The Supposed Deterioration of English

“The common language is disappearing. It is slowly being crushed to death under the weight of verbal conglomerate, a pseudospeech at once both pretentious and feeble, that is created daily by millions of blunders and inaccuracies in grammar, syntax, idiom, metaphor, logic, and common sense …. In the history of modern English there is no period in which such victory over thought-in-speech has been so widespread. Nor in the past has the general idiom, on which we depend for our very understanding of vital matters, been so seriously distorted.”
—A. Tibbets and C. Tibbets, What’s Happening to American English?, 1978


“Recent graduates, including those with university degrees, seem to have no mastery of the language at all. They cannot construct a simple declarative sentence, either orally or in writing. They cannot spell common, everyday words. Punctuation is apparently no longer taught. Grammar is a complete mystery to almost all recent graduates.”
—J. Mersand, Attitudes toward English Teaching, 1961


“From every college in the country goes up the cry, ‘Our freshmen can’t spell, can’t punctuate.’ Every high school is in disrepair because its pupils are so ignorant of the merest rudiments.”
—C. H. Ward, 1917


“The vocabularies of the majority of high-school pupils are amazingly small. I always try to use simple English, and yet I have talked to classes when quite a minority of the pupils did not comprehend more than half of what I said.”
—M. W. Smith, “Methods of Study in English,” 1889


Unless the present progress of change [is] arrested … there can be no doubt that, in another century, the dialect of the Americans will become utterly unintelligible to an Englishman ….
—Captain Thomas Hamilton, 1833


Our language is degenerating very fast.
—James Beattie, 1785

The Big Dipper and Ursa Major Across Time and Cultures


On a given night



With stars labelled
Image by Ken Christison



North American interpretation



Shang-di, aka, the Jade Emperor
Stone carving from the Wuliang Shrine, ca. 150 CE



Starry Plough flag of the Irish Citizen Army, 1914



From Abdul Rahman bin Omar al-Sufi’s Pictures of the forty-eight planets, ca. 950 CE



Egypt, from the tomb of Seti I at the Valley of the Kings, ca. 1280 BCE
Photograph by M. Sanz de Lara



Charles’s Wain, aka Charles’s Wagon, Europe, ca. 1500s CE


From Gaylord Johnson’s The Star People, 1921



As part of Ursa Major, described by Ptolemy ca. 150 CE


From Johann Bayer’s Uranometria, 1603

Real Constitutionalists and Grumpy Spouses

Another fine day of canvassing for my local candidates.

One conversation:

“Hi, I’m Clif. I’m with the Democrats.” (That’s me speaking.)

“Democrats? Oh, no. I’m a constitutionalist. I believe in the Constitution.”

“Oh, great! Same here!”

“No, I’m a real constitutionalist.”

“Yeah? Me too.”

And we go back and forth like that for about 45 minutes.

Kidding! She just said, “Uh huh. Right. Bye.” and closed the door.



My Beloved Legislative District “LD17”


Another convo:

“Hi, I’m Clif. I’m with the Democrats.”

Roughly 50-year-old male answers the door:
“The Democrats?”

He literally thumbs his nose at me. Which I thought was pretty funny.

Thing is, I was looking for a female voter at that house. I can’t tell you how many times I get a grumpy spouse who doesn’t like Democrats or doesn’t like being bothered, but then I ask for their spouse and find their spouse extremely receptive.

I remember one of my first times canvassing this happened. The spouse answered and was like, “We don’t want any.”

His partner overhears and says, “Who is it?”

“The Democrats.”

“Get out of here!” she tells the spouse, literally pushing him out of the doorway. Then she signed whatever petitions I had and complained about ol’ President Pussygrab.


Another convo:

“Hi, I’m Clif. I’m with the Democrats. I’m out collecting signatures for two candidates who are running for the state Senate and House in our district.”

“The Democrats? Oh my god. Where do I sign?”

“Haha! Yeah, I talk to people all the time who are so happy to find that there are others of us out there.”

“Yeah, my friend said to me the other day, ‘You ever feel like the white speck in the potting soil?’ I was like, ‘Yeah!'”

I tell her that there are more white specks than she probably realizes. (Not my analogy, folks!) Actually, most people I speak to don’t realize that the state is almost equally split between people who lean Republican and people who lean Democratic.

Of course, that varies from district to district. I’m kinda lucky in that I’m in a purple district with great candidates who have a real shot at winning.

Jogging Outdoors in Arizona

I’ve largely stopped jogging outdoors in recent years. One reason is that I’ve been concerned for a long time about the air quality. It kind of defeats the purpose of exercising if you’re breathing in car exhaust and coal fumes.*

Arizona’s most recent air quality grade from the American Lung Association is, overwhelmingly, an F, mainly thanks to our cars and reliance on coal for electricity.*


From the American Lung Association’s 2018 Assessment*

We know from a 2013 MIT study that air pollution causes roughly 200,000 premature deaths in the US annually.* This isn’t surprising as we also know that air pollution increases risk of respiratory diseases, lung cancer, and heart disease.

What shocked me years ago as a psychology student was coming across various studies indicating different ways in which air pollution causes cognitive problems. It reduces brain mass, negatively impacts memory, and it’s associated with increased Alzheimer’s incidence.**

Reading this stuff, I would think back to times throughout my teens when I would ride my bicycle a hundred miles a week from Silly Mountain out to Crismon and back, praying that I wouldn’t get stuck at a red light next to that poorly-serviced 1970s station wagon. Or summers when I worked for my mom’s husband in road construction shoveling dirt from curbs while walking around in a black cloud of exhaust from the giant Caterpillar machines. I look back and wonder what permanent cognitive damage I unknowingly inflicted on myself.


Silly Mountain, A Stone’s Throw from My Teenage Home

These days, people are often surprised that I drive around in a Micro Machine. Seems to me that that’s the least I can do. Just like I think voting for people who oppose fossil fuels and support cleaner energy sources is the least I can do.

I think it’s this easy: Kids should be able to ride their bicycles and play outside without an increased risk of physical or cognitive impairment. It’s inexcusable and unconscionable that they don’t have such a guarantee in Arizona in 2018.

Quotation Quiz

The folks at goodreads love to pollute the Internet with dubiously-sourced quotes from various people. I looked into 21 of their top quotes to see if the person the quote is ascribed to actually said it or was the first to say it. Click below to see if you know who said what and when.

Lincoln

Continue reading Quotation Quiz

Sagan, 22, “Peddling Without a License”

The fall of 1956 temporarily separated Lynn and Carl. Sagan began work at the University of Chicago’s astronomy school in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. This is the home of the Yerkes Observatory. Completed in 1897, the forty-inch Yerkes refractor was housed in a brick-and-terra-cotta domed building. It was by then a storied relic.

Williams Bay had a population of barely 1,000. For city-bred Sagan, it presented a culture shock. For the first time in his life, Sagan encountered anti-Semitism. He also ran into trouble with the law. He attempted to raise funds for the Democratic Party, asking householders for a dollar each. As Sagan told it,

I spent all morning going door to door. And I got the most amazing responses: “The what party?” or “Shh! the master will hear!” or “Wait right here, young fellow, and I’ll get my shotgun.” Finally I was arrested by the sheriff, who had had innumerable complaints, on the grounds of peddling without a license. They figured I was peddling receipts at a dollar each. And I was remanded to the custody of the observatory director, who I don’t think understood anything about it, but just said to me, “Be a good boy.”

—From the bio Carl Sagan, 1999, by William Poundstone

“Everything’s gay, gay, gay now.”

More fun this evening chatting with Chandler voters.

The first person I talk to comes out guns blazing. I don’t even knock on his door. He just pops out with a “Hey there!”

“Hey, I’m Clif. I’m with the Democrats. I’m collecting signatures for some local candidates.”

“I used to be a Democrat,” he says, “back when they were conservative. Now they’re for the homosexuals and abortion, and they’re against God.”

I say, “Well, you know, I’m not a big fan of abortion, but I think the Democrats have it right. Number one, strangely enough, making more restrictive abortion laws doesn’t actually reduce the rate of abortion.* It’s like Barry Goldwater said: ‘It’s always been around, and it always will be.’* Things we know that help reduce the rate of abortion, though, like increased access to birth control and sex ed are things Democrats are generally for.”*

“Well, that’s true,” he says, “and that’s why I’m not strictly for one side or the other. But, I don’t know why everything has to be gay, gay, gay now. You can’t turn on the TV these days without homosexuals in everything. You know, I believe in the Bible, and the Bible makes it totally clear that homosexuality is wrong. Take Sodom and Gomorrah: God sends angels down to Lot, and the wicked men of the city try to have sex with them. Lot offers them his daughters — now that part’s terrible — but the men want the angels.”

I say, “Yeah, but I would point out that there are different ways to interpret these things. There are people out there who believe — I’m sure — just as strongly in God and the Bible who don’t think homosexuality is bad. In that verse you mentioned, for instance, they might say that God’s problem with the wicked men was not that they were homosexuals but that they wanted to rape strangers. Maybe God is just against people who want to rape other people.”*

He says, “Yeah, there are a lot of people out there who want to distort the truth. They try to call people like me an extremist just because I’ve been married to my wife for 52 years.”

I say, “Well, I wouldn’t call you that. I would just say that I have gay friends myself who I care for a lot. They’re people who I think suffered because they grew up around people who told them that they were bad. They couldn’t change this ‘bad’ thing about themselves, so it made them deeply unhappy. I think that’s terrible.”

He then tells me a bizarre story about a handsome nephew who he says was turned gay by his mom and sisters who would dress him up like a girl, in dresses and makeup. I let that one go. I liked that the guy called his nephew “a real head-turner,” though.

This was like a 20-minute conversation that I won’t recount all of here. It turns out that the guy doesn’t like Jeff Flake because Flake’s nephew apparently … neglected some dogs? The guy doesn’t like McCain because McCain is responsible for the shoddy condition of the VA apparently.

He talks about how you can’t have the Bible in schools anymore, but you can have the “yin yang.” I kinda regret not finding out what the “yin yang” is ….

Trump, though. There’s somethin’ about that Trump guy. He says, “Trump’s a guy who can’t be bought ’cause he’s already a billionaire.”

As I almost always do when I hear Trump’s name, I begin to vomit uncontrollably. No, I’m kidding. I just vomit in my mind. The mind vomit helps to cloud the mental image of Trump.

This ex-Democrat then says, “And the Mueller investigation — the Democrats are just dragging it out. It’s just a waste of taxpayer money.”

I start to say, “Well, the Republicans spent a lot of taxpayer money to investigate Hillary….”

He jumps in: “Well, it’s been good talking to you.”

Then, he kinda cocks an eye and says, “Good night and … God bless.”

“Thanks for talking to me!” I say. “Have a good one!”

One convert at a time.

WikiLeaks Tweets November 1-8, 2016

In 2016, like a lot of people using social media, I found myself constantly alarmed at the various accusations being leveled at Hillary Clinton and Democrats generally. A lot of these accusations, I found, originated with the Russian hack of the DNC.* As is now widely known (though less so among Republicans in the US*), Russian hackers stole information from both the Democrats and Republicans but only chose to disseminate information potentially harmful to Democrats.*

The claim of dishonesty is important because it suggests that WikiLeaks is itself opaque and, therefore, hypocritical.

One might argue that WikiLeaks founder (and former host of Russia Today’s World Tomorrow) Julian Assange is in favor of transparency generally and that the source of information that increases transparency is unimportant.* I find that explanation plausible. However, what I think may have received too little attention during the 2016 election is how partisan WikiLeaks was and how dishonest their dissemination of information was. The claim of dishonesty is important because it suggests that WikiLeaks is itself opaque and, therefore, hypocritical.

What you find is that, of those 153 tweets, 130 (85%) of them were critical of Clinton and Democrats generally. Of those same 153 tweets, there is not a single one critical of Trump nor of any Republican.

To support my claim of partisanship, I provide below a collection of all 153 tweets by WikiLeaks from November 1st through election day, November 8th, 2016.* What you find is that, of those 153 tweets, 130 (85%) of them were critical of Clinton and Democrats generally. Of those same 153 tweets, there is not a single one critical of Trump nor of any Republican. I categorized 15 of the tweets as neutral. One of those was a retweet of CNN’s Jake Tapper where the reporter wrote, “been hearing for weeks anecdotally about the CIA-FBI divide over this election.” Tapper clarified in a brief, tweeted conversation that he meant, “as a very crude generalization,” he was hearing about the CIA being anti-Trump and FBI being anti-Clinton.* I don’t know what prompted WikiLeaks to share this, so I categorized it as “neutral.”

To support my claim of dishonesty, I will highlight the habit the WikiLeaks tweeters had of misrepresenting the content of articles and emails.

To support my claim of dishonesty, I will highlight the habit the WikiLeaks tweeters had of misrepresenting the content of articles and emails. For example, on November 4th, WikiLeaks tweeted, “MIT prof: What I learned from visualizing Clinton’s emails – Summary: study censored & I was mobbed by Clintonists.”* The problem with this “summary” by WikiLeaks is that the professor never claims to have been mobbed.* He does claim that a Reddit thread about the analysis was taken down by a moderator, but there is no evidence that a “Clintonist” did this. In fact, the analyst himself notes that he was a Clinton supporter who viewed Trump as “potentially a threat to global security.” How did he summarize his own work? Read for yourself:

What I saw on Clinton’s emails was not surprising to me. It involved a relatively small group of people talking about what language to use when communicating with other people. […] I am sure that if we had access to Trump’s emails we would see plenty of the same behavior.

Another case involves a possibly strained relationship between Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. In the email exchange, Nora Toiv shares a November 2015 story published by People titled “Al Gore Declines to Endorse Hillary Clinton for President.” In fact, Gore says that he is not endorsing anyone at that point because it’s too early to decide.* Huma Abedin tells those present in the email thread that Gore warned the campaign that he would not endorse Hillary Clinton: “hard to put on email but there is no love lost in this relationship. reminder that he also refused to endorse in 2008!!!” This obviously indicates a strained relationship of some kind but gives no indication of ill will on either’s part. So, how did it turn out? Gore endorsed Clinton in July 2016, months before WikiLeaks tweeted the email.* Here’s how WikiLeaks presented the email exchange: “Hillary and Gore hate each other. The reason is too dangerous to put in email — Clinton’s closest aid Huma Abedin.”

Call me crazy, but that seems not at all transparent to me.

With this background, I present all 153 tweets with notes and context where I could find them:

11/8/2016
“Clinton: out of touch, cronyistic, didn’t drive a car in 35 years, flew all over the world but accomplished nothing”
link
source WikiLeaks

11/8/2016
“By biasing its internal electoral market the DNC selected the less competitive candidate defeating the purpose of running a primary.”
link
source WikiLeaks

11/8/2016
Video compilation of WikiLeaks top stories, including feature regarding criticism of DNC
link
source WikiLeaks

11/8/2016
Graphic showing election forecast favoring Trump
link
source New York Times

11/8/2016
“The American people don’t like corruption. After the election comes selection. Who will be selected and why?”
link
[Note: Article by David Dayen, who has also contributed to Salon, The Intercept, and Fiscal Times.] source New Republic

11/8/2016
“Hillary Clinton is privately against gay marriage”
link
[Note: Regated is not currently active. It appears to have been founded by Victor Smith and Sam Wenkert. One of the writers for the publication calls himself Robert Powell and wrote on his Gab page on 3/12/18, “These countries are shitholes BECAUSE THEY ARE NO LONGER MAJORITY WHITE.” Other writers: Orlando Navarro, MD Anderson, Julian Wan.] source Regated

Continue reading WikiLeaks Tweets November 1-8, 2016

The Door

A representative from the The Door (Christian Center) came to my apartment earlier. I usually don’t answer My Door for people who aren’t delivering packages to me, but she was very insistent. She knocked and clacked the clapper several times as if to say, “You must answer — your very soul is at stake!”

I answered the door, and she handed me this bookmark-sized ad for something called XTREME VENUE. I’d never have guessed that it was for a church group if she hadn’t told me.

She asks if I’m religious. I tell her that I consider myself a humanist now, though I did grow up with a Pentecostalist mom and went to a Seventh-Day Adventist church school for several years.

She tells me how much Jesus still loves me and how Jesus saved her, made her whole, and made her a better person.

Eventually, I ask her what I ask the LDS missionaries that I periodically speak to when they come to my door: “If you passed by someone on the street who is hungry, would you try to help them?”

“Yes, of course,” she says. Everybody says this.

I say, “We both know that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present. So, we know that God could help that person but doesn’t. So, why worship something that is less moral than you are?”

“But God gives us free will, so it’s our own decisions that get us to that point of being hungry,” she says.

I say, “Well, I think we have some free will but not much. After our genetic makeup and environment are accounted for, that doesn’t leave much room for our personal choices. Our lives are highly determined by the circumstances we’re born into. We can predict, with high certainty, how a person’s life will play out just by where they were born geographically and their parents’ circumstances. I believe, like most humanists, that, by focusing on making the afterlife better for everyone, we too often fail to do as much as we can to help people now who will suffer and die if they only receive spiritual nourishment.”

She says, “I believe that we do need to help those people, and it is my personal choice to help those people. At the same time, though, if you die, you will never have filled that hole that only Christ can fill. That’s why I urge you to read the Bible.”

“What do you think about abortion?” I blurt out.

“Well, I oppose it,” she says.

I say, “Where in the Bible does it mention abortion?”

“God said, ‘Before you were formed, I knew you,'” she says.

I say, “That is Jeremiah talking about a vision he had of God. Jeremiah says that God told him in this vision that Jeremiah would be a prophet to the nations. In Exodus, there’s a verse that says, ‘If two men are fighting and one of them bumps into a pregnant woman, causing her to miscarry, the man who bumped into her has to pay a fine determined by her husband and some judges. But, if the woman dies along with her fetus, the man who bumped into her must be killed, life for life.’ To me, that means that God thinks differently of the born and unborn.”

“What do you think about abortion?” she says.

I say, “Well, I don’t think it should be illegal. I think of myself as scientifically-minded, so I always try to look at the evidence. We know that making it illegal doesn’t actually reduce the rate of abortion; it just makes it more dangerous for the mother. While I don’t think we can stop abortion completely, I would prefer to reduce the rate of abortion overall. The best way the research says to do that is to make birth control as available as we can.”

She says, “We can talk all day about different theories. Scientists have a lot of theories, but they’re not proven. You know, Darwin had his theory of evolution and, even though it’s not proven because it’s just a theory, they still teach it in schools like it’s a fact.”

I say, “Well, that’s an issue with how non-scientists casually use the word ‘theory’ and how scientists use the word. When scientists use the word, it means that there’s a huge amount of evidence in favor of it. It’s as close to truth as we can get. Evolution is ‘just a theory’ in the same way that gravity is ‘just a theory.'”

She says, “It’s fun to talk about the scientific, but I think you still have to think about the spiritual. That is so important to me. My spirituality is informed by reading the Bible and praying. Just reading the Bible and thinking about all these things that people say about it isn’t enough. That’s why you need to pray while reading the Bible.”

I say, “Yeah, but there’s something I can’t get over about prayer: How do I know who’s answering?”

“Well, it’s Jesus. You would be praying to Jesus,” she says.

“Yeah, but how do you know that it’s Jesus answering? I mean, if you connect to wifi, hackers can intercept that signal and reroute you to what they want you to see.”

“Oh, I know it’s Jesus.”

“OK, but let’s say that it’s Satan that intercepts that prayer. And, Satan wants you to think that it’s OK to bomb an abortion clinic, because Satan wants you to believe that people who provide abortions are baby murderers.”

“But, I know that it’s not Satan. I absolutely know that it’s Jesus answering,” she says.

“You are certain that something is answering,” I say. “We both know that Satan is deceptive, though. Satan could disguise itself as Jesus to make us do its bidding. That’s exactly the type of thing we’d expect Satan to do.”

She says that you can protect yourself from that by saying, “My blood is pure, Satan!” or something like that.

By that time, either because we’d been talking awhile and her fellow proselytizers had moved on, or because she had increasingly become convinced that I’m the Devil, she had backed out of the fenced area outside my entryway and closed the gate.

“Read the Bible and pray!” she said, looking back while walking away.

“I’m afraid to pray! Don’t want to let in the Devil!” I said. “Have a nice day!”

Then I closed The Door.


The Door’s Pastor Joe Campbell “Healing”

Guns in the Academic Literature

October 2014

“In conclusion, this article is the first to our knowledge to report that a higher proportion of household gun ownership at the state level is associated with statistically significant increased rates of nonstranger total and firearm homicides. By contrast, we found no robust, statistically significant association between household gun ownership and stranger homicides. Our findings thus challenge the argument that gun ownership deters violent crime, in particular, homicides.”

American Journal of Public Health, 104(10), 1912–9*


December 2002

“Across the nine regions for the early 1990s (n = 9), household handgun ownership rates are positively correlated with the suicide rate (r = 0.59) and are not correlated with either the lifetime prevalence of major depression or suicidal thoughts. After controlling for major depression and suicidal thoughts (and any of the four additional control variables), handgun ownership rates remain significantly associated with the overall suicide rate.”

Injury Prevention, 8, 313–316*


July 2004

“Individual-level studies (n=4) are reviewed that investigate the risks and benefits of owning a personal or household firearm. The research suggests that households with firearms are at higher risk for homicide, and there is no net beneficial effect of firearm ownership.

“Two groups of ecological studies are reviewed, those comparing multiple countries and those focused solely on the United States. Results from the cross-sectional international studies (n=7) typically show that in high-income countries with more firearms, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

“Time series (n=10) and cross-sectional studies (n=9) of U.S. cities, states, and regions and for the United States as a whole, generally find a statistically significant gun prevalence–homicide association. None of the studies prove causation, but the available evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that increased gun prevalence increases the homicide rate.”

Aggression and Violent Behavior, 9(4), 417–440*


November 2013

•There is no evidence for the ‘more guns less crime’ position.

•Guns facilitate suicides or homicides and increase the risk of violent death.

•It is the lethality of the weapon that is responsible.

•The idea that guns serve a protective function is an illusion.

Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18(6), 709–721*


March 2002

“Between 1988 and 1997, the suicide, homicide, and unintentional firearm death rates among women were disproportionately higher in states where guns were more prevalent. The elevated rates of violent death in states with more guns was not entirely explained by a state’s poverty or urbanization and was driven primarily by lethal firearm violence, not by lethal nonfirearm violence.”

Journal of Urban Health, 79(1), 26–38*


December 2000

“Among developed nations, the United States has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership, and the highest homicide rate. We examine whether the United States is merely an exception, or if a relationship between gun availability and homicide exists across all developed nations.

“In simple regressions (no control variables) across 26 high-income nations, there is a strong and statistically significant association between gun availability and homicide rates.

“Conclusion: Across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides.”

Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care 49(6), 985–988*


May 1993

“Positive correlations were obtained between the rates of household gun ownership and the national rates of homicide and suicide as well as the proportions of homicides and suicides committed with a gun.”

Canadian Medical Association Journal, 148(10), 1721–1725*


June 2006

“Over the 22 year study period household firearm ownership rates declined across all four regions. In multivariate analyses, each 10% decline in household firearm ownership was associated with significant declines in rates of firearm suicide, 4.2% (95% CI 2.3% to 6.1%) and overall suicide, 2.5% (95% CI 1.4% to 3.6%). Changes in non-firearm suicide were not associated with changes in firearm ownership.

“The magnitude of the association between changes in household firearm ownership and changes in rates of firearm and overall suicide was greatest for children: for each 10% decline in the percentage of households with firearms and children, the rate of firearm suicide among children 0–19 years of age dropped 8.3% (95% CI 6.1% to 10.5%) and the rate of overall suicide dropped 4.1% (2.3% to 5.9%).”

Injury Prevention, 12, 178–182.*


January 2011

“The US homicide rates were 6.9 times higher than rates in the other high-income countries, driven by firearm homicide rates that were 19.5 times higher. For 15-year olds to 24-year olds, firearm homicide rates in the United States were 42.7 times higher than in the other countries. For US males, firearm homicide rates were 22.0 times higher, and for US females, firearm homicide rates were 11.4 times higher. The US firearm suicide rates were 5.8 times higher than in the other countries, though overall suicide rates were 30% lower. The US unintentional firearm deaths were 5.2 times higher than in the other countries.

“Among these 23 countries, 80% of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States, 86% of women killed by firearms were US women, and 87% of all children aged 0 to 14 killed by firearms were US children.”

Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care, 70(1), 238–243*


April 2007

“Household firearm ownership levels are strongly associated with higher rates of suicide, consistent with the hypothesis that the availability of lethal means increases the rate of completed suicide.”

Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care, 62(4), 1029–1035*


October 2013

“The number of guns per capita per country was a strong and independent predictor of firearm-related death in a given country, whereas the predictive power of the mental illness burden was of borderline significance in a multivariable model. Regardless of exact cause and effect, however, the current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis that guns make a nation safer.”

The American Journal of Medicine, 126(10), 873–876*


February 2002

“A statistically significant association exists between gun availability and the rates of unintentional firearm deaths, homicides, and suicides. The elevated rates of suicide and homicide among children living in states with more guns is not entirely explained by a state’s poverty, education, or urbanization and is driven by lethal firearm violence, not by lethal nonfirearm violence.”

Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care, 52(2), 267–275*


November 2004

“Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4). They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death.

“The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9). Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6).

“Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.”

American Journal of Epidemiology, 160(10), 929–936*


Spring 2002

“Among high-income countries, where firearms are more available, more women are homicide victims. Women in the United States are at higher risk of homicide victimization than are women in any other high-income country.”

Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association, 57(2), 100–104.*


October 2001

“This paper uses a unique data set to demonstrate that increases in gun ownership lead to substantial increases in the overall homicide rate.”

Journal of Political Economy, 109(5), 1086–1114*


October 1993

“As compared with the controls, the victims more often lived alone or rented their residence. Also, case households more commonly contained an illicit-drug user, a person with prior arrests, or someone who had been hit or hurt in a fight in the home. After controlling for these characteristics, we found that keeping a gun in the home was strongly and independently associated with an increased risk of homicide.”

The New England Journal of Medicine, 329, 1084–1091*


August 2004

“Although the current study cannot determine causation, firearm mortality in its various forms is most commonly related to the prevalence of firearms and the percent of the population that is African American.”

Journal of Community Health, 29(4), 271–283*


“We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.”

American Journal of Public Health, 103(11), 2098–2105*