Linky Friday #146: Crime & Daeshment


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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162 Responses

  1. Avatar mike shupp says:

    H3. Give a point to Emily Badger. I’m in west Contra Costa county in California these days, just across the bay from San Francisco, and housing is scarce and expensive. But it’s also inefficient — lots of little regions with small single family dwellings on microscopic lots, lots of streets lined with 40-50 year old apartment buildings. Which sounds sort of densely packed, but virtually everything is 1 or 2 storys high.

    Contra Costa county has about a million people. Knock everything down with a nice big earthquake and rebuild with 3 or 4 story units, and it could handle another million — which would make the rest of the San Francisco area much more comfortable and affordable.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      My mom lives in Walnut Creek. Contra Costa seems to be a largely suburban county. The interesting thing is that people are moving to the farther regions of Contra Costa to get their American dream house and property. I read an article about Bay Area ultra commuters and this included people who lived in Discovery Bay and worked in SF or even Redwood City.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Just need an earthquake. Any idea how to order one of those up?Report

      • Avatar Zac says:

        Yeah, just start doing a shitload of fracking. It’s a win-win!Report

      • Avatar mike shupp says:

        Ordring up an earthquake? Beats me, but if the folks in 1906 could get one, with considerably less infrastructure and technological expertise than we have, I’m sure it’s within the realms of the possible. I know — let’s outsource the problem to Silicon Valley,Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      My main problem with H3 is that it doesn’t acknowledge that suburban municipalities are just as fierce in keeping population densities down low as any urban municipality as you suggest in your comment. The land around BART stations or LIRR, Metro North, and NJ transit stations in the New York Metropolitan Area could easily be up zoned to allow for more dense, walkable, and mixed used development. There isn’t a political will to do so. Suburban municipalities want to remain suburban with single family homes, yards, and car dependent transportation. Well off urban neighborhoods do not want more people in them for a variety of reasons and the poorer urban neighborhoods like the benefits of gentrification but not the displacement. It is a giant collective action problem.Report

      • Avatar mike shupp says:

        What’s odd, to me, is that well into the 20th Century, city neighborhoods having buildings with shops on the ground floor and apartments above, used to be fairly common in this country. I don’t know if municipalities wiped them out with zoning restrictions or if developers just knocked them down and replaced them with more profitable office buildings. Anybody got a clue?

        But the point is, we had this sensible seeming housing pattern once upon a time, and might conceivably act to get it back. Though to be practical these days, we’d probably have to beef up city buses and subways considerably.Report

        • Avatar Robert Greer says:

          My understanding is that we don’t see many mixed-use buildings anymore mostly because of bad zoning decisions. New York City still has a lot of mixed-use properties, mostly because those zoning restrictions didn’t exist when the city was being developed in the late 1800s. Walkable neighborhoods are associated with higher property values, so it wouldn’t make sense (at least at first glance) for developers to replace mixed-use buildings with one or the other.

          Most American cities have seen most of their growth (and therefore their development decisions) in the middle of the 20th century, when the federal and state governments aggressively promoted car culture, which is why the older parts of NYC are outliers in terms of walkability.

          There’s a good book on this topic: “Green Metropolis”, by David Owen.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            There is some truth to this, for sure. I still see the apartments-above-retailers quite a bit in some smaller cities with looser zoning restrictions and older cities where the zoning did not occur on the same time frame.

            In “Colosse”, they’ve actually tried to force mixed-used structures through application-approval process. There was a big to-do where CVS wanted to build a pharmacy and the city wouldn’t approve it unless they had apartments above it. CVS objected on the grounds that they are a pharmacy and not a landlord and they have a business model that doesn’t deal with any of this, so it never got built.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe says:

              Arlington, va had a mandate over the last 10 years or so that all new construction of a given density or above (I think 4 floors) had to include ground floor retail (which could also be restaurants). This helped create the ‘street scene’ but did lead to a lot of vacancies during the peak of the great recession (though it hit there less than just about everywhere else in the world. Otoh, the commercial real estate market there is still super soft with >20% vacancy due to the last round of BRAC)

              On a separate note, the places that often still have mixed used corner stores are also normally noted a ‘food deserts’Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                On a separate note, the places that often still have mixed used corner stores are also normally noted a ‘food deserts’

                The Kroger chain in Denver has opened a full-blown suburban supermarket (sans most of the parking spaces) on the ground floor of a new Lodo development, with a four-story 314-unit apartment complex sitting on top of it. Studio apartments start at just under $1,500 per month. It will be interesting to see how it does.Report

              • I’m assuming this is pretty normal in Manhattan, since in Friends they all lived above Central Perk and everybody but Barney lived above Maclaren’s.Report

  2. Avatar InMD says:

    [S3] was really a wonderful meditation… and an awesome description of why I’ve found it so difficult to completely kick cigarettes (I’ve gone fron a regular to an occasional social smoker, not that my heart and lungs care). It’s the perfect activity for stepping away for a few minutes. Truly it’s a shame about the health effects.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Once upon a time, I used to meet people through smoking. You know, you’d step outside for a some, there’d be other people who’d done the same, and up the conversations would be struck. I got a few dates that way, once upon a time, and know a married couple who met that way (they’re both non-smokers now).

      Smartphones have the opposite effect, of course. You walk out, hop on your phone to check your texts or your email or the weather (while standing in it) or what’s going on at OT, and the other people around you barely exist.

      I don’t miss anything about smoking but the social aspect.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    S4: What the guy did was commendable. There’s a sweet spot somewhere more extravagant than where he is and somewhere less extravagant that where the ROTW is. That’s the key.Report

    • I agree. What he did isn’t an option available to everyone, but the fact that he could and did do that is quite commendable. (By the way, my google search wasn’t able to find an obvious definition for rotw….what does that mean?)Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        “Rest Of The World.”

        I remember when my ex and I had credit card debt. At the time it was a lot. 7-8k. We buckled down and paid it off over several months. The BEST feeling was knowing that monkey was off your back.Report

        • Thanks. I can imagine. I’m really eager to pay off my student loans. I’ve done about 20% of the principal already. If I were willing to save more and do without some luxuries, I’d probably be able to make it 50% in 2 years. Yes, it’s a nice feeling eliminating one’s debts.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            I’ve been overpaying on my wife’s Master degree loans (and my mortgage). Our undergraduate ones are at 1%, so that’s…low priority.

            But it’s nice every time I hit a milestone on those.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Not if you expect inflation.
      Find More Debt, folks, the rates are headed up again!
      I believe inflation hedges are a good thing, particularly when you can get rates below 4%Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    P1: Isn’t Donald as a secret democratic operative an old meme? I don’t believe so. I think it is fascinating about how no one knows how to react to Donald. Worried Democrats like me and the LGM crowd see Donald as bringing out a fascist and authoritarian streak. Less worried Democrats like North see Donald as good entertainment. The GOP that hates him is going tin foil.Report

  5. Avatar Chris says:

    P5: As I was saying on Twitter at the time, the response to this was typical elitist bullshit: “Look at the stupid country bumpkins.” The local article mentions the couple whackos, but doesn’t say that’s why the city council voted the way it did. Instead, it’s pretty clearly about property values. But people were all too ready to believe that the residents of a small southern town were that stupid.Report

  6. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    G1: Arapaho opposes the CWR for the same reason most of the Mountain West does: it gives the EPA the implicit authority to shut down the agriculture industry in each of them. Colorado, for example, has on the order of 6,000 miles of irrigation ditches that could be regulated under the rule — they don’t meet the conditions for an exception.Report

  7. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    C3: I’m not really a fan of these sorts of criminal gets poetic justice stories. They bring outside the worst aspects of humanity and finding amusement in the horrible death or misfortune of another person isn’t something that we should indulge in as a species even if you could make a good faith argument that they deserved it in some way.Report

  8. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    S4: This might be a question of different values because I see the criticism in the article as being valid. There are certainly people like than man in the above article that could set an extraordinary financial goal for himself and follow through with it. The problem comes when such people are used as political reasons for imposing extreme financial discipline on the majority of people as a matter of public policy. This as happened a lot through history. What the article is protesting against is turning those capable of extreme financial discipline into a cudgel to be used against most that can’t.Report

  9. C1: Ramsey said nearly 11 minutes passed before any other officers, medics or firefighters learned Thomas had been shot.

    That’s criminal right there, or should be. Certainly grounds for dismissal.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      “Negligent but not criminal.”

      Such space shouldn’t exist for cops.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Even when they discovered he’d been shot, the cop didn’t tell them he’d shot him. So they dispatched cops to the bar he’d come from to figure out if someone there had shot him.

      If that cop isn’t fired, it will perhaps be the best example yet of how incredibly broken the system is.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Well, he has the right to remain silent. In fact, we he mirandized? If not, he’s the real victim.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Clearly this was an honest & innocent mistake on the part of the officer, with no malice intended, thus it was not criminal & the officer should not be charged.


        Unions are part of the issue, as are asinine laws like officers bill of rights, but a unreasonably sympathetic judiciary is the largest contributor. Judges are supposed to enforce equal treatment under the law & call out bullshit legal arguments justifying a different standard.

        Scalia’s claim that we can trust to the professionalism of the police has been shown to be hollow.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          @oscar-gordon Oh yeah unions have their part. But like you said the judges have a big part. And even more it is DA’s who don’t’ prosecute or do it ham handedly. To many regular people don’t give a crap so that judges, DA’s and PD’s themselves don’t have enough pressure to change.

          Liberal types like me criticizing Scalia is an old tune. A correct one though.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          An almost incestuous relationship between the DA’s office and cops do not help. Getting a DA to even consider possibly level charges against a cop is almost a minor miracle. You need some very egregious behavior that doesn’t possibly fall under the color of duty like the serial rapist in Oklahoma.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            I’m surprised no one has tried the affluenza defense with cops yet.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              Considering how rarely they get put on trial, its not really necessary to think of novel defenses for them. For the rare instances when cops get tried, they already possess a detailed list of established defense.sReport

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                The Baltimore cop who just got a hung jury used something along those lines, saying that even though he violated policy & common sense, he should not be held to account because everyone did it & leadrship didn’t seem to care, so it’s not fair to make an example of him.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                We really need to burn it all down and start again.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Did you stop to consider the DA brought a BS charge in the first place? Just bc you might have violated an internal policy doesn’t necessarily make him guilty. If the DA cant convict him they aren’t going to convict any others.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                So if I fail to buckle my kid in the car & he gets hurt, it’s BS charge?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                If the DA changed you with criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter, then yes it would be a BS charge.Report

              • Avatar notme says:


                Where did i reflexively bow down to authority? Any lawyer can see the charges would be difficult to convict on.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I’ll bite

                What would have been an appropriate charge?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                I dont know and wont pretend otherwise. i dont have acess to all the facts like the DA. I believe the crime he was charged with required that he knew or should have known his actions would result in death.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                You need to do more work to support your claim the charges were BS. If you are unwilling to proffer more appropriate charges, then you need to explain why the existing charges are BS.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Now this is an interesting question.

                Assuming you didn’t have malice aforethought, what benefit would there be to a trial and prison time?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Okay, I got the question to work: if you failed to buckle someone else’s kids in… would charges be appropriate?Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                an extended take on that question, by one of Dave Barry’s first editors.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                As the parent, I have legal responsibility for the reasonable safety & welfare of my kid. If I fail to take prudent & legally required measures to secure my kid in a car, I am at best committing reckless endangerment & at worst negligent homicide (if I understand that definition correctly).

                As a parent, I may be distraught enough at the maiming or death of my child that a DA would decline to prosecute. I find it hard to believe a cop would suffer an equivalent emotional trauma over the death of a custodial charge (not impossible, mind you, but certainly an extraordinary claim) .Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Malice aforethought isn’t the only kind of mens rea that we require in order to impose punishment upon a criminal. I think one can make a decent case against many instances of strict liability crimes, wherein no mental state of culpability must be proven at all, but prosecuting for crimes that only involve negligence (disregarding a risk that a reasonable person ought to have been cognizant of) or recklessness (disregarding a risk that the perpetrator was cognizant of) seems awfully reasonable to me.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Its remarkable how conservatives believe they stand for freedom yet reflectively bow down to authority.Report

              • Avatar miguel cervantes says:

                it all depends on the authority, some institutions are beyond question, and their diktat nearly permanent no matter what the consequences, like IPCC, EPA, UN, for some parties,Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      It’s an amazing side “benefit” of the Internet and body cams how we can regularly see people shot and killed for reals now. The cop should be in jail obviously. But it also should show people that if you want to deal with police brutality it is about a lot more then police unions. A lot more.Report

  10. C5:
    Obviously that’s a horrible situation that needs to be remedied, but substantive due process? Applying the US Constitution to overturn local laws? What kind of conservative has George Will become, anyway?Report

  11. P3:
    If you’re not sure where a place is and you’re still in favor of bombing it, something is very wrong.

    On the other hand, if you want to make 100% sure you never have to listen to Gilbert Gottfried again, +1.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Yesterday, some conservatives were tweeting that a conservative pollster had gotten liberals back with a question asking respondents if they think we should take refugees from Agrabah. Forty-odd percent of Dems said yes. My thought was that the belief that close to half of Democrats thinking we should take refugees even from places they’ve never heard of is the equivalent if a third of Republicans thinking we should bomb a place we’ve never heard of says much more about American conservatism than any troll poll result ever could.Report

      • That joke goes all the way back to paleolithic times, (1960 or so, when B.C. was still funny.) The two cave-ladies are marching with signs (made out of stone, of course) about women’s suffrage, and finally one of the cave-men calls out “Fine, so suffer!”Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        If this was meant to be serious, I don’t think it is a fair comparison.

        In one case you have people misunderstanding one word (“suffrage”) for a similar word (“suffering”). But assuming the folks interviewed are both in favor of women’s suffrage and opposed to women’s suffering, than the extent to which they and their positions deserve mocking is that they have a poor vocabulary. Hardy har har.

        In the other case you have people so willing to bomb anyone or anything Muslim sounding that they support bombing a made up country with an Arabic-sounding name.

        So basically, “Hahaha, those dummies don’t know what words mean,” versus, “OMG, those people are evil and will bomb anything.”

        To me, those are dramatically different. Even allowing for the “gotcha” nature of each (which was definitely much more manipulative in the latter case).Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

          The most charitable interpretation here, I think, is that there’s an unspoken assumption that if pollsters are asking you a question about whether you support bombing Agrabah, that this is something that’s actually on the table. I’d guess that most of the people who answered “yes” just assumed that Agrabah was where ISIS or some other terrorist organization had their headquarters. That is, they likely, understood the question to be whether the US government should bomb a terrorist organization, not whether it should bomb some random city in the Middle East.

          Now, even that’s not very good, but it’s not quite as bad as it sounds.

          Apparently this was Amanda Marcotte’s idea. Suppose you polled Amanda Marcotte’s readers with questions like, “Do you think the government should charge the CEO of [fictional financial firm] with a felony?” “Do you believe that Tom Robinson raped May Ewell?” or “Do you think [fictional police officer] should be charged with murder for shooting [fictional suspect] during an arrest?” I’m pretty sure you could get a lot of yes answers, but that doesn’t actually mean they support charging any random CEO, man, or police officer with a felony.

          It’s not exactly the same, because different things are different. But it’s the same basic heuristic: “I’m on this side of every similar controversy, because I think our culture is biased towards the opposite side. So I should be on this side in this controversy, too.”Report

          • Avatar Don Zeko says:

            I’m inclined to agree with Kevin Drum’s take on that poll. The really noteworthy thing is that something like 30% of respondents were willing to admit that they didn’t know. Considering how many respondents will insist that they have a strong position on, say, the TPP or the Gold Standard or some other issue that the average joe doesn’t know anything about, this reflects well upon the Republican primary voters they got to respond here.Report

        • Avatar notme says:


          You mean like ignorant folks that think the word “niggardly” is racist?Report

  12. S2:
    The last remaining classical music station in the Bay Area is run by USC.Report

  13. S3:
    “This reporter was interviewing me. She asked if it was true that I still smoke cigars, and I said that yes, that’s true. She asked if it was true that I still drink cocktails, and I said that yes, that’s true. She asked if it was true that I still go out with young women, and I said that yes, that’s true. Then she asked what my doctor says about all of this.”

    (Takes out cell phone. Checks for text messages.)

    “I said ‘My doctor ? He’s dead.'”Report

  14. Avatar Kazzy says:

    “We live in an increasingly dangerous and uncertain world, and we cannot allow President Obama to prioritize protecting those trying to do us harm over those trying to protect us,” Sen. Shelby said.

    “Uncertainty” is probably impossible to measure but the Senator should be expected to offer stats to back up the “dangerous” claim. I doubt he can. And the second part of the quote shows a perception of a world with two kids of people: cops and criminals. Disgusting.Report

    • Avatar James K says:


      In a criminal justice context, his claim that the US is growing more dangerous is directly contracted by the available data.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        You might, or more wisely, might not be surprised how many americans think crime rates are going up.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        So crime is going down yet liberals still want gun control? Doesnt make much sense.Report

        • Avatar Robert Greer says:

          Gun suicides and accidental shootings are an epidemic in this country. Neither has anything to do with crime rates, but they’re still a huge public health concern.Report

          • Avatar notme says:

            But that is a different reason for liberals to ban guns and not the usual one they cite.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            From the standpoint of suicides, gun control as a mechanism to prevent suicides is… hard. If you want to prevent or minimize mass-shootings it might (might!) make sense to restrict certain kinds of guns. Or you might try to prevent who can take what guns where.

            With suicide… other than preventing people who seek mental health from getting guns, ot waiting periods maybe, I’m not sure what gun control is supposed to accomplish. There is not a particular kind of gun that you can easily target because almost all guns are pretty effective to someone who wants to kill themselves. The only policy way to really attack the issue is to prevent people from owning guns, or adding barriers upon barriers to gun ownership that affect the suicidal and non-suicidal alike.

            Accidents fall somewhere in between. You can require some safeguards and the like and prevent people from taking guns elsewhere that they might accidentally go off. But from what I understand, most gun accidents occur within the home or in a place where were would not prohibit guns.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              Has anyone ever concluded that the assualt weapon ban worked? Not that i can remember.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                A suicide epidemic also isn’t exactly a great argument in favor of an assault weapons ban or limits on magazine capacity.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              IIRC, the literature on suicides is that many, many, many of them are impulsive acts. That often are never repeated.

              The mere act of erecting a fence on a bridge deters suicides, and they don’t tend to go jump off other bridges. It’s not worth the effort to climb, or find another bridge.

              Guns, in that respect, are…really convenient. At hand, relatively simple to use, and to most laymen — fast and final. One squeeze, you know?

              So in that sense, it’d function like a fence of a bridge. Not having a gun right there would act as a mild deterrent, which is apparently sufficient to stop many. It wouldn’t stop the dedicated, of course.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I don’t know the literature, but from experience I assume that to be the case.

                That doesn’t make a very strong case for most gun control policies frequently advocated, however. Waiting periods could have an impact, but if they have to buy the gun to kill themselves that makes it less likely to be a suicide of convenience. Maybe preventing the mentally ill from getting guns, but that’s easier said than done.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Oh, I wouldn’t restrict guns because “it’d reduce suicides”. Or because it’d restrict random violent road rage interactions. Or because it’d lower the number of toddlers shooting people. Or the number of people shot because someone was showing off their gun…..

                But I can’t help but wonder if, in aggregate, the fact that having so many lethally efficient tools around might, you know, have some impact. Turn what might have been mild injuries into major ones or worse.

                Because it’s there, and very easy, and very quick, and very, very, very good at what it does.

                I don’t know if restricting guns heavily would, in fact, reduce death by gunshot (whether deliberate, self-inflicted, accidental, whatever) much — but I suspect, judging by the few examples we have of other countries who have made significant changes, that’s the way I’d bet.

                Part of the problem with the gun control debate is people wanting to seize on THE reason and discredit that. If there’s a single reason at all, it’d be that guns are very, very, very efficient killing tools — so efficient that toddlers have used them to kill people.

                And you know, things that are lethally efficient at killing and easy to use, and have no real other use? Maybe we might wanna think about how easy they are to own. In light of all the people getting shot, whether on purpose or on accident.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                A lot of it depends on what we do to “restrict gun ownership.” If we restricted it to only law enforcement personnel and/or people who undergo a whole lot of training, then that would absolutely affect gun death rates and suicide especially. People who are in a transitory state of suicide would end up not committing suicide.

                On the other hand, it’s not clear what restricting the types of guns we can own would have, on crime and especially on suicide rates. You don’t need a particularly vicious firearm to kill yourself. Fewer handguns wouldn’t result in many fewer suicides if the people who have handguns get rifles instead.

                But “restricting gun ownership” is a wide open phrase. Reducing gun ownership can have a downward effect on gun deaths, or it can have none at all. It can be very severe (likely having more impact) or not very severe at all (likely having little or none).

                And trying to figure out what kinds of gun deaths we’re trying to prevent is an important part of the discussion. The “more gun restrictions could lead to fewer deaths” is rather open-ended, and I tend to hear the answer there to “What kind of gun restrictions are we talking about?” as “As much as politically feasible because more restrictions will lead to fewer deaths.”

                I understand the frustration some have with getting bogged down in the particulars, the effect each proposal might have, but the particulars here are pretty important. Both in terms of what is being proposed, and what it is hoped will be accomplished. (Which, in the case of this subthread, is looking pretty specifically at the gun suicide and accident that unlike murders have not gone down appreciably.)Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Rather randomly (from said paramedic friends), shooting yourself with a rifle or shotgun is rather difficult. Unlike a handgun, it takes some contortions to aim it at yourself.

                I mean you can, quite successfully, but you can’t do it holding the rifle even remotely as designed.

                I hadn’t gotten into gun restrictions and what I’d specifically like because, well, we’ve been in the weeds on that in the recent past and it’s pretty moot.

                I was just pointing out that a given suicide-by-gun seems highly likely to fall into the “impulsive” form of suicide, as it requires no planning and no work beyond fetching your gun. (Which lots of Americans have, and a surprising number idiotically keep loaded).

                And as bridge fences have shown, requiring even a bit of extra time or effort is surprisingly effective at preventing suicides.

                And that the “impulsive” appeal of a gun — quick, easy — probably applies to a surprising number of shootings. A moment of rage, and a gun at your hip turns an ordinary — if irritating — encounter into a statistic. (As George Zimmerman keeps proving).

                I wonder how many people, angry at say — a fender bender — wouldn’t be willing to throw a punch despite their fury (the other guy could punch back! ) but pull a gun? Well, the other guy can’t fight back against that….

                And guns are so…distant. We talk about how easy it is to kill with drones, like it’s a video game. Guns aren’t that bad, but they’re certainly not as close and visceral as a knife or bare hands.

                Don’t need to get close, don’t need to throw a punch — just a few pounds of pressure.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I not only don’t disagree with the notion that guns help convert transitory suicidal states into permanent death, but I was thinking of that when I wrote it. It’s something I think about on the subject of guns generally, because of this (by rifle, despite being under the influence of narcotics at the time).

                I understand why you don’t want to go into specifics I almost didn’t send through that comment, for reasons I suspect to be similar. But when we’re talking about suicide rates, which are more unusually resistent to moderate gun control measures for the reasons Greginak and I both mention, the vagueness of “restrict gun ownership” as a potential political solution doesn’t really do much of anything (unless one is proposing something extremely sweeping).Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                It’s been a while since i’ve looked at the stats, but assuming nothing has changed men are more successful at committing suicide though women attempt it more often. Men tend to use very final methods like guns.

                There is no doubt that the easy access to guns leads to more successful suicides. That doesn’t mean there is any easy way to legislate against that. People who have depression and thoughts of suicide will often keep their preferred method handy and hidden for months or years before using it. It really is going to a small percentage of people who will suicide with a gun who don’t already have a gun.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Yeah. The thing with guns is, if there’s any one reason to restrict them, it’s that they make killing way too easy. (They’re very efficient at that).

                And so lots of times people get shot and often die, where absent a gun they wouldn’t. Sure, people will STILL get murdered. People still die in car crashes despite seatbelts and airbags. You can still kill without a gun.

                But a gun makes it a lot easier. Which is why we give them to soldiers and cops.

                So yeah, I think we should look at guns in America. But not because of JUST suicides and not because of JUST mass shootings and not just BECAUSE of toddlers plugging people…..(and I can go on a long time with this, which is the point).

                And when it comes to gun control, people want to latch onto ONE argument (“Mass shootings! Suicides! Toddlers! Road Rage! Militia!”) which is really missing the point. It’s not any one thing, even if one of them is sufficient. It’s all of them, collectively. It’s a problem.Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer says:

                Agreed 100% — thanks for articulating this so clearly.

                Gun advocates are right that “guns don’t kill people — people kill people”. But guns are tools that are designed for the very purpose of killing people, and when more guns are around, people die from them more often. It’s pretty simple.

                There are gun advocates who see guns as problematic or even lamentable, but that have worries about how gun control would be enforced. I can understand this position a lot better than the one that says more guns are the solution to all of America’s social problems.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Not just for killing people.

                My position is in between the two you describe. My primary concern is with enforcement and I pretty strongly disagree with the notion that “more guns are the solution.”

                At the same time, aggregate statistics about gun ownership don’t carry to the individual. At present, I have no desire to get a gun. I see the danger of having one around without much need for one. However, back when I lived out west I thought about getting one, and if I move out there again I might. I’m the same guy with the same view of guns, but circumstances change, as do risk calculations.

                And there is the collective action aspect to it, which is to say that with millions upon millions of guns out there, I am reluctant to tell people that believe they need a gun that they shouldn’t be able to get one. Because other people, including people who might be a threat to them, have them.

                Leading me to a place where if I don’t at all disapprove of Singapore banning guns but would oppose a similar ban here. The risk calculations are different. Some of the reasons we might want or need them here don’t apply over there, and they don’t have the guns to begin with (at least not nearly to the extent that we do).

                Which is one of the frustrations of living in a country as heterogenous as ours. The needs of Chicago and rural Idaho are different, as are the risk calculations. Ownership of guns is hard to manage federal harmony (someone in Chicago can buy guns in Idaho, and somebody in Idaho might need to transport guns across Illinois and everybody has free movement to everywhere).Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer says:

                “Not just for killing people.” True, but I don’t know many people who hunt deer with handguns. Typically, people who advocate more gun control want more regulation of handguns, not of hunting rifles and the like. But like I said, I’m wary of gun control measures — I’d rather see aggressive buyback programs and attempts to shift the culture away from gun ownership.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                No, guns are designed to propel a small piece of metal at a high velocity. Whether that ability is used for good or bad is totally up to the person pulling the trigger.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                Yeah, but like all engineering problems, designed with applications in mind. Certainly there’s an arguable case that while civilian long weapons can be used to kill people, that’s not what they were designed to do. They’re hard to conceal, they’re difficult to carry while doing anything else, they’re hard to manipulate effectively inside buildings or in most crowded situations, and while they’re accurate at long distances you have to go through a clumsy process of aiming them to make use of that. In many cases where someone makes long term plans to use one in a “standard” interior or urban setting, the first thing they do is saw off most of the barrel and stock.

                Handguns, not so much.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                I guess we better ban pills, knives and anything else you can hurt yourself with.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                There is no way to prevent mentally ill people from buying guns, except in very select circumstances and even that is a stretch. Mental illness is a wide term that covers a huge range of illnesses and the effect the MI has on a person. Very few mentally ill people are a danger to themselves or others. I’ll note here many years i worked with clients who had been committed to state mental hospitals, in some cases for violent acts. None of them were dangerous anymore.

                So if you are talking about a person who has been committed for a long period to a hospital there might be a significant enough finding to say “no guns for you.” However it is a high bar to commit someone. And that is good. Putting someone in the hospital against their will should be hard. But after someone has been committed and released how long are they dangerous? That is completely case dependent. It would add a significant stressor to the lives of people with MI’s if they were dragged into the justice system.

                But like i said very few people with a MI are a danger. There is no easy way to determine who is a danger or not until you get to serious signs of suicide which most people dont’ get to. Even those who kill themselves often don’t show all the most serious signs. Who do mental health practitioners report to when they have a person they fear might suicide? That is a concern as is privacy. How long until they are cleared? MH workers are already legally mandated to report to the cops if they fear someone is a danger to others. But that danger has to be immediate and serious. For every 100 people i worked with who had some suicidal ideation maybe 1 or 2 actually had an attempt. That doesn’t mean we didn’t’ take steps to try to minimize the danger with the person and their family.

                Or more simply; MI is to wide a concept and suicide to hard to accurately predict to build a law around.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                You do realize, in another thread, I made the exact point that people saying “The problem isn’t guns, it’s mentally ill” are mouthing a pointless platitude for exactly that reason? That taking guns away from the mentally ill would require all those horrible federal over-reaches and intrusion into our most recent Second Amendment rights that the same folks mouthing that platitude often say will lead to fascism?

                My point was more along the lines of the fact that many suicide attempts are impulsive acts, and those who survive them (or get deterred) — most of them never try again. (Yes, there are some people who will try until they succeed.).

                Having a gun right there is like living on a bridge. If the urge strikes, you can do it very quickly. And it’s pretty easy. Point, squeeze. (I suspect most people have no idea how rare an instantly fatal gunshot can be. I know paramedics. You’d be surprised what you can survive. Or at least survive awhile). Cutting yourself, pill overdoses, hanging yourself — they take a bit more commitment.

                In general, I’m all for an America with fewer guns, and those stored a heck of a lot more securely. But then again, I don’t wander around in fear all the time. Or the woods. The fact that fewer handguns would mean fewer suicides is a nice bonus, because just not having one in the house would deter some people — just like adding a fence deterred people.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                I stated somewhere else in this thread that lots of people who struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide will get a gun far before there are any outward signs of suicide. They will have a gun, if not for other reasons, but so they can kill suicide if they want to. Suicide is often an impulsive act, true, but people who try it have often thought about it for a while and struggled with emotional instability, substance abuse and/or mental illness.

                I’d be fine with less guns also. With the pattern of gun ownership now, basically fewer people owning guns but those people owning lots’o’guns, reducing the number of guns means gun owner having 25 guns instead of 30 ( note numbers are random guesses not based any actual data).Report

            • Avatar Robert Greer says:

              The idea isn’t necessarily to prohibit guns, just to make them harder to get so fewer people have them. Given the strong correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths, even reducing gun ownership by 10% or 20% could have enormous impact.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I understand the impulse, but erecting barriers with the goal of reducing ownership generally is at best tricky business and at worst a form of harassment depending on how you go about it.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            IIRC suicides are up slightly, but not accidents.

            However, you made the claim, so I invite you to show your work.Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            “Epidemic” is a debatable word. Suicide and accidents are significant problems w/o being epidemics. The crime rate has been going down, which is great, and pokes a finger in the eye of the ideologues on both sides of the gun debate.

            In mental health work if someone is suicidal you want to get any of the likely things they could kill themselves with ( guns, meds, etc) away from them. But it isn’t really possible to do that effectively at a policy level. The best way to get people more mental health care is through more providers and better Uni HC. So i welcome the support of all the R’s in gov for better Uni HC.

            As with suicides it is hard to see the policy answer for gun accidents.Report

        • Avatar James K says:


          That hadn’t been lost on me either.Report

  15. Avatar Kolohe says:

    S2: Howard has a student radio station, broadcast as a digital signal in the spectrum the flagship Howard radio station uses

    What is unusual is that it doesn’t use the sub 93 MHz part of the FM spectrum, like most university associated radio uses (ie the non commercial band). The discussion about Howard selling its TV station has been happening for a while, but I’ve seen nothing similar for its radio property (And if I’m not mistaken, radio spectrum is not nearly as valuable as it used to be on an inflation adjusted basis – and was never as valuable as TV spectrum)Report

  16. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    Merry Christmas!

    The water you throw on the Trump-as-Dem- conspiracy idea is notably tepid (i.e., not very cold). And in this and other venues, you have been going pretty hard on the “It’s-Actually-Liberals-Who-Are-Driving-Trump” notion as well.

    Is that what you think, @trumwill? Are you going Trump-Truther on us?

    Thanks for doing Linky Fridays right straight thru the holidays, complete with links just as provocative as we’re accustomed to all the year round!

    Merry Christmas!Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I don’t think Trump is a Democratic plant. I think the argument about the timing is an interesting one, but I think it’s ultimately unconvincing.

      I do think liberals (per se) play their part in the broader sense, but if I were to apportion responsibility they would really be mostly an afterthought well behind the GOP (though not precisely for the reasons most often cited), Republican media, the mainstream media, and most of all those who fall for the tricks of fools and knaves.

      Merry Christmas to you too!Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Well the arguments in that article also only make sense if you view them from a highly politically conservative viewpoint since for the vast majority of the country the “scandals” and “disasters” they refer to are viewed as anything ranging from tempest in teapot sized things to flat out imaginary. Basically the only people who’d consider deploying Trump to distract from those incidences would be conservatives.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          I am of the mind that all of it matters at least somewhat. Which is to say, that none of them are the showstoppers that a lot of Republicans think, but each one of them is a drip of a drip-drip-drip that has mattered.

          However, because it’s a drip-drip-drip, it seems likely to me that any time Trump does something that warrants even more press attention than usual, there is some drip to connect it to.

          (Added to that, any time Hillary was getting news attention, that provided incentive for DJT to do something to get the news back on to him. That strikes at what is more likely his main motivation… which is the attention itself. I do think that his Muslim Ban comments may indeed have been connected to the attention that Ted Cruz was starting to get.)Report

          • Avatar North says:

            I’d agree on that. But connecting the wires and suggesting they’re part of a nefarious liberal plot doesn’t parse because only movement conservatives would view the “drips” as significant enough to warrant deploying the “trump mole” to counter them.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      If the Dems were trying to plant a bloody mole he’d not bear any resemblance to Trump. In what universe do they say “Lets send a three times divorced, indifferent to social conservatism, pro-choice, television celebrity to infiltrate the GOP and destroy them from within!” No one is that dumb.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        No, of course they wouldn’t do that.
        The democrat’s mole is a techie geek.
        Because we all know that Republicans can’t code.
        /ducks and runs, then cites RedState being unable to find anyone to run their website for free.

        Now, he may have been supporting Trump, but that’s a different thing.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          …then cites RedState being unable to find anyone to run their website for free.

          I walked around with a silly smile for most of a day after that particular story broke. I still wonder if anyone pointed out to their faces that the cost of operating RedState being so small relative to the amount of money the big donors and super-PACs had said a great deal about how RedState’s views and/or importance were seen.Report

  17. Avatar Kazzy says:

    A question about the use of the term Daesch. My understanding is that it is a quasi-legit term for ISIS/ISIL but one that they hate. It’s use is a way to stick a thumb in their eye. And there are few groups more worthy of a thumb in the eye.

    And yet… It stands out to me to be more about signaling than anything else. I doubt members of ISIS/ISIL/DAESCH read OT. So what is being signaled? And why? There doesn’t seem to be anything *wrong* with using the term. And yet… Where do we draw the line? Can I refer to someone who unapolgetically holds and expresses anti-Semetic views a Nazi? An asshole? A climate change denier an idiot? These aren’t perfect analogies admittedly. But there is something… petty? I dunno exactly… About intentially using a non-preferred term. Even against a group we all likely agree is abhorrent.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Well, I googled and got this:

      Daesh is an acronym for the Arabic phrase al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

      Essentially, it’s another word for ISIS – but apparently one that ISIS militants do not favour.

      Why? Because it is similar to the Arabic words ‘Daes’, ‘one who crushes something underfoot’ and ‘Dahes’, translated as ‘one who sows discord’.

      So you know your friend who insists on how you need to stop calling him Bob and start calling him Your Excellency? This is like that.

      And that’s without getting into the issue of how “The Islamic State” is offensive to a number of Muslims.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        To me it feels more like calling Robert Bobby even though he insists on preferring the former. Even if Robert/Bobby is a serial killer, we still probably call him Robert, right? Or maybe not? And I don’t know the broader feelings within the lands and among the people they claim to govern.

        As @michael-drew notes, this is not so much me disagreeing with Will’s usage as an attempt to understand his intent and my evolving thoughts of what is “right”.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          But we have to call folks what they want to be called lest we hurt their feelings.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

            Flipping that around, we could have all decided that the media and government should call Osama bin Laden “Turd Ferguson” whenever we reference him. He was certainly a bad guy and calling him something other than his actual name is one way to signal that we don’t like him. But I’m pretty skeptical that it would accomplish anything other than dividing us up over whether it’s a sick burn or whether it just makes us look silly.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        Also, “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” is arguably as accurate a title as “Holy Roman Empire” was in its day, for exactly the same reasons.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      I’ve got no problem with Will’s using it (I’m still not clear why the Administration has kept using ISIL, and why the press insists on using ISIS, even though AFAIK neither of those are correct). But I certainly similarly took note of its repeated an prominent use, and I don’t know that I recall him using it before now (I’m sure I’m just not aware of it).

      …So I, too, was wondering what to make of the timing and import of the possible shift here, or in any case conspicuous use of the term.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Re:isil/isis there are things that just ‘stick’ and romanization of non roman scripts isn’t an exact science anyway. The previous famous example was ‘Usama Bin Laden’ and ‘UBL’ in all official US govt docs but Osama in the popular press.

        (But also there was an organizational mission change since their debut where they expanded out of just Syria into Iraq, hence ‘levant’)Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      It has been the most commonly used name used in English and European languages by the sorts of folks who are actually dealing, and even fighting ISIS, for some time. It doesn’t really matter what we call them, of course, but I like the idea of showing solidarity with the Kurds, say.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Isis is an Egyptian god, so I never wanted to use that. When they demanded to be called IS I thought they didn’t really have a claim on something as general as Islamic State (there are many Islamic states). I was fine with ISIL but when I heard about Daesh I really liked it. Not just because of the poke in the eye, but because its most easily converted into a word rather than an acronym. And it’s the term preferred by non-Daesh Muslims who (all other things being equal) I would rather defer to than Daesh itself.

      I mention it a bit here:

  18. Avatar miguel cervantes says:

    So ridiculing their name, is supposed to slow them down, don’t Islamic State figures thrive on resentment, the interregnum when they were out of the picture, suggests a different solution,Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      Ridiculing them and not insulting other Muslims and other PR measures aren’t about hurting the feelings of ISIS. It’s about winning over and separating them from other Muslims who don’t support them and winning the hearts of those who might be converted. Insurgent/ new movements need the support of those around them and people with money. We want to win those people over which serves to limit DAESH.Report

      • Avatar miguel cervantes says:

        on the outside it’s the Zarquawi network, at it’s core it’s ex Saddam high ranking officers who were part of the Faith campaign in the 80s. in the middle it’s everything from Western educated IT specialists, to braquers, on the way back from jail, so how does calling them Daesh really change things,Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          Like i said, it is a small thing. But we want to de-legitimize ISIS/DAESH/ISIL/ PDQ amongst the people who don’t support them. There are plenty of people in the area they control who aren’t supporters. Especially in Syria there are Sunni’s who are more terrified of Assad or the Iraqi gov so they hang with ISIS since they are the least worst. We not only want to win over, or at least neutralize, non-ISIS supporters in their controlled area but all around the mid east and wherever their are potentially disaffected muslims. The struggle against violent extremists is often about PR among the huge number of people who might side with them but can be swayed or might decide to give us help instead of them.

          Beating them is more than just bombs and killing ISIS, its winning over as many other muslims as we can. That is just one reason why we don’t want to be the sharp end of the spear to destroy ISIS. It puts us in the invader role. Let the locals do it and it is more their victory.Report

  19. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    S4: I am with Lee on this. Fiscal Discipline is good but like anything else, it can be taken too far and turn someone into a miser. There is a difference between teaching people to pay their bills on time and save and encouraging everyone to do something extreme like live in the basement and on rice and beans to pay off a mortgage quickly.Report

  20. Avatar Kolohe says:

    S4- that story is a bit ridiculous ‘hey, let’s write a story about the internet comments of another story from Canada’ the original subject doesn’t come close to the weirdos they have on extreme cheapstakes (who, above all don’t value their *time* as much as they should).

    And the article says about halfway through ‘the great depression ended the thrift movement in America’. Really? It wasn’t a cliche for Greatest Generation peeps who had grown up in depression and war to be frugal? Now, *that’s* a slatepitch.Report

  21. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Saw this from @chris in the Twitter sidebar. I looked into this back when this was going around last year, and found that of the 13 states which raised their minimum wage that year, nine were just automatic COLAs on the order of 10 to 20 cents. Of the four that actually raised it substantially, New Jersey was dead last with -0.58% job growth, Connecticut was well below average at 0.11%, New York was slightly below average with 0.54%, and only Rhode Island, with the smallest non-automatic increase (25 cents), was above average, at 1.28%.

    This whole approach is fundamentally flawed in a number of ways, and there’s really not enough data here to draw any kind of meaningful conclusion, but if I were inclined to look too hard for patterns, I might pay undue attention to the fact that all three states with a minimum-wage increase greater than 25 cents had below-average job growth, and that one of them was dead last.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      Why are you looking at what you admit is insufficient data when there are decades of research into that, with a lot larger data sets?

      I mean we can prognosticate off a handful of states, or we can delve into the literature which has a lot more data, and some rigorous back and forths on the subject.Report