I’m not accepting this at face value, and, in fact, I am a bit skeptical of these types of analyses, but this sounds interesting to me:
Gilligan tracked rates of suicide and homicide over a century, from 1900 to 2007 and was intrigued by the peaks and valleys he saw. Over that period, he writes, “I saw three large, sudden, and prolonged increases and decreases in these measures of lethal violence, which reached a peak and were then followed by equally dramatic decreases.”
He scratched his head over that until he realized that “all three of the epidemics of lethal violence corresponded with the presidential election cycle.”
Now, the next part of this item will get Republicans’ noses out of joint and will no doubt start Democrats thumping their chests. What Gilligan found was that suicides and homicides started climbing to epidemic levels following the election of a Republican president. If that isn’t annoying enough to the Grand Old Party, he also discovered that the rates remained around epidemic levels throughout the time Republicans occupied the White House. “The increase began during their first year or years in office, and peaked in their last year or years,” Gilligan writes.
I’m not surprised by this in the slightest.
If Obama working out a moderate compromise on the debt ceiling can lead to massive outcries of doom and virtual rending of garments all over the blogosphere, then the actual arrival of a real conservative must send the fainting couch brigades straight for the warm bath and razor blades.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
So, we’re a conservative country because us liberals keep killing each other and ourselves when a Republican becomes president?
Wouldn’t the peak at the end of the terms imply that people were trying to escape a Democratic presidency? That’s not chest thumping material.
Is the title Chaka Dimas or Angela Landsbury?
Doug, this is really ridiculous.
The question would be correlations with other factors, which might also (and more plausibly causatively) correlate with partisan electoral success – most obviously economic factors, but also wars, etcetera.
Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen
And what’s the ad under this post? A luridly drawn fetus thing on a red background. The text instructs us to urge Hoosier Gov. Mitch Daniels to stand up for the unborn.
Why in the world would people be driven into a murderous rage by the thought of being ruled by a pack of hypocritical SOBs who want to stick cameras to our naughty bits so we don’t use them for unauthorized purposes?
Feh. The GOPers will blame the murders on young t-bone eating bucks attempting to intimidate reaLAMErican voters. Suicides will be put down to hedonistic homo libs who are afraid the non-stop Crisco party is about to end. Or something.
@C.J.: Huh? The peaks occur near the end of Republican presidencies.
And the author has an explanation as to why this is the case.
As a statistician, I am required to say that correlation does not imply causation. However, that doesn’t mean you get to ignore what correlation is observable, either.
hey, elections have consequences
hmmm…I’m stuck in moderation. I thought the post was slightly silly. Maybe this will get through.
I think one of two things is going on here:
a) Your snark detector is broken, or
b) You gotta picture C.J. trollin’
Ol' Dirty DougJ
A little of both.
and 11+ posts in and nobody’s whining that we want research by the Professor and not Gilligan?
@RareSanity: Ah. Sorry, been reading the stories at Balloon Juice for several years now, but haven’t really gotten into the comments section yet to know who’s who among the commenters. Usually by the time I see a good story, there’s about 200 comments, and I don’t bother adding my 2 cents.
I do remember a Brick Oven Bob or Bill posting that seemed to be some kind of troll. Whatever happened to him? (And what’s with Uncle Clarence Thomas?)
I like Mark Kleiman. He gets it.
@scav: Ah, but you see, NYU has its own Island of Dr. Moreau, so they’ve actually created a hybrid of the two, so you now have Professor Gilligan.
@burnspbesq: Kleiman is awesome. He gave an amazing lecture on drug policy to those of us in Bruin Democrats this past school year. I’d love to see Kleiman vs. any GOP pundit on TV. He’d have the Republican cowering under the table in under 3 minutes. :-)
Feature, not bug. Entitlement reform comes in many shapes and sizes.
@Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen:
I think it’s a typo and should read ‘stand up as high as the unborn’. Dude’s not exactly Globetrotter material, if you know what I mean.
I really love this picture.
ETA: Look at that fucking yield curve. Could there ever be a better time to borrow out the wazoo and do stimulus?
Well, the Reagan years were certainly some of the most crime ridden in US history. Maybe in suburbia it was Morning in America, but in NYC it usually looked more like The Inferno. The Reagan administration’s feat of gutting services to the mentally ill and dumping them on the street was a nice added touch of inhumanity. When you’ve got big criminals running things at the top, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there will be minor criminals running amok everywhere else.
Ha! Goddess knows, I always feel a bit suicidal when a GOPers are in power.
Dude’s money. Show some fucking respect.
@burnspbesq: Burnsy, I gotta tell you. You’re confusing the hell outta me. Leaving Big Law and been pointing some shit out lately.
I’m gonna have to fix another drink or some shit.
When the tea party doesn’t control the budgetary chamber of the legislature?
Enjoy that drink.
Guess he had a lot of spare time while he was stuck on that desert island.
@ C.J. – August
Sure they peaked at the end of the GOP presidencies, but started to climb at the beginning. So… looks more like GOP misery is the cause.
Well, yeah, there is that. But the macroeconomic conditions are close to perfect.
Did you see where Gingrich called Obama a “Paul Krugman President?”. Too funny. We should be so lucky.
@BruinKid: The mind reels at the thought of the other insane combos they may have come up with in that dreaded laboratory. Skipper Mary Ann?
@Martin: To be balanced, the last Congress was unwilling to be caught either taxing or spending. We’ve got one party that has one tax trick and only one trick, and the other that stops at shovel-ready projects and cash for clunkers.
Some studies give counter-intuitive results, like learning that some types of cholesterol are good for you after years of being told that all cholesterol was bad.
And then there are those that confirm what you’ve suspected for decades, but no one had proven before, like this one.
Leaving BigLaw isn’t any sort of political statement. I think I have a way to make similar money and have a better life. But I’ll take what you said as a compliment.
@scav: Ginger AND Mary Ann
Statistical evidence of systematically different macroeconomic performance between D and R presidential terms is well known. No one has figured out a good explanation for why that might be, since the differences in policies seem too small to create such large differences in such a short amount of time.
The doc proposes that macroeconomic conditions are intermediating variables. He could and should test that idea. Then might be easier to take his hypothesis seriously.
Maybe he does that in the book. Let’s have a book salon!
@burnspbesq: Let’s leave it as “TBD”.
But I’ll listen to anyone making the argument we are fools to not be borrowing our balls off at this point in time.
I thought the saying was, “Correlation is not causation.” Meaning it can imply or suggest causations, but it can’t be taken as proof.
Parasites who avoid either purpose or reason perish, as they should.
(Persistently, of course).
Didn’t Bush II have historic lows for crime? I didn’t see him mentioned in the article. I know that the reason for the rising crime rates in the 1970s and 1980s was partly demographic thanks to the Baby Boomers being in their prime crime-committing years (yes, I blame you guys for everything! ;-)
Though maybe he made up for that with the suicides that Bush directly caused.
I actually wasn’t trolling, though I am flattered.
I was thinking that, if the number went higher toward the end of a Republican presidential term, that could mean people were trying to “get out” so to speak before the Democrat took over. Like the comet suicide people, except with Ronald Reagan being the spaceship to Laffer Curve heaven or something. Obviously I don’t get to see the whole chart, but that’s just a thought.
@JGabriel: Correlation is not causation, but if you don’t start looking there you’re a fucking moron.
@Corner Stone: And regarding Big Law, I’ll just say that most people have no idea about the crushing weight of billable time. Some think they want it, can handle it, but they can’t.
I know a dozen really excellent attorneys who have left BL to go into solo or small practice and are so much the happier for it. They can better service their long term clients, charge more reasonable rates with less overhead pressure, and basically be as responsible for customer service as they need to be. No more flying to Belgium today and then back to Michigan on Thursday for client meetings. Etc, etc.
One day I’m going to write a book about professional services and all the foofaraw involved.
It will be an industry book, and I’ll make a fortune consulting off of it.
@MikeJ: That was kinda my point, though I was being more polite about it.
BattleCat thinks those statistics are purrfectly absurd. Guns don’t care about socio-economic issues!
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
@Corner Stone: Billable time is … well, maybe not crushing, but a it’s at least a burden in the other professions.
I’m acquainted with engineering consulting, and I look at people in other jobs longingly because they just go to work, do their jobs, and go home, and don’t have to account for every fucking minute of the fucking day.
RedState encourages lefty anger at Obama via the Great Orange Satan:
OK, I don’t know about the book, but that article sucks.
“‘I saw three large, sudden, and prolonged increases and decreases in these measures of lethal violence…’”
“What Gilligan found was that suicides and homicides started climbing to epidemic levels following the election of a Republican president”
Well, of three Republican presidents, apparently, not all of them. There were more than three in the 107 years he looked at, and evidently, the majority of them were not associated with an increase in suicides and/or homicides. Only three of them were.
That sounds like a coincidence to me, but at the least, the article should mention in which years (and thus during which presidential administrations) these increases occurred.
Maybe the book is better than the article (one would certainly hope so), but as far as I’m concerned, this article amounts to nothing more than noise. It does not contain enough specific information to make any assessment at all.
“In Gilligan’s view, the policies of Republican administrations increase socio-economic distress…”
I am unconvinced that Gilligan has found an effect that requires any explanation. Until he does, I am not that interested in what his speculations might be.
The same relationship has documented in England – Conservative VS Labor governments.
I’d like to know why people think this is, in any way, funny or clever.
Did the Skipper or the Professor vett this nonsense?
Mere pattern is not the same thing as information
But at least this provides a distraction from the consternation over the debt ceiling compromise.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Shorter Redstate: “Markos may be a former Republican but he’s still useful to us!”
Mary Ann AND Bailey from WKRP
I am thoroughly sick of “also, too,” too.
Davis X. Machina
@Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason: Billables is piecework for people with diplomas. I expect education to embrace the concept shortly.
@Odie Hugh Manatee:
You do realize you’re commenting at Balloon Juice, right? John Cole, former Redstate contributor/editor, only left the GOP a few years ago himself.
@Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason:
Not to get too deep into this, but me too. I envy people who get to leave, go home and drop it til they show up the next day. AND I have a little touche of envy for people who get to bill their time when they deal with items after they leave the physical workspace.
But on the whole I don’t want to waste my time keeping track of my time in 6 minute increments.
If financial stress has been shown to be a factor in divorce, suicide and crime, (as I believe it has) and republicans administrations can be correlated to more financial stress, then it doesn’t seem inconceivable that more divorce, suicide and crime (including murder) happen during republican administrations.
Financial stress would be just one factor among many (including the population age) so republicans are not necessarily the direct, sole purveyors of death and destruction, but it might seem that way at times.
Personally, I find that more annoying as a Democrat than I would as a Republican.
It basically can be spun as saying:
“Are Democrats such emotional wrecks that they need to go about murdering others and themselves when a Republican president gets elected?”
Bailey and Joyce Davenport.
Is this thing on?
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
@Corner Stone: Thank FSM, mine is half-hour increments, ’cause our local and state gov’t clients won’t cover the overhead it would take to track it in any more detail. How long would you survive with a 2.5 multiplier?
But the overall idea is the same. Like @Davis X. Machina said, it’s just piecework at a different level.
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
OK, this is just getting weird. But if I had to weigh in it’s Emma Peel and ……
@Corner Stone: One of the sweetest things about the nonprofit job I had was that I could just fucking go home. Because I was done. The academic world ain’t like that.
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
That’s why I fantasize about being a garbageman. I mean, it’s a lot of smelly crap and all, in any weather, but when you’re done, you’re done. It’s not like you can take the job home.
And if you’re on vacation and you’re dumb enough to check email, nobody’s going to ask you a question that you have to answer RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!
Become an underachiever. It’s awesome.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Yes, and John isn’t a Markos just like BJ isn’t the GOS.
Thank FSM for that!
Uh, hasn’t the 2000’s been known for its historically low murder rate?
Well that’s just great, (also, too, fixt) if Perry/Bachmann gets elected I’ll have to murder someone…again…
@FlipYrWhig: I left medium-sized law for a solo practice a couple years ago. I make the same money now as then. It definitely has it’s up side, although there are no vacations and I have a ton of tedious admin stuff and anxiety over whether enough clients will walk in the door each month.
All in all, it is still better. I don’t have to wear a tie if I’m not going to Court and I can leave early whenever I need to without worrying about getting shot for it.
And Charles Johnson abandoned the right wing hysteric line at Little Green Footballs. Which causes me to wonder, have there been any similar high level blogosphere defections in the other direction?
@Julia Grey: When did David Horowitz stop being a Trotskyite?