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Accommodating Insanity:  When a person's mind does not agree with physical reality, we try to fix the person's mind.  For example, if a person thinks he can fly while standing on the edge of a tall building, we try to convince him otherwise.  Not so in Fairfax County, where we alter bathroom and dressing-room facilities to accommodate a person whose mind says he is a woman while the DNA in every cell of his body, including the cells in his brain, indicate he is a man.

08 Reducing Gun Violence: The factors that correlate strongly with murders with guns are race (correlation coefficient = 0.77 with percent blacks), fatherless homes (0.74), and high-school graduation (-0.60) – the very factors that Bill Cosby has been discussing.  Gun murders are weakly correlated with poverty (0.42) and abortion rate (0.25) – the respect for life.  Self defense (-0.30) is also weakly correlated with gun murders.  Population density has a very weak effect (0.15).  Gun restriction (0.05) and religious practice (0.36), being positive, have counter-intuitive effects; however, perhaps where there are more gun murders, people pray more.  (These are first-order correlation coefficients.  Appendix C of the report has a more extensive regression analysis.)

 The individual factors are not all independent.  Cross-correlations are listed in Appendix B of the report.  For example, fatherlessness and the black percentage have a correlation coefficient of 0.73; therefore, separating the effects of these two, although mathematically calculable, is problematic.  Fatherlessness is probably the real cause, but it so happens that fatherlessness is higher where the black percentage is higher.  High-school graduation and the black percentage have a correlation coefficient of -0.77, so these also are problematic.  Fatherlessness and poverty (0.69) are also highly correlated.  Nevertheless, as Bill Cosby has said, getting black children to finish high school, get a job, and stay married to the mother of their children would address all three of these issues.  All children, not only black children, would benefit from this strategy.  Gun murders would then decrease.  Although these issues may be dismissed as cultural and therefore beyond the reach of government, the government, through the public schools, greatly influences the culture. Posted: August 22, 2013

Note:  A correlation coefficient between A and B of 1.0 means that every time A occurs, B occurs.  A coefficient of zero means that the occurrence of A is unrelated to the occurrence of B.  A coefficient of -1.0 means that every time A occurs, B does not occur.  Keep in mind that correlation does not imply causation.

Fred Costello,
Aug 25, 2013, 2:43 PM