THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise. …

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise. Leah Libresco is a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site. She is the author of “Arriving at Amen.” Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me.

Source: THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise. …

Mass Shootings Aren’t Becoming More Common

….When 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas, and nine more were killed in Dayton, Ohio, roughly 12 hours later, responses to the tragedy included many of the same myths and stereotypes Americans have grown used to hearing in the wake of a mass shooting.
As part of my work as a psychology researcher, I study mass homicides, as well as society’s reaction to them. A lot of bad information can follow in the wake of such emotional events; clear, data-based discussions of mass homicides can get lost among political narratives.
I’d like to clear up four common misconceptions about mass homicides and who commits them, based on the current state of research.

….

Mass Shooters Are Male White Supremacists?
Early reports suggest that the El Paso shooter was a white racist concerned about Latino immigration. Other shooters, such as the perpetrator of the Christchurch, New Zealand, attack, have also been white supremacists.
Overall, though, the ethnic composition of the group of all mass shooters in the U.S. is roughly equivalent to the American population. When 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas, and nine more were killed in Dayton, Ohio, roughly 12 hours later, responses to the tragedy included many of the same myths and stereotypes Americans have grown used to hearing in the wake of a mass shooting.
As part of my work as a psychology researcher, I study mass homicides, as well as society’s reaction to them. A lot of bad information can follow in the wake of such emotional events; clear, data-based discussions of mass homicides can get lost among political narratives.
I’d like to clear up four common misconceptions about mass homicides and who commits them, based on the current state of research.

….

Mass Homicides Are Becoming More Frequent?
Mass homicides get a lot of news coverage which keeps our focus on the frequency of their occurrence. Just how frequent is sometimes muddled by shifting definitions of mass homicide, and confusion with other terms such as active shooter.
But using standard definitions, most data suggest that the prevalence of mass shootings has stayed fairly consistent over the past few decades.

To be sure, the U.S. has experienced many mass homicides. Even stability might be depressing given that rates of other violent crimes have declined precipitously in the U.S. over the past 25 years. Why mass homicides have stayed stagnant while other homicides have plummeted in frequency is a question worth asking.

Nonetheless, it does not appear that the U.S. is awash in an epidemic of such crimes, at least comparing to previous decades going back to the 1970s.

Mass Shootings Aren’t Becoming More Common–and Evidence Contradicts Stereotypes about the Shooters

Hate crime hoaxes, like Jussie Smollett’s alleged attack, are more common than you think

Well, I don’t know. I’m starting to think they’re pretty darn common.


Doing research for a book, Hate Crime Hoax, I was able to easily put together a data set of 409 confirmed hate hoaxes. An overlapping but substantially different list of 348 hoaxes exists at fakehatecrimes.org, and researcher Laird Wilcox put together another list of at least 300 in his still-contemporary book Crying Wolf. To put these numbers in context, a little over 7,000 hate crimes were reported by the FBI in 2017 and perhaps 8-10% of these are widely reported enough to catch the eye of a national researcher.

….


However, hate crime hoaxers are “calling attention to a problem” that is a very small part of total crimes. There is very little brutally violent racism in the modern USA. There are less than 7,000 real hate crimes reported in a typical year. Inter-racial crime is quite rare; 84% of white murder victims and 93% of Black murder victims are killed by criminals of their own race, and the person most likely to kill you is your ex-wife or husband. When violent inter-racial crimes do occur, whites are at least as likely to be the targets as are minorities. Simply put, Klansmen armed with nooses are not lurking on Chicago street corners.

In this context, what hate hoaxers actually do is worsen generally good race relations, and distract attention from real problems. As Chicago’s disgusted top cop, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, pointed out yesterday, skilled police officers spent four weeks tracking down Smollett’s imaginary attackers — in a city that has seen 28 murders as of Feb. 9th, according to The Chicago Tribune. We all, media and citizens alike, would be better served to focus on real issues like gun violence and the opiate epidemic than on fairy tales like Jussie’s.

USA Today

More ADL Pieces

From HotAir.com

About Those Misleading ADL Statistics On Anti-Semitism (And Right-Wing Violence)

JOHN SEXTON
October 31, 2018

“According to the ADL, the number of anti-Semitic attacks has jumped by nearly 60% in the first year that Donald Trump was in office.” But that’s not any more accurate than her claim about ISIS, as Robby Soave at Reason pointed out yesterday.

The ADL statistic captures anti-Semitic “incidents,” which is a much broader category of behavior than “hate crimes” or “attacks.” Incidents include things like bullying in schools—which is bad, but usually not indicative of criminal conduct…

The ADL report came up with three subcategories of anti-Semitic incidents: vandalism, harassment, and assault. An increase in vandalism accounts for much of the overall increase, but Bernstein doubts that all of the included incidents were actually examples of anti-Semitism. The harassment category also saw an increase, largely due to a series of bomb threats against Jewish institutions in the U.S. made by a disturbed Israeli teen. It’s not at all clear that these threats were motivated by anti-Semitism.

Finally, the assault category saw a 47 percent decrease.

Soave also refers to this article at the Volokh Conspiracyby David Bernstein which suggests the ADL report is intentionally misleading, at least with regard to the bomb threats against Jewish Centers (something I wrote about extensively when it was happening):

There are several problems with relying on this study for Trump-bashing, however. The first is that the study includes 193 incidents of bomb threats to Jewish institutions as anti-Semitic incidents, even though by the time the ADL published the study, it had been conclusively shown that the two perpetrators of the bomb threats were not motivated by anti-Semitism. One can only guess why the ADL chose to inflate its statistics in this way, but none of the explanations speak well of it…

 

….

I could wrap this up here but I’d like to point out that the ADL also publishes an annual report titled “Murder and Extremism in the United States in 20xx.” In 2016, the ADL published this striking claim which got quoted quite a few times by people on the left: “Over the past 10 years (2007-2016), domestic extremists of all kinds have killed at least 372 people in the United States. Of those deaths, approximately 74% were at the hands of right-wing extremists, about 24% of the victims were killed by domestic Islamic extremists, and the remainder were killed by left-wing extremists.”

Last year I asked ADL if they could provide the information to back up that claim because the actual data is not available on their website and wasn’t included in the 2016 report itself. Initially, they responded and agreed they would pull together some information for me. But it never arrived. I sent 2 or 3 follow-up emails over a period of months and they never responded to those at all.

….

I guess it’s fair to say white supremacists are doubly dangerous to their immediate family, but I don’t think that’s what most people have in mind when they skim a report titled “Murder and Extremism in the United States in 20xx.”

Similar to what it is doing with its handling of anti-Semitic incidents, the ADL appears to be padding the numbers. In the case of the extremism reports, the ADL never hid the fact it was including these non-ideological murders, but I suspect most people reading a quote second hand, like the one I started this with above, aren’t fully aware what is included in the bottom line.

30

Populism is Dangerous: Taco Bell Voted Best Mexican Restaurant in the Country

Source: Populism is Dangerous: Taco Bell Voted Best Mexican Restaurant in the Country

 

How does Taco Bell come out on top when there are so many restaurants that are a lot better? Taco Bell is known nationwide. The really good Mexican restaurants are likely to be single establishments, or very small chains. If, say, 100,000 people in Southern California consider, say, El Coyote the best Mexican restaurant ever, well…

There are some 3000 counties in the US. If 100 people in each county answer “Taco Bell” in a survey, that’s 300,000 votes.

After Trump was elected, there was an entire movement to abolish the Electoral College for no other reason than Trump won and Hillary did not, popular vote, yada yada yada. Thank the good Lord we are not a pure democracy.

The Electoral College was designed to protect the country from populist uprisings and democratic mob rule. Simply because historically, democracies tend to disintegrate into chaos before destroying themselves.

There are many reasons why the Electoral College is amazing, wonderful, and should never be abolished on a political whim. Think pieces, original intent exposes…they all make important points, but none so enlightening as this — the same people that vote for president also voted Taco Bell the best Mexican restaurant in the country.

So, if ever you wondered, THIS, THIS IS WHY WE HAVE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE.

Raping Statistics

Source: Lies, Damned Lies, And Campus Sexual Assault Statistics | Ashe Schow

A potential draft of new federal campus sexual assault policies was leaked this week, so expect a new round of false and misleading statistics to be shared by those who claim due process “protects rapists” and “hurts victims.”

Rape and sexual assault are serious offenses, and shouldn’t be watered down to create a narrative that America is somehow the rape capital of the world, nor should we pretend that non-offenses are offenses. That hurts real victims.

I’ve taken down every one of these statistics before — sometimes many, many times — but it’s time to debunk them all in one place. So here we go.

1-in-5 (or 1-in-4 or 1-in-3) Women Will Be Sexually Assaulted During College

Studies purporting to find such an astronomical amount of sexual violence on college campuses (numbers thousands of times higher than war-torn Congo or Detroit, America’s most dangerous city) suffer from many of the same flaws. They are often not nationally representative, are produced by women’s organizations determined to find women as oppressed victims in America, and are self-reported — a notoriously unreliable form of data.

[snip]

The Majority Of Campus Rapes Are Committed By A Small Number Of Men

Sometimes known as the “serial predator” study, this one from David Lisak has been around for decades and was debunked just a few years ago. It claims that “90%” of rapes on campus are perpetrated by a few men.

For starters, Lisak didn’t conduct the study himself but used data from studies conducted by his former grad students, who didn’t limit their data to college students. As in the 1-in-5 stat above, this one was also not nationally representative, as the surveys were conducted near a commuter college with participants who didn’t live on campus and may not have even been students.

The surveys were anonymous, yet Lisak has claimed he conducted follow-up interviews with men who admitted to committing multiple rapes (one questions whether such admissions would be so freely given to a stranger in the first place). Lisak did conduct 12 interviews during his dissertation research three decades ago, but he then combined those cherry-picked interviews into a single character — called “Frank” — which he used to tell school administrators how dangerous their campuses were. No such monster as Frank actually exists, nor is he a common problem across the country.

False Accusations Are Rare

The truth is, we don’t know how many accusations are truly false, and even if we did, one can’t walk into an investigation assuming they already know the answer.

We’re often told that “just” 2% to 10% of rape accusations are false. College administrators are told this when “trained” on how to handle accusations of sexual assault. The implication is clear: Women just don’t lie about rape, so nine times out of ten, you’d be safe in assuming the accused is guilty.

But that statistic is wildly misleading, as it only applies to accusations made to police that are proven false. Proving a negative is often impossible, especially in a “we had sex but it was consensual” situation. On college campuses, there is no punishment for a false accusation and thus no fear, as there is with lying to the police.

Further, the proven false statistic is one category of sexual assault classifications. The other categories do not all equate to “true,” so implying that 90% to 98% are true is downright false and prejudicial. Other categories include “baseless,” wrongly reported as sexual assault, cases without enough evidence for an arrest, cases with enough evidence but for some reason outside police control an arrest is not made, and cases where there is enough evidence for an arrest. Of the cases that lead to an arrest, a small percentage actually go to trial and result in a “guilty” finding.

Using the same logic as the peddlers of this statistic, one would only be able to say that 3% to 5% of rape accusations are true, since that’s how many return a “guilty” finding.

It’s Bad That 91% Of Colleges And Universities Said They Received No Rape Reports

I include this one because while one would think it would be a good thing that reports of sexual assault aren’t rampant on college campuses, the “scholars” at the American Association of University Women think it’s a bad thing. Because they’ve thoroughly bought into the debunked statistics above, no reports must mean that schools are somehow discouraging victims from coming forward or are sweeping reports under the rug. It’s hard to believe either of these is the case when the media, lawmakers, federal institutions, and Hollywood are constantly claiming huge swaths of the female population are sexually assaulted on college campuses and begging people to come forward.

1-in-3 Men Would Rape If They Could Get Away With It

This statistic was quickly debunked as soon as it appeared in 2015. A woman who admitted to me at the time that she was seeking grant money (a good motive for finding alarming statistics in one’s survey) claimed her study found that a whopping one-third of surveyed men had “intentions to force a woman to sexual intercourse.”

Wow, right? Except, as I’ve pointed out with previous misleading statistics, this one suffers from many of the same flaws. It’s not nationally representative, and the answers of just 73 men were used to arrive at the 1-in-3 number blasted out by the media and women’s groups. Of those 73 men, 23 were found to have those intentions, based on the researchers own definition of what constituted bad intentions. Just nine guys said they would actually rape a woman. Nine guys do not an epidemic make.

These guys may not have been taking the survey seriously or they were answering a question from Plato’s Republic: How many people would commit a crime if they knew they wouldn’t be caught? One would believe many people would answer affirmatively to such questions about various laws, but that doesn’t mean they’d actually commit them. One can never know if they will get away with it.

Who Would Google Vote For?

Study: Google bias in search results; 40% lean left or liberal

Source

[snip]

In order to assess how fairly search engine results portray political candidates and controversial issues, we collected over 1,200 URLs ranking highly in Google.com for politically-charged keywords such as “gun control”, “abortion”, “TPP”, and “Black Lives Matter”. Each URL was then assessed for political slant by politically active individuals from both the left and right. Finally, we used CanIRank’s SEO software to analyze how each URL compared in dozens of different ranking factors to determine whether Google’s algorithm treated websites similarly regardless of their political slant.

Among our key findings were that top search results were almost 40% more likely to contain pages with a “Left” or “Far Left” slant than they were pages from the right. Moreover, 16% of political keywords contained no right-leaning pages at all within the first page of results.

Our analysis of the algorithmic metrics underpinning those rankings suggests that factors within the Google algorithm itself may make it easier for sites with a left-leaning or centrist viewpoint to rank higher in Google search results compared to sites with a politically conservative viewpoint.

[snip]

In our sample set of over 2,000 search results, we found that searchers are 39% more likely to be presented information with a left-leaning bias than they are information from the right.

But for some keywords, the search results are even more egregious. Does it make sense, for example, that someone researching “Republican platform” should be presented only the official text of the platform and seven left-leaning results highly critical of that platform, with zero results supporting it?

For other controversial keywords like “minimum wage”, “abortion,” “NAFTA”, “Iraq war”, “campaign finance reform”, “global warming”, “marijuana legalization”, and “tpp”, no right-leaning websites are to be found among the top results.

Search results for keywords like “Hillary Clinton seizures” and “Hillary Clinton sick”, on the other hand, were dominated by right-leaning websites and YouTube footage.

The proportion of results with a left-leaning bias increased for top ranking results, which typically receive the majority of clicks. For example, we found that search results denoted as demonstrating a left or far left slant received 40% more exposure in the top 3 ranking spots than search results considered to have a right or far right political slant.

[snip]

Lots of really good comments, and the author hangs around to respond.

The Narrative Trumps All

STUDY: Researchers falsely frame Trump supporters as racists

Links to the studies are in the piece.

Led by Musa al-Gharbi, a Columbia University sociologist, “On Social Research in the Age of Trump” analyzes three case studies of academic research on Trump to illustrate the various ways that academics have misrepresented the president and his voter base to the public.

One example of this phenomena can be seen in the April 2017 Washington Post article “Racism motivated Trump voters more than authoritarianism,” by Thomas Wood, who teaches political science classes at Ohio State University.

While Wood cites survey data to claim that Trump voters were especially motivated by racism, a closer analysis by al-Gharbi reveals that Wood’s arguments about Trump voters can’t be substantiated from the data cited in the article.

“According to Wood’s own data, whites who voted for Trump are perhaps less racist than those who voted for Romney,” al-Gharbi explains, adding that “not only were they less authoritarian than Romney voters, but less racist too!”