Sunday, December 22, 2019

Guns: More naive Leftist research

The authors quoted below enter the wise caveat that "The findings can’t prove that banning Large Capacity Magazines  reduces mass shootings and deaths".  Yet many people quoting the findings will ignore that caveat and write as if banning Large Capacity Magazines DOES reduce mass shootings and deaths.  So I think I should expand on what lies behind the caveat.

Basically, the study repeats an error that occurs with nauseous frequency in epidemiological research -- despite the fact that the report below appeared in a prestigious medical journal.

The failure was that the authors did not ask WHY people fell into the category being studied.  In this case they did not ask WHY some states ban LCGs and some don't.  America has frequent gun-based massacres so there is always vigorous agitation to restrict gun ownership and use in some way. And restricting magazine size is a popular policy of that ilk.

So the key question is WHY the anti-gun agitation gets results in some states and not in others.  To understand that we have to look at how gun restrictions are viewed.  And I don't think it is drawing too long a bow to suggest that a key variable in that is how dangerous it is perceived to be to be unarmed. If gun attacks are perceived as highly likely, gun use is going to be much more extensively protected than in places where the threat of violent incursions is seen as low. 

So in some states we expect to see a high threat to the citizen from illegal gun users and resultant loose gun laws to enable the citizen to defend himself.  And where the gun laws are loose, access to LCGs is unlikely to be restricted.  So LCGs are more likely to be found and used in high crime areas.  And that, roughly, is what the research found.

As a psychologist I feel a need to add that how dangerous an area is and how dangerous it is perceived to be may not be perfectly aligned.  A major factor is the politics of the area.  Leftists seem to walk around for most of their lives in a mental world that is well divorced from reality. So in areas where they predominate, areas may be seen as much safer than they are

So the causal arrow may point to the dangerous area as being the cause of the excess deaths rather than which magazine is used

Large-Capacity Magazine Bans Linked With Fewer Mass Shootings, Deaths

Jennifer Abbasi

In a recent study, US states without large-capacity magazine (LCM) bans had more high-fatality mass shootings and higher death rates during these assaults. The findings, recently detailed in the American Journal of Public Health, could support banning these efficient ammunition-feeding devices.

Military-style “assault weapons” get a lot of attention from policy makers and the public, but most high-fatality mass shootings are perpetrated with semiautomatic handguns. Large-capacity magazines arm all types of semiautomatic firearms, not just assault weapons, so banning the devices could have a greater effect on such incidents, the study authors said.

Proposals to restrict LCMs are being considered to combat gun violence. However, there isn’t a lot of evidence on the effects of LCM bans.

The Design

The researchers analyzed associations between high-fatality mass shootings and state and federal LCM bans starting in 1990—when the first state (New Jersey) began restricting LCM ownership—through 2017. During that time, 8 additional states and Washington, DC, enacted bans. The time frame also included the now-expired 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban that for a decade made it illegal to produce, sell, transfer, or own new LCMs.

The researchers looked at the state and federal bans both together and separately. Based on the federal rule, they defined LCMs as magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. They considered high-fatality mass shootings those with 6 or more deaths not including the shooter. To account for other differences among states, they controlled for 10 variables, including population density, education, unemployment rate, and a proxy for percentage of households with firearms.

What We’ve Learned

There were 69 high-fatality mass shootings during the study period. Forty-four of them involved LCMs and 16 didn’t. The researchers couldn’t determine if LCMs were involved in the remaining 9 shootings.

The attacks were more common in states without LCM bans. Forty-nine occurred in such states, whereas just 20 happened in states with bans.

More people died in shootings that involved LCMs: 11.8 on average, compared with 7.3 in attacks without the magazines. Nonban states also saw more deaths on average per attack: 10.9, compared with 8.2 in states with bans.

The percentage of shooters who used LCMs was 81% in states without bans but only 55% in states with bans.

Only 12 of the shootings and 89 of the deaths occurred during the 10-year federal ban. But over the following 13 years, there were 48 such shootings and 527 deaths.

The first full year after the federal ban expired, 8 high-fatality mass shootings occurred in states with LCM bans, while 39 happened in those without them.

The Caveats

There wasn’t information about LCMs for 13% of the incidents.

The researchers acknowledged that the magnitude of the associations may have been overestimated because of the (relatively) small number of shootings that met the study’s criteria for high-fatality mass shootings.

Knowing which mass shootings with fewer than 6 deaths involved LCMs would have been valuable, but most of these data either are not documented or are not readily available, the researchers told JAMA.

What the Researchers Say

The findings can’t prove that banning LCMs reduces mass shootings and deaths, but the main conclusions didn’t change when other explanatory variables were factored in. This indicates that “differences across states in these dimensions were not the reason for the strong association between LCM bans and lower rates of high-fatality mass shooting deaths,” said the study’s senior author, David Hemenway, PhD, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

According to Hemenway, LCMs allow the shooter to fire more shots without reloading—and reloading gives time for someone to intervene and for potential victims to get out of harm’s way. Possibly for this reason, states that have enacted LCM bans have had fewer high-fatality mass shooting incidents, fewer victims killed per incident, and far fewer high-fatality mass shooting fatalities per capita.

“Overall, the theory behind reducing the availability of LCMs to reduce the number of victims in mass shootings makes sense, and our empirical results suggest that LCM bans have saved lives,” he said.

However, the authors pointed out that the bans don’t immediately eliminate all LCMs. Some are grandfathered in, while others are illegally imported from places where they’re still legal.

JAMA. Published online December 18, 2019. doi:

Great news!

The British bulldog is back

Boris opens the door to "broad sunlit uplands" (Churchill)

Boris Johnson insisted that Britain would not follow any EU rules after Brexit as he set up a showdown with Brussels over a trade deal.

The Prime Minister made clear that he would pursue a hard Brexit by saying there would be “no alignment” between the two sides, defying the EU’s claim that it was a “must” for any future relationship.

On a historic day for Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe, the Brexit “divorce” Bill sailed through the Commons with a majority of 124 on Friday, and will become law on Jan 9, enabling a Jan 31 exit and for trade negotiations to begin in earnest.


Donald Trump blasts Christianity Today magazine in tweet after it called for his removal

US President Donald Trump has blasted a prominent Christian magazine, a day after it published an editorial arguing that he should be removed from office because of his "blackened moral record".

Mr Trump tweeted that Christianity Today, an evangelical magazine founded by the late Reverend Billy Graham, "would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President".

The magazine "has been doing poorly and hasn't been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years," Mr Trump wrote in the tweet.

In another tweet, he questioned whether the magazine would prefer a Democratic president "to guard their religion".

Some of the President's evangelical supporters, including Reverend Graham's son, rallied to his side and against the publication.

Reverend Franklin Graham, who now leads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and prayed at Mr Trump's inauguration, tweeted that his father would be "disappointed" in the magazine.

Reverend Graham added that he "felt it necessary" following the editorial to share that his father, who died last year and had helped to counsel several past presidents during his lifetime, voted for Mr Trump.

The President thanked Reverend Graham for the disclosure.

Christianity Today "represents what I would call the leftist elite within the evangelical community. They certainly don't represent the Bible-believing segment of the evangelical community," Reverend Graham said.

He wrote on Facebook: "Is President Trump guilty of sin? Of course he is, as were all past presidents and as each one of us are, including myself".

I hadn’t shared who my father @BillyGraham voted for in 2016, but because of @CTMagazine ’s article, I felt it necessary to share now. My father knew @realDonaldTrump , believed in him & voted for him. He believed Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.

In the editorial titled Trump Should Be Removed from Office, editor-in-chief Mark Galli wrote that Democrats "have had it out for" the president since he took office.

But Mr Galli asserted that the facts "are unambiguous" when it comes to the acts that led to the president's impeachment this week by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

Mr Trump "attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the President's political opponents," Mr Galli wrote, referring to former vice-president Joe Biden. "That is not only a violation of the constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral."

The magazine's circulation is estimated at 130,000.

Evangelical support for Trump

Mr Trump is still popular among white evangelical Protestants, with roughly 8 in 10 saying they approve of the way he is handling his job, according to a December poll from The AP-NORC Center.

At the heart of that backing is what pro-Trump evangelicals view as the President's significant record of achievement on their highest priorities, such as his successful installation of more than 150 conservative federal judges and his support for anti-abortion policies.

"No President has done more for the evangelical community, and it's not even close," Mr Trump said in his tweets.

The editorial did not take a position on whether Mr Trump should be removed by the Senate or by popular vote in the 2020 election, calling it "a matter of prudential judgment", but Mr Galli wrote that the need for the President's removal "is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments."

The editorial came one day after Mr Trump became the third president in American history to be impeached.

The House charged him with abuse of power in pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations of Mr Biden, and with obstructing Congress in the ensuing probe.

Asked in an interview with CNN about Mr Trump's critical tweets, Mr Galli said the President's characterisation of the magazine as far left was "far from accurate."

But Mr Galli, who is set to retire from his post next month, also said he is realistic about the impact of his words. "I don't have any imagination that my editorial is going to shift their views on this matter," he said of the President's supporters.

"The fact of the matter is Christianity Today is not read by the people — Christians on the far right, by evangelicals on the far right — so they're going to be as dismissive of the magazine as President Trump has shown to be."

Amid the furore over the editorial, the Trump campaign announced plans for a January event in Miami called Evangelicals for Trump.


British mother died of cardiac arrest after waiting for ambulance for 6 hours in the street, say family

Socialist health care in Wales

Donna Gilby, 47, was left on the freezing pavement outside her home in Cwmaman, south Wales, after she had slipped and broke her foot on Tuesday morning.

After around six hours, during which time family and neighbours covered her with coats and blankets, the mum-of-one was taken to hospital where she later died of cardiac arrest.

Her father has spoken out, saying it is important people saw the photo and heard what happened to his daughter, who he said had struggled with ill-health for many years.

"It's just not right that she was waiting all those hours,” said Gareth Gilby, 74.

"There was nothing we could do because she had a bad break and we couldn't physically move her from the pavement.

"We kept ringing the ambulance and she was in and out of consciousness but they still didn't show up for hours.

"I still can't believe she's gone. I'm in shock. We've got an 11-year-old girl here now without a mother. It shouldn't have happened.

"She was as good as gold and always put others before herself - she'd do anything for anyone."

The Welsh ambulance service blamed pressures on the health service which meant they could not respond to a high number of priority call-outs.

In a statement chief executive Jason Killens said: “We were deeply saddened to hear about the death of Ms Gilby and would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to her family.

"We are sorry that our response took longer than we would have liked on this occasion.

"Our ambulance service exists to care for people, and our staff share the same upset and frustrations as patients and their loved ones at times like this.

"Lengthy waits for an ambulance are a sign of pressures across the whole unscheduled care system, not just in Wales but across the UK.

"An increase in high-priority ‘Red’ calls and significant hospital handover delays in particular are impacting on our ability to respond to 999 calls as quickly as we would like.


Extraordinary push to stop bosses calling end-of-year celebrations 'Christmas parties' and instead hold 'holiday season drinks' so non-Christians aren't offended

Australian workplaces are being urged to hold culturally friendly end-of-year celebrations such as 'holiday season drinks' instead of 'Christmas parties' so non-Christians aren't offended. 

Diversity Council Australia wants businesses to be inclusive of all traditions and celebrate holidays including Jewish Hanukkah, Buddhist Bodhi Day, Islamic Ramadan and the Hindu Diwali.

The proposal would let staff work on Christian religious holidays such as Christmas to be able to keep time off for other more relevant celebrations of their own faith.

Lisa Annese from Diversity Council Australia told The Herald Sun one in ten of their 500 member businesses have implemented their approach.

'If you're having a Christmas celebration, try to make sure it's inclusive of other faiths as well because the office is for everybody,' Ms Annese said.

She recommends having a combined Christmas and New Year celebration so that 'everyone is on board with the ­company's vision for the new year.'

The council's recommendations included developing and maintaining a calendar of multicultural events and celebrating those that have the most relevance to your staff.

Different needs for people of different faiths should be accounted for, including dietary requirements, designating time for prayer and meditation and respecting cultural boundaries, the council says. 

The 2016 ABS census revealed that 52 per cent of Australians are Christian, leaving many Australians left out of the celebrations.

On Thursday the Diversity Council said they were not suggesting bosses should not mention Christmas. 'Lots of organisations celebrate the end of year holiday break with a Christmas party,' the Diversity Council said in a statement on Thursday.

'We are simply saying that it's worth remembering that many Australians do not celebrate Christmas religiously, either as followers of non-Christian religions, or as individuals with no religious affiliation.

'There is a lot organisations can do to make them feel included at this time of year.'

The council's push comes after City of Perth's Cultural Development Plan promised to water down Christmas celebrations in 2019 to deliver a holiday season that is 'representative and inclusive of city's multicultural community.'

Residents took to social media to express their outrage over the idea, with many claiming the council is going too far.

'This is just madness in my opinion. I'd love a Christmas as Christmassy as it can get,' one man wrote. 'PC gone mad,' wrote another.

'Absolutely what a great idea the world needs less joy throughout the year we have too much good news, community spirit love and happiness,' another wrote.  

Chief Commissioner Andrew Hammond said the council's current holiday-season celebrations did not acknowledge or create a sense of belonging for non-Christians.

'We're not about to change Christmas celebrations. We're just taking a common sense approach that about 50 per cent of people are Christians and about 50 per cent are not,' he told 9News.

The endeavour for political correctness has reached into some of Australia's top universities, who have been accused of slashing students grades for using banned 'gendered language.'

Terms such as 'man', 'she', 'wife', 'mother' and any other terminology that angers the PC brigade have been blacklisted.

Students claimed they have lost marks for referring to 'mankind' or 'workmanship' in assignments, as they are not deemed 'inclusive language.'

'Students are advised to avoid gender-biased language in the same way they are advised to avoid racist language, cliches, contractions, colloquialisms, and slang in their essays,' Professor Julie Duck from the University of Queensland told The Courier Mail.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham openly disagrees with the policies, claiming that they were enforcing 'nanny state stuff' on students. 'Our universities should be better than this rubbish,' he said.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


No comments: