Sunday, 1/6/13, Public Square

police state


by | January 6, 2013 · 6:00 am

6 responses to “Sunday, 1/6/13, Public Square

  1. Andy Borowitz says —

    I’m not sure how the NRA’s plan of having a sane person with a gun near every insane person with a gun will be implemented.

  2. A short interactive quiz about the news. I actually missed two (number 2 and 8). Surprised me that I only answered 6 of 8 correct.

  3. This is an interesting article!

    (from the link): Experts often suggest that crime resembles an epidemic. But what kind? Karl Smith, a professor of public economics and government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has a good rule of thumb for categorizing epidemics: If it spreads along lines of communication, he says, the cause is information. Think Bieber Fever. If it travels along major transportation routes, the cause is microbial. Think influenza. If it spreads out like a fan, the cause is an insect. Think malaria. But if it’s everywhere, all at once—as both the rise of crime in the ’60s and ’70s and the fall of crime in the ’90s seemed to be—the cause is a molecule.

    A molecule? That sounds crazy. What molecule could be responsible for a steep and sudden decline in violent crime?

    Well, here’s one possibility: Pb(CH2CH3)4.

    The biggest source of lead in the postwar era, it turns out, wasn’t paint. It was leaded gasoline. And if you chart the rise and fall of atmospheric lead caused by the rise and fall of leaded gasoline consumption, you get a pretty simple upside-down U: Lead emissions from tailpipes rose steadily from the early ’40s through the early ’70s, nearly quadrupling over that period. Then, as unleaded gasoline began to replace leaded gasoline, emissions plummeted. Gasoline lead may explain as much as 90 percent of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century.

    Intriguingly, violent crime rates followed the same upside-down U pattern.

    America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead
    New research finds Pb is the hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs, and even the ADHD epidemic. And fixing the problem is a lot cheaper than doing nothing.

    • wicked

      I read then skimmed the article. I fail to see a correlation between lead and ADHD, since there are more cases of ADHD now than when lead was used in gasoline. The comment that lead has anything to do with “developing ADHD” is ridiculous. The only way that could happen would be if a fetus were affected, because ADHD doesn’t “develop.” If these people were to study ADHD and other disorders like it, they would find that many of those who deal with it have high IQs, not “lower IQs” as was stated in the article.

      I could accept additives in the food much more than lead in gasoline, since lead was removed from gasoline…and paint and other things…long before the current generation was thought of, much less born.

      Just one more “study” that’s skewed to make the cause fit the outcome.

      • I’m positive your skepticism is warranted, and I’m not going to become a true believer from this one article, however, I do think more study is needed before it can be dismissed.

        On page two —

        So is this all just an interesting history lesson? After all, leaded gasoline has been banned since 1996, so even if it had a major impact on violent crime during the 20th century, there’s nothing more to be done on that front. Right?

        Wrong. As it turns out, tetraethyl lead is like a zombie that refuses to die. Our cars may be lead-free today, but they spent more than 50 years spewing lead from their tailpipes, and all that lead had to go somewhere. And it did: It settled permanently into the soil that we walk on, grow our food in, and let our kids play around.

        That’s especially true in the inner cores of big cities, which had the highest density of automobile traffic. Mielke has been studying lead in soil for years, focusing most of his attention on his hometown of New Orleans, and he’s measured 10 separate census tracts there with lead levels over 1,000 parts per million.

        To get a sense of what this means, you have to look at how soil levels of lead typically correlate with blood levels, which are what really matter. Mielke has studied this in New Orleans, and it turns out that the numbers go up very fast even at low levels. Children who live in neighborhoods with a soil level of 100 ppm have average blood lead concentrations of 3.8 μg/dL—a level that’s only barely tolerable. At 500 ppm, blood levels go up to 5.9 μg/dL, and at 1,000 ppm they go up to 7.5 μg/dL. These levels are high enough to do serious damage.

        Lead in soil doesn’t stay in the soil. Every summer, like clockwork, as the weather dries up, all that lead gets kicked back into the atmosphere in a process called resuspension. The zombie lead is back to haunt us.

  4. This piece is from April, 2012, but contains many historical facts and statistics that are still timely. It’s so easy to forget how things evolved and when. The issues on guns that exist today are fairly new so we don’t need to go back too far to get to the point we are today.

    (from the link): There are nearly three hundred million privately owned firearms in the United States: a hundred and six million handguns, a hundred and five million rifles, and eighty-three million shotguns. That works out to about one gun for every American.

    The United States is the country with the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world. (The second highest is Yemen, where the rate is nevertheless only half that of the U.S.) No civilian population is more powerfully armed. Most Americans do not, however, own guns, because three-quarters of people with guns own two or more. According to the General Social Survey, conducted by the National Policy Opinion Center at the University of Chicago, the prevalence of gun ownership has declined steadily in the past few decades. In 1973, there were guns in roughly one in two households in the United States; in 2010, one in three. In 1980, nearly one in three Americans owned a gun; in 2010, that figure had dropped to one in five.

    Men are far more likely to own guns than women are, but the rate of gun ownership among men fell from one in two in 1980 to one in three in 2010, while, in that same stretch of time, the rate among women remained one in ten. What may have held that rate steady in an age of decline was the aggressive marketing of handguns to women for self-defense, which is how a great many guns are marketed. Gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, higher in the country than in the city, and higher among older people than among younger people.

    Battleground America
    One nation, under the gun
    Read more: