Sunday, December 20, 2015

December, 2015, Part 3, By The Numbers

This is the first post this month as we continue our periodic discussion of “by the numbers.” We do this theme occasionally where we look at the reality of the numbers in the world and not the lies, deceptions, and spin of the American political class. I used to work for a boss whose favorite quote was: “There is nothing more devastating to an opinion than the correct number.” By looking at the statistics, trends, and numbers in our world we can cut through the politicians’ smoke screen to truly understand what is going on and hopefully, remedy the issues of the day.

And there will be a lot of smoke to cut through in the next few posts. Much of what we will touch on has to do with many of the current lies, deceptions, and ignorance many politicians, including this President, have been spewing regarding gun control and terrorism, two topics that this President seem to want to link together to his political gain. 

If you have an inability to believe that guns are anything but evil or that this President always stays in integrity, than do not waste your time reading any further. The numbers we will be reviewing come from reputable sources, often from the Obama administration itself, and these numbers will prove that the American political class only use facts when they fit their political aims and schemes.

1) Mother Jones never be mistaken for a conservative, Republican, or right wing entity. Thus, whenever it does not come down on the side of Obama, liberals, or Democrats you really have to sit up and take notice. It did just that recently when it put forth a cogent argument that there have NOT been 355 mass shootings in this country in 2015, as claimed by many on the left side of the political spectrum. In fact, according to Mother Jones calculations, that number is off by a whopping 351, that only 4 mass shootings have occurred in 2015.

In a recent New York Times article, Mother Jones editor Mark Follman explained why the 355 number is so bogus: “At Mother Jones, where I work as an editor, we have compiled an in-depth open-source database covering more than three decades of public mass shootings. By our measure, there have been four “mass shootings” this year, including the one in San Bernardino, and at least 73 such attacks since 1982.”

The four attacks that Mr. Follman identifies as reaching the threshold for a mass shooting in 2015 are Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (9 killed), the military offices in Chattanooga (5 killed). Umpqua Community College (9 killed), and San Bernardino (14 killed). If you believe their analysis, then since 1982 there have been on average about 2.4 mass shootings a year in this country. While having four this year is 66% higher than the long term average,we are still talking only 4 in total.

As we said yesterday, no one should die in a mass shooting attack in this country. But the numbers are so small that it in no way justifies shredding the Second Amendment.

2) Researchers at George Washington University recently published a study that quantified arrests of ISIS sympathizers within the United States since March, 2014. The numbers are a little frightening:
  • 56 people have already been arrested this year for helping to support or plot with ISIS.
  • This is the largest single year total arrests for terrorism in the country since 2001.
  • The current set of those arrested for terrorism are younger and more likely to include women than the historic mix has been.
  • Since March, 2014, 71 people have been arrested with 56 of those arrests coming this year, indicating a potential upward trend in terrorism arrests.
  • “The individuals range from hardened militants to teenage girls, petty criminals and college students,” said Lorenzo Vidino, the director of the university’s program on extremism, which conducted the study. “The diversity is staggering.”
  • The study, titled “ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa.” 
  • John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security, has asserted that of the terrorism-related arrests in the past 18 months, mostly related to the Islamic State, 80% of those arrested were younger than 30, and 40% were under 21 while 14% were women.
  • More than 50% of those arrested had tried to travel abroad, usually to Iraq or Syria.
So more Americans are being arrested for terrorism, ISIS is winning the battle of the minds via social and online media in converting people to radical Islam, and this President wants to disarm Americans for no quantifiable reason at all. Pure insanity in light of the numbers and the threat they pose.

3) A recent study by Pew researchers found that Americans trust neither the national news media to be a positive for the country and they certainly do not trust Washington or the politicians that serve there:
  • 65% of those polled say the national news media negatively impacts the country.
  • 82% of Republicans say the national news media has a negative impact.
  • Only 19% of those polled believe they can trust the government and politicians in Washington with only 3% saying they can trust Washington “just about always” and only 16% saying they trust Washington “most of the time.”
  • In 1997, 37% of Americans said that the government needed “very major reform” while in 2015 that number has jumped to 59% saying that government needed major reform.
  • 53% of those polled wanted a smaller Federal government with fewer services while 38% want a bigger government with more services.
  • 89% of Republicans distrust government and 72% of Democrats distrust government.
Not a very pretty picture of trust and integrity by the numbers in the country right now. None of us trust the media to be a positive impact, a view with far reaching implications for freedom and liberty since historically a free, independent, and trusted press has helped keep government and politicians in check. A majority of us want less government and politicians in our lives and a vast majority of us do not trust government or the politicians who operate it. Very sad state of affairs.

4) A recent article on the CNS News website by Mark Perry followed up on the CDC study we discussed yesterday, how the growth in gun sales and gun ownership occurred as the violent crime rate was plummeting. The article pointed out that in 1993, there were 7 firearm related homicides for every 100,000 Americans. By 2013, that rate had dropped by almost half to 3.6 homicides per 100,000 population (Clikc on the graph for a larger view):

From 1993 until 2013, the number of privately owned guns grew from about 185 million to 357 million in 2013. Looking at the population change, the number of guns went from .93 per person in 1993 to 1.45 in 2013 and still the homicide rate dropped.
Now correlation does not necessarily mean causality. But given that there are daily reports of citizens using their legally obtained and used guns to protect lives and property, it is not a stretch to assume that properly armed and trained citizens reduce crime because criminals, usually just adult bullies, are also afraid of dying.Another view of the same data shows that the number of weapons owned is up 56% since 1993 while the homicide rate from guns is down 46% since then. As always, the numbers do not lie as they are the only source of reality, not politicians rantings and lying.

More numbers tomorrow.

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