Geography 101 Lab Series: Research Review Part #1

This is the big one. The Lab where I got to pick the topic and find an article I wished to “critique” within one of the “scientific journals” at the college’s library.

I chose “The Roots of Homicide” by Rodger Doyle, which was published in the October, 2000 issue of Scientific American and decided I was going to make it pertinent to the course by classifying and titling it as “Violence in American Culture versus other Industrialized Nations”.

Essentially, Mr. Doyle’s conclusion is that the availability of lawfully owned firearms leads to high rates of homicide.

You know that is bunk. I know that is bunk. So I went about proving it.

This article contained a map of the western industrialized nations in the northern hemisphere that I can’t seem to get to load from the PDF file. It also included Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, but excluded Mexico and everything south of it, none of the Middle East, no part of the African continent, and no other part of Asia besides the already mentioned Japan.

Each nation was color-coded as per their national homicide rate. Except for America, which not only had it’s national homicide rate listed, but was also broken down state-by-state with each state being color-coded. Sources were the UN and the FBI.

I’ve posted the article below the fold for you to read, absorb and laugh at today. Tomorrow I’ll post my essay.

One thing to remember, I found no pro-2nd Amendment Rights articles in any of the scientific journals at my disposal within the college’s rather large selection. I found five anti-2nd Amendment Rights articles in 20 minutes of searching, and chose this one because it was one of the two most vomit inducing and definitely the most insipid.

This is the 2A equivalent of the Global Warming Death Cult’s “Peer-Review” process: If there are no pro-2nd Amendment Rights articles in scientific journals, then apparently, no one supports 2nd Amendment Rights, and consequently, there must not be a 2nd Amendment Right amongst the “respectable scientific community”.

Do try and enjoy.

The U.S. property crime rate matches those of most other industrialized countries, but its homicide rate exceeds western Europe’s by 4 to 1 and Japan’s by 7 to 1. The historical roots of this disparity may lie not in the Western frontier, as many believe, but in the institution of slavery and the unusual history of firearms in America.

In the antebellum South, whites used the threat of violence to intimidate blacks and encourage deference. In the view of historian Roger Lane of Haverford College, the respect demanded of slaves fostered a “culture of honor, ” in which a man’s personal worth was measured by how others behaved toward him. Trivial slights had to be answered immediately and with physical force, if necessary. Homicide resulting from quarrels did not usually result in a conviction. The Southern culture of honor spread to poor whites and to the slaves themselves, who eventually brought it to the inner cities of the North. Disrespect for the law was reinforced by the tendency of authorities to ignore murders of blacks by blacks. Current high homicide rates in the former Confederate states and in many large cities trace largely to the attitudes developed during slavery, according to Lane. He also says that high rates in the Southwest reflect in part attitudes among Mexican-Americans, many of whom also practice a culture of honor tracing to the region’s historical circumstances.

The American attitude on firearms is rooted in British North America, where all freemen, except in Quaker Pennsylvania, were required to carry arms for protection against the Indians, the French and others. The colonial era’s long guns and dueling pistols were expensive and hard to manipulate and thus were not often used in disputes. But then in the 1840s came the more efficient, cheaper and easily concealed Colt revolvers and with them, an increase in white homicide rates. More than 80 percent of gun murders today involve a handgun.

Among Western industrialized nations, gun ownership correlates with homicide: in England and Wales, where virtually no one owns a gun, the homicide rate in 1997 was only 1.3 per 100,000 population, whereas in Finland, which has the highest gun ownership level, the homicide rate was 2.7. If gun ownership were the only determinant of homicide, the U.S. rate would fall into the intermediate category shown on the map. It is the combination of easy access to guns and an extraordinary readiness to use them that helps make the U.S. homicide rate so high. According to Franklin Zimring and Gordon Hawkins of the University of California at Berkeley, up to half the difference in homicide rates between the U.S. and Europe is explained by greater gun use by Americans.

The U.S. has seen several waves of homicide, including one that peaked before the Civil War, a possible second wave that crested in the 1920s, and the current wave, which peaked in 1980. The ascending phase of this wave, which began in about 1960, more or less coincided with several trends that have been proposed as contributors to homicide: the decline of union manufacturing jobs; the breakup of families with the rise in divorce; the increase in births to unwed mothers; and the growth of illegal drug use. The decline in rates since 1991 coincided with the waning of the crack cocaine epidemic that started in 1985. Other developments, including greater police efforts to prevent gun carrying and the recent economic expansion, which provided more jobs, have played a role. The proportion of young men, always the most violent group in society, fell in the 1990s and so also contributed to the decline in homicides.

One of the most hopeful developments of recent years is detailed by Richard Curtis of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who found that many disadvantaged Puerto Rican and black youths in New York City became deeply disenchanted with the drug use of parents and older Siblings and are now attempting to reestablish their lives and their communities. Curtis believes that similar developments are happening in other cities across the country. Still, no one knows how the next generation of young men will feel and act, and no one can predict what devastating new drug might be concocted or how the fast-changing U.S. economy will affect the murder rate.

Tomorrow, my essay.

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4 Responses to Geography 101 Lab Series: Research Review Part #1

  1. Wildman7316 says:

    I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that the Europeans “label” things somewhat differently than we do here in the United States as I have learned somewhat painfully.

    In Germany it’s an “accidental death” if you are killed by a drunken or careless driver (classed as a vehicular homicide here) or if your killer is found to be “mentally ill”. Additionally, any death caused by a juvenile is “accidental”.

    Here in America, we call them “serial killers” and they are reported above the fold. In Germany they are “mentally ill” and their ferocious “privacy laws” keep it quiet and their victims have died “accidentally”.

  2. Drang says:

    The colonial era’s long guns and dueling pistols were expensive and hard to manipulate and thus were not often used in disputes.
    Obviously, he had access to Bellesiles’ no longer extant sources…

  3. Toastrider says:

    This must be an older essay, written before the stink-up in the UK about how police chiefs were underreporting violent crimes.

    The weird part about it is that you can see the author perceiving dimly that there might be other factors at work besides ‘those durn guns’, in the last couple paragraphs.

  4. Dalton Watson II says:

    As a proud, and lawful firearm owner, my immediate neighbors have both been burglarized through “home-invasion” techniques. I’ve never had a problem. My neighbor, to the left of my address, bought a gun, her problems ceased. The other neighbor, well, let us just say, he is harrassed almost every other day. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to do the math, does it?

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