Michael Bloomberg’s legacy is alive and well and has now infiltrated America’s heartland at the University of Illinois. Today, the University of Illinois at Chicago is busily promoting a new junk science study about guns to the mainstream media. The study makes the highly dubious claim that police officers are most likely to be killed in states with the highest gun ownership . . .
The study is plagued with problems, and every one of its authors have close, long-time ties to Michael Bloomberg and his money. These factual and ethical problems haven’t stopped an associate director of news at the University of Illinois from working on the public dime to sell this agitprop as hard news.
About the University of Illinois
The University of Illinois is Illinois’ crown jewel of higher education. With a Champaign-Urbana campus, a Chicago campus (UIC) and a recently added Springfield campus, it serves over 70,000 students with an operating budget of $4.17 billion.
Yes, $4.17 billion.
The U of I has been in the news lately with one scandal after another, likely to cost the university many millions in the coming months and years.
But today the U of I has demonstrated that they still have plenty of extra money to fund junk science and then pimp it out like a cheap prostitute to the mainstream media. If this is the sort of work the University of Illinois is doing, then yes, there are many better places we could spend that money to get better results for our state’s residents.
Perhaps it’s time we encourage our elected State of Illinois Representatives and Senators – and the governor – to re-evaluate the Prairie State’s level of funding for the University of Illinois?
Here’s what the UIC is promoting to the media:
Police more likely to be killed on duty in states with high gun ownershipCamden and Newark, New Jersey, are perceived as two of the most violent cities in the nation, yet New Jersey’s police officers are among the least likely to get shot on the job. Montana, with its serene landscapes and national parks, has among the highest homicide rates for law enforcement officers. Why?
Across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, homicides of police officers are linked to the statewide level of gun ownership, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study found that police officers serving in states with high private gun ownership are more than three times more likely to be killed on the job than those on the job in states with the lowest gun ownership.
Previous studies have linked firearm ownership with higher overall firearm death rates in the United States and internationally.
Previous studies have also shown that cigarettes don’t cause cancer, that African-Americans have lower intelligence than whites, that Thalidomide was safe for pregnant women, and that so-called man-made global warming will doom us all. Just because a study supports a conclusion doesn’t make it science. It must be peer-reviewed, replicated and further studied.
Until now, none of the studies have examined the increased risk to law enforcement personnel.
David Swedler, the lead author of this study, has been working on this angle in his anti-gun research for years. From the Fall 2013 issue of the Johns Hopkins Magazine.
In 2010, David Swedler set out to better understand police officer homicides. How and why were cops dying on the job? A doctoral candidate in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Swedler wanted to go beyond the figures recorded in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.
Back to the UIC’s press release:
Statewide gun ownership rates were calculated using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual nationwide survey that collects data over a wide range of health topics (including household firearm ownership) as well as state-level data on gun-related suicides, which have been proven to accurately reflect gun ownership rates.
Emphasis added. How proven and by whom? The fact is they are badly flawed. Let’s look at their claims of gun ownership for the State of Illinois:
2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: “Are any firearms now kept in or around your home? Include those kept in a garage, outdoor storage area, car, truck, or other motor vehicle.”
Illinois* 2,103 survey size 396 20.2% YES 1,707 79.8% NO
The 2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System claims that 20.2% of Illinoisans surveyed reported they owned guns in 2001. Illinois, until 2008, has consistently had about 1 to 1.1 million FOID cardholders. Illinois law requires anyone owning or possessing guns or ammunition to have a FOID card. Possession of a firearm without a FOID card is a felony in Illinois.
Illinois’ population was 12.49 million in 2001. Assuming 1.1 million FOID cards, Illinois’ firearm ownership rate was 8.8% in 2001, or just over 40% of what the BRFSS claimed. And that generously assumes every FOID card-holder is also a gun-owner.
Pinning down state-wide levels of gun ownership is difficult at best. A stranger calling on the phone asking about gun ownership in the household is about as likely to get a straight answer as surveys asking about extra-marital affairs, venereal diseases, recreational drug use or income levels.
Based on their data, Swedler and his colleagues estimate that a 10 percent higher statewide firearm ownership would have resulted in 10 more law enforcement officer homicides in each state over the 15 year study period.
More law-abiding gun owners are a lethal threat to law enforcement officers? That’s like saying increasing fire extinguisher ownership rates are a lethal threat to firefighters.
“Statewide firearm ownership is definitely a risk factor for police officers,” Swedler said. “Higher private gun ownership increases the frequency with which officers encounter life-threatening situations. If we care about the safety of those officers, then we need to think about them when considering state gun laws.”
Let’s put that in perspective. Some states report that over 30% of all homicides – including those of police officers – are committed by illegal aliens.
Illegal Alien Crime Accounts for over 30% of Murders in Many States
- Between 2008 and 2014, 40% of all murder convictions in Florida were criminal aliens. In New York it was 34% and Arizona 17.8%.
- During those years, criminal aliens accounted for 38% of all murder convictions in the five states of California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and New York, while illegal aliens constitute only 5.6% of the total population in those states.
- That 38% represents 7,085 murders out of the total of 18,643.
The Texas Department of Public Safety reports that between 2008 and 2014, 35% of the all murder convictions were illegal aliens—averaging 472 murders each year from 2004 to 2008.
Perhaps David Swedler should have instead focused on a much more immediate danger to Americans, including our police officers: illegal aliens. Perhaps our focus should be on deporting illegals instead of infringing upon Constitutional rights. After all, illegal aliens are committing hundreds of homicides each year and millions of crimes across America.
America would be a safer place without illegal alien crime, would it not? Don’t we want safer cities, neighborhoods and families?
Back to the UIC solicitation to the media:
Molly Simmons of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Francesca Dominici and David Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health are co-authors on the paper.
Yes, the prolific anti-gun “researcher” David Hemenway has been behind anti-gun junk science, paid for and/or pimped by Michael Bloomberg-, George Soros and other billionaire-funded foundations for over a decade. It’s all been dubious at best and an outright flim-flam at worst. Dominici has also worked as a postdoctoral fellow and later promoted to a professor with tenure at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Sadly, anti-gun research is given much less scrutiny than hard science by public health journals in the mainstream media. It’s almost as if they know it’s flawed.
What’s worse, when credible researchers ask for the data used in anti-gun “science” in an attempt to verify and replicate the findings, Hemenway and friends are too often reluctant to offer it.
(NRA-ILA) – It is common practice among legitimate researchers to give their peers access to data used in their studies, so that other researchers can review both the data and the methodology used in their analysis. Without such “peer review,” a study`s findings typically are not assumed to be valid. Many scholarly journals will not even publish an article summarizing the results of a study until the data and methodology have been peer reviewed.
Regrettably, however, medical and public health journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicineand the Journal of the American Medical Association, routinely publish articles on studies by anti-gun researchers held to a lower degree of scrutiny and academic standards. As civil rights lawyer and firearm issue scholar, Don B. Kates, has explained, since 1979 elements of the American public health community have promoted “gun control” by funding, producing and publishing studies that “prostitute scholarship, systematically inventing, misinterpreting, selecting, or otherwise manipulating data to validate preordained political conclusions.”1
Recently, prolific anti-gun researcher David Hemenway, of Harvard University`s Injury Control Research Center, released an article on a survey he and colleagues conducted, hoping to undermine laws respecting the right of people to carry firearms for protection. Their theory was that there would be a correlation between “road rage” incidents (including situations in which a rude hand gesture was made) and the presence of a gun in an automobile.2
Among the survey`s obvious flaws, it did not ask people whether they had ever used or observed a gun (as perpetrator, witness or victim) in any such incident. Instead, it asked people whether they had ever been involved in such an incident and, separately, whether they had at any time ridden in a vehicle in which a gun was present. Thus, it did not determine whether there were guns in any vehicles involved at the time of such incidents, let alone whether guns were brandished or used.
John Lott, Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Michael Brown, of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws, took a quick look at Hemenway`s article and humorously observed that it showed that “liberals are much more likely to engage in road rage (both making obscene gestures and driving aggressively) than conservatives.” To thoroughly evaluate the survey, Lott has since asked Hemenway to share his data, but, he says, “Hemenway is not responding.” Seehttp://johnrlott.tripod.com/2006/03/hemenway-and-co-authors-refuse-to.html for more information about Lott`s attempt to evaluate Hemenway`s silly anti-gun “study.”
(This post originally appeared at gunssavelife.org and is reprinted here with permission)