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Murder Is Like a Disease (No, Really)

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the and-the-only-cure-is-more-cowbell dept.

News 299

pigrabbitbear writes "With a homicide rate historically more than three times greater than the rest of the United States, Newark, N.J., isn't a great vacation spot. But it's a great place for a murder study (abstract). Led by April Zeoli, an assistant professor of criminal justice, a group of researchers at Michigan State University tracked homicides around Newark from 1982 to 2008, using analytic software typically used by medical researchers to track the spread of diseases. They found that "homicide clusters" in Newark, as researchers called them, spread and move throughout a city much the same way diseases do. Murders, in other words, did not surface randomly—they began in the city center and moved in 'diffusion-like processes' across the city."

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Careful you don't run afoul (0, Troll)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 years ago | (#42190171)

Of MSNBC's race card.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (-1, Troll)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 2 years ago | (#42190253)

Of MSNBC's race card.

Its more likely this is actually modelling the passage of a new batch of guns through the criminal underworld.

I always find it hailarious that you in the states cite the ability to own firarms as something that keeps you safe when your obscenely high murder rate points to the opposite in my opinion.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1, Troll)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 2 years ago | (#42190259)

Bend over and get ready for the royal shoeing. You're right, but you're Not Allowed To Say That Around Americans.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#42190271)

I always find it hailarious that you in the states cite the ability to own firarms as something that keeps you safe when your obscenely high murder rate points to the opposite in my opinion.

Many years ago, I visited the NRA office in Washington DC. They quoted a lot of statistics about other countries that had high gun ownership rates and low murder rates. My take-home message was that Americans shouldn't be allowed guns (and possibly sharp objects) until they are a bit more civilised, but I don't think that was what they were intending.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (5, Funny)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 years ago | (#42190517)

Many years ago, I visited the NRA office in Washington DC.

And hypocritically, you have to check your GE Minigun at the desk!

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (4, Funny)

codewarren (927270) | about 2 years ago | (#42190901)

...And why does there need to be an NRA and not a NRPGA? Why did God give us the right to own rifles but did not give us the right to own rocket propelled grenades? After all, if you outlaw RPGs, only outlaws will have RPGs. And what about the NICBMA? To remind us that intercontinental ballistic missiles don't kill people, people kill people!

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#42190599)

Many years ago, I visited the NRA office in Washington DC. They quoted a lot of statistics about other countries that had high gun ownership rates and low murder rates.

Did they say anything about correlations with other crimes? I've got a pet theory that most gun homicides are drug related and that if we took those out of the totals, the stats for the USA wouldn't be all that different from those in other countries.

But, so far, I haven't been able to find anywhere on the web that breaks down the number of gun homicides in a way that would lend itself to that sort of analysis. I've got a pet theory about that too - that the stereotypical NRA crowd is also big-time pro-war-on-drugs and the anti-war-on-drugs people are stereotypically anti-gun. So the two biggest groups on both sides aren't interested in seeing their pet causes in contradiction.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#42190713)

unless you're libertarian... but I doubt we'll find any of those around here.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (5, Interesting)

sgtrock (191182) | about 2 years ago | (#42191139)

Well, that's the problem with stereotypes, isn't it? They have such little basis in reality.

While I'm not a member of the NRA, I've been around guns and owned guns all my life. My dad gave me my first shotgun when I was 12. Over the past 40-some years I've managed to collect a couple of pistols, 5 shotguns and 3 rifles without really thinking about it. I think I'm pretty typical of any guy who grew up in a rural area in a country with halfway sane gun laws.

I was also taught that the War on Drugs was a joke. My dad was a member of the Minnesota branch of the National Education Association (teacher's union for those outside the U.S.) and his district's perennial delegate to the annual state convention. He spoke in favor of a resolution backing the legalization of marijuana in the early or mid '70s. (The motion passed, by the way.)

He said then that the war on drugs (which was just heating up at the time) was a waste of resources. He didn't see the point in criminalizing an activity with such a demonstrably small impact on society. Instead, he advocated legalizing it and treating it the same as alcohol or tobacco.

His attitude was a fairly common one then, and I think still is up here in Upper Midwest. We like to party and we like our guns. Those of us who have been raised around guns know the two don't mix. ;-)

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (4, Funny)

Phrogman (80473) | about 2 years ago | (#42191299)

Which lets me post one of my favorite quotes (although I can't remember who to attribute it to):

"Computers have enabled more people to make more mistakes, faster than any other human invention - with the possible exception of Tequila and Handguns"

or something to that effect :P

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (2)

OldTOP (1118645) | about 2 years ago | (#42191155)

Another analysis might be that gun control laws are introduced in places that have problems with guns. There's room for any amount of discussion about why problems arise in some places but not others, but clearly the situation is very different in different parts of the country. It has also been noted that places with relaxed gun control laws are a significant source of the guns used to commit murders elsewhere. Why would you enact strict laws if you didn't have problems and your economy benefited from the sale of guns?

It's very similar to the problem of the single currency in the Euro zone preventing local economies from using monetary policy to deal with local problems.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191215)

I've actually run the numbers on this based on race. I don't have them handy, but it's pretty easy to repeat.

Find a recent year murder rates. The year I looked at was about 6 per 100,000 people. By contrast, the rate in the UK for that year was about 1.2. If you then break down the US muder rates by race and gender, the murder rate for white males drops to just under 3 per 100,000 (in contrast it goes to about 18 for african americans). If we further assume that 1/3 of those murders have felony records (I was not able to get this info for the year that I looked at, but found other supporting evidence that said that roughly 30% of homicide victims were felons), we drop the murder rate for white males to about 2 per 100,000. That's still a lot higher than the UK, but astonishingly low given the number of firearms we have.

I think this is also one of the reasons that gun control doesn't really get a lot of traction in the US (not that I want it to). Gun violence disproportionately affects minorities. Mass shootings tend to make national news because they affect "normal white people". The number of murders in the US on the week of the Aurora theater shooting wasn't significantly different from a normal week of murders. I suspect that if a suburban white soccer mom had the same chance of getting shot to death as an inner city black teenager that America would have already banned most firearms.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190739)

the state of vermont has extremely lax gun laws and extremely low murder rates.
it's also got a small, mainly rural, fairly homogenous population.

you can draw your own conclusions

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190347)

The problem is that they're right.

I'm a Brit, and a strong supporter of the firearms laws we have here that limit the spread of guns (as in making sure the legal owners secure them and keep track of them so that they aren't "lost" into the black market). This only works because we have a low level of gun ownership to start with.

In the US the situation is radically different, and not just because of the culture. There are almost as many guns as people there, with such a vast number untracked that disarming the entire country is simply not going to happen. If you tried to apply our laws to their country, all it would achieve is to annoy the legal owners of firearms without making the slightest difference on the availability of guns on the black market.

Once you already have so many weapons around, the damage is already done. It's too late to stop it. At that point, you might as well accept reality and let people try to defend themselves against it.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190371)

Mod up! So many anti-gun idealists don't understand this. I wouldn't want to live in a country with that many guns, but Pandora's box has been opened, so to say - there's just no going back.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#42190455)

all it would achieve is to annoy the legal owners of firearms without making the slightest difference on the availability of guns on the black market.

You make it sound as if smuggling weapons into the UK was somehow difficult.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190545)

No, the relatively low rate of gun crimes in the UK makes it sound that way.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190555)

You make it sound as if smuggling weapons into the UK was somehow difficult.

It is.

A lot of the "gun crime" that happens here is with nonfunctional replica firearms, because the criminals can't get their hands on anything that actually shoots.

When a "real" gun turns up, it's quite often a replica that has been rebuilt in somebody's garage. Guns confiscated by the police are quite commonly pathetic things with no rifling, barrel much shorter than it appears from the cosmetic replica exterior, and which have to be dismantled after a single shot to reload.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#42190727)

It is.

How is that possible? An island country, complicated coast, lots of boats around... If an improvised large RC sub arrives to some secluded cove at the Isle of Lewis, launched from a yacht innocuously sailing miles away, with a few handguns and boxes of ammo in a watertight compartment, who's going to notice? Is everyone in the UK constantly being trailed by a bobby or what?

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190889)

Capitalism.

Every country has a drug problem, of course, but England isn't top on the list of places the Mexicans and Columbians are piloting their mini-subs to.

Why should they, when the US is a far more lucrative market?

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (2)

monkeythug (875071) | about 2 years ago | (#42190937)

I can't claim to be a shipping expert, but one of the reasons might be that our island is surrounded in many places by sandbanks and shallows of various sorts. This means the relatively few places that are deep enough for a sub to approach also tend to be well-policed shipping lanes ending in harbours and ports (or maybe estuaries which tend to have inconveniently large towns built on them).

Not to mention that we had this thing a while back where German U-Boats kept trying to sneak up on us, meaning there was good reason to make sure the authorities were well aware of all the places where this could happen.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191003)

The system doesn't have to be perfectly impenetrable. All it has to do is to make smuggling difficult and risky, and that can prevent most of it.

It helps that we have a huge coastguard and navy.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

Phrogman (80473) | about 2 years ago | (#42191331)

Also, if there is little or no market, there is little or no incentive to try to smuggle an item into a country. It is demand driven really. Why take tremendous risks just to increase your stockpile of items you can't sell ?

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42191233)

Are there no machinists?

Cutting a rifled barrel and building a simple firearm are not exactly complicated.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (2)

nogginthenog (582552) | about 2 years ago | (#42191097)

Stop selling bullets?

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191263)

Maybe you're trying to be funny but if you think this is an honest solution to "gun control" it just shows you really have no idea about what's really out on the streets today.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191171)

Violent crimes, including violent crimes with guns, has been on the downward trend for decades in the United States. And during those decades gun laws have generally gotten *less* strict in that more and more states are legalizing concealed carry and some are even allowing open carry. Also, gun ownership is up. So, gun ownership and ease of purchase is either largely unrelated to gun violence or has a negative correlation. Generally, gun shot wounds, particularly from hand guns, are not fatal and the patient recovers. Of course that's not what makes the news. I don't have the statistics handy but something around 10% of hand gun shot victims die. Obviously we don't want anyone to die, but this isn't like a huge plague of death or something and things are getting better, not worse.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190351)

Yes this makes perfect sense. Look at all the places that ban handguns like Chicago, DC, and London. No murders going on there, that's for sure.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (2, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 2 years ago | (#42190631)

Yes this makes perfect sense. Look at all the places that ban handguns like Chicago, DC, and London. No murders going on there, that's for sure.

There are far fewer murders in London than similar sized cities in the US. This quote has lots of stats that all seem fairly accurate even though it is a shit source:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100128231404AAGurXl [yahoo.com] (I would find a better one but my lunch break is nearly over, so don't really have time)

Not sure about Chicago but the difference is that in Chicago you can just bring a gun into the city from outside as there is no border to speak of so it is probably still pretty easy for a criminal to get a gun if they want one. In the UK we do still have a border that is policed by customs who do their best to stop weapons being smuggled in. That does not mean we have no guns in criminal hands but it does make it harder to get hold of one, even if only marginally.

We also have a law that means if you are caught with a firearm it is almost a certainty you will spend the next couple of years in prison. That seriously discourages gun ownership amongst all but the most hardened of criminals. In the US the social acceptability of gun ownership even in the cities you mention where it is ilegal is still a factor that you have to consider. Would a pot dealer in Chicago get an extra 5 years on his sentence just because the police found a unloaded gun in the back of a drawer somewhere when the raided him like in the UK?

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#42190875)

Would a pot dealer in Chicago get an extra 5 years on his sentence just because the police found a unloaded gun in the back of a drawer somewhere when the raided him like in the UK?

Maybe not in Chicago because the Pot dealer is often a police officer.

There are states that had a mandatory sentencing laws along the lines of "use a gun, go to jail", like California before it descended into whatever you'd call it now. But the Dems have been able to repeal many of those laws under the guise of reducing prison crowding, etc. Most often, plea deals are made in an effort to secure "conviction " rates. So instead of working hard to put someone away for 10 years for using a gun in an armed robbery, it's a few years and probation.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 2 years ago | (#42191383)

Yes, illegal possession of a guns, especially by a felon is punished severely in the US. Hard to do business or stay healthy without the "legal" backing of a gun though. Not sure how the English do it, perhaps the criminal organizations are more corporate? Perhaps living in a welfare state means that there is just less ambition, and if a dealer is pushed out of a territory he back to the "council estate" and watches football instead fighting for success?

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190405)

I find it hilarious when someone has an opinion that is the opposite of your opinion too.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190419)

Of MSNBC's race card.

Its more likely this is actually modelling the passage of a new batch of guns through the criminal underworld.

I always find it hailarious that you in the states cite the ability to own firarms as something that keeps you safe when your obscenely high murder rate points to the opposite in my opinion.

Check Vermont, you fucking idiot. It has quite possibly the most relaxed gun laws in the country, and is always in the top 5 states for least amount of crime, and usually top 3 for least amount of murders.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 2 years ago | (#42190569)

Of MSNBC's race card.

Its more likely this is actually modelling the passage of a new batch of guns through the criminal underworld.

I always find it hailarious that you in the states cite the ability to own firarms as something that keeps you safe when your obscenely high murder rate points to the opposite in my opinion.

Check Vermont, you fucking idiot. It has quite possibly the most relaxed gun laws in the country, and is always in the top 5 states for least amount of crime, and usually top 3 for least amount of murders.

That pattern goes far beyond Vermont, too. Look at the Brady Campaign rankings of states by gun laws, and you see an almost perfect correlation between strong gun laws and violence. The states with the least restrictive laws have the least violence. Now, that could be because places with lots of violence react by passing strong gun laws, but the studies on the effect of shall-issue concealed carry laws (laws that require the state to issue concealed carry permits to anyone who doesn't have a criminal record) shows a fairly clear and consistent, if small, decrease in the crime rate when more guns are on the street in the hands of law-abiding citizens.

My guess is that the explanation for the results of this study is gang warfare, a cycle of revenge killings fed and funded by the illegal drug trade. But I've believed for years that the biggest thing we could do to reduce violence in this country is to end the useless, ineffective and counterproductive war on drugs, and I like guns (I'm a concealed carry instructor), so it's not surprising that my view tracks closely with my opinions.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190709)

Yes, but in none of these states is it actually illegal to own a gun.

In the UK, handguns are effectively illegal, and you have to have a very good reason to own a rifle or shotgun, i.e. you have to be a farmer.

In the UK there are around 0.07 gun murders per 100,000, and about 6% of all murders are by firearms. In the US there are 2.97 gun murders per 100,000 population. and 60% of all homicides are by firearm. There are 88.8 for every 100 people in the US and 6.2 for every 100 people in the UK.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2012/jul/22/gun-ownership-homicides-map

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190741)

There are 88.8 for every 100 people in the US and 6.2 for every 100 people in the UK

Guns per person that is.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (4, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#42190909)

Doesn't the U.K. have a "knife crime" problem. Hence the seemingly ridicules laws about carrying edged weapons?

I carry my Buck Knife (3" blade) everywhere with me. It's a tool. But I believe that could land me in jail in the U.K.?

Please confirm or refute.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190983)

Why do I have to refute your claim? Why don't you produce a source to back it? Well this link: http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/335-156/12554-58-murders-a-year-by-firearms-in-britain-8775-in-us

claims the overall murder rate is about a quarter that of the US in the UK.

Fact is, it's harder to kill someone with a knife than a gun.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#42191321)

I'm asking a question first about the knife violence and second about the laws. That's what all the "?" are for.

Chill out.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (4, Informative)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | about 2 years ago | (#42191131)

Doesn't the U.K. have a "knife crime" problem. Hence the seemingly ridicules laws about carrying edged weapons?

I carry my Buck Knife (3" blade) everywhere with me. It's a tool. But I believe that could land me in jail in the U.K.?

Please confirm or refute.

If it lock, yes. All fix blade are banned, they consider a locked blade to be the equivalent of a fix blade. Slip join are fine, under 3 inch. eg: Laguiole, sak, spyderco uk.

IANAL. If you travel, buy a knife locally and ask the shop owner about local custom eg: It may be legal but inappropriate. A locally brought knife also make a great travel souvenirs.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42191255)

The only thing your correlation shows is that low population density means low crime.

Places with low population have high gun ownership and few gun laws. Places with high population had high crime so they instated tough gun laws.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

swillden (191260) | about 2 years ago | (#42191419)

The only thing your correlation shows is that low population density means low crime.

Places with low population have high gun ownership and few gun laws. Places with high population had high crime so they instated tough gun laws.

Not true. If you look at cities by size and correlate them with violence you see that big cities in states with little gun control have lower crime rates, for one thing. There are various other measures that dispute your claim.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

mhsobhani (2688177) | about 2 years ago | (#42190783)

I agree. all the 10 people living there have guns. C'mon!

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#42190601)

I always find it hailarious that you in the states cite the ability to own firarms as something that keeps you safe

You're inferring a unanimity of opinion that doesn't actually exist. Only a vocal minority of Americans think guns keep them safer. I'm American and I can't imagine a scenario where I would want a gun in my house.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42190915)

I'm American and I can't imagine a scenario where I would want a gun in my house.

Really? So you're saying that if someone came along, and converted your basement into a kick-ass shooting gallery, so you could let off steam from time to time, or let friends use it for letting off steam and just having a great time, you wouldn't want a gun in your house so you can actually use it?

Oh wait, sorry, I was supposed to come up with a scenario where someone breaks in while you're asleep and overpowers you and your family, doing rotten things to you all, but it's all OK because there's a gun under your pillow that you won't actually get a chance to use.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190917)

[citation needed]

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190923)

Wait til a home invader shows up with one. That is about the time you will wish you had one. You can think it won't happen to you, but it happens. A gun in a safe locked away and forgotten is better than none.

If America wants gun violence to end then they need to legalize drugs. Simple as that. Then we will have the random shooting but all countries have those...

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#42190997)

I think you under estimate this so-called minority.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 years ago | (#42190677)

I suspect that in practical terms, a 'new' way of looking at violence yields nothing of any use. Oh there will be studies and commissions and pundits and people who write well reviewed books on Amazon that are variously touted on The Daily Show but as always it will suffer the same myopic failure of every other First World Problems Study.

As opposed to say South Africa, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Algeria or Pakistan which have murder rates that make the US look like Yoga class.

But you go right along and scream at the no shoes wearing cousin humping bible and gun waving redneck hillbilly you've smugly determined is in fact the reality of every last human being (except of course for all the illegal aliens who are christ like in their peacefulness and love) residing here.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

Zak3056 (69287) | about 2 years ago | (#42190715)

Its more likely this is actually modelling the passage of a new batch of guns through the criminal underworld.

I always find it hailarious that you in the states cite the ability to own firarms as something that keeps you safe when your obscenely high murder rate points to the opposite in my opinion.

The state of New Jersey requires one to have a permit to own firearms, and an additional permit to purchase a handgun. One needs to obtain a new permit for each handgun, there is a fee, a fingerprinting process.etc. Carrying a handgun in the state of New Jersey is effectively illegal, essentially requiring one to either be a retired police office, private detective, security guard, or politically connected.

Yet somehow criminals manage to get firearms anyway. It's amazing to me, because of the laws I mentioned above--it's almost like these criminals have no respect for the law, and are just circumventing it (which is a rather fatal flaw in the "you need more laws" argument).

That said, I agree with you that the murder rate in the US is abysmal. The sad truth is that we just seem to like killing each other--take away the guns, and we STILL kill each other at rates far exceeding the rest of the civilized world. Michael Moore touched on this in Bowling for Columbine, but instead of exploring the reasons, he decided to blame the whole thing on an old man with alzheimers disease instead.

So, given the following: 1. many americans are violent, and 2. many criminals have or can easily obtain firearms, I propose that the law abiding should also be free to arm themselves, so as to afford some measure of protection.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#42190993)

Americans aren't even particularly violent. We do have a high murder rate, but violent crime otherwise is fairly low. If you don't participate in high risk behaviors like street prostitution or the drug trade, and don't live with a violent, abusive SO, your chances of being murdered are almost nil.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (5, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#42190775)

what obscenely high murder rates? your popular perception has little to do with reality. rates are down, and have been going down for years. crime, including homicide, in the US is at quite possibly the lowest point in the country's entire history.

but dont let that stop you from making your stupid american comments for an instant +5 insightful.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191253)

Obscenely high relative to other civilized countries. For real, look it up. But blaming all that on our "gun culture" is where it goes wrong. If anything points to violence, it's poverty. Anywhere there's a lot of population density and a lot of poor people, you get violence, and gun violence. But you won't hear that on the 5 o'clock news.

It's almost immune to any gun laws, because most gun homicides are committed with illegally obtained ones in the first place. The only things gun laws do is make it harder for people who WANT to obey the law to do so. Within reason, anyway. Think NJ Assault Weapons ban (if it has two of these items, but one of these, and the barrel was made in 1982 but only during a full moon, then the weapon is legal--but only during the times of...)

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191009)

The Swiss have a much higher rate of firearm ownership, yet a much lower homicide rate. Your hilarious 1 datapoint opinion is not conclusive.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about 2 years ago | (#42191267)

Or it could be that places in the Northeast have the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. That means that non-criminals don't have guns, while the criminals do.

What country do you live in, what are your gun laws, and what is your murder rate?

Or maybe you're just karma whoring with your anti-America comments.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191291)

I live in the UK, guns are mostly banned, murder rates are about a quarter of the US.

Re:Careful you don't run afoul (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#42190971)

Of MSNBC's race card.

There are white gangs too, lol

obligatory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190179)

My wife thinks it's the artificial hormones in beef.

Re:obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190211)

My wife thinks your wife is hot.

Re:obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190299)

I think you are hot. Now bend over.

one hypothesis (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42190185)

If most murders are drug-related, this could be modeling the spread of drug markets by proxy.

Re:one hypothesis (1)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#42190209)

Or gang-spread by proxy.

Mod up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190573)

Exactly my thoughts. "Drug-related" murder is a special class of murder. It's special because it wouldn't exist without prohibition. In fact, the honest way to describe it would be "prohibition-related murder", because it isn't drugs that fuel the murder; it's government policy.

Re:one hypothesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190623)

And since a lot of drug use is disease-related, we've come full-circle!

I agree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190201)

I could murder a cup of coffee!

Revenge killings? (4, Insightful)

telchine (719345) | about 2 years ago | (#42190205)

Does the study take into account gang culture and revenge killings?

Re:Revenge killings? (0)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42190927)

Gang killings are hardly "murder", typically they're classified as misdemeanors, punishable by one week of community service and a fine of not more than $500.

Re:Revenge killings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191051)

Did you read the article? You'd find your answer...

Re:Revenge killings? (2)

telchine (719345) | about 2 years ago | (#42191399)

Did you read the article?

You must be new here!

Vengeange (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190217)

That's what is viral. And gangs.

Another example of "junk science", I'm afraid (1, Insightful)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about 2 years ago | (#42190247)

Murder is not the "disease", per se, but rather it is a symptom or outcome of other processes; namely, economic downturns that manifests themselves in lost jobs, lost homes, broken families, substance abuse and the ensuing and inevitable upturn in desperation and violence,

Re:Another example of "junk science", I'm afraid (2, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#42190325)

Or rather, the way American culture deals with economic downturns.
How else would you explain why Greece (which undeniably had a much worse economic crisis) has a lower murder rate than the USA?(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate)

Realistically though, I doubt murder rate can be so easily explained. There are many factors involved, one of which is economics.

Re:Another example of "junk science", I'm afraid (2, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#42190867)

How else would you explain why Greece (which undeniably had a much worse economic crisis) has a lower murder rate than the USA?

-Vastly smaller population
-More homogenous population/culture
-Different culture
-Lack of gangs and drug cartels from around the world
-Fewer people in poverty and smaller gap between have/have nots.

But we're all exactly the same right? Cause differences dont matter....

that said, it has nothing to do with an economic downturn or cultural response to it. you people are extrapolating string theory from someones random observation about apples falling. it's a simple study of one city, one with a traditionally higher than average crime rate..it's Jersey. what do you expect? No one likes Jersey. Seriously though. We dont go grab our guns and kill people because of recessions. That's a BS line of thought. People with the economic means (or incentive like a job) to leave a bad place for a good place tend to do so. This leaves behind a population of people without said means. Said people have a disproportionately higher crime rate. It's like having a weak solution of acid, nearly harmless by volume, and concentrating it by evaporating off the water til a single drop will melt your face off.

Re:Another example of "junk science", I'm afraid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190329)

NO ONE said it is a disease, but it spreads LIKE a disease.

Learn to read properly.

Re:Another example of "junk science", I'm afraid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190603)

The headline says "Murder is like a disease"

Re:Another example of "junk science", I'm afraid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190773)

Yes. LIKE. L-I-K-E...!!!

It does NOT say : "Murder is a disease"

Are you that daft to not understand the difference? Retarded? Thick?

Re:Another example of "junk science", I'm afraid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191007)

Maybe that's why he put "disease" in quotes, which is a way of indicating that a term isn't being used precisely. You could read it as "Murder is not the problem, per se, but rather it is a symptom or outcome of other problems" and it would not only make perfect sense, it would actually reflect what the person was obviously trying to say.

Re:Another example of "junk science", I'm afraid (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about 2 years ago | (#42190343)

How is this "junk science." They don't say that murder IS a disease. Just that it can be analyzed in the same way a disease can be analyzed.

Who funds this stuff? (-1)

some old guy (674482) | about 2 years ago | (#42190277)

Is there no better use for research funding than to study the self-evident and report the obvious?

There might be some use in this if it led to an accurate predictive formula for preemptive intervention, but I see nothing about that in TFA or the summary.

Or would simply applying CDC vectoring tools to the data be too obvious too?

Re:Who funds this stuff? (3, Informative)

chrismcb (983081) | about 2 years ago | (#42190331)

Is there no better use for research funding than to study the self-evident and report the obvious?

It is obvious to you that murder acts like a disease? What is self-evident about it?

There might be some use in this if it led to an accurate predictive formula for preemptive intervention, but I see nothing about that in TFA or the summary.

Did you even read TFA?

..so that police might potentially identify problem areas as they are emerging—or perhaps, one imagines, before they emerge./quote/ Sounds to me like it might lead to an accurate predictive formula for preemptive intervention.

Re:Who funds this stuff? (0)

some old guy (674482) | about 2 years ago | (#42190655)

"might potentially" and "perhaps, one imagines" don't sound like scientific conclusions to me. Perhaps they do to you. Liberal arts major?

Re:Who funds this stuff? (5, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 2 years ago | (#42190593)

It's helpful to people planning morge, hospital, and police resources. Making sure that your manpower is ready for clusters of murders and have the tools to handle the dead, injured, and evidence is useful. It's also useful to the communities to realize and have hard numbers to back up their needs for containment of such dangerous events, and to help them innoculate against the outbreak spreading by education and community outreach.

CDC vectoring tools would seem to be potentially useful. What is the timetable of such "outbreaks" ? Are control efforts better spent on dealing on each outbreak, as it occurs, or on broader "innoculation" via employment programs and drug rehabiliation?

Don't tell.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190297)

.. Dexter Morgan about that.

Re:Don't tell.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190447)

Especially since he just got over blaming his "dark passenger" for everything.

I'd believe it (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#42190431)

I'd believe it. I've seen enough mental illness up close and personal to believe that they are, against all reason, somewhat contagious under the right circumstances.

Damn, I am doomed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190509)

The homicide cluster is spreading straight towards my home !!!

DEPENDS ON WHICH SIDE OF THE MURDER YOU STOOD !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190551)

Because to one, it's all over; the other . . . !!

And you meant, HOMICIDE !! Murder is a legal term !!

I will play into MSNBC's race-baiting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190557)

Murder is directly proportional to the population of Blacks and Hispanics in a given area. Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate for example. The top three cities are Detroit, St. Louis, and Memphis. Minority population:
Detroit: 82.7% African American
St. Louis: 49.2% African American
Memphis: Black or African American: 62.6%.

Now, check the least crime ridden cities: Plano, Virginia Beach, Henderson. Majority population:
Plano: 58.4% non-Hispanic White (plus 16.9% Asian)
Virginia Beach: Non-Hispanic Whites: 64.5%
Henderson: 80.49% White

Poverty isn't the cause, since poor Asians commit crimes standard deviations below poor Blacks. Guns are not the cause, since crime in places like Vermont, which has some of the most liberal gun laws (Constitutional carry), is way below places like Chicago, which has some of the strictest gun laws. No, it's the White man that's putting the minorities down. That's what causes crime.

Re:I will play into MSNBC's race-baiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191053)

Too much truth for anyone to handle.

lmao you know all the kids at NJIT are loving this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190611)

oh who am i kidding no one under 35 still reads slashdot...

this isn't news to me. I read a book! (4, Interesting)

partiklehead (2425806) | about 2 years ago | (#42190619)

In the book "Connected" by Christakis and Fowler, it is argued that violence (but also hapiness, depression, etc) spreads through social networks. So if a friend of your friend was involved in either side of a murder, chances increase dramatically that you will, too. Your emotional states and their associated beliefs and actions are contagious, first and foremost to those around you that know you, then those who know them, and so on. The analogy with a disease, jumping from host to host through social networks, is quite adequate.

Murderer's Anonymous (2)

TechieRefugee (2105386) | about 2 years ago | (#42190703)

The first step is admitting that you are powerless over your disease. Join Murderer's Anonymous today!

Re:Murderer's Anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190791)

act like an rude asshole with shitty social skills? no, you're not a dickhead, you just have aspergers disease! can't stop yourself from showing up drunk to work and blowing your whole paycheck on booze? you're not an irresponsible loser, you just have alcoholism disease! can't stop shooting your homies? you're not a sociopath, you just have murder's disease! Thanks to modern medicine personal responsibility is a thing of the past!

In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42190765)

lead poisoning is contagious?

Most human problems result from human behavior (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#42190807)

I never really thought that was not understood.

We want to save money, for example. In business, we want to lose less money so, in food production, they add preservatives or use ingredients with longer shelf lives. The consequence of this falls to the consumer and back to society as a whole as it deals with increases in health problems such as diabetes. The "blame" is on the individual but also on society but also on the suppliers who make these decisions... because they want to save money.

We want to earn a living, as another example. When the establishment doesn't wish to allow outsiders to participate in the market, markets of other colors are born and developed.... you know, like grey and black markets. ALL markets of all colors and tones require defense and enforcement. The white markets are supported, defended and enforced by the established government. The other markets use other means and most often, by gangs and the like.

The development of organized crime which I described above also has other negative impacts on society. Among these are the glorification of the lifestyle in art. We see it every day through our comical portrayal of pirates [the high seas, wooden ship variety] and we see it in more modern ways as well. But the crimes against people afftected by unregulated (and even regulated) killing and other violence takes its toll on the hearts and minds of the people who live among these events. As death and killing becomes more frequent and more expected, the notion of defending one's self with deadly force becomes increasingly more acceptable. And the very definition of "defense" also twists itself into convenient shapes to suit the motivations and interests of those doing the killing and violence.

We have all sorts of behaviors which require regulation. The restriction or limitation of market participation, for example, leads to crime. We saw it in alcohol prohibition. We saw it in religious freedom restrictions. We see it today with more contemporary drugs. But we are also seeing it in other markets as well. The content publication industry finds itself incredibly threatened by digital technologies in that there is no medium to hold the content and therefore they aren't exactly a publication in the classical sense of the word. But nevertheless, we see the same patterns... government support, defense and enforcement. And it most certainly stems from the few trying to hold onto their territory and to prevent others from participating in the markets they have controlled.

To say murder is "like a disease" is to fail to see the over-all pattern of human behaviors... the causes which lead to effects which lead to more causes and more effects. Of course that comparison begins to break down somewhat when you determine which disease(s) murder is most similar to and which it is not though the generalities tend to hold true. But the root cause of both disease and of murder is human behavior and human nature.

Human nature is best overcome by law and regulation. It is really as simple as that. If someone says "what about God?!" Then you are simply saying "religious law" instead of just law.

Re:Most human problems result from human behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191099)

What about laws of physics? Law of attraction? Murderous people attract murderous people, eh? But then do government laws help the situation or do they cause more litigious people and acts?

Conversely, we've also seen many studies in the polar opposite, where the power of positiveness ( or a whole bunch of meditating monks ) have reduced an areas crime rate.

Re:Most human problems result from human behavior (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#42191335)

I think you are seeing and missing my point at the same time.

Some law is used to advantage a few and harm the majority while others serve to help everyone work together and get along. Identifying the differences is key to establishing and maintaining a good working rule of law and of civilization.

Religious pacification is another approach to combating human nature but it doesn't effectively address the notion that one or more people may disagree with the practice. Religion is essentially and always will be 'voluntary' practice if it is more than a series of ceremonial words and motions.

It's almost as if.. (1, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 2 years ago | (#42190829)

people in intense poverty, with no hope of escape, and virtually no access to mental health services are a little more prone to violence.

Man, I wish it was my job to gather pointless stats of the obvious.

Frontline special - The interrupters (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191347)

I saw a frontline special not long back about an epidemiologist that put that same theory into motion. He thought if you could just stop the violence, these areas would economically develop because people wouldn't be so afraid to move their businesses there. He created a program that tried to be police neutral (as to gain the trust of the people on the street). The group basically walks the streets and tries to keep an ear to the street. When violence has occourred, they do what they can to stop that violence from turning into murder, which in turn would turn into several retaliatory murders. They've been very successful in bringing down the violence, not sure if his theory on economics has been fruitful yet.

SURPRISE (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42191377)

"using analytic software typically used by medical researchers to track the spread of diseases" you miraculously discover that murder spreads like disease.

I'm betting that if you used analytic software typically used by:
(forestry) researchers that you would discover that murder spreads like (animal) populations.
(pick something) researchers that you would discover that murder spreads like (pick something) populations.

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