Setting the record straight

So I saw this on my social media today:

And it's cute, but completely wrong.

The US is not third in murders in the world.  We're not even tenth.  Or 50th.  We're 111th.  We're failing so badly at being good at murdering each other, that we don't even have half the murder rate of Mongolia.  And Greenland has over four times our murder rate.  And yet we have 90 guns per 100 citizens in this country (first place there, among nations).

But it is correct in one fact.  Detroit and New Orleans are #1 and #2 respectively in our top ten cities for murder.  Detroit, were it a country, would actually be second in the world for murder (with 54.6 murders per 100,000 citizens).  Chicago is number 13 with a murder rate of 18.5 per 100,000, and DC is 19th with 13.9 murders per 100,000; so it's wrong there as well.  On the other hand in the bottom three listed on that page, Henderson NV has 1.5 murders per 100,000, Lincoln NE has 1.1, and Plano TX has 0.4.  What do you think their gun control laws look like?

We don't have a problem with murder in the US.  The US has a problem with murder in its cities with the strictest gun control.


Texan99 said...

It's conceivable that those cities would have even higher murder rates with looser gun laws, if the murder rate has very little to do with gun laws and a lot to do with how blue-model cities are run. My impression is that gun possession is as safe as the people who possess them, pretty much like nuclear weapons--which is why, as uneasy as I am about the U.S. nuclear stockpile, I'm a lot more worried about nukes in the hands of the eelbrains in charge of Iran.

So I'm not sure you can make people more trustworthy by either giving them guns or taking them away. I'm just sure they get less trustworthy the more they think of society as an ATM machine that someone else keeps filled up all the time, particularly if they're brought up to think that they're victims who are owed reparations, or that "the government should do more for people like us."

MikeD said...

Were that the case, then why do we see cities like Houston which has about the same population as Chicago, about the same poverty rate, but wildly different gun control laws with about half the murder rate? Furthermore, murder rates have been in decline over the past three decades while gun ownership has increased over the same time period. Gun control in the US seems to have an inverse relationship with the homicide rate. Why? I posit it is because when you disarm citizens by law, the lawless are emboldened. What have they to fear from a disarmed populace? But in localities where gun ownership is high, crime rates are depressed. And again, the reason seems fairly straightforward. When your potential victims have the means to defend themselves, crime is less attractive. Criminals are not smart, but they're also not irrational.

Grim said...

It's good to get the facts straight. I saw this myself, and wondered if the numbers would hold up to investigation. Thanks for running them down for us.

Texan99 said...

Mike, you may be right, and I'd be pleased to believe it. On the other hand, while Houston may be more blue-model than much of Texas, it's also true that by Detroit standards it's positively blood-red-model. I suspect the attitudes towards guns go along with a lot of other social policy that keeps Texas cities off the Honor Roll of American Hellholes. My guess would be that the healthy attitudes that go along with gun ownership are reinforcing those that go along with the anti-welfare state that is Texas, including the state's relative refusal to adopt job-killing redistributionist and protectionist policies. It would be hard to tease apart the beneficent influences.

I'm not disagreeing with you, exactly. I suspect that importing a lot of firepower into Detroit would eventually improve things, but until that city's social collapse is addressed there would be a lot of short-term mayhem, much as we see when we supply boatloads of weapons to moderates in Syria or Iraq and then stand back to see ISIS capture and use them. But I certainly agree that you can't improve things by "disarming" the populace; all you'll get is an armed ISIS, so to speak, and a disarmed ordinary populace.

raven said...

Wasn't it the Detroit Chief of Police who recently came out in favor of concealed carry?

Ymar Sakar said...

Updated the comment link there, for convenience.

douglas said...

Raven, yes, yes it was.

Of course, there's also Milwaukee's Sheriff who favors concealed carry and is quite the advocate for the Second Amendment.

Larry Sheldon said...

I've not seen anybody impeach Bill Whittle......

Anonymous said...

(Posting anonymously but a lifelong resident of SE Wisconsin now on sojourn in the Southeast...)

Until only 10 years ago, Sheriff Save Clarke of Milwaukee was very much anti-Second Amendment.

He flipped for political expediency, of course. Keeps him elected, and gets him national exposure, always good for the next political step!

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Let us not jump to conclusions as to why homicide rates are so different racially, because there are several possibilities, which are not mutually exclusive and likely overlap. But the basic fact that they are enormously different warps all statistical discussions. The African-American rate is about 8x the caucasian rate, the hispanic rate about 2x. Asians have a lower rate than caucasians. Does that mean that the average black is more violent than the average white? I doubt it. I think they have more than their share of bad actors, for whatever reason, but the 80-90% of people just trying to get along in this world are about the same. In fact, arming more middle-aged black people seems like a great first experiment to try, in my book.

I agree that it's ugly, and much more attractive and elevated to have discussions which don't go to the racial angle. But there is simply not much point in discussing the numbers otherwise. 8x is huge. Look at the list yourself, ignoring the Brady scores. What do you see?

Ymar Sakar said...

I think they have more than their share of bad actors, for whatever reason, but the 80-90% of people just trying to get along in this world are about the same. In fact, arming more middle-aged black people seems like a great first experiment to try, in my book.

Counter insurgency models under Petraeus easily explains why some sectors are more violent than others.

Politically and statistically, people try to crunch human conflict through a numbers job, and it doesn't work as effectively as strategies designed to control the battlefield.

Gringo said...

The comments in the WaPo article that AVI linked to often cited this article: VOX: Gun violence in America, in 17 maps and charts: America's unique problem with gun violence.

From one of the charts in the VOX article:
America has 4.4 percent of the world's population, but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world

But from the Wiki article on murder rates, you can calculate that with nearly half of the civilian-owned guns in the world, and 4.4% of the world’s population, the US has 3.4% of the world’s murders. More guns with fewer murders, which does not exactly support
the VOX narrative that the US is a gun-crazy murderous hell.

For further information on gun ownership and murder, refer to JayMan's Blog: Guns & Homicide, Map Form.
I prefer to deal with numbers, instead of maps, so you will see my comment at the bottom of the thread: “I correlated gun ownership per capita and murder rate for 174 countries. There was a small negative correlation: -0.155.”

The anti-gun people will then say “But you have to compare the US to advanced/developed countries such as Germany or France. You shouldn’t compare the US to places like Honduras or Nigeria.”

Well and good, let’s compare murder rates and gun ownership across ALL of Europe. For the 39 countries of Europe for which I found data, the correlation between murder rate and gun ownership is -0.33, which is an even stronger negative correlation than for the whole world.

Ymar Sakar said...

I prefer to simulate countries as they are. Meaning Switzerland vs Norway rapes vs Australian knife stabbings vs Muslim enclaves in France and England.

It's not necessary to make up fake computer Gaian models about the stats, when those situations already exist and they can easily be studied for who is responsible.

Most people cannot connect the dots. Unfortunately, that's been the case for some time now.

It is very difficult to isolate unknown unknowns and even known unknown factors in statistics, to account for knowledge products. It is easy to bias the data towards one's own intent and side, however, even unintentionally.

The universe at large, can calculate any number of factors and variables, I make use of what most people think is a barrier to knowledge. There are several different gun control countries I study, notably Japan vs Australia vs the UK. The high ownership of gun cultures, such as Switzerland and the US, form a different part of the simulation track. And in each country, there are various sub cultures.

But they don't need to be calculated, they just are. People just have to notice them and connect the dots later on.