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Fake data = Fake research on mass shootings

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The Washington Times has a news story on our new research on mass public shootings around the world. Interestingly, Adam Lankford was unable/unwilling to give any responses to our research:

“I am not interested in giving any serious thought to John Lott or his claims,” he said in response to an email seeking comment. . . .

Possibly Lankford was advised by media experts that the best thing to do if you don’t have an answer to these types of serious charges it is best not to say anything. It certainly seems like Lankford is hoping that all this will just blow over.

The Washington Times piece starts this way:

A shock 2016 study argued that the U.S. accounted for nearly one-third of all mass shootings, sparking global headlines about the dangers of an American gun culture.

Now another researcher says the original study “botched” the data.

John R. Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, crunched the numbers and said his count shows that the U.S. had less than 3 percent of the world’s mass public shootings over a 15-year period.

That is smaller than the 4.6 percent of the world’s population that the U.S. accounts for — and way less than the 31 percent of global mass shooters that Adam Lankford, a professor at the University of Alabama, claimed in his widely publicized studies.

“If you fix the data, you get the opposite result from him,” Mr. Lott said. “He has the United States way out there, all by itself in terms of mass public shootings. He’s simply wrong. The United States, when I go through this, ranks 58th in the world in the rate of mass public shootings and 62nd in the world in terms of murders from mass public shootings.”

Mr. Lott said he tried to get Mr. Lankford to disclose his data but the professor won’t share it with him or other researchers, making it impossible to double-check the original claims or to figure out why Mr. Lott’s numbers are so different.

Mr. Lankford’s research, first released in 2015 and presented to the American Sociological Association in 2016, garnered stories from The New York Times, Newsweek, CNN and The Washington Post, among dozens of others, that said it was proof, as CNN put it, that “the U.S. has the most mass shootings.”

Mr. Lankford studied the period from 1966 to 2012 using data from the New York City Police Department’s active shooter report, a 2014 FBI active shooter report and some foreign accounts.

He identified 292 incidents worldwide in which at least four people were killed — the FBI’s definition of a mass murder. Of those, 90 were in the U.S. — 31 percent of the total among 171 countries.

The professor also found that shooters in the U.S. were more likely to arm themselves with multiple weapons and more likely to attack at schools and business locations.

Mr. Lankford, who claimed to be the first to attempt a global survey, said his results suggested there was something to the American psyche that left people disaffected when they failed to achieve the American dream. He said they turn to violent outbursts with firearms.

“It may thus be the lofty aspirations and broken dreams of a tiny percentage of America’s students and workers — combined with their mental health problems, distorted perceptions of victimization, delusions of grandeur, and access to firearms — that makes them more likely to commit public mass shootings than people from other cultures,” he postulated in his 2015 paper.

Yet he has failed to post the data on all 292 shootings. Early academic critics said it’s easy to find data for U.S. shootings but trickier for tracking incidents in foreign countries.

Mr. Lott, meanwhile, turned to data from the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database and followed up with Nexis and web searches to try to catch cases that the database missed.

He said good data exist only for recent years, so he looked from 1998 to 2012 and found 1,491 mass public shootings worldwide. Of those, only 43 — or 2.88 percent — were in the U.S. Divide that by per capita rates, and the U.S. comes in 58th, behind Finland, Peru, Russia, Norway and Thailand — though still worse than France, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Looked at from the number of victims in those shootings, the U.S. again ranks low, with just 2.1 percent of mass shooting deaths, Mr. Lott said.

He has released a 451-page appendix detailing each of the shootings and his thoughts on how he classified it, and he shared his data with other academics, including, he said, Mr. Lankford.

The professor, though, told The Washington Times that he wasn’t going to get drawn into a back-and-forth over the issue.

“I am not interested in giving any serious thought to John Lott or his claims,” he said in response to an email seeking comment.

Another professor, Carl Moody, an economist who studies crime at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, said Mr. Lott got it right.

“When I saw John Lott’s paper, I went to the Global Terrorism Database … and counted the number of mass shootings in the U.S. compared to everywhere else. Lott is right,” he said by email. . . .

- from The Washington Times Online

 

Fake "research" fueling fake news :dismay: 

:v:

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I have a different story on "fake" data related to school shooting, from the US government. And it was exposed in an expose by a liberal news entity. Will see if I can find it and post it here as well. 

Edited by tomkaz

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Here it is, from NPR, showing they could only corroborate or confirm a small fraction of the school shooting incidents which the US Department of Education reports. This is a major problem because real laws and being crafted based on the perceived threat at schools. The article is long, with graphics, here’s a taste. 

 

The School Shootings That Weren't

Anya KamenetzAugust 27, 20189:26 PM ET

LA Johnson/NPR

How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?

 

We should know. But we don't.

 

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, "nearly 240 schools ... reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting." The number is far higher than most other estimates.

 

But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government's Civil Rights Data Collection.

 

We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.

 

In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn't confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn't meet the government's parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn't respond to our inquiries.

 

"When we're talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful," says Deborah Temkin, a researcher and program director at Child Trends.

 

The Education Department, asked for comment on our reporting, noted that it relies on school districts to provide accurate information in the survey responses and says it will update some of these data later this fall. But, officials added, the department has no plans to republish the existing publication.

 

This confusion comes at a time when the need for clear data on school violence has never been more pressing. Students around the country are heading back to school this month under a cloud of fear stemming from the most recent mass shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Texas.

 

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2nd Amendment haters lie! There’s nothing new about that.  What worries me is how few, in this age of free mass information, bother to fact check something they are told before believing it as gospel and passing it along.

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8 mins ago, Cayotica said:

2nd Amendment haters lie! There’s nothing new about that.  What worries me is how few, in this age of free mass information, bother to fact check something they are told before believing it as gospel and passing it along.

You only “fact check” facts that do not comport to your internal narrative or your agency’s mission. If the DoE wants to think there is a high incidence of school firearm events, they are not going to question positive reports from the local districts. 

 

This is why the 2A lobby is against funding gun violence research by the NIH. If the researchers have a predisposition to “treat” gun violence as a public health issue (rather than law enforcement), then they can be predisposed to “find” results that will support such a conclusion. The old, “if you are a hammer, you go looking for nails” concept. 

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In semi related news...RI just passed an administrative order that concealed carry folks can’t bring guns in schools. So nevermind the fact that they passed a rule that addresses the very lowest threat, for the votes of the emotional and weak constituents, they basically admitted that they do not support any level of screening. It’s about no guns. Period. 

 

 

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39 mins ago, jettyjockey18 said:

I thought all academic studies were supposed to be peer reviewed to substantiate their claims? 

That typically applies to research that is published in journals, etc. 

 

As an aside, I read an article in the past week or so that suggest less than half of a set of such journal articles could be replicated by others, yet they were published originally. 

 

The piece I linked to was about confirming the report from the Dept of Education that is never subjected to review. I would have to go back and read it again but I am curious as to what propelled NRP to go through such a review. 

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probably how obviously wrong the numbers where...think about it. they said a school shooting something like every 2.8 days. nobody would believe that number. 

 

one school district reported 60 some odd school shootings. 

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2 hours ago, HugeDinghy said:

one school district reported 60 some odd school shootings. 

Chicago ? St Louis ? Some other democratic hell hole ?

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California district if I remember correctly but definitely don’t quote me. It was a wrong data table. They thought they were reporting on something totally different. 

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