More notes for January

Larry Correia’s forthcoming book on guns-n-stuff won’t be released for a few months still but the probable contents is revealed by other means. A recent Twitter thread has been compiled here https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1575499318827528197.html and while it is somewhat of an incoherent rant, it does provide a glimpse into forthcoming topics.

“For my upcoming gun rights book I have a chapter that looks at crime and murder rates. Basically America doesn’t have a murder problem, big dumb blue cities have a wacky murder problem. Most of America is pretty chill.”

The Twitter rant was prompted by supporters of the Biden presidency pointing out the high murder rates in states which had been won by Trump. Correia’s narrow point is that the highest murder rates in those “Trump states” occurs in the bigger cities in those states which, in turn, have higher proportions of Democratic party voters. The broader point being that the high murder rate of the US, in general, is an urban thing, not a rural thing. This fits into his argument about guns because those cities also are more likely to have relatively stricter gun control than rural areas.

Firstly it is worth conceding that urban areas typically have more crime per capita than rural areas. In fact, that is even more true than Correia is stating because it is true in the UK and in Australia and in Canada and in France and as far as I know probably everywhere. Urban areas have a higher density of people, meaning there are more interactions between people, as well as many other factors that contribute not just to levels of crime (including things like age distributions) but also to reported levels of crime. This is true in countries with strict policing and in countries with right-wing governments having strong political control over cities as well as countries with softer policing and more left-leaning control of cities. The US isn’t atypical in that regard but it is atypical in its murder rates for Western democracy.

For example, the big, dense, multicultural and often chaotic metropolis of London (UK) had a murder rate in 2020 of 1.4 murders per 100 thousand people in 2020[1]. Whereas the state of Utah (US) had a murder rate in 2020 of 3.1 murders per 100 thousand people in 2020[2]. Still, even though Utah as a whole is much less densely populated than London, the murders that contribute to the murder rate are in more urban areas[3]. Still, Correia has a point of sorts here even if he isn’t articulating it well — the relationships that there appear to be between gun ownership or support for the GOP and murder rates appear and disappear as we look at different geographic levels.

Correia goes on to claim:

“Big blue cities are shitty and getting worse every day, but I know, let’s turn every street into hobo camps, encourage street shitting and free heroin, and let all the rapists free and stuff will magically improve! It’s the power of social justice! Democrats are the only motherfuckers dumb enough to be all ACAB, Defund The Police, then they act all shocked and baffled when criminals do more crime.
Duh, you fucking dummies. What a crazy turn of events that nobody could have seen coming! America’s crime rate has been going down for 30 years. Until 2020, and the Great National Democrat Temper Tantrum, and all of a sudden we ditch all that progress and it’s 1993 level of murders again.”

Murder rates really did spike in 2020[4] but Correia’s suggested causes make very little sense compared to actual data. Firstly, consider the trends earlier in this century where levels of violent crime had declined. Serious violent crime really had been in decline for many years but that had occurred in both rural AND urban areas[5] in fact the decline was greater in urban areas than rural areas in the period 1995-2015.

Just as that decline occurred across the rural/urban divide, so the recent surge in the US also was mirrored in both urban and rural areas. According to the very-much-not left-wing Wall Street Journal:

“Homicide rates in rural America rose 25% in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was the largest rural increase since the agency began tracking such data in 1999. The CDC considers counties rural if they are located outside metropolitan areas defined by the federal government. The rise came close to the 30% spike in homicide rates in metropolitan areas in 2020.”

[6]

Of course, neither all-cops-are-bastards nor defunding the police have actually been Democratic Party policy — Correia is simply conflating protestors on the left with Democrats in state and city government. However, even if we assume simply calls to defund the police (without any actual reduction in funding) caused a rise in violent crimes in cities, the parallel rise in rural areas would be left unexplained. The covid-19 pandemic seems the most likely answer but similar spikes are not seen consistently internationally[7]. Either way, the spike was unlikely to be due to ACAB as a slogan, which is a shame because then presumably we could make murder rates go in the opposite direction by chanting nice things about the police, which I’d be willing to do if it magically saved lives[8].

While there have been broad parallel trends in violent crime across America, there have also been some cases of rural America bucking downward trends in recent years. There are multiple factors in play but one of them is, surprise-surprise, guns:

“As gun violence continues to fuel violent crime across the nation, some conservative politicians are not only refusing to support commonsense gun violence prevention measures but are also actively rolling back gun laws that help make our communities safer. Many of these same elected officials continue to perpetuate the narrative that gun violence is only a problem in urban, Democrat-led cities, and media outlets are skewing the public perspective by heavily focusing on gun violence in cities such as Chicago. The truth, however, is that rural communities—particularly in red states—have increasingly faced levels of gun violence that match or outpace urban areas.”

[9]

According to that same article from”2016 to 2020, 13 of the 20 U.S. counties with the most gun homicides per capita were rural” and of those 80% “are in states that received an “F” grade for their weak gun laws”.


30 responses to “More notes for January”

    • “Basically America doesn’t have a murder problem, big dumb blue cities have a wacky murder problem. Most of America is pretty chill.”
      This is so stupid. Imagine if your doctor said something like this, “Basically you don’t have a tumor problem, only your brain has a wacky tumor problem. Most of you is in great shape.”
      Even IF Larry’s thesis is true (it is not), the last time I checked, those cities are still part of America … which makes it an America problem. And let us not forget, big dumb blue cities sometimes have wacky murder problems because of their proximity to red states.
      According to the CDC, Illinois has a lower Firearm Mortality Rate than neighboring Indiana (14.1 vs 17.3). What drives the FMR up in Chicago, is the easy access to guns right across the border.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yeah, borders are definitely an issue. Most of the guns used in deliberate gun/gang violence here in Toronto, Canada were smuggled in from the U.S.

        The fact that it’s far too easy to get guns in the U.S. without background checks as a result of private sales (and a lot of those private sellers make much of their money from, at best, deliberately not paying attention to the legal status of their customers, and I’m sure some are quite intentionally selling to criminals) means it’s also far too easy to get guns directly into the international smuggling pipelines because the people there are willing to pay more.

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  1. Oh, Cam, you know better than to try facts on Larry.

    He’s got a force field against them Or he’s allergic. Or they hurt his fee-fees by not telling him he’s the bestest person ever. Or he gets really triggered by them. Or…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “13 of the 20 U.S. counties with the most gun homicides per capita were rural”

    I’d want to check that isn’t a statistical artefact – a smaller population means more noise in the numbers, so one would predict that smaller population (i.e. “rural”) counties would predominate among the outliers in both directions – unless the US murder rate is so high that signal completely dominates over noise.

    Uvalde County, Texas might well have the highest per capita murder rate for US counties in 2022, at 85 per 100,000. (The US national figure is 7.)

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  3. “Let all the rapists free and stuff will magically improve”
    I presume this is a dog-whistle for “filthy subhuman nonwhites assaulting pure white women” because otherwise it makes no sense. Rape is still massively under-reported and under punished, and right-wingers are much more keen on that staying the case than liberals (not that rape apologists don’t exist on the left, but the right is way worse). Case in point, DeVos declaring she didn’t know whether rape or false rape accusations on campus were more common, and tweaking rules on reporting and discipline in favor of rapists.
    I suppose it could also be Correia is babbling whatever sounded like a brutal accusation against liberals but I’m inclined to take the darker view.
    “Correia is simply conflating protestors on the left with Democrats in state and city government” A standard right-wing tactic. Some Democratic activist on college campuses declares that eating meat is murder and by a week later Fox News is telling viewers about Biden’s evil agenda to prosecute everyone who’s not a vegetarian (example made up, but representative).

    Liked by 4 people

    • My congresscritter is firmly Democratic (so was the one before, so it’s 40- 50 years by now. probably more).

      The most radical thing they ever did was regular deadpan snarky tweets against Mango Mussolini, and maybe was on Colbert once? I enjoyed the tweets. Probably be disappointing to Larry — white, cis, hetero, married, kids, eats meat, dresses appropriately for the occasion. The guy before was also white cis-het, married, kids, *and* a shooting-war veteran!

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  4. I suspect his comment on letting rapists free is a reaction to the various efforts to reduce cash bail requirements and hence reducing jail populations of people prior to charging/trial.

    Another semi-random comment – Many gun control advocates are interested in reducing deaths due to gun accidents and suicides via guns. So the murder rate is not the be-all, end-all metric to assess the success/failure of gun control efforts.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m sure someone has studied this, but it would make a certain amount of sense that there is more violence in cities simply because people encounter one another more frequently. In the country, there are fewer encounters per person per day, so fewer opportunities for something bad to happen. Or perhaps it’s just that the relative anonymity of the cities makes some people feel they’re more likely to get away with it.

    I’m not sure how other cities “defunded” the police, but I’m told that in Seattle, the mayor “defunded” them by moving parking-ticket enforcement from the police to the department of transportation. The new mayor, who campaigned on “refunding” the police, immediately moved it back. Note that neither move had much effect on employees, so it made a big apparent change to the police budget, but had zero practical effect either way.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I got shot at a lot more out in the sticks than I do in town. It was common practice for hunters to take shots if they saw movement or heard something without first checking to see what or who they were shooting at.

    (hilariously, the one time a friend shot another friend, it was a classic “I thought the gun wasn’t loaded” situation. The bullet didn’t hit anything immediately necessary so they seriously considered not telling anyone)

    Liked by 1 person

    • A gun is always loaded, until it has been proven to be unloaded. And if you ever take your attention off a proven-unloaded gun, the ammunition gnome(s) will make it loaded, so if you put an unloaded gun on a table ,then close your eyes, it should be considered loaded, until you prove it to be unloaded.

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      • Reminds me of something similar that I heard a lot while attending a sword dojo: a sword is *least dangerous* when sheathed. Not safe, just least dangerous. Any weapon, regardless of their apparent state, should be treated with some measure of respect and caution.

        Liked by 2 people

      • And don’t even trust your nearest and dearest when they insist it’s unloaded.

        Sometimes not even yourself — I remember the video of the hard-ass cop lecturing kids about gun safety and shooting himself, I think in the foot or leg.

        Of course, that happens pretty often.

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        • Someone insisting that a weapon is unloaded is hearsay. Until it has been positively demonstrated, the gun is loaded. 🙂

          But, when I learned to handle firearms, range safety was a major concern. We spent several hours learning to check for “loaded”, getting yelled at if we failed to check for “loaded” whenever we picked a firearm up, and how to field-strip and service the weapon, before we were given ammunition and allowed to actually do the long-distance paper-punching.

          A lot of gun-toters scare the absolute daylights out of me, not because their political views (but, I guess that helps) but from their sheer incompetence with the long-distance paper-punchers.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Heard a story about a gun-toter who didn’t have a gun safe. He showed off his collection to a friend, who…went and robbed the guy.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yeah, I was a teen long enough ago that gun safes were seen as expensive luxuries at best and kind of insulting at worse (what, you don’t trust your neighbours?). Lots of people hunted or at least shot vermin, and guns were secured with the same degree of care as power tools. Kids would come to school with rifles in the trunk so they could hunt deer after school. Of course, the school had no problem with that and yet when I brought my trebuchet to school, suddenly they felt the need for new rules.

              Liked by 2 people

            • I grew up in an American suburb with a few folks enthusiastic about their firearms. One family loved to celebrate that they taught all of their 7 kids in target shooting from the time they were old enough to hold a gun safely. They also had this weird tendency to get burglarized frequently, even when they were still in the house.

              It is only now that I realize that the thieves weren’t after the money; they were after guns being kept in plain view.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Wait, they were in the house armed to the teeth and STILL got burglarized?

                So much for guns working as home defense! You’d think after the first time, they’d have someone strapped at all times. Or gotten a burglar alarm. Or a dog.

                Liked by 1 person

                • As I recall, the family had all three. None of them worked. Though I was told that a lot of the times the thieves would come in, see the guns and run. There was never any violence though(I know because news like that would spread fast).

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  7. The gun nuts’ focus on Chicago is always funny to me, since on a per capita basis, Chicago is well down the list of murders (for example, Chicago ranked 28th among U.S. cities in 2020).

    The really amusing thing is when people like Correia claim things like “[b]ig blue cities are shitty and getting worse every day”, and thusly reveal that they have spent no time at all in those cities. Those big blue cities power the U.S. both economically and culturally, and are much better places to live than the rural wastelands Correia seems to favor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TBF, people like Larry get scared in big cities, because they might accidentally see a lot of people who have melanin. So they don’t go.

      A friend and I from the dreaded California ended up in a small Midwestern town for a con, and we had such an eerie sense of foreboding. One day I pushed the elevator button and was staring at the evacuation diagram, and it was only in English. I turned to my friend and said, “That’s what’s so creepy around here! There’s no Mexicans!” She agreed, it was like a hole in the world. The few Black people we saw were all in fast food or housekeeping and kept their eyes down and were quiet, and of course no Asians either.
      (Naturally, the food sucked. We used barrels of Tabasco.)

      Whereas I now live in what’s considered a very boring vanilla suburb, and the majority race is Asian (East + South) by far. We’re the only white people on our block. When we first moved here, whites were still a majority. The food has really improved.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yeah, he’s just going to cherry pick stats and fudge rationales for it, using the old Hollywood western myths about the “big city.” Stuff that goes against it will be ignored or dismissed, such as:

    1) From 1994 to 2004, violent crime and homicide rates dropped substantially due to the assault rifle ban. When the ban was not renewed, those rates went up again somewhat and then went up higher when we elected the first black president in 2008 — because “rural” red folk got more violent over it.

    2) As fewer Americans owned guns, crime rates dropped. It’s a direct correlation, been studied extensively. Gun control laws have consistently created drops in violent crime anywhere they are enacted.

    3) Homicide rates, assault rates and domestic abuse rates all did climb higher in 2020 — though it was not a dramatic rise. They rose because of the pandemic, which forced people into isolated quarantine and in many cities, lockdowns for a few months. Those living with domestic abusers had no escape through work or school and those abusers had more opportunity and stress to escalate into murder. In cities, it was worse than rural areas because in many cities, people were literally forbidden from going into parks for awhile, whereas in rural areas, people simply went outside and assumed the pandemic wouldn’t get to their communities because it hit cities first. Most homicides are done by people who know their victims well, such as family. The pandemic set up conditions ripe for that situation to increase.

    The lay-offs, medical crises, etc. of the pandemic also made people desperate for money and so crime, including robbery-homicide, rose somewhat. There was also in the later part of 2020 a rise in mass shootings and violent attacks by anti-maskers. The rural folk go to the cities to “protest” and do violent attacks. (Currently drag queen shows are a favorite target for that. They bus them in.)

    4) Rural communities are often run as fiefdoms by the local authorities and rich people. So a lot of homicides in rural communities aren’t called homicides if the local leaders don’t want them called that. (And the same with many covid deaths.) Plus, it’s easier to hide a dead body in rural areas. Including the migrants whose corpses are sometimes discovered in the desert. Sure, sometimes that is the Latino drug dealers/smugglers, but just as likely white militia folks out there “patrolling” and pouring out water jugs. So the count of homicides in rural areas is generally thought to be undercounted.

    5) A not insignificant number of stranger homicides in cities are of BIPOC, often immigrants, who are killed in racial attacks. And the people who kill them aren’t necessarily from the cities themselves. There’s a reason Rittenhouse dragged his illicit AR-15 over statelines to go shoot people in a city.

    6) White people are the biggest drug dealers and often set up their operations in rural areas. The Ozark meph mafia for instance. But they stick to the 1980’s myth that drug trade is all in the cities.

    7) Chicago is a favorite right-wing target because it’s the big blue city in the Midwest. Where do they get all those guns in Chicago? Most of them are brought in from the rural counties of Illinois in both legal and not legal gun trade. It’s much easier to get guns in rural areas, which are then used for homicides.

    8) The implication is always that cities are filled with murderous POC. Beyond the racial attacks in cities, though, killings tend to be within one’s own racial group — over 80% of white people killed are killed by other white people.

    9) Homicides are high among teens and young adults — who are far more populous in cities than rural areas. Easy access to guns was found as the main cause of teen gun violence and gun control laws related to age to reduce their access to guns has been shown to reduce violent crime and murder rates among teens and young people. During the pandemic, teens were out of school and young adults were out of work and access to legal guns is very easy.

    10) The number of cops killed in the line of duty, particularly in cities, has declined over the decades. It went up in 2020 but only because they counted cops who died from covid as dying in the line of duty.

    11) The decline in murder rates that has occurred over the decades across the board was mainly caused by the decline of murder rates in large cities. Large cities have become less and less violent than they were in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Again, gun control laws that developed in the wake of the assassination attempt on Reagan have been shown to have helped that decline.

    And so on. But Larry will use the weird bumps that occurred in late 2020 and into 2021 to claim that cities (not all run by Democrats) are falling apart, not due to the pandemic, layoffs and economic problems from the pandemic, infrastructure crumbling and climate change issues, but to gun control laws and supposedly violent minorities, same as always. Bigoted myths never change.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 3) One reason the homicide rate dropped in the last twenty years is improved emergency medicine. Doctors got better at treating serious wounds, so there were fewer homicides–this is an excellent thing, and easy to overlook if you assume that changes in the murder rate must be changes in the attempted murder rate.

    One of the things that happened in 2020 is that emergency rooms were badly overloaded, meaning patients weren’t treated as quickly as they would have been in 2019.

    10) New York City made a deliberate decision not to count the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the city’s homicide rate, because including them would have made the numbers less useful. Those deaths were recognized as homicides, which will be relevant if the New York authorities ever get their hands on a living perpetrator.

    Also, when I was living in New York, I saw a newspaper article about someone who had died recently, and the medical examiner decided that the cause of death was injuries from an assault decades earlier. I don’t remember whether that led to new murder charges (the culprit may have died in the interim), but they did add that death to the homicide statistics for the year the person was attacked.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, good point about emergency rooms. Though the attempted murder rates (violent crime rates) have also declined over the decades, in conjunction with fewer people overall owning guns and tougher gun control laws in many cities.

      Rural people own more guns per person than in cities. That used to be due to hunting. Now it’s due to militias/political intimidation and the again very lucrative, legal, backdoor, pretend “owner to owner” gun and ammo sale industry. White people, including in rural areas, are three-five times less likely to be charged with attempted murder when they assault someone, or even charged with assault, and if they are charged, three-five times less likely to end up in jail even if convicted. If they do go to jail, they get less time in jail on average, more probation and home monitoring. And even if they actually murder someone, it may not be considered murder by the courts. “Stand Your Ground” laws are only used by white folk, lot of self-defense, involuntary manslaughter from brawls, “accidental” gunshot deaths, etc. We regularly have Black victims found hanging in trees here that the cops still call “suicides.”

      That lets them claim that the “stats” show that Black people and other POC, particularly in cities, are clearly more violent because they get arrested, convicted and jailed far more than white folk. The same thing happens with theft, violent and non-violent — white people in rural areas don’t get arrested and jailed for theft, BIPOC in cities do, especially during periods when cities are highly stressed, such as the pandemic, and police are deliberately targeting minority neighborhoods more than usual to grab themselves some arrests. They also get charged with “violent’ theft for, say, talking back to the cops. We do not have a just, non-racist justice system anywhere in the U.S. Larry will pretend we do, despite the countless studies with data indicating otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sherlock Holmes:

    “All over the countryside, away to the rolling hills around Aldershot, the little red and grey roofs of the farm-steadings peeped out from amid the light green of the new foliage.

    “Are they not fresh and beautiful?” I cried with all the enthusiasm of a man fresh from the fogs of Baker Street.

    But Holmes shook his head gravely.

    “Do you know, Watson,” said he, “that it is one of the curses of a mind with a turn like mine that I must look at everything with reference to my own special subject. You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolation and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there.”

    “Good heavens!” I cried. “Who would associate crime with these dear old homesteads?”

    “They always fill me with a certain horror. It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”

    “You horrify me!”

    “But the reason is very obvious. The pressure of public opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish. There is no lane so vile that the scream of a tortured child, or the thud of a drunkard’s blow, does not beget sympathy and indignation among the neighbours, and then the whole machinery of justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going, and there is but a step between the crime and the dock. But look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser. “

    Liked by 2 people

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