# Mass Shootings and the Trump Effect

Poisson regression, 1982M08-2019M08 (thru 8/4 for August):

eventst = -9.84 + 0.723 trumpt – 0.424 bant0.0039 time

Adj-R2 = 0.17, SER = 0.480, NOBS = 445. Bold denotes significant at 10% msl.

Addendum, 8/6 8am Pacific: events is mass shooting event count as defined by Mother Jones tabulation, ban is assault weapons ban dummy, trump is a Trump administration dummy, time is a linear time trend.

Interpretation: Each month of the Trump administration is associated  0.7 more mass shooting events 70% more mass shooting events, so jumping from 0.43 to 0.88 events going from 2016M12 to 2017M01; or approximately 5.4 more events per year 8.4 more events per year. [h/t Rick Stryker for correction of interpretation].

## 110 thoughts on “Mass Shootings and the Trump Effect”

1. Moses Herzog

Without reading some texts and some materials, much of this goes over my head, and without Frank’s, AS’s or the good 2slugs’ thoughts I will only halfway know what this regression (Or I am ashamed to say the panel data) would actually look like. You know, just some spotty hints in my mind. But I will say this: The adjusted R-squared looks big. i.e. 17 is an eye-bulging number from my viewpoint. Not big as in “unrealistic” but big in the sense that I think it obviously adds to the contention that donald trump’s words have effected low-educated (non-college) people’s view of minority’s and Immigrants’ threat to them (which economically is a tangible threat, but nowhere near the level they perceive that threat to be).

1. 2slugbaits

Moses Herzog A Poisson regression is a “count” model. The dependent variable is a count of the number of events in a given time interval. A Poisson regression assumes a Poisson distribution, so the variance is equal to the mean incident rate. A common problem is that variance exceeds the mean rate, so an alternative is a Negative Binomial regression. Also, sometimes you find long periods of time with zero events. This is a zero inflate problem. If you’re looking for an “R” solution, then “pscl” is probably the best package. Here’s an “R” vignette on count models:
https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/pscl/vignettes/countreg.pdf

BTW, I read where Nate Silver said he uses a Poisson regression model in his election forecasts.

1. Moses Herzog

@ 2slugbaits
Much appreciated on both the general breakdown and the pointing in the right direction on CRAN.

Although he bungled 2016 pretty badly, (I think the failure there was not polling RURAL voters enough, and I would be very curious to know, as I suspect, they (538 and others) are making the same mistake again leading up to 2020 I still follow Nate Silver quite bit, probably more than RCP or betting sites, but I try to supplement Mr. Silver with that. I noticed he’s much more weaselly about giving exact predictions than he was prior to 2016. He leaves himself a wider margin for error (with more grayish and vague posts), and it also seems when looking for data Silver sets up 538 now so you have to make 20 clicks just to find what you’re looking for, and makes sure everyone knows his assistants are compiling most of the data. Seems to leave him a convenient “out”.

Still, Silver has one remaining advantage—he is still probably the best in a segment of work that is so shoddily done by his “competitors”.

1. Moses Herzog

oops, “dpois” is a function not a package. Well anyway, I will try to DL these others.

2. Moses Herzog

@ 2slugbaits
Your posted comment has been of immense help to me in more ways than one. It kind of indirectly helped me find the appendix to this book I have been using. It had been leaving me in a quandary or a type of limbo when the appendix was mentioned and I finally figured out looking at these Poisson references that the appendix was an online appendix and all I had to do was DL it, and they have a section on this Poisson stuff (I had learned some about Poisson in college, but that was years ago)

The link you gave also shows 2 more packages on Poisson, which I will try to download sometime tonight (the “pscl” install went amazingly fast). It seems to indicate although these packages are more of a pain in the rear to run/input than “pscl” that the plus is that those “R” packages can be “fine tuned” more on the particular Poisson problem. My book, which as you can imagine is geared for beginners and those on the low end of “R” knowledge, mentions a package called “dpois” and that is likely the one I will try to practice with first.

Thanks again, it was very helpful and gave me a small leap in my learning here.

1. Barkley Rosser

Do keep in mind that the Poisson distribution is right-skewed, a fact 2slug was kind enough not to point out to you, Moses. In any case, it is appropriate for this phenomenon.

1. Moses Herzog

@ Barkley Junior
Why I respect 2slugbaits is, he doesn’t misquote research papers, he doesn’t tell lies about how DNA of “minority X” is distributed through a large sample of a population, he doesn’t make really bad errors in fact and then act like nothing happened. Having a Phd gets people to listen to you, right?? It gets you in certain doors, and it gets your attention to start listening to someone. It doesn’t mean people will respect you when you’re done talking and have told many lies (intentional or by incompetence) and haven’t done your homework. It doesn’t give you respect when you toss out a research paper like it’s fishing chum thinking that’s enough to win an argument on a blog when the paper you quote doesn’t back your contentions. I’ll tell you the truth. I feel sorry for Palgrave on their final product if they aren’t back-checking what you “edit”. Because they’re going to be seriously embarrassed if they don’t. And we’ll see how that goes for Palgrave…….

2. Moses Herzog

@ Barkley Junior
BTW, Junior, did you have any crap polls handy that claim Harris is leading on Biden?? If your students read this blog I’m pretty certain they’re up for some laughs, so please indulge all of us. Harris isn’t doing to well in this one, she’s losing among women voters to Bernie. But I hear rumor that Harris is “very proud of her record” as DA, so there’s always that
https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=3637

Barkley Junior, if you don’t have any polls showing Harris ahead of Biden by 1% as absurdist comedy for your students, you can tell your students that in the Quinnipiac Poll, Kamala is now polling 1% total among black Democrats. That has party nomination written all over it. Or maybe Harris’s anecdote as the poor sad girl on the school bus just doesn’t sell to blacks who know a fraud when they see one. You let us know after you check with that demographic in your local stomping grounds, ok Junior??

3. baffling

moses, it has already been explained to you why you were incorrect on the “skew” argument. why keep bringing up this item, and reminding people that you were patently wrong? best to move onto more legitimate arguments. this continued reference to your mistake simply reduces any credibility you make to the current issues at hand. refusal to admit ones mistake and doubling down is more of a trump trait, which i hope you would want to avoid such a comparison to.

4. Moses Herzog

Here for the apparently very slow-witted little puppy dog named “baffled”, following around behind Barkley Junior’s heels, is the paper Barkley Junior showed in a bad and disingenuous attempt to verify his claim that Native American Ancestry was skewed in the USA white population. Please feel welcome to read ALL of it:
“The Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States”
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289685/

It may be fascinating for regular readers of Econbrowser to note, that the very same research paper that Barkley Rosser quoted, if we use the journal page numbers you can go to the first paragraph of page 50 and read the following that is listed under this major sub-topic headline of the paper starting back on page 49 “Robust Estimates of African and Native American Ancestry in African Americans and European Americans”

“The inferred segments of African and Native American are UNIFORMLY DISTRIBUTED across the genome. Although we expect that some of the inferred ancestry might arise from difficulties in assigning ancestry in complex regions of the genome, only a small fraction of the estimated African and Native American ancestry in European Americans can be explained through such biases and is not expected to give rise to any substantial (more than 1%) ancestry from any population.”

That does not agree with or even be slightly consistent with Barkley Rosser’s assertion the the data are “skewed”. It is also interesting to observe that the word “skewed” is never used once in the paper Barkley Rosser finally got around to quoting so many months ago after the PhD was henpecked to give a better quote than his “Quora” “citation”.

When Barkley Junior stated that the data (the % of European Americans with Native American ancestry) was “skewed” I was completely uuuuuuhh, baffled, how that could be after so many generations of what I term “interracial relations” and that the research paper labels “admixture”. As the paper states the only thing that could drastically change it after that many generations of “admixture” are major historical migration events and or what they term “settlement patterns” such as the “Trail of Tears” migration of the 1830s. Indeed, this had minor effects on the distribution of Native American ancestry, and did NOT make the distribution “skewed” as Barkley Junior had stated on more than one post.

By the way, the authors of the paper Barkley Rosser quotes estimate that initial admixture between Europeans and Native Americans occurred 12 generations ago,

5. baffling

Moses, I gave you a detailed response to this issue and that article a while ago. I explained what the paper said in simple enough terms you should have understood. Either you failed to read that response, or you are unable to admit your mistake. But let’s be very clear here, you are completely incorrect in your argument. I have actually read the paper in detail-have you? It happens to be a topic I am quite interested in. Also spoke with somebody who has a PhD in genetics about that paper, because of my interest. I understand what the paper says. Let me clear something up for you:
Genome: the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell or organism.
Note this is NOT a population. It is the specific DNA sequence of a specific person, not a population.

“By the way, the authors of the paper Barkley Rosser quotes estimate that initial admixture between Europeans and Native Americans occurred 12 generations ago,”
What is your point? You think the INITIAL mixture occurred prior to Europeans settling in the America’s?

6. Barkley Rosser

Moses,

This is just sad that you cannot accept how wrong you are and were. I just hope you do not have a gun and want to go kill lots of people to prove that “really” you are right” even as various others point out that you are wrong. Deal with the fact that you are wrong on this. Does somebody need to come and forcibly put you under psychiatric surveillance? We know you have sick attitudes towards women. I just hope you do not own a gun. You are so sick.

7. Moses Herzog

@ Barkley Junior
What…. ?? No “Quora” links?? Ok, no links at all, because you finally figured out that paper (that I had to parse out direct quotes for you) doesn’t have the answer you completely guessed it had when you stuck the citation up in Menzie’s blog like used chewing gum in a ceiling leak. It said the distribution was uniformly distributed, how sad for you. Cheer up Barkley, don’t be melancholy. Or even angry. I think commenter “baffling” is forming a kind of teenage crush on you that really is kind of endearing. I sense you’re the granddad he never had. Or maybe great granddad. Either way, it’s very adorable.

8. baffling

appears that uncle moses simply cannot admit when he is wrong, and continues to double down. same behavior we see in corev. same behavior we see in trump. when you are known to be wrong, and still double down, it calls into question any other information (true or false) which you try to pass onto this blog. i commented to you on this issue for the same reason i continuously need to chastise corev. i find it difficult to allow intentionally false statements to propagate on the web simply because somebody decides to shout louder than everybody else, hoping others who know better will stay quiet to avoid conflict. this is how we get the limbaugh’s and alex jones of the world-good capable people give their lies a pass until it is too late. this idea of permitting alternative facts, ala rick stryker, in order to win arguments is simply not acceptable to me. it is a shame you are falling into this category moses.

9. Barkley Rosser

Moses,

I think 2slug is not commenting anymore than Menzie is because they do not want to set you off further. But you went off on this rant becuase of my posting the simply fact that the Poisson distribution is right skewed, which both of them certainly know. Go google it and see, if you doubt it.

As it is, I do not think it fits the distribution of Native American ancestry amont the (non-Hispanic) US “white” population, but it does fit quite a few biological processes, indlucing some involving population genetics, such as the rate of mutations on a unit lenght of a gene.

You really are in over your head on this, Mosrrs, waaaaay in over your head. I have been offering you a peace piipe, and I even apologoze once again for poking at you on sensitive personal matters, and I intend to try to not do so in the future. However, I shall defend intellectual integrity, and this matter of skewed distributions is exactly that.

3. Moses Herzog

@ 2slugbaits
You know one thing I thought was kind of weird?? I tried to download (I say download when the proper term is “install”) the package “glm” right?? It mentions it in that terrific “R” vignette you sent, and also Menzie mentions “glm” in the proceeding post where Menzie revisits the gun mess. This really got my attention as I thought it was a semi-big coincidence or Menzie was being nice enough to toss me a “glm” bone to try the packages out on. The “glm” package doesn’t seem to work, it gives me the common error I think people with 3.3–3.5 R get a lot, maybe I will post that error message agin later, but I had mentioned it before, something about “zero exit” or something……. anyways, when “glm” package wouldn’t install I saw there is a “glm2”, so I tried to install that and—it INSTALLED!!! Doesn’t that seem weird a package which I assume is a newer package is easier to install on the “R” version that is older?? Doesn’t that seem counter-intuitive?? But, my BIG QUESTION to you 2slugbaits is, do you know if “glm2” package in fact does all the statistics that “glm” can do??? As I assume that might be helpful on many Poisson problems and specifically on the “Part 2” post on guns Menzie put up just after this one??

Hope you can facilitate me on an answer to this 2slugs. Thanks either way.

2. Gene Laber

What is the definition of a “mass” shooting?

Does event measure the number of events per month?

Is this regression estimated with event in log form? (If not how is this different from OLS?)

Is trump a dummy variable (no pun intended) for months in which he is in office?

1. Bruce Hall

Without more detail about the input, I can’t change my opinion. Did you use the same data that was in the link I provided? No. So, what would be the results using:
• Total shootings: 1,3,4,8,8,24,4*
• Total deaths: 17,40,41,62,75,236,83*
*not to date

What counts as “mass shootings”?
Did the “mass shootings” include Chicago’s (or Los Angeles or any big city) typical weekends? https://www.thedailybeast.com/americas-mass-shooting-capital-is-chicago
Are there commonalities among the shooters that are distinct from the general population?
What percentage are politically motivated? Verified?
What percentage are unpredictable?
What percentage of total homicides are mass shootings?
Is an increasing frequency of shootings (per time unit) over several decades indicative of (1) the political party in power or (2) a social phenomenon of mentally ill people playing copycat for notoriety?

Mother Jones has its story to tell, but it’s not the whole story. A Poisson distribution is fine… for as far as it goes (which is not far).

1. Menzie Chinn Post author

Wow. You have a small sample… so small it would be unwise to apply statistical methods. On the other hand, I have no idea why you object to a Poisson regression. Please elaborate, perhaps with a suggestion of a superior method.

1. pgl

Bruce Hall might provide a “superior method”. He has already declared that he is not going to change his opinion, which I’m sure he received in a tweet from Trump himself. Wait, wait – Bruce may come up with a statistical approach assuming John Lott is returning his emails.

2. Bruce Hall

Menzie, the “sample” are totals by administration over multiple decades. I don’t object to a poisson regression; it has its uses. It all depends on what you are counting which in this case is an incomplete count of “mass shootings”. Furthermore, are the 293 or more people killed in Chicago alone in 2019 less of an issue than far fewer sporadic murders by deranged people nationally in the same time frame? (https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-chicago-homicides-data-tracker-htmlstory.html)

So, if you want to count, count everything and then do a frequency distribution by month by type.
• Identify the top two types and do a root cause analysis to determine what generalize actions (laws, if any) would prevent the homicides.
• Then determine if the generalize actions on the general population are being applied to the people who would be most likely to commit murder.
• Then determine if your proposed law would pass the SCOTUS test. Intent before the fact is not a legal standard for taking action against an individual. We’ve already seen how difficult it is to get a person involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility for actions, so “red flag” laws relying on perceptions of others are likely to be challenged and rife with potential abuse. So, can you use intent before the fact to disallow the purchase of a gun/rifle when someone with no record of violence could be denied the ability to purchase a gun based on someone else’s perception or dislike of what they say or write?

Finally, under what other scenario would a basic constitutional right be abridged if the abuse rate was less than 1 in 1,000,000?
• How about restrictions on unreasonable search and seizures? Don’t criminals hide evidence of crimes, often violent, and law enforcement cannot find enough evidence for a reasonable search and seizure. Let’s throw that out for everyone so we can put some more criminals behind bars.
• How about the right to due process? Well, universities have already done that in sexual harassment/conduct allegations, so why not for the whole U.S. population?

It’s great to yell “do something”, but something may not be the right thing.

3. Menzie Chinn Post author

Bruce Hall: Yes, but you aggregated the data into big bins — losing lots of information along the time series dimension along the way…

I did disaggregate at one point into those killed by Muslims and non-Muslims (I think you commented on those posts). We could do one for white vs. non-white (breaking minorities in smaller bins is pretty much useless) — the Mother Jones database could be augmented with that ethnographic data with “the google”.

Or, we could just throw up our hands. Get rid of those laws saying you can’t buy a new machine gun. I wonder if it’s okay to own a M-72 LAW -that’d be cool. Or perhaps tac nuke. For self protection you know…

4. Moses Herzog

I’m curious why Bruce is trying to drag urban crime deaths into a differentiated topic. After 2 and 1/2 years in office, wasn’t this one of the other problems donald trump was supposed to solve?? Or can donald trump not solve that problem playing around on Twitter??? donald trump’s snail walk to the podium at his political rallies seems to imply the orange creature has an abundance of time. Because we all know if donald trump loses sleep over anything, it’s low income blacks being killed.

This is donald trump’s version of reaching out to blacks.

Omarosa made a fool of herself to this entire nation, and will go to her grave being shamed (both to her face and behind her back) by the ENTIRE black community. And she has earned that shame, every ounce of it.

2. 2slugbaits

Bruce Hall The Daily Beast link is not about mass shooting events; it’s about Chicago’s murder rate. Four separate shooting events of one person each is very different from one shooting event that injures or kills four people. The term “mass shooting” refers to four or more individuals being injured or killed in a single event. Menzie’s Poisson regression is about the increase in the number of shooting events. And a lot of your questions could be answered if you took the time to examine the Mother Jones spreadsheet.

1. pgl

Bruce is now sourcing his “data” from a rag tabloid like The Daily Beast?! OK! Princeton Stevie the other day was hyping Trump’s comparison of homicide rates in certain NATIONS to a certain CITY (Baltimore). That was quite a dishonest comparison.

Brucie is upping the game by citing homicide rates in the worst neighborhoods of certain cities. I noted that New York City as a whole has a homicide rate of only 12.5 per 100,000 (New York State, it is 2.8 per 100,000). But i’m sure if we decided to look at places like East New York (the one place in Brooklyn I refuse to visit) we would likely see a higher homicide rate.

I never thought we would see someone more pathetic and dishonest than Princeton Steven. But I was wrong. Bruce’s latest is indeed the most dishonest, most pathetic, and most racist of this ilk.

Hey Princeton Stevie – you need to up your game or else Fox & Friends is calling Brucie and not you!

2. Bruce Hall

2slug, I chose the Daily Beast because it was far enough left that it wouldn’t upset anyone as a Trump apologist. But if it makes you feel better, here is a link to the Chicago Tribune. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-chicago-homicides-data-tracker-htmlstory.html

We just had 9 people shot in Detroit during the 4th of July weekend. They don’t count as mass shootings because they were separately shot with handgun. All were black, so it’s not national news. I’ve responded to Menzie above and that’s my response to you.

As to the Mother Jones’ data, the frequency of these “mass shootings” have increase over several decades as they have been publicized and mentally deficient/ill copycats seek personal notoriety in lieu of personal accomplishments. So let’s get rid of all of those people and leave the rest of the population alone /s.

3. 2slugbaits

Bruce Hall I didn’t say anything about your choice of using data from the Daily Beast. I’m not questioning the accuracy of the number of murders in Chicago. Hell, I grew up in the Chicago area. My point was that there is a big difference between the number of murders and the count of shooting events. Garden variety murders are just as bad the counts of mass shootings, but they are bad for a different reason. The kinds of murders you find in Chicago are rooted in criminal activity (e.g., drugs, robberies, gangs, territorial control, revenge, etc.). The mass shootings in the Mother Jones spreadsheet have a very different genesis. Murders in Chicago and Detroit are typically targeted at specific individuals who are rarely just innocent bystanders except in the case of stray bullets that missed their target. Mass shootings are typically targeted at ethnic groups or at innocent bystanders for no reason other than rage.

the frequency of these “mass shootings” have increase over several decades as they have been publicized and mentally deficient/ill copycats seek personal notoriety in lieu of personal accomplishments.

And this shows up in Menzie’s linear time trend coefficient. What’s also coincident with this rising trend in mass shootings is increasing white nationalist militancy ever since Jan 20 2009. Trump didn’t create the problem of rising white nationalism, but he’s certainly been willing to stoke it for crass political purposes.

let’s get rid of all of those people and leave the rest of the population alone

Life isn’t a Tom Cruise movie. Why not just get rid of all the guns? I never quite understood why so many conservatives see the 2nd Amendment as basic to human liberty, but are quite relaxed about getting “rid of all those people.” Apparently you have no problem with denying everyone else’s basic rights just as long as you get to keep your guns. Is that right? I think psychiatrists would call that a gun fetish. And maybe that’s the real problem. For many people guns are a fetish. And like all fetishes, they tend to change people. Would you really trust a conspiracy spooked nut job like JBH with an AR-15 and a 100 round drum?

3. Baffling

Typical of such conservatives. When losing the argument, try to introduce doubt and then argue that it is convincing evidence.

1. Bruce Hall

baffling, there should be doubt when imposing laws on over 200 million adults for actions of dozens. The “do something” approach is a reaction to frustration about not being able to control every malevolent action by every deranged individual.

4. pgl

“Mother Jones has its story to tell”.

You FINALLY figured out that you were citing their data without proper attribution. Too late – Kevin Drum has already called their attorneys. Expect a stinging lawsuit.

1. pgl

You would not even recognize “anything meaningful” if it were a boulder that landed on the top of your little head. And once again you provide some weird link without bothering to “educate” us what the link is supposed to convey. Come on Brucie boy – please mansplain it for us!

3. Barkley Rosser

MH,

The Poisson distribution is notable for having a mean that equals its variance. Thus it is skewed to the right. It is thought to apply to many stochastic processes that have a longish tale to the right, and mass shootings are an obvious candidate. This is an appropriate form of regression to use here.

1. pgl

Rusty is baaaaaaaack! OK RustBucket – please continue by mansplaining to us why Trump should not be considered a racist.

1. Rusty

I don’t remember commenting before so I’m not sure I deserve such a welcome back but thank you.

I am completely unqualified to mansplain (or any other word for explain) why Trump should not be considered a racist. He probably is. It is possible that if someone else had been elected (maybe the person I voted for instead of Trump) that the number of shootings would be lower but I find this not very compelling.

I have just been told that correlation does not imply causation (https://xkcd.com/552/).

As stated previously, I am not a fan of Trump. I didn’t vote for him. I don’t plan to vote for him. I just don’t think that the sitting president is the most important variable to the number of shootings. If I read that chart correctly, there were way more mass shootings when Obama was president than Regan or Clinton. Does that mean Obama did something wrong or that replacing him would have made shootings go down?

1. Johannes

@Rusty : In case you have a political agenda, every correlation can mean causation. Let Menzie explain this to you.
@Menzie : No, I’m not pro-Trump. I’m pro-truth.

4. pgl

“+ 0.723 trumpt ”

Forgive me if I get this wrong but is what used to call a Dummy variable? If so, “trump” is the ultimate Dummy variable!

1. pgl

See Menzie’s reply to Rusty. You might learn something if you decide to shut your smug mouth and actually read!

5. baffling

is rick stryker still grinning while washing the blood off his hands? rick loves a world filled with random violence. i find people like dick appalling for supporting such needless bloodshed in the name of ideology. disgusting and embarrassing that such people exist in this country. same can be said for the grim reaper mitch mcconnell. his obstruction of gun issues is an accessory to murder.

6. baffling

hey steven kopits, are we still standing behind those accountability comments you are so proud the orange excrement retweeted? as a society, where is the accountability in mass shootings?

1. pgl

Has steven kopits posted his “analysis” where he blames El Paso on liberal Democrats and those pesky Hispanics who choose to live there?

2. pgl

Are you referring to the tweets following the Obama bashing on Fox & Friends, which is hosted by two racist bozos and some hot blonde these two bozos are likely hitting on during commercials:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-fox-friends-obama-shootings

And if anyone wants to defend Brian Kilmeade – check this out:

‘“Fox and Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed on Tuesday that describing immigration as an “invasion” of the United States isn’t anti-Hispanic — it’s just that the so-called “invasion” happens to be at the southern border. The Fox host argued the term was accurate because of the volume of people who cross the border. “If you use the term ‘an invasion,’ that’s not anti-Hispanic,” Kilmeade said. “It’s a fact.”’

The man is disgusting and incredibly stupid but Princeton Stevie adores appearing on this show. Go figure!

1. 2slugbaits

The funny thing is that to the extent that Bruce Hall’s population normalized statistic (see below) has any value (and it doesn’t), the lesson ought to be that Hispanics have the lowest propensity to commit mass shootings. So maybe we should be encouraging that so called “invasion” at the border.

1. Bruce Hall

I guess I could have gone through the exercise of taking the raw normalized values and expressed them in terms of the white rate = 100. But is that really necessary for such brilliant intellects?

2. 2slugbaits

Bruce Hall You’ve never heard of normalized data?

If you were an engineer, then I hope you understand why you can’t do that. If not, then it’s time to brush up on stat 101.

3. pgl

“You’ve never heard of normalized data?”

Bruce confuses normalization and cherry picking. Of course he is still incapable of doing a coherent and honest presentation of even his own cherry picked data!

3. Steven Kopits

Yes, I think being tweeted by the White House and referenced in a Presidential speech is a big deal.

As for accountability. I think the President tends to inflame passions, and the plain numbers suggest increased mass shootings since the President took office, with Muslim-related shooting falling and disaffected white shootings rising. How much of this is due to Trump personally is hard to say, but he has tended to raise the heat on the suite of related issues.

The mass shooting numbers are not huge at 59 through early August on a population of 330 million, representing less than two months of killings in Baltimore, a city with a population of 0.6 million. You’re almost 2000 times as likely to be killed in Baltimore City as in a mass shooting nationwide. This is small comfort to the victims on either side, but you would think those who died in Baltimore would deserve a word.

1. pgl

You and Kelly Anne Conway both take great pride in assisting Trump lie and flame. Atta boy Stevie!

2. baffling

steven, we appear to have an issue as a society with mass shootings. not only do they directly impact those involved, but they have an impact on thousands of innocent citizens who now change behavior and develop fears of these actions. this is a problem. where is the accountability?

steven, when you argued for accountability in baltimore, what you were saying (not sure if you even realize this) is that these poor black populations deserve this if they do not change their ways. it is their fault. so, steven, where is the accountability in these mass shootings? as a society, we can change how we operate to eliminate this senseless violence. you do not want to say the words and take the actions that eliminate gun violence. it is easy to wash the blood from ones hands when you live in the quaint village of princeton.

1. Steven Kopits

I think the shooters are directly accountable for their actions, whether that’s in Baltimore or El Paso.

In Baltimore, because we are using the law of large numbers, policy changes can be more easily implemented. For example, since the Freddy Gray riots of 2015, Baltimore’s murder rate has risen by 100 per year on average. So 400 mostly young black men are dead because of a change in police practice. That needs to be fixed. Not noted here in Econbrowser, that’s for sure.

There’s now a move afoot to take weapons away from those who could present an imminent danger, in some sense, a version of the pre-crime unit depicted in Minority Report. Constitutionally, that’s going to be a problem unless it’s very tightly defined.

Honestly, I am not sure how you stop lone, mostly white male shooters, with no criminal history often using legal weapons. The only common denominator is that most of them have some sort of mental health problem (see the Mother Jones list). And again, moving to a market-based system would end illegal immigration and reduce hatred towards migrants.

If you think that I endorse inciting violence against Hispanics, you have read nothing of what I have written. I am the leading analyst documenting predation against migrants. No. 1 in the whole country. I am the sole person arguing to move to a compensation-based, rather than enforcement-based, migrant policy. I am the principal proponent of moving to a system which will increase Hispanic pride and dignity in the country. I am the one calling to release up to 190,000 migrants held principally on immigration-related charges. Do you have a plan for any of that?

1. Menzie Chinn Post author

Steven Kopits: You write: “…moving to a market-based system would end illegal immigration and reduce hatred towards migrants.” Documentation from peer-reviewed journals would be welcome on this count. I could well imagine the reverse occur, but I am not bold enough to assert w/o documentation.

2. Steven Kopits

As you know, we treat illegal immigration as a black market in migrant labor. Such black markets have two components, an adjective, illegal, and a noun, Mexicans or immigrants. Which are people keying on? The adjective, or the noun? If it were the noun, then we might expect to see evidence of that in, say, protest signs: “Mexicans get out!” or “Down with foreigners!”. If it is the adjective, we would expect to see signs highlighting illegality, like “Secure the Border!”, “Build the Wall”, “Return to Sender”, “Entering the US Illegally is Illegal”, “Stop the Illegal Invasion”, “No Amnesty”, “Stop Illegal Immigration”, and “Deport Illegal Aliens”. In fact, if you Google “anti Mexican protests” or “anti immigrant protests”, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone protesting Mexicans per se. But you’ll see many pictures depicting calls to end illegal immigration with the quotes above, which I largely took from pictures I found.

Thus, we can say that people are principally keying on the adjective, not the noun. To solve the problem, you address the adjective — illegal — not the noun — Mexican. We do that as we always do with black markets, by transitioning to a legalize-and-tax system, in our case with a price-based cap to meet the needs of conservatives.

And that’s the history of the repeal of Prohibitions. When the prohibition on alcohol was lifted, did the underlying problem end? Absolutely not. It continues now almost 90 years later, with 88,000 people dying prematurely and \$250 bn in GDP lost every year due to alcohol. But here’s the thing: After Repeal, alcohol disappeared as a political issue. As a social issue, it remains, but not as a political controversy.

Similarly with gambling. As we’re the same age, you probably remember when gambling was being legalized, first in Atlantic City (outside Nevada) as I recall. There was a lot of consternation about how it would corrupt us all. And then it was legalized and, in the end, no one cared, but there are many problem gamblers out there. Notwithstanding, gambling as a matter of principle is no longer controversial.

And now, marijuana. In New Jersey, legalization has stalled. But five years after legalization in Colorado, mostly the reaction has been ‘eh’. The world hasn’t ended. Some things are a little worse, some are better. But ok, let’s move on.

So, the history of lifting prohibitions suggests that such actions tend to eliminate the problem as a political — although not social — matter.

Does that mean there won’t be people who hate Mexicans just because, even if they are legalized? No, there will surely be some who will hate Mexicans no matter what. But will illegal immigration will disappear as a problem in the national political consciousness? Yes, it will.

And that’s a big deal.

3. baffling

“I think the shooters are directly accountable for their actions, whether that’s in Baltimore or El Paso.”
steven, that is not what you were implying, and trump retweeting, about baltimore. in one case, you blame the shooter. in another case, you blame a poor black community. please get on the same blame page.

“Thus, we can say that people are principally keying on the adjective, not the noun. To solve the problem, you address the adjective — illegal — not the noun — Mexican. ”
here we are simply going to disagree. many have a problem with mexicans, period. the illegal/legal characterization is simply a cover for their bigoted behavior. blacks in america are still despised by a significant part of our population, and they are completely legal-but different. your failure to understand and admit this aspect of modern society is why your approach will not work. you have developed a solution, and are looking for a problem to apply it to. that is a bad problem solving framework.

4. Steven Kopits

I blame the shooters in both cases.

But Baltimore’s problems run much, much deeper than an individual crazy shooter. You are nearly 2,000 more likely to be killed in Baltimore City than by a mass shooter. It’s three orders of magnitude from being in the same class. If you believe the model of single motherhood to bad public schools to drugs and on to jail — the Democratic model that has been in place and voted for consistently by these same cities’ citizens for decades — is a successful model, well, I don’t know what to say. I think it is a terrible model. I think that it’s considered normal for Baltimore, placed smack in the middle of the I-95 corridor in a coastal state, to be losing 1% or more of its population every year to be acceptable, well, I don’t. If you think it’s normal for Baltimore to have a murder rate higher than that of the most dangerous and impoverished countries in Central America, well, I don’t. Sorry. I leave you to endorse the Baltimore model of governance. I think it is a terrible model, and yes, both the voters and political leadership share accountability. They are the principal determinants of the city’s life.

And for the record, I grew up in Baltimore City.

5. Steven Kopits

As for ‘what I said’: Here’s what I said in the article linked above:

Baltimore’s “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” has been projected through the lens of race. In terms of problem-solving, however, we believe the situation is better appreciated as safety-related. People don’t want to work, study or live in dangerous neighborhoods. That means businesses and employers will be few, incomes will be low, and crime and blight will spread. A more constructive approach to illegal drugs would see violent crime rates fall by half in Baltimore and the city’s prospects improve commensurately.

Moreover, there is nothing immutable about murder rates. Many readers will no doubt be surprised to read that Baltimore has a higher murder rate than the Central American countries whose violence the left has claimed led to the asylum crisis. Central America used to be much worse. As late as 2015, El Salvador’s murder rate was about 100 — almost twice that of Baltimore. But security is much improved across the Northern Triangle countries (one reason we concluded that the asylum surge was caused by a change in US policy, rather than push factors in Central America). With better governance, crime rates can be reduced substantially.

The results at the border could be much more impressive. A market-based approach for migrant labor would reduce related crime and victimization — including death, rape, kidnapping, robbery, human smuggling and trafficking, incarceration, illegal immigration, and migrant wage theft and exploitation — by 95%, and would do so in as little as two years even as enforcement is substantially curtailed. From the policy perspective, repealing Prohibitions is not hard and the dynamics are well understood.

With all the charges of racism over the last few days, it is worth keeping in mind that prohibitions relying primarily on supply suppression (enforcing principally against economic migrants, for example) represent the key form of institutional racism in the country, by far. Prohibitions are central both in determining the culture and economic prospects of inner cities and in setting public perceptions of the Hispanic community.

https://www.princetonpolicy.com/ppa-blog/2019/7/29/baltimore-border-problems-share-common-cause

6. baffling

“I blame the shooters in both cases.”
and then you went on to blame the black voters of baltimore.
steven, the real problem is that as a society we have had a segment (not sure if it is a majority any longer, just better lobbyists) who have continued to perpetuate a gun culture to the detriment of society as a whole. we permit people to hoard guns and ammo, then act surprised when bad things happen. you cannot permit an arms depot and then act surprised when it is put into action. it is possible to change this, but not with obstructionists like moscow mitch refusing to even acknowledge a problem exists. guns are a problem, and solutions do exist. we are simply not taking any action to implement those solutions.

7. baffling

steven, a lot of that article illustrates that police following proper procedures would result in more effective law enforcement. this is a common problem, especially with respect to policing in minority neighborhoods. this can and should be improved.

but the most striking thing about the article is the fact that almost every one of the situations presented would be a nonstarter if guns were not available. full stop. period. we cannot flood society with guns and think they do not end up in the hands of the wrong people. i posted a nice link to an article in another post, noting it is not mental health per se that is the problem with guns. it is the combination of violent tendencies AND ACCESS to a gun that permits gun violence. we can work on both aspects of the problem. but not when you have obstructionists like moscow mitch delaying any action whatsoever on our gun problems.

steven, surely even you can agree that reducing the number of guns and who gets them will be very beneficial in our war on gun violence?

8. Steven Kopits

Something between 75-85% of the guns used in crimes in Baltimore are illegal, Baffs. Go get them! We don’t need new laws for that.

But here’s the thing about black markets. Because black markets, as those in illegal drugs, lack property rights under the law, those property rights must be provided by the participants themselves. That is, black markets require guns and gangs to protect turf and the associated business functions. It is prohibitions that put the ‘organized’ into organized crime. It is prohibitions that create gangs, in large part.

Therefore, if you don’t legalize drugs in some fashion, the guns will make their way into the community because they are necessary as a condition of operating the business.

If you legalize the drugs, you can make the gangs and guns go away in large part, because there is nothing to protect as a business matter. That’s why I am saying, over and over again, that the primary form of institutional racism in the US is prohibitions. These comfortably double the murder rate in Baltimore by themselves. In Mexico, US drug and immigration policy is responsible for 22,000 of Mexico’s forecast 34,000 murders this year. These are incredible numbers–they literally define these communities–and they are happening because of and have been created by US policy.

So, yes, I believe the black community has to be accountable for the condition of its own neighborhoods, but for God’s sake, let’s at least fix the part directly attributable to US policy. If institutional racism is responsible for half the murder rate, let’s at least fix that half. That would be a great start.

9. baffling

“Something between 75-85% of the guns used in crimes in Baltimore are illegal, Baffs. Go get them! We don’t need new laws for that.”
first you have to stop producing them. or reduce their production. we are doing very little of this, which is why more and more guns end up on the streets each year. obstructionists like moscow mitch are handicapping us by increasing the supply each year. your ideas do absolutely nothing about reducing the availability of guns in society steven.

just as a thought exercise. if you were to take your approach and legalize drugs, for instance (and i am not against this idea), do you think those dealers and gangs will simply turn the other cheek and become law abiding citizens? as i have said before, you have a solution in search of a problem.

10. Steven Kopits

Baffs –

I cannot speak to the activities of former criminals after legalization. We can, however, say with some confidence that the rate of crime will fall, for violent crime, by about half. That’s the historical record. With respect to the border, associated crime would fall in the range of 95%. I can break that down by category, if you like.

For a city like Baltimore, that would be huge progress. Lower crime rates mean businesses will feel more comfortable investing, and that should lead to increased employment. We can start a virtuous circle. Now, will that solve everything? The historical record is clear: no. But on average, it is still a bib, big step up.

11. baffling

“I cannot speak to the activities of former criminals after legalization.”
and yet you are making assumptions on this very action to support your solution. do you think the mafia and gangs went away once prohibition was repealed? look, steven, i am not against some of what you say. we have created problems with illegal drugs and the way we deal with immigration. but your solution is not really convincing as far as truly solving our problems. it is a solution in search of a problem.

i am certain that by reducing or eliminating guns floating through society, you will reduce significantly the number of crimes committed with a gun. that will reduce the number of violent crimes in the country. you want to implement your policies within the gun control movement, you will probably get more support. outside of that movement, nobody will pay much attention to your ideas.

1. pgl

It is disturbing that parents have to buy their children such things. But this is even more troubling:

‘However, the armor in the backpacks may not withstand the impact from the type of rifles that have been commonly used in such events.’

We need an assault weapons ban now. McConnell may have injured his shoulder but that is no excuse for a 5 week vacation.

7. Bruce Hall

The argument about mass shooters is that they are invariably “white nationalists”. Data says otherwise: https://www.statista.com/statistics/476456/mass-shootings-in-the-us-by-shooter-s-race/

When normalized for population percentage by race/ethnic group:
Percent % Popul. Normalized
White 0.64 0.607 1.054365733
Black 0.19 0.134 1.417910448
Latino 0.1 0.181 0.552486188
Asian 0.08 0.058 1.379310345
Other 0.05
Unknown 0.04
Native Am 0.03

So, let’s just discard the “Trump is getting white nationalists to do the mass shootings” meme.

1. pgl

“The argument about mass shooters is that they are invariably “white nationalists”.”

There you go flat out lying about what other people have said. No one ever said ALL mass shooters are Trump racists like you are. But it is clear the person who gunned Wal Mart shoppers in El Paso is a Trump racist.

But leave it to little Brucie boy to support this garbage. It is the only job he could get.

1. Bruce Hall

There is some question of Crusius’ actual political affiliation: https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/wp-content/uploads/my-life-shooter-1.png

But the real point is that he was mentally ill. His environmental rantings in his so-called manifesto have been cited as a Trump! position (Trump, the so-called anti-environmentalist, demonized by every progressive environmentalist, is suddenly the source of some nut’s environmental concerns). If you can accept the improbability of that, you can believe that all Democrats are pure of heart and mind and can only be corrupted by the overwhelming influence of Trump’s rhetoric.

Ask yourself, how many Democrats voted for Trump because they wanted more forced “green energy” environmental laws? How many low-income Democrats were frustrated because they believed (it doesn’t have to be true) that their jobs were being lost to China and that their wages were being undermined by millions of illegal “residents”? Oh, maybe more than a few?

So, you can believe Crusius was a Trump environmentalist or you can think things through.

1. 2slugbaits

Bruce Hall I would say that anyone who takes gatewaypundit.com seriously shows prima facie evidence of mental instability. We know that Crusius was unemployed for five months and blamed Mexicans for being down on his luck. Prior to the shooting there was no hard evidence that Crusius was mentally ill. It’s true that he was described as a loner and irritable, but that’s a long way from being mentally ill. Being a resentful loner probably describes a lot of Trump’s supporters. What we know for sure was that he held an animus for immigrants and he blamed them for his lot in life. And he posted on far right-wing websites. And he admired the Christchurch shooter.

I don’t know what to say about the rest of your green energy rant. Sounds to me like you might want to take your own advice and seek some mental health specialists. Or maybe just put down the bottle. In any event, it’s pretty off the wall.

1. pgl

The post Bruce choose to provide us has already been exposed for what it is. I have to wonder how any one – even someone as stupid as Bruce – would not know this. No – Bruce Hall is as dishonest as Kelly Anne Conway.

2. pgl

“There is some question of Crusius’ actual political affiliation”.

Seriously Bruce? The right wing doctored his web information in a pathetic attempt to shift blame. For you to repeat this disgusting lie tells us all we need to know about you. Excusing a racist and lying 24/7. Bruce Hall at his best!

2. pgl

That had to be the lamest and most inaccurate table of what your own link was showing. So people can actually understand the first column, which your litle table completely misrepresents, here is the text:

“This statistic shows the number of mass shootings in the United States between 1982 and August 4, 2019, by race and ethnicity of the shooter(s). Between 1982 and August 2019, 64 out of 114 mass shootings were initiated by White shooters. The Las Vegas strip massacre in 2017 had the highest number of victims between 1982 and 2019, with 58 people killed, and over 500 injured.”

Come on Bruce – we know you are dishonest as it gets. And we know you are incredibly dumb. But do please try to more clearly and accurately convey the information from your own links.

3. 2slugbaits

Bruce Hall If you look at the detailed information, what you’ll find is that Black mass shootings tend to be associated with robberies or workplace issues. They also tend to involve handguns and shotguns. The shootings involving a White shooter are more likely to reflect a political motive and are more likely to involve semi-automatic rifles with large magazine capacities.

I would have expected you to focus on the fact that in Menzie’s regression the assault weapons ban was not statistically significantly different from zero.

1. pgl

“I would have expected you to focus on the fact”.

An excellent comment until you went there. We should all have realized by now that Brucie is incapable of focusing on facts of any kind!

8. pgl

I get the fact that Bruce Hall flunked pre-K reading so forgive him for not realizing that the original source of data about mass shootings was Mother Jones. His link clearly labeled its source but we have seen over and over the fact the Brucie boy is completely inept at understanding even clearly labeled sources of data. So as a community service, here is the proper link to the Mother Jones discussion:

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data/

9. Ithaqua

I redid this analysis using a somewhat different methodology – iterating over the months searching for shifts by examining the residual deviances of models with and without a shift starting at each period (models including a linear trend, as per your results.) Plotting the results indicated three large (potential) shifts: down around July 1994, which with the associated fuzziness of the exact month can possibly be attributed to the assault weapons ban, down around January 2000, and up around March 2017. The January 2000 shift was easily the largest, supported by subsequent analysis. Fitting a model with all three shifts and comparing to a model with just the first two shifts resulted in an AIC slightly favoring the latter (509.0 vs 509.6), but of course since I picked the start date by examining the residual deviance the associated AIC is biased low. OTOH, picking February or March of 2017 a priori for testing a Trump effect would not be unreasonable, so there is that.

I also fitted a GAM with the three shifts and a nonparametric time trend, which latter indicated that the rate of increase of shootings leveled off somewhat during the Obama administration (do not take this as a causal statement!). The estimated magnitudes of the shifts were not much changed between the GAM and GLM. My Trump shift estimate was 0.79 (compared to your 0.74), with the Jan. 2000 shift estimate -1.88.

Another year+ of data would certainly help…

1. Ithaqua

The statement comparing AICs should be reversed: the lower AIC corresponded to the three-shift model. Apologies.

2. Julian Silk

Dear Ithaqua,

It is sad, but we will probably get another year of data. Your analysis and Menzie’s seem about as good as we will get, and enough to establish the case, although there is still a lot of variance that is not explained. You might just check the Schwarz BIC as an additional selection criterion among the models.

Julian

10. pgl

A lot of news story about 8Chan of late:

https://www.cnet.com/news/el-paso-shooting-shines-light-on-8chan-a-racist-troll-haven/

‘El Paso massacre shines light on 8chan, a racist troll haven – The mass shooting is the latest one tangled up with the notorious site.

Shortly before the alleged gunman behind Saturday’s deadly mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, entered the store, he apparently uploaded a 2,300-word manifesto to the internet. The destination: 8chan, an imageboard that calls itself the “darkest reaches of the internet.” Authorities are still investigating the link between the manifesto and the man who allegedly killed 22 people. But 8chan has already carved out a reputation as a notorious haven for racists, trolls and, increasingly, killers. The gunman who killed 51 people in two New Zealand mosque shootings in March was linked to an 87-page white nationalist screed that appeared on the site before he attacked. Another shooter suspected of killing a person at a synagogue outside San Diego in April posted links to a hate-filled open letter and tried to use 8chan to share a livestream on the site.’

Apparently the founder of this garbage is joining with saner people calling on shutting this cite down. We have all seen a lot of racist garbage from self promoting Princeton Steve and his new Minnie me Bruce Hall. I have to wonder why they continue to spew their garbage here as we have called them out for this over and over.

One would think the two of them might take their garbage to 8chan where it would be welcomed. Better hurry, however, as this cite might just disappear. Hopefully!

1. Moses Herzog

“Hot”….. “Not hot”??? Oh wait, I was thinking of another game I used to play.

11. The Rage

Its called “Kosher Nationalism” for a reason. They prey on weak, emasulated young men who are generally losers in life. They have failed in every sense of the way to be “men”. The fact is, Russia and Israel control most of the information people receive. That is why its called “kosher nationalism”.

Notice the lack of notice on Asian illegals, especially from China. That is the real immigrant threat to America today and the Trump Administration doesn’t care.

1. Barkley Rosser

“Kosher nationalism”??? No, this is the first time I have seen this weird term. Sorry, “The Rage,” this looks like some sick alt-right anti-Semitic garbage. I think Menzie should ban you. This is not only sick, but disgusting.

12. pgl

Conway lectures Dems for politicizing El Paso, Dayton shootings

“Counselor to President Trump Kellyanne Conway calls out 2020 Democrats on ‘Fox & Friends’ for lashing out at the president after the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.”

My Lord – what an utter bimbo. But wait – they invited this bimbo and not Princeton Steve? No wonder our favorite racist is AWOL. He is SO disappointed at not being invited to Fox & Friends.

13. pgl

On the other hand George Conway (how in the world is he married to Kelly Anne) makes sense:

George Conway went on a full-scale tear into President Donald Trump and his rhetoric in light of the two shootings this weekend in Texas and Ohio. Conway, husband to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, got back on the Twitter machine on Sunday to refer to Trump as an “evil racist political leader who is a narcissist and a sociopath.” He also suggested that Trump’s rhetoric could have the El Paso shooter to attack people in pursuit of the anti-immigrant ideas the perpetrator laid out in his alleged manifesto.

14. Moses Herzog

I have this distasteful and tacky habit of posting things on this blog not very closely related to economics. But you guys know I can’t control myself sometimes:
https://i.redd.it/6imbhaaqbse31.jpg

“Establishment Eliminator”—a comicbook superhero film coming soon to a theater near you.

15. Moses Herzog

@ Menzie
Menzie, not to take a certain vile and abhorrent orange creature’s side on this, but you know what the obvious question is here, right?? If the rate of increase is 8.4 events per year, what was the corresponding rate of increase under President Obama?? I’m obviously guessing the rate of increase was lower under President Obama, but it might shut-up the usual parties defending you know what.

16. 2slugbaits

So what’s wrong with taxing the hell out of semi-automatic weapons (say \$10K per weapon) along with a steep tax on 0.223 and 9mm ammo (say \$20 per round)? It doesn’t takeaway anyone’s precious 2nd Amendment rights and would help defray the cost of all the mental health support that conservative politicians have suddenly fallen in love with.

1. Moses Herzog

I’m not totally against that idea on a gun tax targeted to a certain circle-back on the problems guns create, but the obvious objection is that it makes it cost-prohibitive for “the common man” to possess a gun. And it becomes a right closely tied with income and another “have” vs “have nots” situation. Like many people I read different businesses weekly ads that come in the junk mail. (I’m imagining Professor Chinn rolling his eyes now because he knows I’m about to go into my Cliff Clavin mode). “Academy” stores is kind of a Wal Mart for sportsmen and hunters. Have you seen the prices on handguns?? You can make a strong argument poor people need guns more than middle class because it’s predominantly poor people stuck in high crime neighborhoods. I think my prior posts have shown I’m more to the left on gun issues. But I’m here to tell you, if I was a bachelor and lived in certain parts of Detroit, Baltimore etc. I would buy a good quality water-proof “Glock”. The reality of America circa 2019 is if you make yourself out to be a target you sure as hell will end up being one. GENERALLY speaking, police don’t protect people—police clean up messes that have already happened. I don’t wanna be the mess police clean up. Neither do most low-imcome people.

1. 2slugbaits

Moses Herzog I didn’t say we should heavily tax all guns, only semi-automatic weapons. There are perfectly valid reasons for people owning a gun; e.g., hunting, target shooting and self-defense. And some people with a peculiar fetish like to collect and display guns the way rich people collect and display private art. But you don’t need a semi-automatic to hunt unless you’re a miserable shot. And if you’re that bad, then you have no business owning a gun in the first place. And target shooting is something that’s supposed to be done slowly and one shot at a time. And you don’t need a semi-automatic weapon for self-protection…especially a semi-automatic rifle. The bottom line is that I’ve never heard a convincing reason why an ordinary civilian gunowner needs a semi-automatic weapon. I’ve heard plenty of bad reasons, but no good reason. At the end of the day it all comes down to an implicit admission that he or she is such a lousy shot that they need 100 rounds to have half a chance of hitting that rabbit.

1. Moses Herzog

I think we largely agree on this. A gun tax would certainly be worth running up the flagpole on a test trial to see how much it helped. Guns have a lot of “negative externalities” and those are usually good places to try a tax. You wouldn’t see me at the protests against it. At the same time, if either the Senate or the House has a Republican majority, I believe that is what they refer to in legislative circles as “a non-starter”.

1. Barkley Rosser

I prefer Gloria Steinem’s suggestion that buying a gun get treated like getting an abortion is in many states, one gun shop in a state, must wait, must get various permissions, when entering one must pass a crowd waving photos of people killed in mass shootings and calling one evil, and so on.

2. Moses Herzog

@ Barkley Junior
That was a quote incorrectly attributed to Gloria Steinem, by people such as yourself Barkley, who are absolutely horrid at sourcing and citing information. Most of those people appallingly inept at sourcing and citing information are not purporting to be university professors though. You DO realize Barkley, you are like the gift that keeps on giving, right??
https://www.bustle.com/p/gloria-steinem-didnt-write-that-viral-guns-abortion-quote-this-man-did-2784225

No worries Barkley, I’m hopeful (though not really confident) that your grandkids will wake you up from your perpetual mental fog next time you play boardgames with them.

3. Barkley Rosser

Thank you for correcting me on that, Moses. First I have seen that. I have seen this posted as being by her from several prominent and well-informed women. You don’t like it, or just want to show the superiority of men over women with this, Moses?

I think it is stronger than the older one going around aaying make gun buyers go through the hoops those wanting a driver’s licesne go throuugh. I have no idea who started that one, man or woman, promient or not.

Does this make you happy, Moses?

2. Moses Herzog

Uh-oh!!!!! It looks like there’s some politician advocating a policy idea of one of our sharper and more articulate commenters here on Econbrowser:
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/elizabeth-warren-taxes-guns-ammunition_n_5d4e3b9de4b0fd2733f0aaa4

This is frightening. What’s next, Menzie Chinn gets a deputy type position on the Council of Economic Advisors in the next Presidential Administration??? I’m getting shivers now like when I was a young cat watching Sigourney Weaver’s sweat beaded hands in “Alien”.

17. Moses Herzog

I don’t have hard numbers to support this contention, but I think Tulsi Gabbard is gaining some momentum here (no thanks to Google, no thanks to CNN, and no thanks to MSNBC). Bernie is still my first choice. But Tulsi Gabbard stood up for Bernie around 2015–2016 against the DNC hierarchy. It takes a lot of guts and personal integrity to stand up to the party establishment, and Tulsi did that, because it was the right and moral thing to do. I’m not embarrassed to say I get slightly emotional when I think of what Senator Gabbard did for Bernie. It meant a lot and it STILL means a lot to those who support Bernie and those who believe in personal integrity. Whatever Senator Gabbard’s future is she has my support. She would make an outstanding VP candidate or member of the White House Cabinet for any number of different jobs. And the smears on a military veteran will be shown over time for what they are to those who don’t already read between the lines on America’s warmonger policies.