(courtesy amren.com)

With the Ferguson riots, the subsequent appearance of the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent assassination of a Texas cop by a black man, race is a big issue in the ongoing debate over “gun violence.” There are some very interesting Department of Justice stats in regards to race and violent crime . . .

(courtesy amren.com)

For example, white offenders attack whites 82.4 percent of the time, and black victims just 3.6 percent of the time (chart at the top of the page). In contrast, black offenders attack blacks 40.9 percent of the time, and white victims 38.6 percent of the time. (Chart just above this paragragh.)

Click here to view a more complete rundown. Meanwhile, it seems that discussing the issue of race and “gun violence” in any factual way is verboten. Check this from thinkprogress.com . . .

Rather than acknowledging the clear link between lax gun laws and deadly shootings, a Texas congressman has found a new culprit: multiculturalism. On the Chris Salcedo Show last week, the radio host asked Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) to weigh in on the horrific shooting on live TV of two journalists in Virginia. After acknowledging that widespread gun violence is a daily occurrence in the United States, Sessions zeroed in on what he viewed as the real cause.

“It has a lot to do with distrust of people. Chris, I have been in lots of societies, we could say like Japan, where they have a homogeneous society, where people are more alike,” Sessions said. He went on to discuss “this thought process that we have to have diversity in America.”

Although Sessions did acknowledge that “we should and we need to work for” a kind of mutual respect across diverse groups, the thrust of his remarks was that diversity breeds a kind of mistrust that sparks gun violence. “We have a group of people that are in our country that we’re afraid of, that have created chaos and confusion. And now our country is confused” he told Salcedo, without elaborating on precisely who that group of people is.

Is Sessions a racist? Is it racist to suggest that the the majority of people shooting people in minority communities are minorities – even though in absolute numbers more whites commit more violent crime than blacks? Is Donald Trump a racist for asserting that there are killers amongst illegal immigrants inside the U.S.? Is it racist to single out Muslim extremists as proto-terrorists? Is using the word racist racist?

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90 Responses to Question of the Day: Is It Racist to Identify the Race of “Gun Violence” Perpetrators?

  1. Facts aren’t racist. People that hide behind race to politics are. This really shouldn’t be that hard of a concept.

    • Playing the racist card is a way of stopping a conversation about an uncomfortable truth; the race card is a logical non sequitur, an evasion.

    • Look, there are three rules, and they are very simple: 1) If you are a white progressive, nothing you say is racist, but it is heavily laden with privilege and self-aware shame. 2) All other white people: everything you say is racist, whether you know it or not. 3) It is impossible for a non-white to say anything racist, by definition.

  2. How can pointing out verifiable facts and statistics be racist? Data cannot be racist.

    It is the evaluation of those data that can bear the inherent bias of the person doing the evaluation – the data are unbiased.

    • I think that the fear of the data is not from the data itself, but that it disabuses us of any illusion that we are all “equal”, and that in the wrong hands, that data can be used to some unwanted ends.

      We aren’t all smart, tall, fast, strong, artistic, musical, endowed, whatever. That’s evolution, that’s selective breeding. Just like dogs, cats, horses and monkeys, our genetic traits are amplified or attenuated through the reproductive process.

      We have good data on intelligence (at least that which can be tested). Like it or not, different races fall on different bell curves with differing shapes. These shapes and rankings cross cultures and countries. At the end of the day, potential intelligence is just like the potential size of your bicep – genetically preset. You cannot make an average person jump 20 IQ points any more than you can make his adult height grow.

      The problem with acknowledging that is the fear (perhaps rightfully so) that someone will say let’s round up all the (what ever group they don’t like) because they are intellectually inferior.

      Violent behavior also has a strong genetic component. People are even more loathe to acknowledge that. They want to foster the illusion that it’s all cultural and something that can be somehow “fixed”.

      • “Like it or not, different races fall on different bell curves with differing shapes.”

        Without being called a White supremacist, I don’t think you can say that there are different sub species of humans, just like every other animal in nature.

        • The fun part is that the science gets done (especially the genetic science) and then they hide it in academia. They hope to not be accused of being Klansmen for pointing out the scientific realities of being mammals – we come in different breeds – with different proclivities, propensities, potentials, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses according to our hardwiring. Some folks run like the wind, some can push a locomotive, some paint beauty, some make us laugh, some invent television, or atom bombs.

          Everybody honest is science knows this, but it’s the third rail to even mention it outside a conference, let alone to the general public. In fact, there’s some who are out there spinning science like antigunners, trying to sell that it’s all “nuture”, no nature. Which is hilarious to anyone who pays attention to the world around them at all.

        • Reggie, Not sure if that was intended as a rebuttal, or as another example of junk science, and the twisted PC ‘conclusions’ tortured out of it.

          That “experiment” was used as an example of how *not* to do science, even when I was in school in the ’80s.

          The Sherpas do better on Everest because they are genetically predisposed. The US has a pop of 330MM+ and can’t produce enough winning marathoners to outdo Kenya/Ethopia per capita. Every group gets something they are good at, and none of those bell curves mean that there aren’t brilliant black scientists, Jewish NFL players, whites who can run fast, or Asian bodybuilders. But it does mean that every group has certain general limits and certain general potentials, and that that in the end, it’s up to everyone to live up to their own personal potential in whatever area they are genetically ‘gifted’ in.

          Anytime one thinks it’s not genetic, you are free to turn some Down’s kids into STEM teachers, Olympic weightlifters, or winning marathon runners. After all, it’s just genetics…

        • There is another perspective. Suppose we found a genetic component in some trait. E.g., suppose we discovered that Jews were great at math but poor at English while Asians were poor at math but great at English. OK, now what? What policy decisions would you make as a consequence of such a (purely hypothetical) discovery? That you would not allow Asians to study math and not allow Jews to study English? That you would not admit these races to the corresponding faculties of universities?

          For better or for worse, the principles of our society as established and developed from the Declaration and Constitution are such that we foregone certain policy options based on race. Even IF we could conceded that there were a causative relationship between race and some trait, we still make decisions based on the characteristics of the individual who presents himself to the opportunity.

          I remain open to the possibility that there might be some case where our culture would allow for a race-based exception; however, none comes to mind. The overwhelming sense of correctness in our society is to look past race and evaluate each individual on his own merits.

        • Mark, you have seized on the reason we don’t talk about these things – because there are those who would make policy decisions based on some statistical norming – not based on the individual’s personal potential.

          It’s always a bell curve – controlling all other variables, there’s more of people “x” that can do calculus than people “y”. The problem comes in that there is still a calculus star in group “y” and it would not be right for him to miss an opportunity simply because statistically he’s a longshot.

          There are dark corners of DARPA (and several others) that are currently mapping aggression, speed, endurance and the lot on the genome. Because they will use it to engineer better soldiers. Not now, 30 years from now when we’ve accepted genetic engineering (see:’GATTACA’).

          My point is, I understand why we don’t talk about it much, but denying that scientific reality is just a fools’ errand. And leads to even worse things by sweeping it under the rug.

    • The introduction of facts, statistics, or documented evidence is considered a racist act – if that information might reflect negatively upon a favored minority.
      I thought everyone knew that?

    • >> How can pointing out verifiable facts and statistics be racist? Data cannot be racist.

      Strictly speaking, yes. However, cherry picking data – i.e. presenting some but not other, deliberately, in order to induce some implications – may well be racist.

      For example, criminals and their victims are defined by numerous factors. Among them are things like race, education, income, environment they were brought up in, and many others (if you want to get into the really silly territory, there’s also eye color, height, weight, color preference, and what sauce they prefer with their fries, if any). If you present just one factor while discussing the problem and ignore the others, you are implying that this one factor is particularly relevant – or at least the reader can reasonably assume that to be the case. This isn’t really racist still unless it’s done intentionally, but unfortunately it actually is done intentionally quite often. Either way, best practice in such case is to point out that you’re focusing on one particular factor to demonstrate a correlation, but that there are other factors that may also be relevant (or else to conclusively show that they aren’t relevant).

    • Well, if you promote leftist ideology and the progressive agenda, you are much less likely to be a racist, no matter what you do, say, or believe. True, on occasion the proggies eat one of their own, usually for expressing a thought that contradicts the Current Truth. But look at the stuff Joe Biden gets away with saying, for example.

      However, if you question any part of the progressive agenda, then, yes, you absolutely are a racist (or a misogynist, a homophobe, or an Islamaphobe, depending on which bit of leftist dogma you question).

      • You are correct, in spite of the facts that progressive agendas and ideas have hurt/harmed/killed more people of all colors, in just the last 2 centuries, than any political ideology could have dreamed of.

  3. It’s racist to talk about the race of perpetrators and it’s racist to talk about the race of victims, except it’s not racist when the “perpetrators” are police officers and the “victims” are black. And “police officer” is a race, not an occupation, so any violence by any police officer against any black person under any circumstances is automatically racist.

    Got that? Good. Welcome to Bizarro America.

  4. All I’m going to say about that, is if you subtract Detroit’s (90% Black) and Flint’s (60% Black) from Michigan’s total homicide count for any given year, you can almost cut the total rate by more than sixty percent.

    Detroit – roughly one tenth of MI’s total population; ≈90% Black
    Flint – Barely 100K people; ≈60% Black

    Accounts for a solid 65% of Michigan’s total murder rate.

    • Cities in general will be higher. Across states, there was no correlation between proportion of the population that is black and murder rate, but there was a strong correlation between murder rate and population density.

      • A fact of biology that is actively neglected by statists, “urban planners”, and those who for some reason enjoy living in high density cities. Put too many (male) mice in too small a cage with too much food and no exercise wheel and ….

        • ” Put too many (male) mice in too small a cage with too much food and no exercise wheel and ….”

          They decorate their cage like a leather bar?


        • Put too many (male) mice in too small a cage with too much food and no exercise wheel and ….

          They end up fat, wearing fedoras, and playing video games?

  5. If you want to create effective policy you need to really understand what the problem is. I don’t see how it hurts having more valid data when trying to make a decision.

  6. Everyone and everything is racist. This is America, the most dangerous and racist place on the face of this planet, or so I’m told.

    • Youngest Daughter states that Latin American countries are much more racist, and a lot of them had a nastier slave history than the USA.

      • Japan is a highly homogeneous society and is highly intolerant of other races.

        Oddly enough, Japan looks down their collective noses at ethnic Koreans when it’s the Japanese who are a genetic subset of ethnic Koreans…

  7. The facts cannot be “racist”.

    Beyond the facts, culture is what drives some of the violence. Race is part of culture. Blame a culture of violence for all the madness in this world, not statistical facts that spring out of said culture.

  8. No. And I think the senator might be onto something with reference to confusion; there is constant media double talk, vilification of people seemingly because of the color of their skin in the media, and the clash of what people perceive versus what they were taught and what they are fed by the media.

    A perfect example is myself, a child of the 90’s, growing up it was drilled into our heads that everyone is equal regardless of color etc etc, racism is bad etc etc etc. So I wholeheartedly believed this growing up and believe this still. However one need not look very far for a news story, public policy, current social trend, etc for evidence to the contrary; where racist and sexist attitudes are embraced because they are directed at the current correct group. I don’t blame someone who hasn’t been paying attention or is just thinking outside of their own bubble for the first time for being confused. The hypocrisy and double talk is glaring and it makes it hard for honest people to be honest and treat people honestly if everything they do, say, or think, damns them one way or the other. And that goes for everyone, black, white, purple, whatever; we are all caught up in the same bullshit miasma that is focused on dividing us.

  9. I don’t have a problem with profiling the offenders, but to draw a conclusion that the majority of victims from those charts is plain erroneous. For example: assume that the total number of victims in chart one is 100K, and chart 2 is 10K. We then sat that more hispanics are attacked by blacks than whites. Well in our case that is incorrect. If you are going to show victims wrt offender, then you also need to show offenders wrt victims.

  10. Using facts and accurate figures is racist because agendas are what REALLY matters. For the record~ Fμ©|{ political correctness!!!

  11. Just as a guess, I’m going to say the group that Sessions is talking about that we’re afraid of and is causing chaos and confusion is “people who shoot other people for no good reason.”

    Did you have someone else in mind, ThinkProgress?

  12. My wife, who is Asian, uses the “race card” against me often. I’ve just learned to live with it, whats the alternative, divorce?

    • NO-hey Gunr what the hell does your asian wife do? My wife-who is black-has NEVER used the race card against me. Unlike my black ex-wife…”why aren’t you rich?-all white men belong to the white boys secret club and get handed everything in life”…seriously. I wish…

      • I belong to the white boys top secret club which is so secret that people who are in it don’t even know that they are in it.

  13. It’s almost as if, for the most part, people shoot the people they tend to be in the same area at, which in turn has a high percentage of people of the same race as they are due to demographics.

      • Interesting perspective.

        It just recently occurred to me that Americans are engaging in a bi-lateral cultural-imperialism effort:
        – PotG want to impose their cultural preferences on inner-city dwelling minorities – be less violent!;
        – Inner-city minorities want to impose their cultural preferences on PotG – give up your guns so our youth won’t have access to guns.

        Every social group is entitled to choose its own cultural norms. Every social group is free to advocate to others that they alter the latter’s norms. Push-comes-to-shove when one group forces the other to change.

        We PotG could either abandon or step-up our cultural imperialistic advocacy. What would be the predicted outcome in each case?

        Inner-city minorities could either abandon or step-up their cultural imperialistic advocacy. What would be the predicted outcome in each case?

        From the predictable outcomes, could we agree that a change in the inner-city minority propensity toward violence is an unqualified desirable goal? Could we also agree that there is an enormous risk of violence apt to result from forceable disarmament of heretofore peaceable PotG?

        There is no way to peace through disarmament;
        Peace is the way.

  14. The sad thing is that we actually have to ask this stupid question. It is obvious to anyone with at least 50% of normal brain function. Now how many people can we assume reside at 49% and below?

  15. Can be, depends on how data is used. If used to vilify a race then it’s racist. If it’s used to better understand society and to help manage the system, then no. Unfortunately data often falls into hands of people who are destine to misinterpret and misuse.

  16. A much more interesting pie chart would be one based on distances between the perpetrators’ residences and the victims’ residences.

  17. If we have any hope of solving a problem we have to understand it. Typically, that means we need to have pertinent data. One dimension that seems relevant in our society is race; so, whether or not it’s “racist”, that’s something we have to factor in. “Will you look into this? Or, will you look away?”

    Each segment of violent crime has its own data; including demographic. The one segment that (rightly or wrongly) draws most attention is homicide. Something like 90% of homicide is intra-racial. Are there any differences in the victim-perpetrator relationships for whites vs blacks? Shouldn’t we know about these differences? What are the similarities? Maybe the similarities are more significant than the differences.

    E.g., suppose the common factor is a relationship between victim-perpetrator that arises from a perception that one party “dis’ed” the other? And, suppose that both parties have serious rap sheets; are low on socio-economic scales and live in the same neighborhood more-or-less. Were these conjectures born-out, how could “gun-control” possibly reduce the homicide rate to any appreciable degree?

    We PotG would like to believe that violent crime would be reduced if only law-abiding people would arm-up. We may be right, but to NO SIGNIFICANT degree; at least with respect to homicide.

    Suppose gun-control applied to the law-abiding cut in half the 10% of homicide that doesn’t fit the predominant pattern. Great! We just cut the homicide rate by 5%. Those who contribute 90% of the homicides will “carry on” as before. Unless a measure – such as gun-control – can impact the greatest part of the problem it can’t affect the statistics much.

    The data will raise to high relief the patterns that underly violent crime. Whether it’s homicide, rape or robbery, we can understand how much – or how little – any measure (such as gun-control) could possibly affect the outcome.

    Tragically – for the Antis – the demographics will reveal that the 2A-able contribute very little to the population that commits these violent crimes. Almost all the perpetrators have criminal rap-sheets.

    What of the remainder? I.e., misdemeanants-NON-DV; misdemeanants-DV; illegal-aliens (with no criminal background); mentally-ill/-incompetent individuals; dis-honerably discharged vets; citizens who have renounced their citizenship?

    If we have the data we might find that the presuppositions underlying the prohibiting categories are well- or poorly-founded. Suppose we learned:
    – DV-misdemeanants are NOT particularly more likely to commit crimes of violence; or,
    – NON-DV-misdemeanants for fighting or other disorderly conduct ARE particularly likely to violence.
    – mentally-challanged individuals (outside a few specific diagnosis) are NOT particularly more likely to violence.
    – one race or another (e.g., Native Americans) are more likely to commit crimes of violence.

    What of each of such hypothetical discoveries? We COULD choose to either consider/ignore the implications. E.g., we might decide that adherence to race-nutral principles on Constitutional rights rules-out a policy of “No guns for Indians”. We might decide that DV-misdemeanants are not as great a danger to others as heretofore presumed.

    Until we look at the data – and race is one dimension of the data – the Antis (with MSM complicity) retain control of the narrative. OFWGs are slaying their wives! We have to DO something and the place to begin is OFWGs!!

    • Are there any differences in the victim-perpetrator relationships for whites vs blacks? Shouldn’t we know “about these differences? What are the similarities? Maybe the similarities are more significant than the differences.”

      Did you even look at the frakkin’ pie charts?

      White offender, black victim 3.6%.
      Black offender, white victim 38.6%.

      Does it make sense now?

      • Have you studied multiple regression analysis? No? I didn’t think so.

        Of course you are going to find a strong correlation on race with victimizers; if that is the ONLY variable you look at. And, these pie charts only look at that SINGLE variable. As a working hypothesis, we can pursue other possible correlations within that suspect group.

        We will probably find that perpetrators disproportionately were raised in single-parent households. And, we will find single parent households strongly correlated with race.

        Keep going. Education; employment; family income; and so forth. All strongly correlated with race. So, race seems to be “IT” the one factor that explains it all. Unfortunately, we have a really difficult problem with multicolinearity; i.e., lots of “independent” variables are strongly correlated with one another and particularly strongly correlated with race.

        When one factor is conspicuous – race – then it garners all our attention; we don’t look for other independent variables that are apt to be in play especially because they are much less conspicuous. Perhaps the folks who gather the statistics don’t count the other factors. E.g., if you don’t count how may perpetrators were raised in single parent vs. two-parent households then you don’t see the data on this likely independent variable.

        If we ran a correlation between perpetrators and single-parent household childhood, what would the correlation reveal? Don’t know; and we can’t tell if the data isn’t collected or (though collected) isn’t published.

        Now, suppose you have several such factors: single-parent; employment; income; education; etc. None of them correlates really well with the probability of being a perpetrator yet each is pretty significant. Each of these other factors correlates well with race. Then, race appears to be a really good proxy for the collection of all the other variables. Race explains the probability of becoming a perpetrator much better than any of the others. Therefore, race seems to be the critical variable. It becomes very easy to just stop looking further for a better explanation.

        I’m reading American Homicide by Randolph Roth. He offers a working hypothesis that homicide rates, and changes in those rates over time for a given territory, are best explained by:
        – confidence in the efficacy and fairness of government
        – confidence in the honesty and legitimacy of politicians in power; and,
        – stability of mens’ position in the social hierarchy

        On first impression, it strikes one as bizarre. And yet, the case is pretty compelling. While I am surprised that these factors appear as the strongest correlates, I am NOT surprised that the strongest correlates were not the first to come-to-mind.

        Suppose, for a moment, that Roth is correct. (I’m not saying that I’m convinced he is correct; just inviting you to entertain a hypothesis). Well, then, a focus on race would be quite a distraction from the real source of the problem of homicide. We might – hypothetically – remove the populations of high-homicide races from our national territory (e.g., send them to Liberia or Guam) but be left with our existing governmental regime, politicians and social hierarchy. Our destiny in controlling homicide might not improve long term if the remaining races respond (according to Roth’s hypothesis) in their response to the stable government, positions and hierarchy.

        If Roth were correct, we would need to roll up our sleeves and reform our government, replacing our politicians and examining the “rules” of our social hierarchy.

        I am NOT, here, proposing that I have THE answer; nor am I saying that race can’t possibly have anything to do with homicide rates. I am saying that it’s not as trivial as it seems to find one strong correlate – such as race – and then conclude the inquiry into the cause of a social problem.

        • Multiple regression analysis? Yes, I made it through the 10th grade (and beyond!). I’ve studied enough statistical analysis to know that it can be a great tool in certain circumstances, in others it can provide erroneous conclusions, and (if you’re smart) it’s readily steerable.

          Incorporate all of the socioeconomic filters you wish, you will still find that different ethnic groups fare differently despite any and all handicaps. That different groups will still fail/succeed and offend/behave at different rates despite having the same exact deck stacked against them. Not just in the US, it plays out the same across the planet. Rottweilers aren’t Border Collies all across the planet. One can turn a wild fox into something resembling a dog, with selective breeding.


          It’s a matter of culture and cultural evolution. It’s why the Chinese and Egyptians had a (relatively) organized civilization 3000 BCE, and even the Greeks and Romans were relative primitives until almost 2000 years later. The other Africans were in mud huts, in tribes, killing and kidnapping each other to be sold as slaves, until the Colonials invaded/took over.


          I haven’t read Roth’s tome, I will check it out, though the hypothesis seems obviated by a whole lotta known data sets. Please, do understand that I’m not trying to ‘blame’ good or bad behavior strictly on genetics – the science has shown that it doesn’t work that way. But the data has shown that if group “x”, “y”, “z” and “q” are all plopped in the same lousy place, missing a parent, and with poor public ed, certain groups will, on average, work harder and succeed at a higher rate. Cultural evolution, which does become genetic. If you have a dog, it’s why he/she isn’t a wolf. Not only not a wolf, but unlike our simian relatives, looks where you point, looks you in the eyes you for approval, and a list of other things that dogs are more in tune with humans than are primates close to us.

          I don’t know that there’s anything resembling an “answer” because that presupposes a question. I just think that pretending science and data don’t exist, or worse, indicate the opposite of what they do, is dangerous in the long-term as it sets up a whole pile of undeliverables. We are genetically different, but we all should still have a chance if we work hard. But we need to know that as a fat white kid, our hockey prospects are slim unless we work really hard. We aren’t entitled to anything but the opportunity.

        • Now that you have elaborated on your views I think we agree substantially; perhaps completely. You are absolutely correct that multiple regression is no panacea. A researcher can find whatever variables serve to prove his point. It’s simply a tool and a useful one at that.

          Something about “culture” is far more likely than race to be the major explanatory variable. The difficulty here is that culture and race will cross-ocrrilate making it seem that race per se is a highly explanatory variable by itself.

          Recognizing that race – per se – really IS a highly explanatory value is a VERY useful discovery. One which our societal sentiments about being PC cause us to suppress; and this is a wrong instinct. We really ought to be digging into this apparently highly explanatory variable.

          To illustrate, we could investigate all we like the differences in homicide rates among Swedes vs. Norwegians. The long hard struggle would yield little insight because their homicide rates are similarly low. How much more rich our study might be of US Blacks across a wide variety of demographic factors. We would probably discover which cultural variables seem to be explanatory.

          Even if I doubt that race, per se, is a promising explanatory variable it would be a mistake on my part (or anyone else’s) to remove this factor from analysis arbitrarily. Who knows? Maybe it does provide some explanatory value. Maybe it’s larger than one might presuppose. That discovery might lead somewhere.

          For example, we know that the population of Blacks in the Western hemisphere came – almost exclusively – from West African provinces. Africa is a large continent with diverse tribes. A race component discovery might lead to studies of violence rates across the diverse tribes of Africa. Western tribes might come out at the top, bottom or middle of the range. Might not help us much; but it might help Africans.

          I encourage you to look at Roth’s “tome”. I’m still slugging thru it; I find it fascinating but haven’t reached any conclusion yet. He is working with an interesting laboratory: the US from the colonial era to the present. In this data set he has a lot of cultures to observe from diverse immigration origins. He can observe these cultures across time and region. He can observe their behaviors as they migrate from one region to another; e.g., the Great Migration of Blacks from the South to the North in the early 20th century. And, diverse economic and political circumstances.

          Now observe that humans have a pretty long span for each generation; about 30 years or so. Most agricultural animals have a fairly short span, a few years. Therefore, by deliberate selective breading farmers can make-what-they-wish of some species, such as swine. Here, you are quite correct. Admitting that genetics are probably involved, we ought to recognize that Darwin works more slowly when the breeding process is organic rather than deliberate. Moreover, genetic peculiarities will breed-true only over a much longer period of time with humans vs. agricultural animals. North America has had a relatively short life-span; a few hundred years.

          Accordingly, it seems promising to observe how races: black; white; native; asian have exhibited intra-race variations in behavior over diverse political and socio-economic circumstances. It’s unlikely that intra-racial genetic make-up has changed much over such a short time; so, then, the variations in behavior within each race are probably influence by factors other-than-race.

          The really terrifying implication of Roth’s thesis is that the 2 most important factors are political. If – God forbid – he were correct, then the key to reducing homicide (and other violent crime) might lie in reforming our political system! How difficult is that going to be?

        • The only study that I’m aware of that has shown anything of a kind was “The Bell Curve”, and it was thoroughly debunked by now.

          The problem is that it’s really hard to account for all the variables. One simple example with “The Bell Curve” again: turns out that the amount of calories that you get as a child (up to a certain limit) during the time that your brain develops, correlates extremely well with your IQ as an adult. So when you factor that in on a per-country basis, it pretty much accounts for the IQ difference between those countries. In retrospect this is probably an obvious thing, but no-one has thought about it for a very long time.

          The other problem is that variables are too often dependent, and nearly impossible to disentangle. Being black, statistically, translates to being raised by poor parents (and, often, by a single parent), growing up in a violent neighborhood, going to a shitty school, getting harsher penalties for any infringements as a juvenile etc. You can say that it’s “in the culture”, but it can just as easily be explained as a self-sustaining, positive feedback system. How do you remove all that stuff out of the picture and account for race alone? You can’t.

        • You are correct; the problem with multicollinearity. It is NOT easy to wring-out the entangled variables; nevertheless, if enough good data are available, statisticians can make some progress here. The really important thing is to have – as you explained – at least some minimal insight into the problem of interrelationship among “independent” variables. This sort of insight is usually lacking among laymen; and, its why laymen are particularly vulnerable to jumping to conclusions prematurely.

          I hasten to add that highly-skilled professionals with an agenda are perhaps even more dangerous than laymen.

        • int19h, The work ‘The Bell Curve’ has been highly controversial, especially some of the conclusions drawn. However, I have not seen, nor heard, of any substantive discreditation of the facts in it. If you have a good source, I’m always interested. My use of the term “bell curve” is merely in the sense of statistical analysis – there’s always bell curve when you start plotting low-mid-high whatever. They can be misshapen, but they are always extant when you start plotting groups.

          MarkPA, We are on basically the same page. At the end of the day, it’s highly likely that it’s not just “race” per se, but we have actually admit that there is some sort of direct correlation to actually drill down on what the real origins are, and gain some valid insight. I’ll try to find some time this month to ‘slog through’ as well, but it may be a good minute – I haven’t been here for months as I simply haven’t had the free time. And this little sojourn has been a bit of a black swan.

        • I brought “The Bell Curve” up as one prominent example of a claim of direct correlation that doesn’t seem to be properly substantiated, and has had a lot of legitimate criticism; it wasn’t really a direct response to anything.

          As for specific references, there’s honestly just too many to list. Wikipedia article on the book has a nice, reasonably neutral, and fairly thorough section on criticism (and author’s response to it) that has a lot of references that you can look up. At some point, several notable responses and responses to responses have been aggregated into two books: “The Bell Curve Wars”, and the more recent “The Bell Curve Debate” – if you want a convenient single place to go to for a wealth of material on the subject, those two would be my recommendations, even though the quality of material in there varies.

          The adult IQ difference according to childhood nutrition is one point in that debate that deconstructs the core premise made by Murray (it’s obviously not genetic in origin, but seemingly accounts for most, if not all, of the difference on geographic scale).

  18. I like to let the race issue in gun crimes sneak up on people. Here’s how I like to do it.

    Some (typically liberal) urban coastal dweller goes on a rant about gun violence. They start bloviating about how we ignorant hayseeds in Wyoming are in love with guns, blah, blah, blah. You know, the usual liberal “We know so much better than you peons how to run your lives” rants.

    I point out that we here in Wyoming are a) the most heavily armed state, in guns per-capita, that b) we’re absolutely awash in pants-wetting-evil-black-guns iron here in this “big square flyover” state, and that c) we have a lower per-capita murder rate than most large Canadian cities and more than a few European cities/countries. How can this be if guns cause crime? What a conundrum!

    Then I point out that there is a statistically significant difference in our entire state from the most of the coastal cities in the US, and they (the visitors) can look around with only a casual glance and see it for themselves.

    Now, I sit back and wait. I watch the confusion and bewilderment cross their faces. I wait patiently, because most people visiting Wyoming can look around and notice what’s missing here from their home environments… Having winters get down to -20F for a week or two every winter with 30 to 50MPH winds tends to keep the members of the Free Stuff Army moving elsewhere.

    Most people need a few moments. I give them all the time in the world.

    Then the realization of what’s missing – or rather, who is missing occurs. You can see the look of “a-ha!” type realization cross their face. And I see that their liberal mentality completely disallows them from saying anything. I can see it in their shifty, porcine eyes. Then they get mad at me for putting them into their own little mental box, from where there is no easy escape.

    And then I smile like the Cheshire Cat, and wish them to have a nice day.

    • there is a statistically significant difference in our entire state from the most of the coastal cities in the US, and they (the visitors) can look around with only a casual glance and see it for themselves.
      I could post something about Northern and Western European rooted rural demographics in many Midwestern and Western States, but then I would be racist.

    • Why would the “liberal mentality” completely disallow anyone from pointing out the obvious difference in population density? I’m a liberal, and I have pointed it out numerous times. The tighter you pack people, the more crimes happen per capita – it has been demonstrated repeatedly over the course of history.

      (Yes, I know what you actually implied. Perhaps you should look at the factors closely yourself, and avoid preconceived conclusions.)

  19. When you point out crime statistics it gets really interesting because the majority of the people will say that your stats are from some “right wing site/talking head” and when you throw the Department of Justice card down, those same people do not know how to react and those stats kill quite a few threads…

    Is it racist? HELL NO!
    Its a really really INCONVENIENT TRUTH that people don’t like to face because it doesn’t support their narrative that angry fat white guys are killing people left and right.

    When Dylon Roof killed those people, they called it racist and blamed a flag (as well as the gun)
    When Vester Flanagan.killed, you didn’t hear anything from the left about his racist views. GUNS!

  20. What’s racist is attributing the reason as being tied specifically to race while ignoring broader context. To say that there is a problem of violence among impoverished black communities is a factual statement. To say that black communities cause violence because black is racist. There’s nuance to the data that is easily obfuscated by the baiters and the true racists on all sides, and the real problems never get addressed.

    The problem isn’t “multiculturalism” or any of that. Anchorage, Alaska is the most diverse city in the US (http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/12/us/most-diverse-place-in-america/) and yet it’s violent crime rate isn’t much different than any other city it’s size. So cities with *less* diversity have higher crime rates. There are other factors at work here. To focus solely on race not only appears racist, it pretty much is.

    • Grindstone, we disagree on many things, but we agree completely here.

      Personally, I attribute the disparity not to skin color, but rather to urban-vs-rural environments – i.e. there are problems that arise from extreme population density. The racial demographics of population-dense areas are merely coincidental.

      I also agree that race baiters (on both sides) obfuscate the true, underlying problems. Sadly, the people that most need the help, and who would most benefit from that help, are lost, because those issues are deemed to be simply too difficult to try to solve.

      • Density is a big sticking point, but there are others (which often correlate with density, sometimes with an obvious causative link, sometimes not). Poverty is one other big and obvious point – if you plot median income vs crime rates, they correlate really well (though you could argue that causative link here could go either way – in fact, it almost certainly works both ways, reinforcing itself). Then there’s more abstract stuff like social mobility (i.e. how easy it is to get out of poverty).

  21. I don’t really care about race. It’s simply not relevant the vast majority of the time. When it is, such as when the church shooter self-identified race as his motivational factor, it’s worth mentioning insofar as it is part of the factual context of the story. Nevertheless, race of the shooter and the victims is still about as meaningful to me as whether any of them has webbed feet.

    The biggest reason, IMO, that we don’t have as homogeneous a society as Japan is because the media and our government delight in identifying labels to differentiate us and stoke conflicts between the “groups.” Yes, I know the Civil Rights era is still visible in the rearview of history, and maybe not everything is perfect yet, but by and large I grew up after all that was sorted out and I don’t really care to participate in petty divisiveness. I’m quite content to identify as American first and a human being second and to consider any other U.S. citizen as part of the first club and everyone part of the second.

  22. Even if you don’t care about race, race still cares about you. Only Euro-American people are stupid enough to ask if action X is “racist.” Other groups just ask “Is it good for us?”

  23. Race, economic and educational level and prior arrest record are all relevant. I doubt that a lot of Black PhD’s get arrested for violent crimes.

    • Take any group of people, strip away their dignity, employability and will to succeed by teaching them they are hopeless victims.
      Then make them completely dependent on the government and cram them and their peers 6 deep into subsidized housing and see what happens.

      • ‘We’ recently (historically speaking) not only did all that, and took their property, and put them in internment camps. Anybody do that to blacks in the US in the 20th century? Bueller?

        Interestingly enough, the Asians came out the other side working hard and succeeding, despite the horrible things our gov and citizens did to them – which were far worse than was done to blacks throughout the entirety of the 20th century.

        I won’t even get into the Native Americans that we’ve tortured and lied to since day one. And still they found a way….

        • Indians; Chinese; Japanese; Blacks/Hispanics. Interesting array. It occurs to me that there might be at least one pattern emerging from this very small sample of merely 4 cases.

          The Indians were largely gathered into their own ghetto “reservations” where their livelihoods were supplied in significant part by annuities. Some were granted annual payments for their land; others, for mineral rights. (Absolutely nothing wrong about these payments from our own cultural perspective.) Most were given unilateral subsidies, welfare. Just enough to sustain themselves together with what little they could produce from otherwise poor agricultural resources and crafts. And here, by in large, these cultures remain stuck.

          Blacks were gradually improving their lot with a jump-start during the Reconstruction era. After Reconstruction ended, the Blacks were left on-their-own for the most part until the Great Society lent it’s helping-hand. We are familiar with the story so I need not elaborate.

          Japanese were well-established before Internment; and then their capital was destroyed by Internment. Eventually, restitution restored their capital base and thereafter they were left alone.

          The Chinese were uniformly treated like dirt and given no support.

          Who prevailed? What worked? What failed the beneficiaries? Is there any evidence from these experiences that an annuity barely sufficient to sustain life in the face of overwhelming discrimination is the wet blanket sufficient to douse the flame of initiative? Or, conversely, that the struggle for survival by one’s own effort is sufficient to overcome overwhelming discrimination?

          Moreover, there is another observation to be made. Economists speak of the components of production using, as a examples: land; labor; and, capital. In the pre-industrial era arable land was critical; those with a monopoly on tillable land were kings and lords. In the industrial era capital was critical; those who could construct or buy a mill were captains of industry. In today’s predominantly service-oriented economy, educated labor is critical; those who have or can rapidly cultivate valued skills are called “gold-coller workers”.

          Ironically, in our “capitalist” culture we have “socialized” education. In one way or another, this has been so for the last 150 years or so. Our societies (municipal and State) have pooled our resources and made education widely available to all comers. Initially, largely through parochial schools. Each sect educated its members’ children rich and poor alike. Later, public schools funded by taxpayers assumed the burden. While still imperfect, a basic education was available to the masses.

          Apparently, in our capitalist society, raw economic resources are no longer any restraint. Substantial education funding is spread across each State’s school districts to equalize – to a greater or lesser degree – the disparity in district tax bases. We cheerfully spend more per student than all the nations of the world but one.

          Land remains plentiful; but is no longer actually important. Capital is abundant and tooling has never been cheaper in any age nor in any country; and it’s importance has diminished somewhat overall. Education resources are key and they are available universally.

          What has gone wrong? What common thread emerges from all these experiences?

        • Mark, Thoughtfully written, I wish I had the time to respond in kind as it deserves. I do hope these bullet points will suffice as mental grist for the mill…

          The Japanese had long since recovered by ’88 when Reagan signed off on the “reparations”.

          Indians were a bit of the odd man out, as they got land and some illusory sovereignty to go with it. They figured out selling tax-free cigs and casinos a long time ago as well The “domain” was a distinct plus, that others haven’t the luxury of.

          What we do know, is that there is still much to learn and analyze. I just hope that we get to do that in a truly scientific fashion some day.

  24. If you just accept that everything you do is probably racist somehow and move on your life will be infinitely happier. 😛

  25. By definition, yes. It seems that location is more important. One is more likely to experience violent crime whilst in the inner portions of urban areas, regardless of what either party looks like.

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