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Crime Prevention Research Center

CPRC at Fox News: “What the press is missing in Bloomberg’s anti-gun push”

The newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

Gun control has largely been a top down effort. Michael Bloomberg’s latest announcement that he will spend another $50 million to push gun control – 2.5 times the amount spent by the NRA annually on political activities – is all too typical. Last year, gun control groups, largely due to Bloomberg’s money, outspent gun rights groups by about 7.4 to 1 on TV advertising.

With a net worth of $31.2 billion, Bloomberg can afford round-the-clock armed bodyguards, but he doesn’t recognize the need for others to have armed protection.

Despite his money, mayors belonging to Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns represent only about 2.5 percent of America’s cities and towns (885 out of over 35,000) and most of these members represent very small towns.

Since December, Bloomberg has merged with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, but despite frequent prominent media appearances and Bloomberg’s funding, as of today, Moms Demand Action has 18 thousand followers on Twitter. No membership information is available and if you want to donate to their cause you are told to write the check to Bloomberg’s Mayors organization.

By contrast, the NRA has over 5 million members, with 219,000 Twitter followers.

But this $50 million is not all the money Bloomberg is spending on the gun issue as it doesn’t even count all the other money that he is putting into the issue. While the precise amount isn’t known, Bloomberg is also spending tens of millions on “public health” gun research (here is one study that he supported). . . .

The piece is continued here.

CPRC Board member Arthur Berg’s piece in the Wall Street Journal: “How to Stop a Would-Be Killer at a Military Base”

CPRC Board member Arthur Berg had a piece in the Wall Street Journal last week that started this way:

Barring soldiers from carrying concealed weapons at Fort Hood Army base in Texas demeans the soldiers and ignores reality. It also gets people killed. In 2009 and again on April 2, lone shooters at Fort Hood were able to murder a total of 17 people and wound more than 40 largely without fear that anyone could interrupt them. Unless that changes, we can expect more such attacks, either at military bases where carrying a weapon is prohibited or other venues where killers are confident that their chances of inflicting mass slaughter are good.

Mass killers demand attention: Why else seek such a large audience? That reality is well documented. Some of these killers have left detailed plans, including documentation of their murders with tallies of how many killed. One left a computerized spread sheet of news coverage and tabulated details of his killings gleaned from news reports. Another left evidence that intimated some form of competition: Who would score the highest body count?

As a psychiatrist, I know that a mass killer may be depressed or suffer some other psychiatric disorder. He may have been rejected in some way or bullied. But being able to make such a diagnosis is not the critical factor when planning prevention.

The Fort Hood news coverage is stirring fresh criticism of the media for providing intense, detailed and personalized coverage when many lives are lost. Violent movies and games also get blamed. As with the psychological profile of the killer, however, these are not the critical factors that need to be addressed when thinking about prevention.

The fact that’s most important, and most relevant to prevention, is the killer’s hunger for a large audience. These murderers want a big stage on which to lash out and to be immortalized. What the killer doesn’t want is an unfinished drama. That’s why, in these incidents, he often commits suicide the moment he hears a police siren or someone points a gun at him. Surrender and a court case is unthinkable. Everything he plans is designed to help him finish his drama before someone can stop him. Being stopped would be another demonstration of the ineptness and failure that has likely characterized his life. So he picks a safe place. He looks for the movie theater where guns are banned. He looks for a school—or a U.S. military base. A nationwide gun ban has been in effect at military installations since 1992.

A current line of defense, perimeter security, is far from foolproof, especially in large sprawling institutions such as universities and military bases. Practically speaking, the perimeter security’s purpose is primarily psychological deterrence. . . .

Bloomberg’s $50 million push for gun control this year, and why that is only the tip of problem

Bloomberg’s promise to spend $50 million this year on gun control efforts is just the tip of the iceberg. As the NY Times reports it, this is 2.5 times the $20 million that the NRA has been spending a year on political activities.

But that $50 million is really just a portion of the money Bloomberg is spending on the gun issue and it doesn’t even count all the other money that is flowing into the issue. While the precise amount isn’t publicly available, Bloomberg is also spending tens of millions on “public health” gun research (here is a study that he paid for here). For example, last year Bloomberg announced a $250 million gift to Johns Hopkins that would fund 50 new professorships, some of which will be in the Bloomberg School of Public Health to study gun control. He also regularly funds things such as the gun violence summit at Johns Hopkins. The big concern is not the funding per se, but how incredibly biased and poorly done the research is.

Last year gun control groups out spend gun rights groups by about 7.4 to 1 on TV advertising. Even without Bloomberg’s $10 million, gun control groups still would have slightly out spent gun groups. (As a minor aside, Bloomberg has been allowed to advertise where the other side hasn’t.)

Of course, in still another sense Bloomberg’s spending is much greater than $50 million because of all the massive uncritical news coverage that he gets.

Finally, Democrats are incredibly upset about the $30 million that the Kochs have spent this year, though billionaire Tom Steyer pledges $100 million to back Democrats on Global Warming (half his own personal money) and his billionaire brother Jim Steyer now getting into politics for the first time and promising a very large amount on gun control.

Note that some are concerned that Bloomberg’s money will hurt Democrats in “red” states, but Bloomberg is also donating millions to Harry Reid’s Senate Majority PAC and that is being used to help these very same Democrats.

So far the polls (and here) haven’t shown gun control groups being that successful nationally, but this new push is quite different. Bloomberg’s money is just a portion of the money flowing into pushing gun control. Hundreds of millions that Bloomberg, Soros, many large foundations, and the Obama administration are pushing into funding gun control research.

CPRC in Investor’s Business Daily: “Michael Bloomberg, Gun Control And Fabricated Numbers”

John Lott’s newest piece at Investor’s Business Daily starts this way:

No doubt, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg passionately believes in gun control. To his credit, he puts his own money — tens of millions of dollars, and possibly much more — into pushing the issue politically.

But Bloomberg’s push hasn’t been just political advertising, lobbying and media appearances. He also funds studies that have gone overboard in backing up his anti-gun beliefs.

To put it plainly, they have not only exaggerated their conclusions but have fabricated numbers. And these incorrect numbers have then been used to push for more regulations.

The connections to Bloomberg are not always obvious, as he has funded several organizations, making it look like there is more widespread support. There are Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health and two organizations of which he is the primary financial supporter though they are not directly connected to his name: Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action.

Over the last couple of years, studies from these organizations have received massive, uncritical news coverage, without even the slightest questioning of the numbers presented.

Take the recent report from Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action on school shootings, which was covered in more than 2,000 news stories.

In February, they claimed that what they called “mini-Newtowns” had become so common that the media no longer paid attention to them. After all, they claimed, 44 shootings had occurred in schools and colleges since the Newtown, Conn., massacre on Dec. 14, 2012. Out of the 44 shootings, a total of 28 people died.

“Mini-Newtowns”? Hardly. To inflate their numbers they included cases of legitimate self-defense as well as lone suicides late at night when no one else was around the school.

Also included are late-night shootings taking place even off school property or at the periphery of the grounds, often involving gangs. As “shootings,” they include any incident where shots were fired, even when nobody was injured.

About 40% of the deaths (11 out of 28) were suicides. Probably a third of the cases, with most of the remaining deaths, involved gang fights. Others involved robberies or other crimes.

Or take the oft-repeated claim that the powerful National Rifle Association has used its political muscle to keep people in the dark about the dangers of guns. Supposedly, a 1996 amendment to the federal budget preventing the Centers for Disease Control from advocating gun control dramatically cut public health research on firearms. The NRA supported the amendment.

The supposed evidence? A study from Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns claimed: “As a result, peer-reviewed research on gun violence has sharply declined. A review conducted by Mayors Against Illegal Guns showed that academic publishing on firearm violence fell by 60% between 1996 and 2010. … Academics working in the field describe how constricted federal funding for firearm research has discouraged research in the area.” . . .

The piece is continued here.

CPRC in the Chicago Tribune on gun-free zones at military bases

John Lott’s op-ed on gun-free zones at military bases at the Chicago Tribune starts this way:

What stops a mass public shooting is a person with a gun. Frequently it isn’t even necessary to fire the gun. But the length of time between when an attack starts and when someone is able to arrive on the scene with a gun is crucial in determining how many people get killed or wounded.

At Fort Hood, Texas, this past week, the six minutes before military police arrived at the scene proved much too long for the three people killed and 16 wounded.

Military police are important. They guard base entrances and travel around the base like police do in any city, but also like police, they can’t be everywhere all the time.

Most people are surprised to learn that besides the military police, other soldiers on military bases are banned from carrying guns. The ban, first proposed during the George H.W. Bush administration and rewritten and implemented under President Bill Clinton in 1993, was supposed to make the military more of a “professional businesslike environment.”

But as a consequence of the ban, during the Navy Yard and two Fort Hood shootings, the unarmed JAG officers, Marines and soldiers could do nothing but cower as the shooter fired round after round. . . . .

A note on mass victim knife attacks: a single, very small 16 year old was able to wound at least 24 people with a knife in just 5 minutes

John Lott had a discussion about the Pennsylvania attack on Coast to Coast AM (April 10, 2014 from 1:08 to 1:11 AM).

Franklin Regional High School near Pittsburgh was the horrific scene on Wednesday with “at least 24” injured, including 5 critically wounded. The carnage, which was done in about five minutes, could have been worse. Fortunately, the attacker in this case also seemed not to understand how to properly use the knife, usually slashing his victims. In addition, at least one life was saved by another of the victims: “A surgeon came out and congratulated one of the victims by saying she had saved the person’s life by applying pressure to the person’s wound.” The attacker was very small physically, with him described as “a 16-year-old kid who looks like he’s 10.”

Guns obviously make it easier for people to kill others, though they also make it easier for people to defend themselves. Still the harm that can be caused from knife attacks within a very short period of time, even by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, can be seen by looking at some cases of multiple victim knife attacks from China (not meant to be complete as we only spent a short time putting this together, though if people know of other cases, I would appreciate hearing about them).

For the average multiple victim Chinese knife attack since 2010: 4.4 people were killed, and 14.5 injured.
Excluding the Kunming Railway Station attack the average is: 3.1 people killed and 8.6 injured.
If you look at all the cases where at least 4 people were harmed the average attack had: 4.7 people killed and 15.8 injured.

March 28, 2014: 7 injured, with 2 (a woman and four year old boy) seriously injured. The attack occurred on the outskirts of Qinzhou city, in the Guangxi province.

March 27, 2014: 6 were stabbed to death and 7 injured over a property dispute in Beijing.

March 14, 2014: Knife attack in Changsha market leaves 6 dead.

March 1, 2014: 33 people killed and 143 wounded by a group of knife wielding men at the Kunming Railway Station in Yunnan province.

August 26, 2013: 4 dead and 11 injured by a single attacker along Chengdu’s Caojia Alley.

August 20, 2013: 3 killed and at least 12 injured in a knife attack on a bus in the central Henan province.

July 31, 2013: 11 were injured in a knife attack on a bus in Hong Kong.

July 29 2013: 3 people stabbed to death, 5 injured in Shenzhen, in the Guangdong province. Killer randomly attacked people people along the line the side of a road.

July 26, 2013: 5 people killed and 3 wounded in a knife attack in Luohe city in Henan province. After first stabbing people in the village the attack continued in a furniture shop where two more people were killed.

July 22, 2013: Knife attack in a store in Beijing’s Xicheng district leaves 1 dead, 3 wounded.

July 19, 2013: A knife wielding man killed two people at a shopping mall in downtown Beijing. This was probably reported because one of the two murder victims was an American.

May 22 2013: 7 injured (six primary school students and a woman) with a cleaver at a primary school in the Maoming city government in the southern province of Guangdong.

December 14, 2012: Stabbed 23 children and an elderly woman at the village’s primary school as children were arriving for classes

August 2, 2012: Teenager killed 9 and wounded 4 in Yongling town.

January 20, 2012: Seven people were injured, two seriously, in a knife attack Thursday in the city of Zhongshan in south China’s Guangdong Province.

September 14, 2011: 6 killed (two young girls and four adults) near a nursery in Gongyi.

August 30, 2011: 8 children injured at a child-care centre in Minhang District, Shanghai.

August 4, 2010: 4 killed (3 children and one teacher) and about 20 other children wounded at a kindergarten in Zibo, Shandong province.

May 12, 2010: Seven children and two adults were killed and 11 other persons wounded with a cleaver at a kindergarten in Hanzhong, Shaanxi.

April 30, 2010: 28 students, 2 teachers, and one security guard were wounded in a knife attack in a Jiangsu province kindergarten.

April 29, 2010: 16 students and a teacher were wounded at an elementary school in southern Guangdong province.

March 31, 2010: “A man killed a young woman and injured two other people in a knife attack at a university campus in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, officials said Wednesday.”

March 23, 2010: 9 children murdered with a knife at an elementary school in Nanpign, Fujian province.

UPDATE: Of course, mass stabbings aren’t limited to China and the US. Here is a case were five people were killed in Canada, none wounded.

A University of Calgary student was charged in the fatal stabbing of five people at a house party Tuesday that the police chief called the worst mass slaying in the western Canadian city’s history.

Matthew Douglas de Grood, the son of a 33-year veteran of the Calgary police force, picked up a large knife shortly after arriving at the party and stabbed the victims one by one, said police Chief Rick Hanson.

De Grood, 22, was charged with five counts of murder late Tuesday.

“This is the worst murder – mass murder – in Calgary’s history,” Hanson said at a news conference Tuesday. “We have never seen five people killed by an individual at one scene. The scene was horrific.” . . .

CPRC in the news at Fox News: “After Fort Hood: Should soldiers be allowed to bear arms on base?”

John Lott’s newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

In debates on gun control, gun opponents usually speculate about what might go wrong. Unfortunately, the current debate over arming soldiers on military bases is no different.

Except for the military police, soldiers on military bases are banned from carrying guns. But that hasn’t always been the case.

The ban itself hasn’t been around that long. It was proposed during the George H.W. Bush administration in 1992 as an effort to make the military a more “professional business-like environment.” President Clinton rewrote and implemented the ban in 1993.

After the attack at Fort Hood this past week, many soldiers no doubt wished they had been carrying a gun. The six minutes before military police arrived at the scene proved much too long for the three people killed and 16 wounded.

Soldiers who survived the 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, Sgt. Howard Ray and retired Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, warn it is time the 1993 rule be revised.

Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham points out that there have been “nearly two dozen shootings at U.S. military installations” since the 1993 ban. Yet such attacks have not occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan, where virtually all soldiers have carried a loaded weapon. Nor were they occurring when guns were allowed to be carried on U.S. bases. Gun-free zones in the military have not worked any better than they have in civilian life. . . .

The piece is continued here.

Here is a dramatic statement to Texas state senate in a letter who was present at last week’s attack.

One case that is consistent with this discussion occurred in Iraq in May 2009, and it is discussed here. Sgt. John Russell was convicted of killing five other soldiers with a gun in 2013. The attack occurred in a mental health clinic that was apparently a gun-free zone. The killer had a grudge with someone, but the fact that he settled the grudge in the one place on the base where guns were banned is consistent with the general concern raised about gun-free zones.

There were two other attacks that should be mentioned. One in Kuwait on March 23, 2003 involved Sgt. Asan Akbar of the 101st Airborne Division’s 326th Engineer Battalion who threw stolen grenades into several tents. In the second case in Iraq in 2005, appeared to involve Sgt. Alberto Martinez, who was accused of using a claymore mine to kill two officers. However, Martinez was found “not guilty.” For a discussion on the differences between using guns versus bombs in these types of attacks see this research paper available here.

In addition to the names listed in the Fox News piece, some other soldiers have come forward to support soldiers carrying weapons on base. The Army Times has a couple more names and their statements: Staff Sgt. Jacob Wiley and Sgt. Eric Chambers.

Information on military workplace related deaths as well as all workplace related firearms deaths is available here.

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Media Matters, TPM, and others mislead over CPRC’s interview on MSNBC: Gun-free zones on military bases

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It is quite flattering that Media Matters and TPM spent so much real estate going after me. Media Matters’ post was at the top of their front page from late morning on Friday until at least midnight (my last check). [UPDATE: As of 6:30 AM on Monday, April 7th, their article is still at the very top of their front page for almost three full days.]

John Lott’s debate on MSNBC is available here (April 4, 2014 from 10:05 to 10:15 AM (this version has almost the entire exchange, though it doesn’t include Chris Jansing’s introduction and first question)).

Unfortunately, Media Matters, TPM, and others only have a fraction of the total discussion. While Media Matters posts 5:05 minutes and TPM posts 2:31 minutes, the entire segment is over 10 minutes (Jacobs talked for 3:53 minutes and Lott 3:24 minutes). Possibly Media Matters and TPM just wanted to protect their views from my arguments, but neither of those clips show my initial points that tried to explain the logical argument. More importantly, they left out how many times over the 9 minutes before I interrupted Jacobs that he kept repeating the claim that somehow I or others were advocating “everyone” be armed (including, bizarrely, possibly according to him “dependents,” meaning children). This claim about trying to have “everyone” carry guns reminds me of the same hyperbole frequently made in the concealed handgun debate for civilians. It is just a way of trying to freak people out.

Mediaiate does a very good job of summarizing what happened:

“Arming everybody on post seems to me a very foolish response,” Jacobs said.

“Be quiet,” Jacobs repeatedly told John Lott, the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, after the gun advocate asserted that Jacobs was misrepresenting his position.

“Nobody’s saying you have to go and have everybody be armed,” Lott asserted.

“The current rules mean that the killer knows that he’s not going to be facing opposition there,” he continued. “That makes it — not only encourages him to go and engage in that type of attack to begin with, but makes it much more successful.” . . . .

To get an idea of what Jacobs was referring to when he was talking about “everybody” being armed, here is his comment from the clip above:

Jacobs: There are several issues here. The first is: whom do you arm? Wives, dependents? It is absolutely a ludicrous suggestion. The situation that existed at Fort Hood the other day in a circumstance in which everyone has weapons very easily and probably would have resulted in an enormous mass fratricide and you would have this all the time. . . .

Be quiet. Arming everybody on post and the attending danger in doing that is not a solution to protect the lives of people who serve and sacrifice for us. Now you can say what you want to say. . . .

Over and over Jacobs kept repeating that he opposed arming everyone on a military base. The posts are misleading because only including the last part of the debate leaves out how many times Jacobs kept repeating the claim. As Mediaite makes clear, Lott interrupted Jacobs because no one was making the position that Jacobs kept debating against. But nine minutes into the presentation it wasn’t clear how much longer the discussion would go on. Lott’s interruptions were relatively gentle.

Jacobs’ point here was complete hyperbole. Is there any evidence of what Jacobs’ claims is likely to occur before the 1993 rules banning guns on bases were imposed? Soldiers in Afghanistan are supposed to carry their guns with them at all times, but there are obviously no examples of this “enormous mass fratricide.”

Jacobs: . . . you are not going to be able to deter someone who is absolutely . . . hell bent on doing damage, you are not going to be able to deter

The standard isn’t whether you can deter absolutely everyone. The more that we can deter the better. And arming soldiers is a relatively cheap way of accomplishing this deterrence.

The problem with relying on mental health screen to stop these attacks, as the Obama administration wants, is well illustrated by the Fort Hood attack. Many of these mass shooters were receiving psychiatric care and still not identified as showing a “sign of any likely violence either to himself or others.”  That was again the case with Ivan Lopez.  The Washington Post reports:

But the Army psychiatrist who last saw Lopez found no “sign of likely violence, either to himself or to others,” McHugh told a Senate panel. . . .

Military police are important and they swiftly arrived at the scene of the shooting, but it still took six minutes before they were able to arrive. Unfortunately, even this extremely swift response of the military police was too slow to stop the carnage. It shows the potential benefit from letting soldiers be able to defend themselves. From the Boston Globe:

According to Milley’s statement, two injured soldiers placed the first 911 call at 4:16 p.m. on Wednesday, roughly two minutes after the shooting began in the 49th Transportation Headquarters building. It took only four minutes after the call was placed for military police to respond. It was at that time that a female military police officer engaged the accused gunman in small arms fire at distance of about 20 feet. Milley said it remains unclear whether the officer hit him, and that the only wound he was aware of was a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. . . .

Other discussions of this exchange at MSNBC is available at The Blaze (with a short 1:51 video), Guns.com (with a 2:31 clip), and the left wing The Raw Story (with the Media Matters clip). Out of all these discussions, the Mediaite discussion is the best.

Of course, Media Matters has a long history of being misleading or errors in their posts (see for example, here, here, here, and here.
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For those who want to download the video, here it is in three clips.
MSNBC 04042014 Chris Jansing Part 1
MSNBC 04042014 Chris Jansing Part 2
MSNBC 04042014 Chris Jansing Part 3

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