About that 'warmer temperatures increase violence' claim…real world crime data doesn't support it

true_crime_cover1Readers surely recall the wild claim yesterday made by researchers from Princeton University and the University of California-Berkeley who reported in the journal Science that even slight spikes in temperature and precipitation have greatly increased the risk of personal violence and social upheaval throughout human history:

Claim: 2°C temperature increase will make people angry

Dr. Indur Goklany writes:

Regarding climate change and violence, here are a couple of slides you should link to on WUWT. Apparently, during the “hottest decades” as some claim the 1990s and 2000s have been, U.S. homicide rates dropped!

Figs. 1 and 2: Source: Claude Fischer, A Crime Puzzle, http://thepublicintellectual.org/2011/05/02/a-crime-puzzle/, May 2, 2011



Fig. 3: Indicators of homicides per 100,000 population in England, thirteenth to twentieth centuries. Note: Each dot represents the estimated homicide rate for a city or county for periods ranging from several years to several decades.  Source: Michael Eisner, Long Term Historical Trends in Violent Crime based on Gurr (1981)


It seems that real world data doesn’t support the conjectures from the hallowed halls of academia.

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August 2, 2013 7:44 pm

If that’s true the temperature in Chicago must be near the boiling point of water…

August 2, 2013 7:48 pm

Obviously as violence goes up the reporting of violence goes down. We need a computer model to give us the real figures.

August 2, 2013 7:49 pm

No one cares about data Anthony, it is the meme that counts…

Chad Wozniak
August 2, 2013 7:52 pm

Again, prior to the violence wrought by socialism in the 20th century, there was more violence during the cold periods of history – after the fall of the Mycenean civilization in Greece, with the Dorian wars; the Dark Ages and the Muslim conquests following the fall of the Roman Empire; and the conflicts of the Little Ice Age, the Hundred Years’ War between England and France, the Thirty Years’ War in Germany, the Wars of the Spanish Succession, The Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War in America) and Napoleon.
The exception is the violence of the three principal brands of socialism: Soviet and Chinese Communism and Nazism, with the 250 million done to death in the name of “social justice,” which did occur during warmer times – and which, of course, is now the oxymoronic mantra of the AGW crowd.

August 2, 2013 7:54 pm

Data: There are more than 300 million personal firearms in the USA. More guns equals less crime. Who would have thunk it?

Rational Db8
August 2, 2013 7:55 pm

Anthony, I wonder if you or anyone else has read the actual study or if it’s paywalled? I can’t help but wonder if they bothered to look at how COLD (and for that matter, drought) affects violence too, or if they only looked at warmth and increased rain…. and all things considered, somehow I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if few or none of their 60 studies even considered the flip side… or the authors ignored it. I’d love to know.

John Pappas, Chicago
August 2, 2013 8:00 pm

While it is apparent that the AGW “theory” is complete horses*@t, there is validity to the claim that warmer weather brings out crime, at least here in Chicago. At least it is true that violent crime in Chicago is seasonal. By no means do I mean that I believe that the spate of violent crime in Chicago is caused by climate; the more likely cause is cultural decay and a severe manpower shortage for the CPD. But, there is a seasonal trend for violent crime here.

Jim Clarke
August 2, 2013 8:03 pm

The BBC report on this story actually includes an opposing viewpoint that pretty much sends it into the trash bin:
“However, other researchers have questioned whether climate breeds conflict.
Work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that this environmental factor was not to blame for civil war in Africa.
Instead, Dr Halvard Buhaug, from the Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway, concluded that the conflict was linked to other factors such as high infant mortality, proximity to international borders and high local population density.
Commenting on the latest research, he said: “I disagree with the sweeping conclusion (the authors) draw and believe that their strong statement about a general causal link between climate and conflict is unwarranted by the empirical analysis that they provide.
“I was surprised to see not a single reference to a real-world conflict that plausibly would not have occurred in the absence of observed climatic extremes. If the authors wish to claim a strong causal link, providing some form of case validation is critical.”
Is the BBC attempting to be a legitimate news organization once again?

August 2, 2013 8:06 pm

Nonsense. Populations elsewhere give up their weaponry in times of piece and violence does not increase. As it is, the US during peace time is more violent (by number of deaths) than most counties during a civil war.

August 2, 2013 8:10 pm

michaelwiseguy says:
August 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Data: There are more than 300 million personal firearms in the USA. More guns equals less crime. Who would have thunk it?

I’ve always liked the line “An armed society is a polite society.” (At least it is if the gun owners take the responsibility seriously. Perhaps we should teach gun safety in schools.)

August 2, 2013 8:13 pm

A lot of normalization required.for long term data. But never mind that, just compare winter and summer crime rates. Make sure it’s done for various climates too, because at some locations you might find more crime in summer just because people are more willing to get out and do things; sport, dog walking, crime… In hot climates you might find less crime in summer for the same reason – too hot to get out and be busy. All up it’s a rather pointless exercise given how many other more influential variables there are.

August 2, 2013 8:16 pm

I’m always glad to see a post or other note from Indur Goklany here. He almost always brings some fascinating statistics with him. It’s generally stuff I know must be available, but I don’t know where to find it.

August 2, 2013 8:16 pm

Txomin says:
August 2, 2013 at 8:06 pm
Au contraire;
Is Australia staring down the barrel of a gun crisis?
“THERE is a gun battle going on in Australia. As bikier gang members and drug dealers gun each other down on a regular basis, sending fear through the community, authorities seem to be fighting a losing battle to keep firearms out of their hands.
Without scaremongering, here are the facts:
* There have been 39 people shot in Sydney this year, most related to an ongoing bikier war.
* Conservative estimates say there are more than a quarter-of-a-million illegal firearms in Australia.
* Gun ownership in Australia is back at pre-Port Arthur massacre levels.
* Carrying a gun is becoming more common and ingrained in outlaw culture.
* Gun amnesties barely put a dent in the number of weapons.
* Innocent people are being caught up in gun battles.
* There has been a steady increase in gun-related crimes over the past seven years.

August 2, 2013 8:19 pm

There’s no possibility of a relationship to energy use and therefore to prosperity.

Theo Goodwin
August 2, 2013 8:21 pm

Surely, their hypothesis was not that a warmer climate causes an increase in violence. If that were the claim then anyone who has moved from Missouri to Florida should be able to testify that it is false. Surely, the claim was that experiencing a warming climate while staying put causes an increase in violence. One problem with that claim is that no one has done it, except in the fantasies of Alarmists. There are many other problems. Suppose that the effects of a warming climate are easy to avoid? And so on. The authors are no doubt wearing those Groucho Marx masks.

August 2, 2013 8:21 pm

Txomin says:
August 2, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Nonsense. Populations elsewhere give up their weaponry in times of piece and violence does not increase.

Ah yes, that reminds of the April Fool issue of the college newspaper (I was on the photo staff) where a friend of mine in ROTC decked out his uniform with a bunch of medals and insignia. I shot a photo of him sitting cross legged holding a protest sign that said “Piece Now.” I think the editor put it on the front page.

Gene Selkov
August 2, 2013 8:22 pm

John Pappas says: “At least it is true that violent crime in Chicago is seasonal.”
It is not only seasonal, but strongly correlates with temperature in a certain range (between about 80 and 90F). And not only in Chicago. The explanaiton I heard from police officers was that during warm periods there are simply more people out in the streets, especially in the “disadvataged” neighbourhoods, putting more load on the police force and opening up opportunities for crime.
We tend to forget that we can only enjoy a sort of peace in Chicago due to heavy policing. When the force becomes overcommitted, things tend to get out of hand.

August 2, 2013 8:24 pm

I think you will find those earlier figures will need to be adjusted drastically downwards due to the TOD issue. There is some evidence that in those days most murders were carried out earlier in the morning and later in the evening.
Furthermore, the advances in medical technology today, versus earlier technology, mean more subjects may have been pronounced dead in the early days when they weren’t. Another downward adjustment is needed.

August 2, 2013 8:28 pm

But theses eejits don’t do real-world data, they’re climate scientists…

August 2, 2013 8:29 pm

Every single time there is a global warming claim it is proven wrong when compared to relevant data, no exceptions, this is getting ridiculous.

Chad Wozniak
August 2, 2013 8:30 pm

@John Pappas Chicago –
Since Chicago’s winter weather can certainly be cold enough to discourage people from hanging around outdoors, perhaps that is the reason there’s less crime there in the winter – ?
Midwestern US winters generally can be much colder than winters in western Europe, or even in central Europe, such as the German Mittelland or Poland or Hungary. You have to go into Russia or Finland to get comparable temperatures. Winter temps in Moscow are like Minneapolis, though without the extremes – the 40 below stuff – otherwise common in Minneapolis; Kiev in the Ukraine is comparable to Chicago, though less likely to have 20 below.

August 2, 2013 8:30 pm

Ya but look at that third chart showing English homicides. See how high it was during the Medieval Warm Period? It was much higher than the Little Ice Age….ooooppssss… I forgot, the Medieval Warm Period wasn’t really that warm according to Mann’s Hockey Dick chart. So scratch this lame observation. OK?

Janice Moore
August 2, 2013 8:33 pm

Some of the crime stats posted on the original heat-n-anger thread (linked above):
1. Mike Kelter, August 2, 2013 at 5:00 am

Just some statistics from the Chicago police blotters and NOAA temperature records:
Five day July 4 Weekend 2012: Record temperature of 102 degrees F. 11 homicides
Four day July 4 Weekend 2013: Temperature: 83 degrees F. 11 homicides.
Four day July 4 Weekend 2009: Temperature: 82 degrees F. Record 17 homicides.
If climate is a factor, then we should expect more homicides as global cooling sets in.

2. mkelly, August 2, 2013 at 10:09 am

Doing a small amount of internet research we find that when comparing Dallas and Chicago
Dallas violent crime per 100000 6.82
Chicago ” ” ” ” 10.33
August average temperature for Dallas 96 F
Chicago 81 F.

And, for you, Txomin, to correct your mistake re: private gun ownership and crime (if you do your own research, you will find Michael above is not only wise, but well-informed):
Chicago’s crime rate is higher just like that of ANY large city where law abiding citizens are not allowed to possess firearms. Here’s one example (yes, I could cite lots more (but I’m not going to hijack this thread to refute you — if you want to find out the truth, you can easily find it online), including that murder rates are higher in countries whose law abiding citizens cannot own guns):

“… said Camden County Chief of Police Scott Thomson. “You have this paradox in that New Jersey has arguably the toughest gun laws in the nation yet has a city within it that has gun violence at Third World country rates.”

[Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/04/new-jersey-gun-laws-dont-curb-violence-in-camden/2113737/ ]

Janice Moore
August 2, 2013 8:40 pm

And, one more nice comment from yesterdays angrrrr thread, from a sociologist’s perspective:
John Eliyas, August 2, 2013 at 7:36 am

… Studies like this have been going on for 50 years. While in graduate school we looked at studies trying to correlate heat waves and violence, know what we found? When it gets warm people commit crime, up to a point and then it tapers off. Why? Cold weather is not conducive to the hassle of leaving shelter to commit said crime. When it warms up, people come out of their “caves” and commit crimes. If it gets really, really, hot, like some of the NY heatwaves of the 70′s, crime goes down as people become lethargic and don’t want the hassle.”

Chad Wozniak
August 2, 2013 8:44 pm

@Janice Moore –
Right on – wide gun ownership discourages crime, the states with the least gun controls have the least gun crime, almost across the board.
Of course the real reason behind gun control advocacy is the same as that which is behind AGW – control freakery. It has nothing to do with preventing gun crime, as the case you cite (Camden, NJ) proves. It is all part of the same meme.

August 2, 2013 8:47 pm

Chad, Chicago’s weather is similar to Prague, CZ.
Janice, To further buttress your point, Chicago had one of the most stringent handgun laws in the US until 2010, when it was struck down by SCOTUS. Nevertheless, while violent crime in Chicago has been trending down generally since the early 1990’s, the spike of recent years also tracks well with the reductions in force of the CPD. Not to mention, Chicago handgun laws are still in limbo somewhat.

David Falkner
August 2, 2013 8:52 pm

I posted a link on your original article to the FBI data on this, too. Not just murders, but all violent crimes have generally lessened. I have also posted this to comment boxes in various news sites that shared the original article. The general reception to my comments was that scientists know what they are doing and who am I to question them? You know, how could I possibly look at contradictory data and wonder why the claims of science run contrary to actual data.

Gene Selkov
Reply to  David Falkner
August 2, 2013 9:02 pm

David: Falkner: there is no condradiction. You are talking about crime declining over many years. But the correlation between crime and temperature is observed as a daily variation.

Rational Db8
August 2, 2013 8:58 pm

@Txomin says: August 2, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Nonsense. Populations elsewhere give up their weaponry in times of piece and violence does not increase.

I’m afraid the actual data doesn’t bear you out. From a post I did some time ago on a different article:
If you or others are really interested in this issue, try this Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy research paper “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide; A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence http://tinyurl.com/cu9gcvj They cover the issue others here have asked about also – how do some of these countries which ban firearm ownership compare to those nations that allow it. What is the basic conclusions on all of these issues? That there is a negative correlation; e.g, where firearms are MOST dense, violent crime rates are LOWEST. Where firearms are LEAST dense, violent crimes are HIGHEST. This is generally true both within the USA and in other nations, including looks at how changing gun control laws has effected crime rates within the same area. I’d provide data from this article, but it’s a google doc so I don’t have a way to copy from it.
Why would that be? Just take a look at actual video, here in the USA very recently, from 3 different angles no less, of a 71 year old coot going after two 19 year old armed masked robbers. End result? The two robbers literally falling all over themselves & each other scrambling to get OUT of the establishment they were trying to rob! Bet those two never think of trying something like this again!
Video: Excellent — concealed-carrier stops an armed robbery
or try this one, 65 year old woman, store owner, foils armed robbery by 5 masked men:
and: Armed Citizens: Calling 911 Doesn’t Always Work – woman saves herself from intruder, police can’t get there quickly enough http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkS8mdbml0A&NR=1
Back on the statistics issue… another article with some good information is, “Bringing a Gun to a Knife Fight – A Discussion on Gun Violence, Homicide, and Statistics” excerpts below: http://tinyurl.com/ctp3dhu
…Before we look at statistics, let us first establish that people kill other people whether they live in a developed country or not. The worldwide homicide rate per 100,000 people is 6.9 as of 2010, ranging from 87 per 100,000 people in Honduras to 0.34 in Japan. In the US, the rate is 4.8, which does not even rank in the top 30.**
The US does have more guns per capita than any other country, however; 88 guns per 100 people…But if, as Bloomberg suggests, the number of guns within a population is commensurate to gun violence, the US should not only have more murders overall but a higher firearm homicide rate than most any other nation.
According to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, the US is ranked seventh, at 2.97 firearm homicides per 100,000, far below Colombia (51.77) and Guatemala (18.5). It appears that people are, in fact, killing other people with guns, and at a far higher rate than in the US.
…this still doesn’t explain, if firearms mean more murders, why the murder rate in the US is fairly low overall.
…The Swiss, known for their affinity for firearms, are fourth in gun ownership, 45.7 per 100, yet their homicide rate is less than one per 100,000. The Yemenis own 54.8 guns per 100 people and have a homicide rate of 4 per 100,000. Serbians own 58.2 guns per 100 people and have virtually the same murder rate (2.2) as the Cypriots (2.0) and the latter own far less guns (36.4 per 100 people). High gun ownership might mean a higher murder rate, but then again it might not.
Further, let’s look at Estonia. In that country, a mere 15% of homicides are committed using firearms, but the overall homicide rate is 10.45 per 100,000. Estonia’s non-firearm homicide rate, 8.92, is almost double the total rate in the US. And get this: Estonia’s citizens are not legally allowed to own guns. So instead of using firearms to kill people, they’ve gone about it the old fashioned way.
In fact, of the top 15 highest nations as ranked by overall homicide rate, more than a third of them, six, forbid their citizens from legally owning of firearms. In some of these countries, the firearm homicide rate is lower than the non-firearm homicide rate, and in others it is not. In a phrase, if there’s a will there’s a way.
Gun ownership and prevalence is not necessarily a predictor of gun-related homicide. Without a doubt, guns are used in the commission of homicides, both in the US and worldwide, and regardless of whether they are legal to own or highly restricted. But by far, the leading cause of murder, now as throughout history, is being simply killed by another person. Maybe that’s the real issue here….

Hector Pascal
August 2, 2013 8:59 pm

Quote I remember from a veteran copper:
“Bad weather is the best policeman.”

August 2, 2013 9:00 pm

It there is any nugget of truth in this report, it would be that changes in temperature nudge people towards violence. This is a SHORT-TERM effect, and is thus caused (if it exists) by changes in weather, not changes in climate.
If, in future, the climate is warmer, people will have adapted to the warmer climate; nevertheless people may in future continue to be affected by short-term weather changes.
And this is published in “Science”? Very sloppy thinking.

August 2, 2013 9:02 pm

Janice Moore says:
August 2, 2013 at 8:33 pm
Thanks for the encouragement.
In the wild wild west days of the 17 and 18 hundreds, murder using a gun was very infrequent.

Tom J
August 2, 2013 9:04 pm

Wow, does this mean Detroit has a higher average temperature then the rest of the Midwest?

August 2, 2013 9:06 pm

Rational Db8 says:
August 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Anthony, I wonder if you or anyone else has read the actual study or if it’s paywalled? I can’t help but wonder if they bothered to look at how COLD (and for that matter, drought) affects violence too, or if they only looked at warmth and increased rain…. and all things considered, somehow I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if few or none of their 60 studies even considered the flip side… or the authors ignored it. I’d love to know.

It’s published in Science, I have a subscription. The study, as usual, is much more restrained than the press release. The study actually says nothing about climate per se, just about the effects of weather calamities that they mistakenly describe as “climate”. I know that you will all be shocked to find out that when the weather goes bad, violence goes up.
And I’m sure it will also surprise everyone to find out that more people go rampaging down the street on a hot summer afternoon than on a cold winter night.
That’s what the study said. It said that when the weather gets bad, and particularly when it gets bad enough to have economic consequences, violence goes up … duh.
Move along, folks. nothing to see here.

Janice Moore
August 2, 2013 9:07 pm

Re: David Falkner at 8:52PM, here is that excellent link from your 8:05PM post of yesterday (for convenience)
— thanks, Mr. Falkner:

Janice Moore
August 2, 2013 9:14 pm

Mr. Selkov (at 9:02PM), I should just let Mr. Falkner defend himself, but, re: your statement: “You are talking about crime declining over many years. … .”
The pro-CAGWers in the article from yesterday were talking about temperatures that their bogus models project will warm significantly over several years.

Chris B
August 2, 2013 9:15 pm

Perhaps we should all turn our thermostats down a couple of degrees, and save on policing.

August 2, 2013 9:20 pm

In the USA we have a tradition that demonstrates the purpose of gun ownership, if for nothing else;
The Battle of Athens: Restoring the Rule of Law

Janice Moore
August 2, 2013 9:29 pm

P.S. To: Mr. Selkov — … [over several years] and about temperatures from 2000-2012 which, while NOT warming, are, overall, warmer than previous decades. Anyway, the key to my poorly written point is that the article’s authors (Hsiang, et. al.) and not Mr. Falkner introduced the “several years” factor.

August 2, 2013 9:29 pm

If one were serious it would be better to compare crime by latitude, and attempt to correct for demographics, drug cultivation…hooboy. Anyway Willis, I’m not so sure raging down the street from cabin fever and starvation in the cold is any less prevalent than from drought and starvation in the hot.

August 2, 2013 9:30 pm

I once read that in New York violence increases between 80 and 90f because people are more irritated, however over 90f violence reduces because it is just too damn hot

David Falkner
August 2, 2013 9:35 pm

I copied and pasted the wrong link it looks like.
And yes, it was my point that from the period of time that scientists seriously considered whether we were facing a new ice age until now, crime rates have dropped. If I can find it in the middle of the night after a few drinks, you can too. It was not my idea to look at it over a longer period of time.
If you want to say that daily variations make a difference, fine. But then if we observe hotter dailies “on average” then we should observe more crime daily “on average” unless you are introducing some X factor.

David Falkner
August 2, 2013 9:36 pm

*** ALSO, it was not my idea to look at it over a (delete longer) period of time.

August 2, 2013 9:40 pm

Chris B –
turning down the thermostats might save u from more than increased violence:
1 Aug: Tampa Bay Times, Florida: Robert Trigaux: Thank you, Tallahassee, for making us pay so much for nothing
Hey, elected clowns! Thanks for passing a law forcing Duke Energy customers to pay up to $1.5 billion in higher rates for a long proposed nuclear power plant in Levy County that will not be built.
And no, Florida customers, you’re not getting any of that money back.
Too bad we can’t shut down Florida legislators just as easily. Especially those lawmakers who conjured up the 2006 law letting power companies charge advance fees to rate payers for high-priced and, yes, even ill-considered nuclear power projects.
Anti-capitalist from the get-go, the law also allows the same power companies to profit even when projects aren’t built. Like the Levy debacle…
Repeatedly postponed, the Levy plant’s expected costs skyrocketed to nearly $25 billion in the last seven years. That’s the most expensive nuclear plant project in the country’s history…
But America’s largest electric company might soon ask Tallahassee for another favor.
New Duke CEO Lynn Good says she wants to change the rules in Florida so that any type of big power plant can be charged in advance to its customers…

August 2, 2013 9:55 pm

Here is what some part time professor at University of Ottawa is tweetting about the recent cold wave in South America and its consequences:
“Paul Beckwith
Frost damages 20% of Brazil’s sugar crop. A positive from ‪#‎climatechange‬+higher food prices; lower ‪#‎obesity‬ levels. http://t.co/TCoeeJ6vtS
A POSITIVE? Really sick!

August 2, 2013 9:56 pm

I was under the impression that Princeton and Berkerley were the cream of US education.
All I can conclude that these jokers are laughing all the way to the bank!

Janice Moore
August 2, 2013 9:57 pm

You’re welcome, Mr. Wise Guy. Thanks for the inspiringly moving video with a powerful point. How refreshing to watch one of the times that good triumphed over evil. Certainly, it will not win every battle, but TRUTH WILL WIN the war.
I had a German friend about 10 years ago who was lecturing me on America’s “cowboy mentality” (v. a v. right to bear arms of private citizens). When I quietly reminded her that Germans, too, once had the right to bear arms…. she got very quiet. I don’t think most of the libs who promote “gun control” realize it, but they are running a play right out of old H-t-l-r’s playbook. And, of course, there are many of them who are very aware of the consequences of taking guns out of the hands of the law abiding and they intend those results with steely-eyed zeal.

August 2, 2013 9:59 pm

Take into account the economic demise of our country and be thankful crime is not worse. Just prepare.

Rational Db8
August 2, 2013 10:29 pm

@ Willis Eschenbach says: August 2, 2013 at 9:06 pm
Thanks for the info and reply, Willis.
@ kelly says: August 2, 2013 at 9:38 pm
LOVE Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and it’s certainly apropos in this case.
@ Chris B says: August 2, 2013 at 9:15 pm & a few other folks in this thread:
Thanks for the good chuckles!

Nik Marshall-Blank
August 2, 2013 10:30 pm

According to this http://humanorigins.si.edu/research/climate-research/effects man evolved because of climate change. Perhaps the warmists are fed up of walking upright and on the ground and want to get back into the trees again. Ooh!, ooh1!

August 2, 2013 10:31 pm

Chicago is a special case. Only criminals have guns in Chicago and they also write the laws.

August 2, 2013 10:41 pm

The homicide rates dropped because many states adopted concealed carry. Studies and even a book (More Guns, Less Crime: John Lott) using FBI crime data show this from 1977 onwards. Also the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act created an FBI maintained system in 1994 for instantly checking the backgrounds of potential firearms buyers in an effort to prevent felons, illegal aliens and some other risky folks from obtaining guns.
Maybe next it will be that warming causes the cost of war to go up.
Latest: Harvard Kennedy School – Linda Bilmes on U.S. engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan: “The most expensive wars in US history” 4-6 trillion
“Every analysis said this war itself would cost about $80 billion, recovery of Baghdad, perhaps of Iraq, about $10 billion per year. We should expect as American citizens that this would cost at least $100 billion for a two-year involvement.” Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003, Meet the Press interview with Tim Russert

August 2, 2013 10:58 pm

“5.2 The Effect of Weather on Crime
Criminologists have long recognized that weather has a powerful influence on criminal activity,
suggesting it might serve as a plausible instrument to identify the relationship between crime rates over time. Here we examine the relationship between weather and crime in our data.
Table 3 examines the relationship between weather and violent as well as property crime using
the baseline set of controls described above. The dependent variable here is the number of incidents in a jurisdiction-week divided by the average number of weekly incidents in that jurisdiction over the entire sample period, so that the coefficients on the explanatory variables can be interpreted roughly as a percent change in the outcome. Looking first at columns 1-4, we see that weather – particularly temperature – is strongly correlated with violent crime. Column 1 indicates that a ten degree increase in the average weekly temperature is correlated with about a 5 percent increase in criminal activity. Precipitation, on the other hand, is associated with reductions in criminal activity. An increase in average weekly precipitation of 1 inch is associated with a 10 percent reduction in violence. These effects are highly significant—the F-statistic of joint significance is over 200.”
These are the authors referenced the graph http://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/59922.php?from=245789

August 2, 2013 10:59 pm

I wish academics would stop just parroting off ideas without checking. Most of SE Asia has some of the lowest violent crime rates in the world (excluding PNG). Its hot and humid too. The reason is cultural, nothing to do with temperature.

August 2, 2013 11:54 pm

I wonder if they’ve noticed the increased death rate of elderly Brits in the winter months of recent years. Not likely as it is off message. Is there anything so disgusting as a climate hysteria alarmist?

August 3, 2013 12:17 am

Some still do not understand , such ‘science’ by press release is NOT fact dependent.
Therefore attacking it on factual grounds may make you feel good it may even be sound science , but once the lie is up and running it has little affect.

August 3, 2013 12:28 am

Silly me. I thought it was the other way around. Wasn’t lack of food a principal cause of the French Revolution, courtesy of Laki (volcano in Iceland) and the following Napoleonic wars (Dalton Grand Minimum)? Didn’t the great 17th Century 30 year wars in Europe happen in the early part of the Maunder Minimum? Wasn’t the Arab Spring sparked by food riots in the Middle East because the price of bread doubled due to wheat crop failures at the start of the new (current) grand minimum?
And even in the last Century I thought that the both the world wars were fought in relatively cold periods in Europe – at least compared to European temperatures later in the Century.
I guess it all depends on our perspective – or lack of it.

Dudley Horscroft
August 3, 2013 1:24 am

Murder Rates per 100 000 population
New Orleans 2012 54
Detroit 2012 53
USA (overall) (most recent) 9.1
Singapore 2012 0.9457
Darwin 2011/12 murders, 2011 pop’n 13.27
Cabot Cove 12 years 149.0 (source: wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder,_She_Wrote)
Make of that what you will!

Tom J
August 3, 2013 1:28 am

As we travel jointly down the dusty road of life (ok, gimme a break, I’m just trying to add a little drama here) may I humbly (no, I’m not Obama) ask my fellow travelers from our renowned institutions of Princeton and Berkeley some additional questions about this, um, research concerning violence and global warming.
Will a 2 degree rise in average global temperature contribute to more hanky panky between the sexes, and will such hanky panky cause an increase in the number of people who will be entering their prime crime years approximately 18 years from now?
If the foregoing postulated 2 degree rise in temperature is abated by thoroughly impossible to achieve carbon reductions will the increase in inhabitants in their prime crime years be abated by … skip it.
Will the prognosis for crime rates in the future, from global warming, in the future, be only accessible by gazing into a crystal ball, and if this crystal ball is hazy, is it best polished by multiple pieces of rectangular green paper sporting complex line drawings of Benjamin Franklin or even more noble historical figures that rubes like me never get to see?
Will a 2 degree rise in temperature cause the word ‘jihad’ to form a chemical reaction with complex self-actuating carbon molecules or doesn’t a temperature change really make any difference to that at all?
Is more than one word necessary to describe precisely how much you know about human nature and if more than one word is necessary can your research team explain why that is so?
Is it really that easy to describe human actions simply through numbers?
Allied with the foregoing question: If human behavior was really simple enough to merely predict it through numbers, for chrissake how would us extraordinary simpletons then be smart enough to even know that?

August 3, 2013 2:23 am

What I have learned over the years is that when dealing with Warmists’ claims about the future – always, always look to the past and present as a guide. Whether it’s Arctic runaway amplification, global runaway warming, extreme weather trends, shriveling lizards, extinction threats, declining fauna, corroded shells, bigger birds, impotent or deaf fish, shrinking sheep etc. As a rule of thumb Warmists are usually making stuff up to fit an agenda and to get more continued, lavish funding.

August 3, 2013 2:28 am

There’s more burglaries in warm weather as (if there’s no aircon) people leave their windows open and opportunists climb through. There’s also more rioting when the weather is warm and dry, as who wants to take to the streets when it’s cold and raining?
Generally, though, warmer climate means better agriculture, full tummies and happy people. This ‘study’ is yet another attempt to put something in the list of negative impacts from rising temperatures and to aid the “something must be done” political argument. Bin it.

August 3, 2013 2:58 am

Trends in armed conflicts, see graphs. Even global democracy is on the rise while autocracy has been declining.

The number of ongoing conflicts has declined since shortly after the end of the Cold War and the severity of armed conflict has generally declied since World War II. This fact sharply contradicts many pessimistic perspectives bolstered by media headlines from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Darfur.
After a period of steady decline in the number of armed conflicts in the world, the downward trend has ended. Data from PRIO and Uppsala University indicates that the number of active conflicts is no longer sinking, but has held steady at 32 for three years in a row.

So the recent global warming and the ‘HOTTEST DECADE ON THE RECORD’ hasn’t done much. It’s almost as warm as the Holocene Climate Optimum and Roman Warm Period (according to jai mitchell). 🙂

David L.
August 3, 2013 3:11 am

So,by extension, people in warmer climates are angrier and more prone to crime than those in colder climates?
Years ago in a statistics class we learned the risks of confusing correlation with causation. The example given was personal crime increases in warmer seasons. The reason? More people are out and about on warm days and are more accessible to criminals.

Robin Hewitt
August 3, 2013 3:25 am

I don’t think it is the large number of guns which reduces gun crime in America. I think it is decriminalising shooting people that reduces gun crime in America. I am not anti-gun, I owned 55 the last time I counted.

August 3, 2013 3:46 am

You just know that when you read a claim like this that it is going to be complete garbage as it pretty much goes against the grain of everything we know. The warm period of history have always been periods of relative stability – Romans, Renaissance and of course the current modern situation. If you start with an objective to “prove” a link between climate change and violence, no doubt some data somewhere can be tortured enough to give you what you want to hear.
On another topic, the seemingly unstoppable avalanche of new angles on things we need to worry about is never ending. See link below on how we need to worry that the shapes of our mountains will now be changing more quickly. Seriously, its unbelievable that they could somehow torture a piece of irrelevant research about how glaciers help limit erosion of mountaintops into something we might need to worry about.

Gene Selkov
Reply to  ImranCan
August 3, 2013 4:13 am

If somebody uses a valid observation as a base for unwarranted, erroneous, nonsensical or malicious claims, it does not make the observaton itself less valid.

August 3, 2013 4:05 am

This must be the reason Sweden has become one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to rape, since most of them are done in the hot summertime.. Silly me, I thougt it was the import of moslem gangs that make our streets unsafe for both women and men.
To be fair, when it comes to rape, the statistics is a bit inflated because anything can be rape these days. Just look at what happened to Assange.

michael hart
August 3, 2013 4:24 am

Dude, look at the murder rate in Oxford. No wonder Inspector Morse was kept so busy! 🙂

August 3, 2013 4:25 am

Violence is largely driven by culture.

Switzerland trails behind only the U.S, Yemen and Serbia in the number of guns per capita; between 2.3 million and 4.5 million military and private firearms are estimated to be in circulation in a country of only 8 million people. Yet, despite the prevalence of guns, the violent-crime rate is low: government figures show about 0.5 gun homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. By comparison, the U.S rate in the same year was about 5 firearm killings per 100,000 people, according to a 2011 U.N. report. http://world.time.com/2012/12/20/the-swiss-difference-a-gun-culture-that-works/

It is certainly true that famines (caused by global cooling) have caused violence.

The world was entering a terrifying era of climate change, of global cooling, which severely reduced food supplies and contributed to mass famine. The collapse of trade and commerce crippled cities, leaving the world poorer and more vulnerable. A hungry and desperate society looked for scapegoats, whose misdeeds had so obviously attracted God’s anger. Europe’s Christians turned on its Jews, killing and expelling hundreds of thousands; Muslims inflicted a similar fate upon their Christian neighbours. http://www.historytoday.com/philip-jenkins/forgotten-christian-world

In history, global cooling, and resulting crop failure and famine, was much more likely to cause violence than was warming. It sickens me to see the sheer volume of bad scholarship dedicated to trying to bolster the CAGW theory.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
August 3, 2013 4:35 am

From Rational Db8 on August 2, 2013 at 8:58 pm:

Back on the statistics issue… another article with some good information is, “Bringing a Gun to a Knife Fight – A Discussion on Gun Violence, Homicide, and Statistics” excerpts below: http://tinyurl.com/ctp3dhu

404 – not found
Try http://www.steubencourier.com/community/blogs/steuben_courier_town_square_blog/x1683319441/Bringing-a-Gun-to-a-Knife-Fight-A-Discussion-on-Gun-Violence-Homicide-and-Statistics instead. Looks like (by the full URLS) a Steuben Courier blog entry is now to be found on the blog’s separate site.
Make special note of this footnote, you should have included it in your quotes as the notation was given (bold added):

**The statistics used throughout are taken from multiple sources that are not always comprehensive or current. Just remember: Stats can be made to say just about anything you want them to say. These types of issues are rarely simply defined, and that’s the larger point.

Doug Huffman
August 3, 2013 5:10 am

John R. Lott, Jr., author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws (3rd. 2010, Chicago), maintains http://www.johnlott.org/, where he posts,
“Instructions for Obtaining John R. Lott’s Raw Data: Most of this data involves STATA 7.0 data sets. The reason for using this is that the county level data involves a much larger set of control variables than can readily be handled by other statistical packages. The data sets can be obtained by clicking on the following links which will take you to the download page:
Chapter 6: MVPS Paper Data Chapters 7 and 8: Safe Storage, Gun Shows, Assault Weapons Data Appendix 1: Crime Data 77-00 Data Appendix 2: Magazine Sales Data 2002 Survey on Defensive Gun Use Data General Discussion of the 1997 and 2002 Surveys Debate_over_Stanford_Law_Review Confirming More Guns, Less Crime
All of the Above Sections

August 3, 2013 5:14 am

When calculating the whole of gun violence and population, do not forget to factor in the state. There are many countries that outlaw guns. Person to person murder by gun might be lower, but the states in question have killed millions of citizens over the decades without fear of reprisal.

August 3, 2013 5:26 am

During a recent discussion of why the crime rates down down while the prison population goes up, it was clearly pointed out that there are studies that show, at least for the USA, that the crime rate is mostly dependent on the 18-24 year old demographic. The long term drop in the US crime rate that began in 1991, some 18 years after the SCOTUS ruling on Roe v Wade made abortion legal throughout the US, which created a permanent drop in the 18-24 year old demographic.
It’s easy to have a drop in crime when there are fewer of the persons most likely to be dimwitted enough to try it.
Trying to tag climate trends to this same phenomena is a moot discussion not worthy of federal grant money.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
August 3, 2013 5:40 am

Nothing brings out agreement in a WUWT discussion like linking together Global Warming and gun control issues. 🙂

Gene Selkov
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
August 3, 2013 6:09 am

CommieBob says: “Violence is largely driven by culture.”
Wrong. Violence is part of human nature. Different cultures are variously successful in suppressing it.

Mike M
August 3, 2013 6:08 am

michaelwiseguy says:
And a huge increase in violent rape in Australia since they banned guns. (I think I read it’s now 3X the USA rate and climbing?) Banning guns to law abiding citizens is primarily a war on women and a war on the weak in general; a war on those least likely to be able to defend themselves without a gun.

Mike M
August 3, 2013 6:14 am

Neo says: August 3, 2013 at 5:26 am “It’s easy to have a drop in crime when there are fewer of the persons most likely to be dimwitted enough to try it.”
Amen to that. Criminals don’t grow on trees, ~somebody~ has to raise them. When you look at where the highest crime rates occur it becomes obvious which political party is responsible for policies that foster immoral behavior and criminality.

Doug Huffman
August 3, 2013 6:23 am

Mike M says: August 3, 2013 at 6:14 am “Criminals don’t grow on trees, ~somebody~ has to raise them. When you look at where the highest crime rates occur it becomes obvious which political party is responsible for policies that foster immoral behavior and criminality.”
Ah yes, It Takes a Village:, by Hag Xlinton, to raise a violent idiot. It takes an intact and effective family to raise a human child.
About the armed society, Robert Anson Heinlein’s quote is “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life”, from his 1942 Beyond This Horizon.

August 3, 2013 6:44 am

Are they trying to imply that peoples in warmer climates are more violent and those in Northern climates less violent?

Bruce Cobb
August 3, 2013 7:14 am

You don’t understand. The violence is there; it’s just hiding, waiting for a chance to come out and show itself.

August 3, 2013 7:16 am

I am now living in Phoenix and our summer temperatures range from 100 to 118 degrees. In the heat of the day you see few people out on the street because the natives and adjusted their life style. Under normal conditions life is finding the next air conditioner and spending as little time as possible outside. If you have to work outside, you start at first light and work till noon or one and then quit for the day. People will wander out again when the sun is low in the sky for about an hour.
This means few people are in the open where a crime can be committed against them and the few that are work with a crew where they can watch out for each other. You will still see crimes around night clubs but I blame that more on drugs and alcohol than on climate.
When winter comes around you will see people working in their yard during the day and often people will relax on the front porch because they are tired of staying inside all summer and want to enjoy the outdoors. Just the reverse of northern climate where it’s to cold to go outside in the winter but summer is when you get out and about.
I have seen reports about crime dropping in the north when some of the big snow storms hit because the criminals didn’t want to go out in the weather. I think more study needs to be done on the subject.

Gail Combs
August 3, 2013 7:21 am

Wherethereishope. says: @ August 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm
Every single time there is a global warming claim it is proven wrong when compared to relevant data, no exceptions, this is getting ridiculous.
Why do you think they are now resorting to Argument from Intimidation. Calling us ‘Flat Earthers’ Mental Defectives and even going to the extend of having the head of the US Department of Interior, Sally Jewell: [saying] ‘I Hope There Are No Climate Change Deniers In The Department Of Interior’
From John Kehr (The Inconvenient Skeptic)

Sadly anonymity can be important. There was one reader who wasn’t that ended up in trouble for commenting on a skeptic site when trying to get a job. They found his comment on Google and said they didn’t hire deniers.
He kindly asked me to scrub his name which I of course did. That is really a sad state of affairs. So I don’t begrudge anonymity here….

It certainly is not about science when they won’t debate or even show the data and methods but instead threaten your livelihood if you do not Kiss A…

August 3, 2013 7:22 am

“even slight spikes in temperature and precipitation have greatly increased the risk of personal violence and social upheaval throughout human history:”
I believe that would also cover terrorist attacks…
….which were always way down in hot weather

Gail Combs
August 3, 2013 7:37 am

Janice Moore says: @ August 2, 2013 at 8:40 pm
quoting: John Eliyas, August 2, 2013 at 7:36 am
… Studies like this have been going on for 50 years. While in graduate school we looked at studies trying to correlate heat waves and violence, know what we found? When it gets warm people commit crime, up to a point and then it tapers off. Why? Cold weather is not conducive to the hassle of leaving shelter to commit said crime. When it warms up, people come out of their “caves” and commit crimes. If it gets really, really, hot, like some of the NY heatwaves of the 70′s, crime goes down as people become lethargic and don’t want the hassle.”
I work outside doing kid’s entertainment at festivals and such. If the temperature is below ~ 45F forget it, or if above ~90F forget it. At ~$4.00/gal for diesel you can be sure I have been tracking this type of data for years because I am not about to work all day in the hot or the cold only to lose money.

August 3, 2013 7:42 am

In NYC there has been an extraordinary reduction in violent crime during the past 20 years despite all the alleged warming and “extreme” weather events. Although, people do tend to get a little cranky when it’s hot.
NYC has the best police force anywhere, but I don’t suppose these “researchers” would consider anything like good law enforcement as part of their study.

August 3, 2013 7:50 am

I think there must be something to it Anthony. I bet if you checked on murder rates they’d be highest in Central and South America, Africa, and the Middle East. And lowest in western Europe, Canada, Alaska, and parts of East Asia. Unless there’s something else at work here that I’m missing.

Gene Selkov
August 3, 2013 8:17 am

Since the subjects of violence and gun control came up together on this thread, it just occurred to me that there is a biological case to be made for arming everybody with a handgun or some lethal weapon, does not matter what kind.
Disclaimer: I do not own a gun and never had to use one to defend myself, and I have so far been neutral on the issue of gun control. I only built and used guns for entertainment when I was young. But I know how violent behavior is moderated in different animals, including our closest relatives.
There is a general pattern: predators are socially non-violent, while herbivores are usually extremely violent. Lion fights are not nearly as violent as bull fights. When two male cobras fight, you can’t even tell it’s a fight. It looks more like a sports contest: the one that stands taller on his tail is the winner. That’s all. You can easily imagine why it is so: animals possessing lethal powers would be wiped out in territorial and mating conflicts if they did not have innate prohibitions against using their lethal weapons in such conflicts. Humans, like bulls or rabbits, do not have such prohibitions. They fight each other violently, but death is an extremely rare outcome in such fights, so they can afford not to have a prohibitive instinct.
Now, very recently (in evolutionary terms), the man — a non-lethal scavenger — suddenly invented lethal weapons. Jolly good, that. Now we have food on our table. But we have not acquired any prohibitions against killing each other except for moral and cultural ones, which are very, very weak, as many have noted here.
So it seems like giving a lethal weapon to everybody is a more feasible way of suppressing violence than removing all weapons from all people, which, if it were possible, would return us to the perpetually brutal lifestyle of our ancestors.

Gunga Din
August 3, 2013 8:32 am

Did any of these temperature/crime studies account for the availability of air conditioning?

Mike M
August 3, 2013 8:46 am

Hello John Lott, maybe more guns, less suicide too? Lithuania 316 suicides (per million), 7 guns (per 100). USA 120 suicides, 90 guns. South Korea 317 suicides, 11 guns. Sweden 111 suicides, 31.8 guns. Slovenia 218 suicides, 13.5 guns. Kuwait 18 suicides, 24.8 guns. Japan 217 suicides, 0.6 guns. Belarus 229 suicides, 7.3 guns. …
As an exercise I matched up 96 countries from these two wiki pages: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country then I scatter plotted the numbers in Excel to reveal an astonishing number when I did a linear trend line for them, an R^2=0.0002 !
So much for the puking LIE that guns lead to more suicide. That R^2 says that guns are likely to have NOTHING to do with higher suicide rates. I’ll leave it to someone else to weight the numbers on populations so little countries aren’t wagging the dog like Nepal or Iceland, etc. but wouldn’t be surprised that people in countries with lower suicide are those with higher individual Liberty and just happen to incidentally have higher gun ownership for the same reason.

Owen in GA
August 3, 2013 9:14 am

I saw a report the other day that contended that the murder rate in the US minus the 6 or 7 largest urban areas (literally removing only 10 zip codes) was about the same as Sweden’s. But those 10 zip codes had murder rates that make the worst third world countries look tame. All of these bad areas were run by gun control advocates.

Gary Pearse
August 3, 2013 10:54 am

Greg Scott says:
August 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm
“Obviously as violence goes up the reporting of violence goes down. We need a computer model to give us the real figures.”
Homocides are reported and every city gives regular homocide, robbery,breaking and entering etc statistics. Probably you are extrapolating from the well-known reluctance of news media to report sensational things like violent crime, global warming and the like. (sarc. off)

August 3, 2013 11:12 am

If your data in Australia were to be correct, then you would indeed be justified to claim that your absurd proposition applies to every society on Earth at any time in history because it would indeed explain the fundamental human requirement of weaponry in order to exist. But it isn’t and it doesn’t.
Not too long back there was a thread about how catastrophists “subtly” encourage radical beliefs among its troops. Ample proof was provided. Well, here we have people that believe creationism is scientific and folks that need a gun in order to get along. I don’t see a general condemnation anywhere.

Larry Ledwick (hotrod)
August 3, 2013 11:18 am

I do recall reading an article about study a few years ago (before global warming was an active agenda) and it did document a temperature relationship to crime but it was not what you would think.
They found that “street crime” reached a maximum (in a given location) when temperature hovered near the mid 80’s and people were out and about and it was too hot to sleep comfortably so folks got irritable and short tempered.
At higher temps everyone stays cranky but they don’t go out and mix as much as it is too hot to do much especially if the nights are hot. They mostly veg out any place they can get some relief from the heat. Obviously in colder weather crime also drops as street muggers don’t like working in a cold rain any more than any other worker.
I bet if you plotted street murders in Chicago with temperatures at the time of the killing you would find such a single hump relationship, but unfortunately I don’t recall where I saw the study.
It was probably done in the early 1990’s or there about as I recall.

M Courtney
August 3, 2013 1:37 pm

Hmm, so mind control via weather isn’t looking like a runner.
Well who’d have thought it.
But, looking at the graphs, can anyone tell me what happened in Oxford in the 1350s?
Experimental theologians unleashing a plague of demonic possession, perhaps.

M Courtney
August 3, 2013 1:45 pm

Ignore that last comment. I was mocking the idea that one parameter can explain something as complex as human behaviour… especially with regard to physical violence that many people are trained to restrain.
Yet, it occurred to me that such an outlier as Oxford in the 1350s is probably a measurement effect. Oxford was one of the most advanced research centres in the world at the time. If they decided to study the real world then they would have had a different methodology for crime recording tan everyone else.
Which is quite interesting.

Rational Db8
August 3, 2013 2:28 pm

@Kadaka, thanks for noting and finding an active link to the article. Honestly, I’m not worried about adding the footnote to an already long post, when I think pretty much everyone has heard the adage “lies, damned lies, and statistics” – and they also know that not all statistics lie, they in fact can often be quite accurate and useful.
@ Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says: August 3, 2013 at 5:40 am

Nothing brings out agreement in a WUWT discussion like linking together Global Warming and gun control issues. 🙂

Thanks for the good chuckle!

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
August 3, 2013 3:40 pm

From Txomin on August 3, 2013 at 11:12 am:

If your data in Australia were to be correct (…, cut) But it isn’t and it doesn’t.

As you missed it while ranting, it was actually Mike M here who brought up Australia, in reply to michaelwiseguy’s comment.
From the Australian Institute of Criminology:

* Reported sexual assaults have increased by 51 percent since 1995, at an average of four percent each year.
* The number of recorded sexual assaults by month is typically highest from January to March and from August to November and lowest from April to July.

The data’s getting old, latest is circa 2007. In the climate wars, we have noted when certain (C)AGW-pushing organizations decide to stop updating certain stats and graphs when the facts stop supporting the narrative, especially when those facts actually refute it and them. Thus I wonder how bad it really has gotten in the past five years.

August 3, 2013 6:31 pm

“But we have not acquired any prohibitions against killing each other except for moral and cultural ones, which are very, very weak, as many have noted here.”
Very, very weak? Look at how hard Western militaries have had to work to convince new recruits to kill soldiers on the other side. See Dave Grossman’s work on the subject, for example.

Gene Selkov
Reply to  MarkG
August 3, 2013 7:20 pm

MarkG: It is an interesting observation highlighting the difference and a fair amount of disconnect between the act of killing (or any type of fighting) and the instinctive drive to do so.
I myself would face enormous trouble killing somebody following somebody else’s command, or even if the rationale for doing so were explained to me in a compelling way.
But I have no trouble killing my personal enemies who (let’s imagine, at this very moment) annoy me to the point of wanting to kill them, do something bad to my mate or my children — that kind of stuff. In such situations, I would have trouble restraining myself, and in fact, I’ve had incidents in my somewhat longish life when I was helpfully blocked from killing people by external force. I believe such restraint has cultural origins and is not natural.
I am not sure if it is specifically masculine behaviour; I don’t know how women respond to, and whether they even experience the urge to fight (I’m avoiding the word “aggression”, which is loaded with cultural connotations). But I can bet many of us males have experienced “tunnel vision” — the condition where your eyes stop scanning, leaving you with a dark field and only a small blurry opening in the middle, through which you can vaguely discern the face of your opponent. At the same time, you feel kilotons of energy building up in your fists. Sounds familiar? You’re in a fighting mode. That’s the condition I’m talking abut. I doubt any military, Western or not, know how to induce it in soldiers.
It is a very natural condition, though. Your opponent may be in the same condition, at the same time, and you get into a fight, just like bulls or rabbits do.
The new, specifically human element in this, is that if you happen to spot a substantial object within your grasp — a stick or a projectile of any sort — you grab it and it instantly makes you lethal. Biologically, it is a new element and our bodies don’t quite know what to do about it. We feel it’s not totally safe and not totally right, so we’re making efforts to regulate it in a number of ways. I maintain that these secondary regulations are relatively weak, compared to instincts or to a gun barrel aimed at you.

Lil Fella from OZ
August 3, 2013 6:51 pm

Many factors contribute to the rise in violence and crime. To grasp at warming as the culprit is ludicrous. So warming causes lying!!!????

Bob Diaz
August 3, 2013 7:32 pm

Here’s a rather interesting look at the FBI count of crimes for the last 20 years. Violent crime is dropping, rape is dropping, murder is dropping, and other crimes are dropping.
Maybe we should say that “Global Warming” causes a drop in crime. ;-))

August 3, 2013 8:09 pm

These people need to spend a year in Ketchikan, AK or La Push, Washington if they want to see weather related mood swings. Something about 120″/year of rain that will peel the hide off your soul. On the other hand every time I go to Reno or Las Vegas I see happy people spending crazy amounts of money and enjoying life. I’ll take Hawaii over Seattle every time.

David Falkner
August 3, 2013 8:17 pm

Don’t use the FBI link! It will confuse people. Why compare observations to projections? 🙂

August 3, 2013 9:54 pm

As a teenager in Alaska we had to reserve our bb gun-inspired crime sprees to summer, as it was just too easy to be tracked down in the snow.

Bill Parsons
August 3, 2013 11:26 pm

michaelwiseguy says:
August 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm
Data: There are more than 300 million personal firearms in the USA. More guns equals less crime. Who would have thunk it?

U.S. ranks 57th in a list of 70 countries in terms of handgun homicides per 100,000 (at 3 per…) That is we kill each other (albeit politely) at a higher rate than all but 13 countries – all Latin American. What do you mean “less crime”? Less than these countries?: Costa Rica 4.6, Nicaragua 5.9, Paraguay 7.3, Mexico 10, Panama 16.1,, South Africa, Brazil 18, Guatemala 34, Swaziland 37, Jamaica 39, El Salvador 39, and Honduras 64.
More germane to the topic, I doubt that that murder rate has any correlation with the tropics, though, but more with political upheaval and / or the easy availability of guns. Where those guns came from I can only guess.
U.S.ranks 67th out of those same countries for suicides committed with handguns – worse than all but two countries.

August 4, 2013 5:04 am

I have examined the violent crime rates in the US on a state versus state basis, looking at the strictness of firearm laws (Brady Index) versus the crime rates and winded up with a zero trend. You have strict states with both high and low crime rates and vice versa. Studies have also been done looking at gun ownership versus crime rates in countries across the world and you see very similar trends, i.e. no trend at all. Gun ownership and gun laws have little or no effect on crime. There have been some much more sophisticated research done, that shows small trends of reduced crime with more guns or less restrictive laws but the effect is small. The only strong trend is that the percent of suicides by gun increases with more gun availability but there is no trend in the total amount of suicides. Guns are just a convent way of getting the job done but there are other methods.
Clearly in the US the rate of gun crimes and accidental gun deaths have been decreasing since the late 80’s as the amount of gun ownership has increased and the laws on ownership and carry have liberalized in most states.
In the US given the high gun ownership rates, more education on safe handling of guns would be useful, the accidental gun death rate for children is small but could be smaller with more education.

August 4, 2013 5:27 am

Oh-noes, Anthropogenic climate change causes violent crime, we need to ban guns… /jk

August 4, 2013 5:54 am

@wise guy:
Your nick name does nothing to prevent you from saying stupid things. No, more guns do not prevent crimes. With your 300 million guns, you have ~100 deaths and 200 injured EVERY DAY. Got that? Good. Now let’s do the reality check and compare that with an actual civilized country, say, Germany :
Wow, it’s 9x higher in the US for 2012! As a matter of fact, the US is only surpassed by Mexiko in the world. That world with ~220 nations, you know. How does that proove that 300M guns improve anything?
See what Anthony wrote above there? He cares about data – and you don’t.

August 4, 2013 9:37 am

Another inverse hockey stick!

August 4, 2013 11:25 am

Mebbe people are like dogs – lazy when hot. (Well, different creatures, dogs to not stand heat well, including because they cannot cool by sweating.)

Rational Db8
August 4, 2013 2:06 pm

@ Matt says: August 4, 2013 at 5:54 am
I’m sorry Matt, but clearly you don’t know what you are talking about. You claim 100 firearm homicides per day. That would be 36,500 gun murders per year. Quite a trick considering there were only a total of 14,612 homicides in 2011, from ALL methods/sources even including non-negligent manslaughter, not just guns. So you’re at least three times too high in your claims.
Similarly your claim about supposedly the USA being the next to highest murder rate in the world, with only Mexico being worse, is grossly off base. As of 2004/2005, there were at least 150 nations with higher homicide rates than the USA – and then our homicide rate was 5.6 – as of 2011 it was down to 4.7 which would have dropped us even lower on the list. See: http://murder-rates.findthedata.org/
As to the correlation between guns per capita and homicide rates, in fact, worldwide there is a negative correlation (e.g., more guns = less homicide), not a positive correlation. The correlation probably isn’t causal, and the cause is almost certainly far more complex, but it is a negative correlation both world wide and within the USA itself. See my earlier post on this thread for references: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/02/about-that-warmer-temperatures-increase-violence-claim/#comment-1379581

August 4, 2013 2:17 pm

If I remember correctly, as of a few years ago, around 50% of US homicides were drug gangs fighting turf wars. I doubt that’s changed much. I felt much safer in Florida with my friends who carried guns than I did many places in London, where only criminals had them.
And the ‘OMG, America has lots of suicides with guns!’ thing is just plain silly cherry-picking. Obviously, if you’re going to kill yourself and have a gun handy, you’re going to use it. If you don’t, you’ll use one of many equally lethal methods. What counts is the total number of suicides, not how they’re committed.

Rational Db8
August 4, 2013 4:50 pm

@ MarkG says: August 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm

And the ‘OMG, America has lots of suicides with guns!’ thing is just plain silly cherry-picking. Obviously, if you’re going to kill yourself and have a gun handy, you’re going to use it.

I don’t have references for it, but supposedly when it comes to suicide, men tend to use guns (if available of course), women tend to go for less messy methods. But you’re absolutely right, people find a way, whether they have access to guns or not – for either suicides or homicides, unfortunately.

August 7, 2013 6:49 pm

…latest oceanographic research from Russia proves that the warming climate is producing violent monkfish!

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