It varies by state, doesn’t it? In some you can still show up with cash and ID and walk out with a gun.

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106 MOFO September 22, 2017 at 10:23 am

I believe so, yes, but it really boils down to a private sale between two people, neither of whom are professional gun sellers. You can walk into a gun show and buy a gun with cash in the same way you can walk up to a friend or relative with cash and buy a gun, the gun show aspect is irrelevant.

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107 Tarrou September 22, 2017 at 2:50 pm

It does not vary by state. This is federal law. Every vendor at a gun show must conduct a background check for every single firearm he or she sells. There is no gun show loophole. Now, gun show or no gun show, there is no provision for private sellers of firearms to do background checks when they transfer a long gun (handguns differ by state). The customers of a gun show are often gun nuts who like to trade, buy and sell guns, so there is often a bit of parking lot transfers going on at a gun show. If you go to a garage sale and the guy has a shotgun for sale, no background check. Has nothing whatsoever to do with gun shows, it is all about private, noncommercial sellers of long guns.

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108 Art Deco September 22, 2017 at 4:16 pm

About 3% of the homicides in this country are attributable to people using long guns. It’s hard to imagine something less likely to have a discernible effect on violent crime rates than more paperwork for people who collect rifles and shotguns.

You get the impression that the people who dream this stuff up think Macon County Line was a portrayal of social reality.

109 Tarrou September 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Exactly, Art.

Even if there were a Gun Show Loophole, and closing it magically reduced long gun crime by 100%, it would be a drop in the bucket.

110 CD September 22, 2017 at 11:51 am

The other point about numbers is they’re driven up by collectors, and thus by greater U.S. affluence. There are some folks who buy for hunting or genuine security reasons. But for many, it’s a kink. They can never get enough. Why own one assault rifle when you can have four? And so you get collections of dozens of firearms.

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111 rayward September 22, 2017 at 9:30 am

Perception is nine-tenths of the law. By that I mean perception as to what constitutes unlawful conduct that should be punished. For example, Ms. Clinton’s use of private email may have been unwise, but did it deserve criminal prosecution and jail? Many of my neighbors believe it did. And consider bankers: did chasing higher yields via greater risk constitute criminal conduct or just poor judgment? Many years ago my good friend owned a cabin on a remote river near the gulf, his neighbors relatively poor commercial fishermen (crabs, mullet). When the neighbors started buying expensive boats and cars and building fine homes on the river one had to wonder about the source of their new-found prosperity, but whatever the source did it deserve prosecution and jail? After all, they were contributing to the local economy. During the presidential campaign, Trump railed against the “bankers”, presumably the same bankers who wouldn’t lend him money, having been burned by Trump on previous deals, forcing Trump to rely on Russian oligarchs (among other nefarious characters) for funds to maintain and grow his business. Having appointed many of those “bankers” to posts in his administration, Trump seems to have pardoned the bankers for their crimes. Which is worse conduct: the poor judgment of the bankers or appointing them to high government posts in the Trump administration? I could go on, but mercifully I won’t. Perception is nine-tenths of the law.

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112 Thomas September 22, 2017 at 10:44 am

Good rayward comment.

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113 Floccina September 22, 2017 at 2:37 pm

I agree with you. I tend to think none of that should be punished by prison. I am anti-gun ownership but anti new gun control laws for the same reason.

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114 Vivian Darkbloom September 22, 2017 at 12:08 pm

I have a foolproof idea for decreasing crime to *zero*. Decriminalize everything.

Never reason from a name change.

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115 Jay September 22, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Does anyone actually trust anyone to get an accurate count of the number of guns in Brazil?

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116 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Actually, the estimatives are very consistent with each other. Brazilian authorities are looking closely the guns issue and will present the proper so.utions – because we want, not because foreigners want.

http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/brazil
https://m.oglobo.globo.com/politica/pesquisa-revela-brasil-tem-76-milhoes-de-armas-ilegais-que-maioria-nao-entra-no-pais-pelas-2907297

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117 Art Deco September 22, 2017 at 2:58 pm

I grew up in the Genesee Valley. Fully 2/3 of the homicides are in a part of the region where lives 10% of the population, and not the part where Field & Stream subscribers are concentrated. That urban section has a rate about 30x that of the typical non-metropolitan county.

New York City managed a fantastic improvement in its homicide rate (82% decline) with a gun control regime which hardly changed at all. We continue to have this pointless discussion over gun regulations in spite of the evidence that it is a weak vector in influencing homicide rates. We have this discussion because the Democratic Party, it’s office-holders, it’s chatterati, and it’s attentive voters do not give a rip about crime control. They care about sticking the blame for violent crime on social groups they despise. The exemplar of this mentality is Barack Obama.

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118 Tarrou September 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Also because the Democratic Party has mostly had sole ownership of all the highest crime cities for fifty to a hundred years. Nothing specific about that, they’ve tailored their message to the urban vote, but it’s hard to argue that a lack of liberal policies leads to crime. Every single one of them has been tried, and failed.

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119 A Truth Seeker September 22, 2017 at 3:09 pm

It is funny how it here purports to be an economics blog, but instead of mention that President Temer is implementing the boldest economic reforms since Mr. Gorbachev’s Perestroika and that they, so far, are working, we are treated to a doubtful and twisted statisc that supposedly makes Brazil look bad if not looked upon closely.

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120 Steve Sailer September 22, 2017 at 5:52 pm

My impression is that white Americans commit more homicides per capita than white Brits, but fewer burglaries, home invasions, or violent assaults. The proliferation of guns in America makes a life of crime a more serious choice than in Britain, where a lot of young men seem to dabble at crime.

But the proliferation of guns in America also gets more people killed.

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121 chuck martel September 22, 2017 at 9:23 pm

Aside from the fact that Americans seem to really like killing one another, the issue of gun control doesn’t make any sense. If every firearm in the country were confiscated this evening in two days there would be plenty of pistols available. Heavily regulated in Mexico, there’d be an avalanche of them across the border. Since it’s 2017, not 1817, a cottage industry would quickly emerge building guns for those that need and want them, at a considerable profit. Lots of military issue firearms and police weapons would also find their way into private and maybe criminal hands. More problems would be created than solved.

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122 DevOps Dad September 22, 2017 at 10:51 pm

Brazil is obviously not an exception to gun homicides in Latin America.

While Mexico has about 13% of the guns per capita as the United States, it has over 325% the homicide rate.
While Honduras has about 5.5% of the guns per capita as the United States, it has over 1300% the homicide rate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estimated_number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

From the Huffington Post
“It is one of life’s greatest ironies that, no matter how much we want to be different, wherever we go, there we are. There’s just no getting away from ourselves. Go on holiday — there we are. Win the lottery — there we are. Move overseas — there we are. Wherever we look, we are looking out of the same pair of eyes; whatever we do, it’s still the same body doing it.”

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