Lott’s Mexico

Dr. John Lott had a new piece in the Wall Street Journal this week about Mexico’s extremely high murder rate despite its strict gun control laws.  

Photo Credit: The Wall Street Journal

The figures Lott quotes are staggering:  with almost six times as many murders per 100,000 people as in the U.S., Mexico has a serious problem.

By all accounts the problem may be of their own making.  As highlighted in the Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Mexico’s strict gun control measures began in 1972 ostensibly to control violence.  Presently only 1% of Mexicans possess a license to own a firearm, obtaining a permit to legally carry a pistol is unheard of and private sales are for all practical purposes forbidden yet since 1972 the murder rate has doubled! 

While addressing how many of Mexico’s crime guns come from the U.S., Dr. Lott explains why the 70% figure cited by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is grossly exaggerated. He points out that number is a select subset of a select subset and the actual number may be closer to 17%.

Furthermore, it appears evident the bulk of Mexico’s crime guns, often fully-automatic, are cartel supplied and originate in Central and South America or other international locations.  Once again, it is evidenced that when strict gun control laws leave the general population unarmed, vulnerable, and powerless, criminals will feel emboldened.  Layer onto this a history of military and police corruption along with a powerful cartel presence and you have the perfect recipe for out of control criminal violence.  

The Truth Is Scary To The Gun Prohibitionists!

The cult of personality known as Giffords sent out a fundraising email this afternoon. They called attention to the NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas and, in particular, to a seminar put on by Dr. John Lott regarding the false and misleading claims made by the gun control industry.

This weekend, the NRA gathers for its annual convention in Dallas, Texas.

And on Sunday morning, at 11 am, one of the most important events happens in two combined meeting rooms, D163 and D165, on the ground floor of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Conference Center. It’s titled:

“The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against the False Claims That Will be Made Against Guns During the Election”

Here’s the truth: the American people are wise to the game. They know that if more guns made America safer, we would be the safest nation on the planet.

But change will never happen until candidates and elected officials understand there is more to fear from all of us than what’s happening in Dallas this weekend.

They are correct about two things: the NRA gathers this weekend in Dallas and John Lott’s message is important. If Dr. Lott’s message, facts, and figures were not valid and not important, they would not have brought attention to it. If they didn’t consider it a threat, then they wouldn’t have attacked it.

Notice their sleight of hand in saying “if more guns made America safer, we would be the safest nation”. The former is comparative while the latter is superlative. Thus, in their false comparison used to attack gun ownership, one more firearm would make the US the safest country in the world. No one in the gun rights community has makes that argument.

Jonathan Sullivan aka Linoge at the blog Graphical Represention and its predecessor Walls of the City looked the gun control argument of more guns equal more deaths.  He found a negative correlation between the two. Moreover, he has replicated this study for a number of years as new data has become available. Using both firearms/death per capita and total firearms/deaths, he found a negative correlation. While it can’t prove that more guns equal less deaths, it can be used to show that more guns does not more deaths.

Read Sullivan’s work and read Dr. Lott’s work. Both have delved into the numbers and found the arguments of the gun prohibitionists and their gun control industry lacking.

John Lott, Mayor Daley, and Thugocracy

Mayor Richard M. Daley does not like guns unless they are in the hands of his bodyguards. It appears that he also doesn’t like scholars who challenge his cherished beliefs about the efficacy of gun control.

Heading that list is Dr. John Lott whose book, More Guns, Less Crime, attacked some of the most cherished assumptions of the gun control movement. In 1998, Lott was an Olin Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. It should be noted here that the University of Chicago is a private university and has no formal links with the City of Chicago.

Lott ran afoul of Daley back in 1998 and is only now telling the story. With Daley about to leave office, he felt it was time that the real story be told.

In December 1998, Daley held a conference with other anti-gun mayors to discuss suing gun manufacturers. To get an opposing view, Lott was asked by local Chicago TV reporters to meet and talk with them about the lawsuits. Scheduled to arrive at the venue after the mayors had finished, he arrived to find them running behind schedule. At the suggestion of a reporter, he went in to listen to the mayors’ presentations. Here is where it gets interesting as Lott describes it in an opinion piece for FoxNews.

When the audience started yelling questions, I raised my hand in an attempt to get called on. At that point a woman walked over to me and asked me if I was John Lott from the University of Chicago. I said that I was, and she informed me that I was not allowed to ask any questions — no additional explanation was offered.

This appeared awfully strange, and it bothered me that someone would be singled out in the entire crowd. So after about 10 minutes, I decided to raise my hand again to ask a question. The same woman reappeared, this time signaling to two plainclothes men to come up behind me where I was seated. The woman stated that only the press were allowed to ask questions and that I would have to leave. While she was speaking to me, one of the men gave me a couple of solid hits in my back and then pushed me hard on my shoulder, almost knocking me out of my chair. I told her that I wasn’t leaving, but that I wouldn’t raise my hand again.

Some in the audience noticed. A reporter from the Baltimore Sun (Joe Mathews) had been seated next to me and gave me his card, stating that he thought the whole thing looked surprising.

Not satisfied with having Lott roughed up, Daley went further a few days later.

On December 15, 1998, I learned from Dan Fischel, the law school’s Dean, that Mayor Daley had called up the president of the University of Chicago, Hugo Sonnenschein. Mayor Daley reportedly had told Sonnenschein that he had great plans for the relationship between the city and the school but that my continued presence at the university was going to do “irreparable harm” to that relationship.

I was then faced with two different termination options: immediately resign from the university or stay until July and promise not to talk to the press any more while I was there.

Lott went with Option 2 and kept away from the press until his appointment was to expire. In retrospect, Lott feels he should have resigned and gone to the press. However, at the time, as a young scholar, he was concerned about the impact on his career if he was ousted. Given that he had four kids at home, this was understandable.

As reported in the Illinois Review, a conservative journal, Lott withheld describing this incident in his 3rd. Editon of More Guns, Less Crime because the book is published by the University of Chicago Press. He felt it would have just been edited out. The Illinois Review has audio of his interview with Teri O’Brien here.

There are two issues in this story. First, that Mayor Daley would make threats to the president of a great university such as the University of Chicago and do so knowing he was immune from any backlash. Second, that the president of any university would kow-tow to a thug like Daley on an issue of academic freedom.

That Daley would threaten the president of a university just as if he were some corrupt land developer seeking the city’s approval for a project is not that surprising. It is the Chicago Way and I anticipate it will continue if, as seems likely, Rahm Emanuel is elected the next Mayor of Chicago. However, it is surprising that the president of a great university would roll over on Lott after threats from Daley. Chicago has long had a reputation for academic rigor, for innovative research, and great scholars. Its list of Nobel Laureates who have either attended or taught there is quite long.

The story reminds me of King Henry II and Thomas a’ Becket. When King Henry reportedly said “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest”, four knights of the royal court took that as the command to kill Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. However, unlike the murder of Beckett which outraged England, no one in Chicago seems to be outraged that John Lott was to be sacrificed to satisfy Richard Daley’s pique.