Interesting graphic

I came across this graphic. I thought it interesting. I think their intent was to say gun control causes crime, but my first blush read isn’t that it’s saying gun control causes crime, but that other social changes that cause crime tend to lead to gun control, and then repeal of those stupid laws are usually caused by other social changes that, in concert with liberalized gun laws, tend to push crime back down.Ayj53JB[1]

Got the pic at , just FYI.

26 thoughts on “Interesting graphic

  1. It looks pretty sloppy to post graphs that are missing important things like UNITS. The trend may exist but please find something to support our point of view that doesn’t look sloppy.

    • Standard unit for homicide rate (which is what the title states) is deaths per hundred thousand population. The Y-axis numbers look about right from what I remember off the top of my head. But remember that a perfect chart that appeals to hard-science info-geek with many caveats, though “more correct” than this one may well not appeal to the average apolitical guy on the street. It may not even be comprehensible to them. Simple is good in the war of concepts if you are dealing with the left half of the bell curve. Right half too, if it makes them flail trying to defend an untenable position.

      • Yeah; anyone who’s paid even scant attention to this stuff knows that deaths per hundred thousand population is the standard when we speak of accident or homicide “rates”. The use of any other standard then, I would consider to be an attempt at deception.

  2. I look at that graph and I see something else. It may be due to my personal outlook, but I see murder rates having an inverse relationship to the general attachment to reason in the culture at large.

    In the early part of the 20th century American thought began to embrace Progressivism (incremental communism and the angst that goes with it). Prohibition flowed naturally from that embrace of collectivist insanity. The post WW II boom brought us back to some semblance of reality for a while (the family unit recognized as the foundation of civilization, with manhood as a critical component of the family unit), then the early 1960s beatnik movement and hippie/youth movement brought more insanity. There was a little dip during the Reagan years, etc.

    Now I see the disillusionment with the Republican Party as stalwart against collectivism and a re-thinking of the last 100 years of Progressive degradation.

    Wishful thinking? Maybe. Totally colored by my personal world view? Quite probably. Of course, along with my above interpretation would come increased respect for gun ownership at those times when reason begins to take hold.

    Note that the “Wild West”, if the chart can be believed, was largely a figment of popular imagination, and that the dire warnings of a “return to Dodge City” and “High Noon shootouts” with regard to concealed carry we heard coming from the left, when placed in context, could only be defined as either towering ignorance, outright insanity, or orchestrated deception.

    • Those were some of the social changes I was thinking about. I’d expect the homicide rate to fall in WW II because of the lack of military-age males, and then their no-nonsense getting-back-to-work when they returned.

    • The Wild West numbers are wrong. Here’s a thread from the Volokh archives that explains it:

      Also, do a search for “Monkkonen.” He was an historian who did extensive research on homicide through the ages. (Unfortunately, most of it is behind a paywall.) I seem to recall that at one point, Los Angeles had a homicide rate between 200 and 300 (per 100,000 people) which is the highest ever recorded in the USA.

      • I’m perfectly willing to stipulate the Wild West numbers are arguable, and highly variable depending on location and time-frame (for example, I’m sure the gold-fields during a major rush had a significant spike) The 20th C numbers, though, are likely more accurate.

        • I found the Los Angeles numbers — 1,240 per 100,000 between September 1850 and September 1851. (From the book “California: A History” by Kevin Starr, pages 84-85.)

          Compare that to today where Los Angeles had under 300 homicides in 2012 with a population of over 3.4 million.

        • The thing to remember about the “wild west” is that we can localize the most bloody occasions to the Lincoln County War and the Johnson County War, and places with great social upheaval such as California after the Mexican War and cattle terminuses (termini?) like Dodge City, where there were a lot of young men without social structure but with a lot of alcohol .

          The strongest argument against a “wild west” as bloody as legend is the fact that we know the names of the various shootists involved in the body counts; the James Gang, the Dalton Gang, the Younger brothers, and John Wesley Hardin. There was a neighborhood in New York called “Hell’s Kitchen”, and another called “Five Points”, immortalized in “The Sting” as the place the mark, Doyle Lonnegan was from. The cops did not go into those two neighborhoods in groups of less than FOUR, yet we know NOTHING of the identities of any of the people who gave Hell’s Kitchen its name or both places their reputations. But we know Hardin and Cassidy and Sundance and Wild Bill and Buffalo Bill and a number of others, because they were few enough to become known.

    • I find the work of Monkkonen better than most because he is neither an anti-gun nor a pro-gun historian. He was simply interested in homicides.

      Here is another link to something he wrote:'s%20exceptionalism.pdf

      Please note the footnote on page 81 where he states “Prior to the creation by the FBI of the ‘Uniform Crime Reports,’ there was no national crime data.”

      There was no UCR prior to 1930, so where do the numbers in the graphic above come from?

      • As I initially said about the graphic, it’s interesting. Didn’t claim it was perfect. But to your point: large cities have been notorious throughout history for higher crime rates than the countryside (there are occasional and notable exceptions to that generality, but in any case), so pointing to NYC at a period of high immigration (with NYC being the biggest single entry point) is hardly indicative of the nation as a whole. But your criticism of ‘where did he get the data, and how do we know it’s reasonable?” is a valid question. (BTW, you are one of the few anti-gunners that even attempts to argue numbers by citing sources that are not widely debunked already – thanks on that account). Short answer is: I don’t know, but I’m hoping someone can jump in here with it.

        • But maybe, what we believe about history is wrong? Here’s another gem from Monkkonen: “It may come as a surprise to learn that until 1957, New York City’s homicide rate was lower than that of the whole United States.” So, maybe homicide wasn’t higher in all of the cities?

          Also, as a gunnie, you might like this: “To assume that an absence of guns in the United States would bring about parity with Europe is wrong. For the past two centuries, even without guns, American rates would likely have still been higher. Anecdotes about murders committed with other types of weapons are more shocking than might be expected: in 1841, John Colt, brother of the inventor and marketer of the mass-produced revolver, hammered to death a creditor, Samuel Adams, stuffed his bloody body into a crate, and attempted to have it shipped to New Orleans. The gory list goes on: in nineteenth-century New York City, about 800 died by gun, 2,600 by other, less advanced means. (For twentieth-century New York City, for the eighty-six years for which I have data, the figures are approximately 29,000 by gun, 28,000 by other means.) The numbers are sobering.”

          He also notes that the work of Bellesiles is not reliable.

          Anyway, the work Monkkonen did was very thorough and objective. I wish more of it wasn’t hidden behind paywalls (I Google it every so often to see what is out there. Some stuff disappears and other stuff appears. ??? Maybe one day, I’ll get to read it all.)

          • Interesting. I’m quite sure there are many “well known facts” about history that are wrong. The only question is which facts? Of course, if Monkkonen is right about NYC, then the obvious questions are: what changed, there and elsewhere, that could have cause this, and why did it go down so low if it was so much higher earlier? I’m sure the list of possibilities to be investigated is endless, from abortion rates to lead paint or leaded gasoline to gun laws to desegregation to demographic shifts to political party changes. But for all the complexity and myriad possibilities, it’s clear that more stringent gun laws do NOT cause crime rates to fall, and allowing generally law-abiding folks to carry in self-defense doesn’t make the murder rate go up, all else being equal.

          • “He also notes that the work of Bellesiles is not reliable.”
            Considering that the Bancroft award to Bellesiles was rescinded and his book deemed a fraud; historian Garry Wills who praised his work when it came out later said “I was took, the book is a fraud,” and no new editions have been published, can we trust someone’s analysis when his assessment of Bellesiles major work is such anemic condemnation?

          • Windy,

            My paraphrasing. I don’t remember exactly what he wrote but it doesn’t have any quotes so he didn’t write that exactly.

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  4. You know what I hate? You post this graphic and then others pick it up and run with it like this:

    Nobody bothers to question it — and suddenly, it will become “fact” because nobody bothers to check anything anymore.

    At least people here were willing to question it a little. The chart only deals with Homicide rates — not “gun violence” or any of those other “we can make it mean what we want” kind of terms. Homicide rates. And the charts pre-1900 homicide rates are wrong and easily proven wrong.

    Anyway, now we’ll see a bunch of other “The Wild West wasn’t wild at all and hardly anybody died!” kind of facts thrown around, thanks to whoever created that chart.

    (By the way, I think that low, low Wild West rate was actually the homicide rate in New York City for that period. They were one of the few places that actually tracked homicides. I’d have to do some research to establish that, however.)

    • I’m not sure the low rate can be easily disproved. I do think it can be argued up or down somewhat because of sketchy records. But there are a number of pieces of research (Kates, Kopel, Lott, among others IIRC) showing that it wasn’t nearly as bad as the common “Wild West” perception might lead you to believe. I know part of the reason the rate has fallen is better medical tech saves more shootees, and I’ve heard good arguments that a better measure of a societies violence is the aggravated assault rate (the downside there is that it’s not tracked quite as accurately) because medical tech doesn’t change the outcomes on that very much.
      I also think there is a qualitative factor that these numbers, whatever they may be, don’t reflect. One gang-banger whacking two others may count as two murders, but it’s a net gain to society IMHO, and that’s not captured in any way in a graph like this. But to do so would step on the Left’s cherished notion that everyone is of equal value, when they clearly are not.
      But this chart DOES reflect, I think, that there are far more important issues affecting murder rates than the availability of guns, and gun laws, whatever those factors might be.

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