Episode 5

Chicago cops; an ambushed Georgia detective; a big increase in homicides; jail profits, the Las Vegas Shootings & gun control.

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Programming note: the Quality Policing Podcast has moved to a semi-monthly schedule. Also, this is a longer episode than normal, because of our gun control conversation.

Obviously, we’re going to get to Las Vegas, the police response there, and gun control, but first:

The UCRs are out, and they show a 23% increase in homicide in the past two years. Peter and Jeff Asher had done a whole podcast Extra on this, and if you haven’t listened to it, you should. And read Jeff Asher’s coverage of this in Fivethirtyeight, and of course, the UCR numbers themselves.

Two Chicago Police officers were disciplined for kneeling and showing a Black Power fist salute. The New York Times discussed it, and we do here.


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Also, we discuss statistics on law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, after the ambush killing of a Georgia police detective.  The statistics on police killings are different from the way police killings feel this year; the Officer Down Memorial Page shows that line-of-duty-deaths are down this year.

And the decision by the Jefferson Parish jail to limit visiting to only video visitation (which comes with the first call free and additional calls at $13 for 20 minutes) is an outrage. Peter and Nick discuss this usurious situation.

Finally, Peter and Nick do what many said couldn’t be done: we have a reasonable, calm, and constructive debate about gun control in the service of a goal to reduce gun violence. It is tied to the horrific event in Las Vegas in which 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured, and we discuss the police response to the incident, and then look at some of the bigger issues in gun control other than the issues covered in the press. That is to say, we move beyond “You won’t take my guns,” and “Yes we will.”

We do begin with a statement at the outer edges of the arguments – “Let’s ban all guns” and “There is a Second Amendment.” We quickly move in towards the center, and towards highly specific points not often heard discussed reasonably.

And yeah, we touch on Heller and Peter mentions Australia (and Nick didn’t get to make his “I don’t care how much you spend on advertising, U.S. Vegemite sales will not rise” speech about that which works in Australia won’t necessarily work in America) (but he implied it).

Peter’s discussion of why Gun Control works in New York.

The issue of suicide is in dispute; Nick referred to those getting good psychiatric help after an unsuccessful attempt had a good chance of not committing suicide. This is not to imply that unsuccessful suicide attempts are somehow preventing future attempts – that’s not true at all.

Study on ER admissions for gunshot wounds.

Increased gun sales in California.

Some stats Nick discussed in his Pareto analysis of a very small number of people commit the vast majority of gunshot attacks are listed in this article. And here is the Dallas Morning News article he mentioned.

Errata: Nick misspoke on two small details that don’t affect the points he made: he said the first school shooting in America was in 1794; it was 1764.  And he mentioned that about 15% of New York City suicides were by firearm. That was a 2010 figure; since then, the number has reduced to about 10%, according to the City.

Click to engrandize

Finally, the “accidental” killings with guns is debatable. The most recent study, the one listed above of hospitalization for gunshot injuries, shows suicides, assaults, then accidents. But it varies by the type of gun; for example, the study says, assault was the most common mechanism of a firearm-related injury for patients injured via a handgun (54.9 percent) or a shotgun (47.1 percent) In contrast, 71.2 percent of the patients injured by a hunting rifle suffered unintentional injuries, while 15.4 percent were injured in an attempted suicide. Of the patients injured by a military rifle, 56.9 percent were injured unintentionally. The issue is that there are a LOT of guns in the “unspecified or other” category.