Saturday, February 24, 2018

Hogging the spotlight

John Derbyshire expresses sentiments I share:
Another school shooting, another flurry of pointless arm-flapping from the commentariat. 
It's the same old stuff: every commentator mounting his favorite hobby-horse and galloping off to the races. Stricter federal gun control! Ban long guns for civilians! Mental health! Broken families! Violent video games! And of course: Trump!

This is tedious, and it gets more tedious each time around.
The Derb has arrived here after decades of thoughtful reflection. My trip has been much shorter. These sorts of one-off instances overwhelm my knack for teasing out simple but often overlooked patterns.

Some observations, none particularly novel:

- The AR-15, the gun used in Florida, has been around since 1963. It predates the onset of mass school shootings by more than a generation. Gun ownership rates have been steadily declining for several decades. The idea that guns are the root cause rather than a symptomatic expression of a deeper cultural rot is difficult to maintain in light of these things.

- The perpetrators of these incidents are often ice people. That's because these incidents are premeditated. NAM violence, while more frequent overall, is often of the heat-of-the-moment variety.

- Speaking of race, a hobby-horse here, blacks are much less likely to own guns than whites are. From the GSS, gun ownership rates by race. For contemporary relevance, all responses are from 2000 onward (N = 11,955):

Yet while blacks are less likely than whites to possess guns, they are far more likely to kill people with them. Blacks are not only more likely to murder, blacks who do commit murder are more likely to do so using a gun than non-blacks (who are relatively more likely to do so by way of arson or poison).

Taking a page from the left and ignoring Asians, we get a situation of fewer guns, more murder at the level of race.

- The "toxic masculinity" angle is the most risible one of all. We are balls-deep in the era of gender benders, declining T-levels, and soy boys. The shooters are reliably wallflowers, not Chads.

In no way is 2018 America more masculine than 1958 America was (except for maybe body-building, which is a larping masculinity anyway). To the contrary, it is less virile and more feminine. Whatever the causation, the correlation between masculinity and school shootings appears to be an inverse one.

- The boys aren't wild anymore, but they are seriously medicated. Psychotropic usage rates have increased for decades, particularly among young males. Their use is one thing that seems to be reliably shared among all of these shooters.

- Another reliable similarity is that these incidents always take place in gun-free zones.

Between 3%-10% of firearm murders are committed by people legally in possession of the firearm they used to carry out the murders. We could try and legislatively chip away at that 10%, but I have a better idea--let's simply make murder illegal and then we'll prevent 100% of the killings!

Why not allow teachers to conceal and carry if they want to? Teachers aren't as loony as they're made out to be.

- It's been noted that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is in a Jewish enclave of Parkland. I've not seen stats on that, but racially the school is strikingly representative of the US on the whole:

61% White
18% Hispanic
11% Black
7% Asian
2% Other

My vague sense is that these shootings tend to happen at schools that 'look like America'. The ice brigades aren't lighting up 90%+ NAM schools where they've been the relentless victims of racist bullying, nor are they happening in schools that are as white as rural Vermont. It's Diversity + Proximity = War, with shooting sprees being a most extreme expression of that war.

If I were able to find a good source for US shootings exclusively at junior highs and high schools, it'd be something worth looking at systematically. Even then, though, it's unclear what the median or modal demographic profiles of American public schools are, nor do I have a precise sense of the distribution across schools. Might be something for an aspiring PhD to take a crack at.

- From a cousin who works for a Democrat senator in DC and has since blocked and unfriended me for the response below:

They get to feed well-rehearsed lines to major media outlets who give them as many takes as they need to give a perfectly lugubrious delivery, they get hundreds of thousands of social media followers and the vaunted blue check mark overnight, they become instantly recognizable national celebrities while no one outside of the friends and families of the victims are able to recognize the actual victims of the shooting--so brave!

They putatively went out to do good--while the bodies were not just warm, but still alive!--and they will end up doing very well indeed.


Having vomited up my thoughts on a multi-faceted topic, I'll close with a more standard empirical offering.

Almost as quickly as David Hogg appeared on CNN following the Parkville shooting, SurveyUSA was commissioned to conduct a poll about school shootings among residents of the Portland, Oregon area.

"Portlandia" is the SWPL capital of the planet. It went 73%-17% for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016. Yet even its residents do not identify restricting gun access as the best way to reduce school shootings.

From a list of five possible choices--making gun access more difficult, better mental health care, better security, a reduction in bullying, and "other"--better security came out on top. A little under one-quarter (24%) of all respondents chose gun restrictions.

Random Dude writes:
Gun rights is an issue that finally awakens the sleeping boomercons. Gun control is absolutely a losing issue and the NRA set will crush any half-assed astroturf event that people, CNN especially, seem to be conjuring up.
If gun grabbing isn't a winning issue in Portland, it's dead on arrival at the national level.

There are some demographic differences in preferred approaches that should (but won't) concern libertarians putatively opposed to the encroaching police state. The following graph shows the percentages of respondents, by race, who identified each of the five possible solutions as the most important:

As noted previously, I'm with the beaners on this one. Instead of an extra SRO, though, allow teachers and administrators to carry. Gun-free zones are where mass shootings occur because they are the softest targets. If guns are outlawed then only outlaws will have guns, as the saying goes.

Parenthetically, a couple of excerpts illustrating r/K selection theory in action among homo sapiens. First, the Hispanic r. They're the ones having lots of kids:

And then the white K. We're the ones actively parenting the few kids we do have:

Mr. Larsen gets the last word:

GSS variables used: OWNGUN(1-2), RACECEN1(1)(2)(3)(4-10), HISPANIC(1)(2-50), RELIG(3)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

It's okay to be white

The women's hockey team thinks so, or at least one heroine among them does.

My wife had the replay from last night's game on. As we were watching the medals being given out, I made note of how aesthetically pleasing this line of healthy, nubile white women singing the national anthem and waving the stars and stripes was. As the flags of the US, Canada, and Norway were raised, I joked with my wife that #OlympicsSoWhite.

Then NBC cut to video of the team photo being taken:

Maybe there's a mundane hockey-centric meaning of the "it's okay" sign that I'm unaware of, but it looks like our girl wants the whole world to see that, indeed, it's okay to be white.

Nine of these women are Zs. Is this one? If she's a late millennial, well, she's just a little ahead of the curve!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Essence matters

Ann Coulter picked up the previous post on twatter. In her wake followed a flotilla of what Vox Day derisively refers to as "midwits". Some of the 'criticism' was cringe-inducingly terrible:

But some of it was reasonable enough:

Yes, following the link would've revealed that it applied to less than one-quarter of all responses, but the issue is worth addressing.

If we wanted the results of the poll to put the FBI/DOJ/Deep State in as unfavorable a light as possible, the graph would've looked something like this:

Just half of Clinton voters think the FBI is acting impartially, while majorities from every other group do not think they are doing so! Looks positively catastrophic for the FBI, as opposed to just bad, as is actually the case.

In the same way reporting that polling on the eve of the 2016 presidential election showed Hillary Clinton's support at 26% would have been technically true, since she garnered just under 66 million votes out of an adult population of 250 million, presenting it like this is intentionally misleading. There's a reason serious polling outfits restrict responses to likely voters, or preface questions to registered voters with "if you were voting today, ..."

Presenting the three different responses across 11 different demographic groups would leave us with 33 bars in the graph. It would be more obfuscating and overwhelming than clarifying.

What I'm always after in these exercises is the expression of general sentiment in a clear, concise way that is easy to comprehend. The source data is, except in the rare case where something is paywalled, directly linked to and freely accessible, and notes on presentation--in this case, that "unsure" responses were excluded--made clear.

In this case, the figures are from Reuters-Ipsos raw survey data, not from a write up on the results. Parenthetically, the poll was only administered for a week, no public release was made (so far as I'm aware), and it never showed up on the interactive polling explorer site's main page. It's almost as if this little doozy is one the bosses weren't too keen on getting out!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fake Russia collusion calumny delivers body blow to FBI's credibility

The following graph shows the percentages of people, by selected demographic characteristics, who agree that some members of the FBI and DOJ are trying to delegitimatize president Trump through politically-motivated investigations (that's putting it mildly to say the least). The data comes from a Reuters Ipsos poll that was conducted the first week of February. "Unsure" answers, comprising less than one-quarter of all responses, are excluded (N = 2,417):

The Deep State may seem untouchable, but there is one thing no power center in the West can afford to lose: Legitimacy.

Nearly half of blacks and more than 1-in-3 Clinton voters suspect foul play. Majorities of other contingents of the Coalition of the Fringes smell something rotten.

The jig is up. The FBI's legitimacy is bleeding out. Mueller may throw another smoke bomb before slithering away, but the FBI has been harpooned.

Devin Nunes is a hero. May other supine congress critters and officials take inspiration from his ability to find a spine.

Trump's ability to leave every entity that tangles with him worse for the wear is really something to behold. The Bush family, the Clintons, the dinosaur media, the Pope, the GOPe, the Obama administration, the NFL, National Review, the FBI--he's landed body blows on the credibility of all of them. He pulls it off every single time.