Friday, September 17, 2004

Why Timothy Lambert is My Favorite Blogger or Why John Lott is My Least Favorite Blogger

Once again, Timothy Lambert puts John Lott on blast. How many times does Lott have to be beaten down before he just gives it up? Probably as many times as it takes to get people to stop paying and quoting him.

In this episode of the John Lott speaks, and removes all doubt of his foolishness, Lott jumps on the recently published crime statistics for New South Wales. On his blog, Lott reports:

With a reported 34 percent increase in armed robberies in Sydney during just the last 12 months, some have been driven to try and stop the attacks. (I don’t have the numbers handy at the moment, but armed robberies have been going up dramatically for the last six or so years in Australia.)

Sounds bad for Australia's gun regulations, doesn't it? At least until you actually look at the data, as Lambert does. Lambert finds that Lott has cherry picked one data point out of more than two hundred. He writes:

Now if, hypothetically, you were out to show that crime had increased here because of the 1996 gun laws you would be faced with a problem. Normally with sixteen crime categories you can find one that increased and you can then run with that. But there weren’t any significant increases this time. What to do, what to do?
Fortunately the crime statistics are broken down into region and subregion. If you scroll down in the report you find a table giving the crime categories for each part of Sydney. Fourteen rows and sixteen columns means that there are 224 cells in the table. The table is a sea of negative numbers. Crime is down everywhere and in every category. But wait! There is one, just one, positive number in the whole table: Robbery with a firearm increased by 34% in inner Sydney, from 123 to 165.

So, not only has crime gone down in Sydney (and Australia as a whole), but contrary to the way Lott describes the data, armed robberies have actually gone down there as well. The sad thing is, Lott will probably get away with this instance of blatant disingenuousness among pro-gun conservatives. What a world.

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