I’ll take ‘Blindingly Obvious Conclusions to Anyone Outside of the Ivory Tower’ for $500, Alex.
The team employed a mathematical construct known as entropy transfer, which can establish causal links between multiple variables by examining the degree to which one variable influences another. In these analyses, influence is defined as an improved ability to make predictions about the future status of a variable (in this case, background checks) based on present knowledge of another variable (media stories about gun control policy).
To further test the validity of the causal link, researchers also searched for influential relationships between mass shootings, background checks, and media coverage of gun-related topics that excluded discussion of gun control policies or regulations. The only link discovered was obvious: a causal link between mass shootings and media coverage of those events. The team also probed potential causal links between firearm background checks and media coverage of unemployment, which has been linked to higher rates of violent crime and could theoretically prompt heightened interest in acquiring firearms for self-defense. None was found.
“The results establish the first step toward our aim of creating a mathematical model of the firearm ecosystem in the United States that explains the relationships among key events,” said co-author Rifat Sipahi, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Northeastern University. “Moving forward, one key aspect of such a model will be to understand how subsequent events unfold and how the presence of time delays between them influence the fate of the ecosystem.”
– NYU School of Engineering in Mathematics ties media coverage of gun control to upticks in gun purchases