Anyone remember Dave Mindeman?
About ten years ago or so, he ran a blog – “MNPAct” – which was a website for putative organization Dave putatively ran.
Now, let me be clear: Dave was one of a small handful of “progressive” Metro-area bloggers from blogging’s heyday in the ’00s that didn’t and, to the best of my knowledge, still doesn’t belong under police surveillance; when my garage burned down, he didn’t feel compelled to disavow responsibility for it.
So there’s that. When you’re a conservative in the metro, you become thankful for the small things.
But that’s not to say Dave knows how to frame an argument any better than the rest of them ever did.
Example – last week, Dave felt the need to post this on Twitter:
Of course, Dave – confident as he seems to be in his side’s chanting points – didn’t know that Shannon Watts, like Nancy Nrd Bence (and Heather Martens before) has never, not once, said anything about guns, gun laws, gun owners, gun crime or gun statistics that’s simultaneously original, substantial and true; Lott’s “recent” testimony was 16 years ago.
I responded, natch – knowing, all along, I’d regret it, but such is the life of the contrarian.
It drew a “response” from Mindeman – one that was pretty clearly the fruits of a quick google for “John Lott Sucks” or some other “Dog Gone”-caliber thrashing about. Dave came up with…:
Now, if you are of a certain age, you might remember when MoJo was known for some capable journalism, even if it was always hard-left.
But the once-fabled counterculture investigative publication has fallen on risibly hard times; Babylon Bee doesn’t even bother parodying them anymore. What would be the point? (Interesting to see, by the way, that MoJo’s current “CEO” is City Pages hanger-on Monika Bauerlein).
The article – by “Writing Fellow” (read: glorified intern who’s hoping not to have to look for a job at Buzzfeed next) Gloria Exstrum, covers research Lott did on abortion and immigration, in addition to his usual gun research. I can’t comment on the abortion and immigration stuff – I cover my zone – but once it turns to the gun stuff, Exstrum’s article is proof that you never, ever use MoJo as a source on anything Second Amendment.
Following the 2015 shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, President Barack Obama and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged Congress to pass gun control legislation. “I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings,” Obama said in a statement after the incident, “this just doesn’t happen in other countries.”
In a 2015 post on theCrime Prevention Research Center website, Lott’s group argues that “this claim is simply not true.”The analysis points out that, during the Obama administration, the United States ranks below several European countries in death rate per million people from mass public shootings. Predictably, conservative media outlets picked up the story, and Lott wrote a column for Fox News referencing his findings after the Las Vegas shooting.
So far so good. She got the basic assertions right – which is not something you can take for granted these days.
But here’s a challenge: try to figure out what the esteemed “writing fellow” is saying in response to Lott in this next bit. Honestly, I’m sort of at a loss, here:
However, as a Media Matters for America analysis points out, Lott’s claims only focus on public mass shootings involving machine guns, a criteria which excludes deadly incidents like the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and the Pulse nightclub shooting.
For a “writing fellow”, Ms. Exstrum is either a terrible researcher, a lousy reporter (evidence toward this: using “Media Matters” as a source), a substandard writer, or – who knows? – maybe any 2-3 of the above. Whatever it is, I have read this sentence a dozen times, and I can’t figure out what she’s trying to say. But I’ll give it a try, here:
Is she saying Lott excluded mass shootings involving machine guns? Well, yeah – there’s never been mass shooting by a legally-owned machine gun – meaning “fully automatic weapon” – in US history, at least not since the 1934 National Firearms Act (shaddap about the Valentine’s Day Massacre). Lott “excluded” them because history and fact “excluded” them. They don’t exist in the past 85 years, to say nothing of the six year time frame of the study Ms. Exstrum is yapping about.
Is she saying that the overseas shootings used “machine guns” – well, no, the raw data points out that non-US mass shootings used a variety of firearms – the vast majority of them subject to stringent gun control, by the way, which would tend to reinforce Lott’s point, not Exstrum’s. The list below includes incidents with “machine guns” (notably the 11/13 Paris massacre, carried out with military-grade AK47s – which are as illegal in France as they are here) , semi-automatic weapons, even manual repeaters:
Is the dispositive point that Lott focuses on foreign “public” “mass shootings?” It makes no sense – Lott’s list of shootings in the US from 2009-2015 includes all sorts of locations – almost all public, mostly “gun-free zones”:
LIterally, there is no way to read “writing fellow” Exstrum’s sentence that makes it jibe with the facts.
I’m open to suggestions, here.
Exstrum also wrote – sort of – about Lott’s foray into police-on-black-citizen shootings:
In a 2016 study, Lott and co-author Carlisle Moody, a professor at the College of William & Mary and a member of the Crime Prevention Research Center’s academic advisory board, argue that white police officers do not unfairly discriminate against black suspects. In a Fox News op-ed about the study, Lott says, “Many people incorrectly believe the police are racist.”
To which she adds:
Of course, ample research has concluded that black suspects are much more likely to be shot by police than white ones. But the study nonetheless received coverage from the National Review, Breitbart, and the Washington Times, with Breitbart saying Lott’s research “runs against the claims of groups like Black Lives Matter.”
“Ample research”. Is anyone but me seeing a google search for “shooting black people consensus” as Ms. Exstrum’s “research”?
Of course, there’s ample research on the other side as well – including this one, by Harvard professor Roland Fryor – that confirms at least the broad outline of Lott’s conclusion. Fryer happens to be black, and also happened to have started his research believing he’s find the opposite conclusion – so this finding, against interest (where “interest” <> intellectual honesty).
Conclusions Er, don’t start a land war in Asia, and don’t use MoJo as a source against someone who’s been paying attention?