Steven L. Taylor
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog).
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Dems should be hammering this home, but they won’t.
New York City Is a Lot Safer Than Small-Town America
The safest counties are generally in Democratic states while the most dangerous are in R states. This bumper sticker data.
@OzarkHillbilly: And people on the progressive right are ranting about the use of “Latinx”, rather than worrying about this.
This is how the US will disintegrate, at the hands of people who just won’t accept election results while the rest of us are quarrelling about the placement of the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Chesa Boudin was recalled as San Francisco D.A. 61% to 39%.
A rather apt name for a Georgia Republican.
Making smoke so nobody can see the fire:
We’ll see if it works or not.
@Sleeping Dog: Wow. You are 15 times more likely to die in any given year in Big Horn County, MT than in NYC’s Queens County. 30 times more likely than in Loudon County, VA, a DC suburb. And that excludes drug overdose and suicide, which tend to have higher rates in rural areas.
Also of note, the safest counties in America lean heavily Democratic, while the most deadly are overwhelmingly trump areas, with a Jim Crow style of governance*. Of course, my town, Baltimore, is the one glaring exception: it is the sole Democratic area in the list of most deadly places.
*Jim Crow governance is when the primary task of government is seen as enforcing a social hierarchy by creating in-groups and out-groups and stirring up resentments between them.
On odd happenings this week, I got a notice on my home PC that Windows 11 is ready to install.
Now, I’d thought that PC didn’t qualify to run Win11, meaning it didn’t meet the hardware requirements. I mean, it came loaded with Win7. I thought the laptop I haven’t used in two years, which was WINDOS* originally, would qualify. But I haven’t even turned it on through the pandemic since I’ve not traveled anywhere, even on business.
In any case, mid week is a terrible time to replace the OS even on a tablet or phone. First I need to make backups of all essentials, then find something good on TV or streaming, as the desktop will be unavailable for hours.
And first I’ll fire up the laptop and see whether it wants to upgrade.
*Nominally that’s Windows 8, which I call Windows 8 Is Not a Desktop Operating System, aka WINDOS.
The edit box is borked.
Democrats rebuke and reel in their fringe. Conservatives don’t. The violent, radical extremist Trump-QAnon-GRT right has taken over the Republican Party. Scary!
Polio outbreak in Pakistan worsens as eighth child reported paralysed
Look at the bright side, they don’t have 5g chips in their blood.
I wonder how Michigan law on voting equipment works? I know that in a couple of western states, where I’ve paid more attention to details, the law has specific chain of custody requirements. There have been more than one case where state/local governments are suddenly on the hook for replacement equipment because the chain of custody was broken and the manufacturer said they couldn’t recertify the equipment. At least in those states, there is a distinct possibility that police seizure of equipment would break the chain.
On the one hand, sure.
On the other, once you have to start explaining something in the context of “out of 100,000” you will have lost a ton of people. It is by no means the bumper sticker you are suggesting.
“What you do mean NYC is safer than my little town? They had almost 500 homicides last year! We only had 12!”
“Yes, but as expressed as a function of population….”
I mean, sure, you aren’t wrong but it is simply isn’t as easy to communicate as you think.
Moreover, the population that is worried about crime in NYC or Chicago or wherever, it already primed to believe that The Big City is simply inherently dangerous.
@Steven L. Taylor:
Fully 9/10, that’s 75%, of all people are incapable of understanding percentages or fractions.
@Kathy: The math checks out.
You’ll also note, and the author does so, that the safest counties are also the wealthiest, which is what I’d expect. Also comparing metro regions/counties isn’t comparing cities. NYC is easily defined in that it encompasses the 5 counties, Boston is Suffolk Cty, while Cambridge and a few suburbs are Middlesex. But Mpls/StP for instance is 7 MN counties and a couple of Wisc. counties. Also the geographic area of the northeast metros is tiny compared to other parts of the country.
But yes, the disparity in the risk of death or injury is stunning.
People, especially right wingers, still obsess over Chicago homicides when Chicago isn’t near the top of the list for homicides or violent crimes or deaths. I assume this is just a carryover from when it was somehow proof that Obama sucked.
@Steven L. Taylor:
A Dem challenger in a district, of a R+ state, that is competitive, should be able to craft a message. I’d pose it as a question; Did you know that, you, as a resident of X county has a greater chance of dying violently than a resident of NYC.
While I don’t disagree and have been converted, that the Dem messaging issue is overwrought, actual political campaigns are in large part about a message. Short of another Roy Moore, no Dem has a chance in AL statewide, but a Dem in an R+2-3 congressional or state legislative district can use this to counter the R narative.
Yeah, everyone knows 75% is 75/10 🙂
Seriously, lots of clueless occasional gamblers think a 6 to 5 payoff is higher than 3 to 2. Some even say it’s exactly the same proportion. I suck at math, but I can spot that one right away.
@Steven L. Taylor:
It’s even harder than this. Suburbanites do not want to hear about crime in their area, and the they do want to hear about crime in the cities, very much thankyou. I first noticed this almost 40 years ago when I lived in Rochester, NY. I lived in the city and almost everyone of my co-workers lived in the suburbs. A not infrequent topic of lunchtime concentration was how dangerous the city was. I would point out that pretty much every night I got home late, 9:30 or 10:00 pm, I would go for a long walk in my “dangerous” neighborhood to relax. Didn’t even register. No one even asked me about it. And a week or two later the conversation would pick up exactly where it had left off, i.e. that anyone who ventured into the city was taking their life into their own hands.
The newspaper was the most interesting. It would feature city crime on the front page and suburban crime tucked away in the small Police Blotter section. One day I was reading the paper and there was a front page article about a woman who had been raped in a downtown parking garage. And there was another three sentence article tucked away in the middle of the Police Blotter about a suburban woman whose home was invaded and she was raped. The paper knew its audience. Play up the city crime, but making the suburbanites feel unsafe would result in a slew of cancelled subscriptions.
@Steven L. Taylor:
It sometimes seems like innumeracy is a prerequisite of conservatism. That a million Americans died of Covid doesn’t seem to mean anything to them. They seem oblivious to the correlation between tons of guns and tons of gun deaths. A couple days ago Volokh argued he had ten cases in a year where guns stopped a shooting (by shooting someone) so checkmate your 45,000 gun deaths libs. I wonder if anyone’s ever done a study. Maybe it’s just that so many people are innumerate a lot of conservatives are bound to be.
@Steven L. Taylor:
You’re doing the same thing as others here: Conflating “crime” (i.e., homicide) with “dangerous”.
From the article:
So… yes, you’re more likely to get killed in a big city than you are in a small town. The article is talking about other stuff. You’re more likely to be in a car crash when you drive hundreds of miles a week than you are riding the bus downtown. You’re more likely to get bit by a poisonous snake in the woods of Montana than you are on Michigan Ave in Chicago. The most deadly jobs (fisherman, lumberjack, etc.) aren’t exactly prevalent in a metropolis–or even a suburb.
The article keeps talking about murder rates in NYC–and then compares them to auto accidents and other external causes. It’s badly written.
I am not the one conflating: I am pointing out how people think and they equate “crime” with “danger.”
Perhaps I am missing your point?
Are you? This is not necessarily the case, which is the point.
Innumeracy, and poor evidence-evaluation, tends to be, unfortunately, a hallmark of humanity.
I am not saying that they can’t. Nor am I saying they shouldn’t try. I am questioning the likely efficacy of the attempt (and especially noting the likelihood that the assertion will neither be understood nor believed).
Because I use the internet to talk to people far away, twice this year so far, I’ve chatted with people who were all “Ohh, you live in SF, there’s so much crime!”. I’ve tried a few rhetorical strategies, particularly invoking my small-town background, which had a certain amount of effectiveness, though in a week, we’re back to “Ohh, there’s so much crime in Vancouver!”
What seems to have at least some impact is the remark that I’ve lived here for 30+ years and the worst crime I’ve been subject to was having some painted miniatures stolen out of my house.
Steven is correct that statistics don’t seem to make a dent. But personal anecdote does, even though its bad science.
So, my solution is to use the personal anecdote which illustrates the good scientific conclusion.
@Jay L Gischer: One other observation: both violent crime and property crime feel much different when you know the criminal, as often happens in small towns. It seems less dangerous somehow, because you can say, “well, I always knew she was a bad’un”
Crime in the city is often done by an anonymous perpetrator, which makes it seem like a chaotic force of nature, rather than a moral choice.
@Steven L. Taylor: “Moreover, the population that is worried about crime in NYC or Chicago or wherever, it already primed to believe that The Big City is simply inherently dangerous.”
And has been since around 1835.
Well, we know that all virtue resides in the country and all evil in the city. As Sarah Palin said when alighting in some small town in one of the Carolinas: “It’s good to be back in the real America.”
Are you sure you read the same article I did? The writer specifically addresses whether NYC deserves its reputation as a dangerous place to live. He starts by comparing its homicide rate to the 5 next largest cities and demonstrates it is significantly lower than all of them. He then compares the homicide rate to the average rate for 5 different types of areas, from rural to small town to medium town, etc, and demonstrates that NYC has a murder rate at the bottom, at least for the last 7-8 years. He then goes on to ask the question: is the reason NYC is considered dangerous due to other causes of death and goes on to show how that plays out.
In what way is he conflating homicide rates with other causes of fatalities? He’s pretty clear on what he’s doing and shows his math every step of the way.
Not all politicians who say stupid things are Republicans. Debbie Stabenow recently remarked that high gas prices didn’t matter to her, because she had finally acquired an electric car and was able to drive right past all the gas stations.
That ought to win a lot of hearts and minds.
@Steven L. Taylor:
And oddly enough, it bears little relationship to education levels. When I was involved in evaluating robotic surgery, primarily used even now for prostrate surgery, I became very cynical for a while about whether surgeons were deliberately obscuring the likelihood of poor outcomes, because the math is pretty clear that early detection of prostrate cancer is a net negative in terms of good versus bad outcomes. (Bottom line: absent symptoms, a yearly rectal exam is more likely to result in harmful intercessions than in positive ones.) For a very small segment of those with prostrate cancer it is absolutely life saving, but for the very significant majority it (at the time) was likely to trigger a surgery that had a good chance of leaving you impotent or in terrible chronic pain or incontinent, and often a combination of two or more of those. But I spent a lot of time with those surgeons and, although I never brought it up to them, it gradually dawned on me that innumeracy was the primary factor in this. For the most part they just couldn’t comprehend the math. Same for early detection of breast cancer. Some years back when a clinical board very correctly recommended that doing a yearly routine mammogram was a net negative (because if you treat someone who doesn’t need it that means unnecessary surgery, irradiation, and huge doses of chemotherapy) and changed the recommendation to every three years, they were attacked and vilified beyond belief, very often by highly educated physicians. The math was clear and the clinical board showed every bit of their work in the report, but it simply was incomprehensible to a very large body of physicians.
“The article keeps talking about murder rates in NYC–and then compares them to auto accidents and other external causes. It’s badly written.”
No, it is very well written. Late in life I have acquired a lot of experience and some expertise in medicine in rural areas. I also have lived in a very rural area for the last 28 years. What the guy is examining is risk, something we dont do that well. If you want to concentrate solely on homicides you can do that and you find that big cities are riskier than rural areas. But if you want look at of the risks that affect your safety then you want to include other things like accidents. So if your goal is to have your best shot at living until 80 or longer you live in the city. If your goal is to not be murdered you live rural. Things that would be fairly easily treatable in the city end up in death since rural places just cant provide adequate levels of care. This has been an area I have done a lot of work in over the last 10 years (retiring this year) and have come up with some solutions to make things a tiny bit better but still the discrepancies are large.
Yes, but Chicago is full of scary Black people. There’s a culture of lawlessness or something about broken homes…
A lot of the people who obsess over Chicago’s crime aren’t particularly personally racist, they just get their news from sources that enjoy a good spike of racial tension.
You’re not wrong… well, actually you are since it predates Obama by a few hundred years.
@Kathy: My computer has been offering to change over for several months now. I always pick not now. Still, offering Win 11 to your computer has no relationship to whether your computer is equipped to run it. That’s not a question that the AI has been programmed for.
@DK: That’s because Democrats have to move right to get back toward the center whereas Republicans are already right of center.
The author specifically brings up automobile accidents and “how much more dangerous” rural areas are because of this–but doesn’t account for miles driven.
Wyoming drivers drive 7.3 times as much as NYC residents, but are only 3 times as likely to die (from homicides & car accidents).
According to NYC.gov, New Yorkers drive 9 miles per day (average) with 10 deaths/100k. That’s a “carnage rate” of 1.11 per 100k day-miles.
Wyoming drivers average 66 miles per day with 27 deaths/100k. That’s a “carnage rate” of 0.45 per 100k day-miles
Looked at that way (which is how NTSB ranks automobile fatalities–per million miles driven), Wyoming is almost 2.5 times as safe as NYC.
Comparing NYC to other metro areas is an apples-to-apples comparison, and it’s perfectly valid to say that NYC is safer than other cities. But when about half the counties in the US don’t have enough deaths to report, it’s difficult to say that that rural areas are more dangerous than any city city.
Telling people things they won’t believe is not an effective campaign strategy. The fact is that the electorate as a whole is ignorant. One Party suffers from that and the other thrives on it.
@Mu Yixiao: So you agree that WY residents are more likely to die of traffic accidents than New Yorkers.
@MarkedMan: What you note is part of the equation. Another part is that your coworkers would probably have noted if pressed that you live in one of the “good” neighborhoods, so of course, your risk is lower. Additionally, crime is an infinitesimal event statistic for most people. My house (in the suburbs) was broken into once. I didn’t even notice for a week (and the item stolen was valueless–literally–I’d gotten it as a gift for having been mailed a sales pitch). That’s my entire experience at being a crime victim. And I’ve lived in marginal, at best, neighborhoods at times.
Most people never become victims of crimes, even those of us who live in statistically higher crime Cowlitz County as opposed to statistically lower King County (home of Seattle). Then again, most of us never get cancer either. Luddite’s chances of getting cancer were infinitesimally small. Until he got it. And his chances of recovery were also infinitesimally small. Until he did.
TL/DR: We all know how crime risk works. We also all want to feel safer than others. The message probably won’t resonate because the percentages are small to begin with. 12 out of 12,000 is statistically smaller than 500 out of 750,000. Doesn’t matter unless it’s me.
Right. If you live in a rural area you are going to be driving a lot more than if you live in a big city, especially one like NYC that has an impressive public transportation system. Which is substantially less risky than driving 30-100 miles a day. You seem to be saying that shouldn’t count for some reason but for the life of me I don’t see why. Your statistics about the relative death rate per mile driven means nothing if you don’t account for, well, the number of miles driven.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
I’m curious to try out Win11. Just from what I’ve seen, I hate the idea of the taskbar in the center. I need to know how to fix that. After all, the computer must adapt to my style of work, not the reverse (the big reason Win8 was such a failure).
But I’ll try it on the laptop first. I should at least get it all the updates that came on during the first two years of the pandemic…
“Perhaps I am missing your point?
So… yes, you’re more likely to get killed in a big city than you are in a small town.
Are you? This is not necessarily the case, which is the point.”
You’re more likely to not get killed at all. My pulmonology/allergy doctor told me a joke once. “Most people with asthma die either from emphysema or complications of pneumonia. The rest die in airplane crashes.” I’ve been trying to up my chances of dying in an airplane crash, but they still don’t look good. 😉
On trump pandemic news, it seems Moderna has been trialing a bivalent vaccine and some results are out. I don’t offer a link, because the note I saw at NPR was woefully lacking in specifics. My understanding is that it’s a mix of mRNA of the original strain and Omicron.
More info as I find it.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: My bad. The next to the last sentence in TL/DR should have read “statistically larger” not “statistically smaller.” Asthmatic lack of oxygen to the brain strikes again.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Yep. “Baltimore” includes incredibly impoverished neighborhoods with multi-generational unemployment of 80% or more, as well as the street a half mile from me in the heart of South Baltimore where the row houses pay taxes of $25K per year. Or the working class neighborhood of Locust Point which has seen 2 homicides in 10 years, a per capita rate better than almost all the suburbs in the area. And all the crime statistics in a hundred or more neighborhoods just get averaged out. But people who live in the suburbs are quick to point out that their suburb of 12K people is very safe as all the crime is in the adjoining suburb all the way on the other side of the highway.
I’ve lived and worked in the smallest town you can imagine and one of the largest cities in the world as well as everything in between. My impression (and it is only my impression) that when you add up all the risks, I feel safer in the city than the country. It seems like everyone has a gun in the rural areas and if for some reason you don’t happen to have one on you it’s easy enough to go to the parking lot and steal one or a half dozen out of unsecured glove compartments. And even if you don’t have to worry about some drunk deciding you disrespected him and he’ll show you, the fact that every sign has at least a couple of bullet holes speaks to the pure BS of the myth that all rural people are responsible gun owners. I mean, driving around on unlighted roads, drinking beers and shooting at every road road sign you see, well, what could possibly go wrong?
@Kathy: Don’t get sucked in on the “just try it out.” Changing back from Win 10 was beyond my abilities (although mine are infinitesimal–lower than my chances of being murdered), so the promise of “if you don’t like it, just change back” is meaningless. Also, don’t click on any “give me more information”-type buttons. Pressing that was what loaded Win10 on my machine.
@MarkedMan: I feel safer in a city than in a small town, too, but I grew up in a city, so I suspect some of the comfort is conditioning. Mu undoubtedly feels safer in his
bedroom communitysmall town, too.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: FWIW, I grew up in a suburb. Small lot suburbs feel safe to me too.
Suburbs always feel like they’re one burnt casserole away from open warfare.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
The thing is eventually that will be the OS in the next PC I get, either personal or at work, and it’s a good idea to at least experience it.
For Win8, I dreaded the reviews I began reading. I tired a machine with it on display at a store but couldn’t get much out of it. So I took my older laptop, made a disk partition, and installed it.
After a few minutes, plus looking up stuff online, I swore I’d f***g install Linux on my home PC rather than this abomination. I even got some Linux distros and installed two on partitions. That proved unnecessary, as there were apps that fixed WINDOS and made it usable. I even paid the munificent sum of $5 for Start8.
Windows 10 is pretty ok functionally, once you unpin the crap from the taskbar and banish Cortana and her search box to oblivion.
If there were a way to download a Win11 demo, I’d try it on a laptop partition, too.
Obligatory funny anecdote:
I brought the laptop with the WINDOS partition to the office to show it to my coworkers. One, who had gone from XP to Win7 and had skipped Vista, was convinced Win8 was Vista because he’d heard it was terrible.
@Beth: That sounds like the premise of a J.G. Ballard novel. A suburban High Rise.
@Kathy: Currently in Seattle, the risk of catching Covid is basically the same whether you are vaccinated or not.
Not sure if this is just that everyone unvaccinated has at least partial immunity from having had Covid, or a reporting issue (the unvaccinated don’t get tested until they go to the hospital) or what.
If the Omicron specific vaccine cuts my chances of infection, I would happily get the vaccine.
(Or if the vaccine helped prevent long Covid…)
The reports I’ve seen don’t mention what stage testing Moderna’s at. I get the impression it’s pre-clinical tests, maybe tests on small groups of volunteers. They had been testing a Beta+ancestral vaccine, but that was surpassed by events.
We’re at the point where any vaccine developed will be superseded by new variants. In fact, when the first vaccines rolled out, the dominant variant was Alpha rather than the original strain, but Pfizer and Moderna seemed effective against that one.
The question is whether an Omicron specific vaccine will hold up better to the next variants than the original shots did against Delta and Omicron.
As to long Covid, no one even knows what the causes are, much less what to do about it. I recall a few reports from the earliest long Covid patients saying some of their symptoms eased after the first vaccine dose, but there has been no follow up on that.
I wonder if this means Arkansas will get an NFL team.
@Kathy: The article suggests this is just conspicuous consumption. Or that some Waltons/Penners are moving to CO.
@Just nutha: On the other hand, Seattlites thought the same thing until the team became the Thunder.
@Kathy: if memory and reading comprehension of dumbed down science articles serves, Omicron has a much larger difference from Original Covid than Delta does, particularly in parts of the spike protein that end up boosting transmissibility.
And given that we are on Omicron BA2 (the viral bugaloo), it’s not a terrible guess that an Omicron BA1 vaccine is going to be a good enhancement to a Covid Classic vaccine. Covid Classic is outcompeted by the Omicrons, so it’s more likely that the next exciting variant will come from a mutation of Omicron than Alpha or Delta.
As far as long covid goes, there is a 15% decrease in likelihood if you are vaccinated. Which is kind of not much. I’m curious as to whether Paxlovid has an effect — either taken when you get Covid, or in response to Long Covid. But it’s too early to have data.
There is also some preliminary work into the causes, but I don’t know how much to trust it — and there are conflicting suggestions on dealing with it now, from “exercise” to “whatever you do, don’t exercise”
I, truly, am glad that someone believes this.
The problem persists that neutralizing antibodies made in response to the vaccine don’t stick around for long.
That aside, protection against severe disease then depends more on memory B cells and memory T cells that are made in response to the vaccine. Therefore the more varied spike protein types one is exposed to through vaccination, the better the long term protection.
There’s a finite way to make trump virus spikes, especially those that can infect people*. It does seem that memory B cells churn out antibodies when the Omicron variant invades, but these are not effective enough against it.
If I’m right in the last two paragraphs, then vaccines for all variants would be a grand idea.
* B and T cells have antigen receptors. Antigen means “antibody generator.” This means they latch onto things that fit these receptors, and thus activate the various functions of these cells. The receptors are made from the organism’s DNA**, as all other proteins are as well. This means, I think, that an organism cannot be infected by viruses that don’t fit into these receptors.
**This also proves there’s DNA recombination in processes other than those needed for reproduction, which was thought to be impossible.
@Steven L. Taylor: Yep. I had a conversation with a conservative friend a year ago. He was bragging about how he and his friends had found an AirBnB outside of MSP to stay at instead of a motel in MSP on their way to the Boundary Waters, and how much safer it was and how they didn’t have to worry about their gear. I pointed out that their stuff was maybe at even greater risk because, well, crime was everywhere but cops aren’t.
Nope, he disagreed.
The funny thing is he lives in Meth central, far away from sheriff deputies and always keeps a handgun close.
Ummmmm, caveat: It may seem anonymous because you don’t know all your neighbors, but they know you. Most crime is local. Somebody sees something somewhere with someone and thinks… “Easy pickins’!”
Example: The brother in law of a buddy of mine was taking his photographers gear out of his house at 6 am, just like he had done a hundred times before, when 2 guys with handguns walked thru his back door, pistol whipped him in his kitchen and stole all his gear. How did they know to rob him at 6 am of all his very expensive photography gear? Because they’d seen him take it out a half dozen times before.
Unless you want to believe in coincidences.
Out here in the country, I hold my cards close to my vest. If somebody wants to steal my stuff, the only thing stopping them is the idea that I might be home. It sure as shit ain’t cops.
Just gonna note before I go, that I grew up suburban, lived city, hopefully dying country.
City? Always something happening. I’ve seen guys beat on each other with baseball bats. Watched a man kill his wife and then blow his brains out. Caught a guy trying to “steal” my truck. (never will know if he just put on a good drunken act) Wrestled with some kids who broke into an apt next door and stood outside of an ext basement door when I knew some nefarious actors were inside it.
You know what? The cops were always a phone call away. Being white, that was an option for me.
Now I live in the country. I never lock my doors. Why? Because all it takes is a chain saw to cut thru them. At 2 am my neighbors would only say, “Why the f is tom cutting wood at this hour of the night?” I used to complain to all my caver buddies about their habit of locking their vehicles up on ridge walks and cave trips: “Why the F are you locking your friends out of your beer laden vehicles?” I mean really, c’mon, do you think a thief is going to be dissuaded by a locked door? Out here in the middle of nowhere an hour away from the nearest cop?
And yet, some dumb city fuck gets shot for shitting on a gravel bar