Thursday, January 10, 2013

Five Facts about Guns and Violence

In response to calls - some bordering on the hysterical - for more gun control, even to the extent of confiscation, we offer a few facts from a piece at
1. Violent crime – including violent crime using guns – has dropped massively over the past 20 years. The violent crime rate - which includes murder, rape, and beatings - is half of what it was in the early 1990s. And the violent crime rate involving the use of weapons has also declined at a similar pace.

2. Mass shootings have not increased in recent years. Despite terrifying events like Sandy Hook or last summer’s theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, mass shootings are not becoming more frequent. “There is no pattern, there is no increase,” says criminologist James Allen Fox of Northeastern University, who studies the issue. Other data shows that mass killings peaked in 1929.

3. Schools are getting safer. Across the board, schools are less dangerous than they used be. Over the past 20 years, the rate of theft per 1,000 students dropped from 101 to 18. For violent crime, the victimization rate per 1,000 students dropped from 53 to 14.

4. There Are More Guns in Circulation Than Ever Before. Over the past 20 years, virtually every state in the country has liberalized gunownership rules and many states have expanded concealed carry laws that allow more people to carry weapons in more places. There around 300 million guns in the United States and at least one gun in about 45 percent of all households. Yet the rate of gun-related crime continues to drop.

5. “Assault Weapons Bans” Are Generally Ineffective. While many people are calling for reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons – an arbitrary category of guns that has no clear definition – research shows it would have no effect on crime and violence. “Should it be renewed,” concludes a definitive study, “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
Here's a video that accompanies the article at
In the wake of a tragedy like Sandy Hook it's easy to succumb to the desire to do something, even if what we do is ineffective. Even so, whatever measures we take should be dictated by the facts and not by emotion. More gun control is not going to solve a problem that is, at its core, a symptom of moral degeneration and cultural rot.

Got the Flu?

Perhaps you did your due diligence and got a flu shot this year but nevertheless came down with the bug anyway and are wondering why.

An article at The explains that there could be several reasons although one of them, the particular strain of virus that you came down with was not included in the vaccine, doesn't apply to this year's breakout:
[W]hy does [the flu] seem to be so virulent this year? The most popular strain identified this season is Type A influenza H3N2, which is historically associated with more serious illnesses. It is also among the strains covered by the flu vaccine.
The article goes on to give two other problems with the immunization that may apply in cases where a person got the shot this year but still got ill:
But as Cranston said “no vaccine is 100 percent effective.” One reason is the lag time between vaccination and active immunity. A person who received a flu shot but comes in contact with the virus before the vaccine becomes effective — between 10 days and two weeks — they are still susceptible to becoming ill.

[Moreover] recent studies have shown that the flu vaccine as a whole is only about 59 percent effective at preventing the illness... [T]he vaccine [also] appears to be less effective for the elderly, which is a population often highly encouraged to receive the shot in the first place.
So, the lesson seems to be get the shot early next year before you're exposed to the virus and hope that you're among the 59%.