If you and another person get arrested together in Chicago, you’re both part of a loose network of people with a high risk of getting shot in the future, Yale University researchers say in a newly published study.
New study shows likelihood of being shot in Chicago – Sun Times

I mean, this is serious, people from Yale University made one of them really deep studies probably costing six figures and they found out that:

This study investigates the concentration of nonfatal gunshot injuries within risky social networks. Using six years of data on gunshot victimization and arrests in Chicago, we reconstruct patterns of co-offending for the city and locate gunshot victims within these networks. Results indicate that 70 percent of all nonfatal gunshot victims during the observation period can be located in co-offending networks comprised of less than 6 percent of the city’s population. Results from logistic regression models suggest that as an individual’s exposure to gunshot victims increases, so too do that individual’s odds of victimization.

Tragic, but not random: The social contagion of nonfatal gunshot injuries.

So basically the investigators found out that if you hang out with stupid people at stupid places during stupid hours, you win stupid prizes.  We never heard this before, thank God we have the Intelligentsia to protect us and save us.


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By Miguel.GFZ

Semi-retired like Vito Corleone before the heart attack. Consiglieri to J.Kb and AWA. I lived in a Gun Control Paradise: It sucked and got people killed. I do believe that Freedom scares the political elites.

31 thoughts on “So they made a study about what gets you shot in Chicago.”
  1. It’s easy to be dismissive of studies like this when they confirm your common sense understanding of how the world works. I also see people dismissing studies like these when they DON’T confirm their common sense understanding of how the world works. Which is why it is a good idea to study how the world works regardless of which side is going to be dismissive. Our common sense can be wrong, and knowing things is good.

    These studies also are not only concerned with how an individual can keep himself safe by observing Farnham’s dictum. Violence has effects beyond the individual and their kin. That may be common sense to you, too, but it is something I don’t hear discussed much around here.

    1. I am not dismissing the study (but apparently the Mayor of Chicago already is doing so) but making fun of it. This ground has been covered over and over through the decades an it is contained in one of the three principles of Personal Security as told by Roger Phillips, owner of Fight Focused Concepts

      Your number one philosophy for personal security should be a life long commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.

      Avoidance: The act of avoiding or keeping away from (Three Stupid Rule.) If you can safely retreat from the encounter, by all means do so. For instance, if you are out for a walk and feel threatened or intimidated by an occupant of a car, you should retreat in the opposite direction that the car is traveling.

      Deterrence: The act of discouraging someone from taking hostile action against you by being aware of them and their possible intent.

      De-escalation: The act of decreasing in intensity. To not let your ego or emotions get the best of you, to refrain from escalating the problem into more than it already is. As a CCW you may need to back down from non-life threatening, argumentative encounters in order to not allow things to spiral out of control.
      When these things do not work, then and only then may you need to show or use the gun. Just because we are carrying does not mean that we need to use the gun. You want to do whatever is reasonably possible to avoid using the gun. But when your well researched, well thought out “line in the sand” has been crossed you need to act without hesitation.

      Why do they keep making the studies? Because they are desperately seeking a different answer that conforms to the political narrative. It is never crime, it is never drug trafficking, it is never poverty, it has to be guns so we can ban them.

      1. You have not accurately represented this study, which is a bit odd coming from someone who is mocking the authors for being part of an “Intelligensia” with a bone to pick. Hopefully the pro-gun contribution to the debate is not simply to be an un-intelligensia with a bone to pick.

        Whether making fun of and caricaturing this research is considered dismissive or not – on that we will have to agree to disagree. Just expected a higher level of response from you on this one, though perhaps it was just meant to be a throw away post.

        1. Actually what pisses you off is that colleagues are being mocked because they discovered, after extensive analysis, that water is wet.
          Some of us have seen and lived the real consequences of bad policy, misinterpretation of the data and stupid academics that have nothing to do with real life.. They are not fun and the “prize” we mention is usually delivered in loss of blood, limb or life.
          Gallows’ humor would be a more fitting moniker..

  2. I have hear the “contagious” idea of shootings before, it was even the plot of one of the most radically liberal episodes of Judging Amy (an already pretty liberal show – my mom used to watch it).

    The problem is it’s BS. I live in Chicago. It’s not contagious. Your gang buddy gets shot. You go out to revenge him and shoot your buddy’s shooter. Your buddy’s shooter’s buddy then shoots you. Now your other buddy goes out to revenge your shooting. It’s like the plot of a Shakespearian tragedy.

    Contagious means you’re just standing there and you catch a bullet accidentally. That happens, but rarely. Most of the kids getting shot are out there actively increasing the likelihood that they will get shot through their behavior.

    1. You make a good point, but there are actually two senses of “contagion” which Papachristos actually distinguishes between. One is a sort of “airborn” idea of contagion — which is what you point to. You are doing nothing wrong and you catch something. The other is more of a “blood born” idea of contagion — which what the authors point to. You have some direct contact with the carriers and that is how you get it.

      As Miguel points out in his OP, and you recognize as a resident of Chicago, most people who do not have direct contact with carriers of violence will not catch the disease. This argues for concentrating enforcement and deterrence on the people most likely to be affected. And to leave those who are not likely alone.

      You may have caught a Tweet by Rahm Emanuel a couple of days ago. He said, “Chicago’s crime problem is a gun problem.” This research, unfortunately ridiculed by Miguel, points to exactly the opposite conclusion: Chicago’s gun problem is a crime problem.

      1. The critical point is that absolutely nothing will be done. The Chicago Machine depends entirely too much on the gangs to try to reign them in.

      2. You say that this is contagious? Please point to the bacterium, virus, or genetic anomaly that causes “Gun Violence™.”

          1. Behavior is not remotely like a disease. It can’t be treated the same way at all. An analogy is supposed to help you understand something by relating it to something else. What this does is confuse two completely separate things, making it less likely that someone will understand the issue.

            As a gun owner, I wonder if the issue is deliberately confused for political reasons. I’m sure that you understand why I would feel that way.

          2. Sean, I don’t see a reply button under your comment, so I’m not sure where this reply will end up, but …

            As you know, I understand why you feel the way you do. I am as critical of inappropriate policy conclusions drawn from research as anyone. Just one example here: https://gunculture2point0.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/understanding-case-control-studies-of-gun-ownership-as-a-risk-factor/

            I do disagree, though, about the helpfulness of the analogy. Behavior like violence can be thought of as being passed from person to person, though not as mechanically as a disease. For example, children who were abused are much more likely to become abusers themselves as adult. The disease analogy works for me to understand this, and how to break that cycle also. I respect if it doesn’t work for you, though.

          3. The reason you don’t see a reply button is that the blog is set up not to allow threaded comments beyond a certain level. 4, I think.

            Here’s the thing. I had no idea you were a sociologist when I met you (in person) in Charlotte. I’ve known that you were a gun blogger, but not that you were also an academic.

            You’ve got the background to understand the limits of a study like this, but also you should be able to explain to us what we might be missing. Rather than us argue here in Miguel’s comments, maybe you should write a blog post about it explaining at length.

            I sympathize with Miguel’s argument that this is one more example of water being proven to be wet. It’s damned obvious that people with a low regard for the welfare and feelings of others are more likely to be involved in criminal activity. We all know that most people who get shot in this country are criminals getting shot by other criminals. That’s not really in doubt by anyone who bothers to read the relevant research.

            But just because the study shows what I already know doesn’t make it valueless. Maybe you can explain the true value, as well as the limits of this study. None of us are really well versed in reading and understanding this sort of thing.

            You shoot competitively, right? USPSA or IDPA?

          4. Given the dim view gun culture has of academics it’s nothing I generally advertise! LOL.

            I have been working up a series of posts on studies of “gun violence,” but there’s alot out there and most of it not so good so it is hard to motivate to do that. Plus, my interest is in gun culture (the non-criminal type) not gun violence, so also hard to focus on that work. But perhaps I will make a special effort to post on this particular paper since it’s “in the news.”

            As for shooting, have not had the opportunity to do any competitive shooting. Not great opportunities here in the Piedmont Triad, and I have been resource challenged (esp. time) lately!

          5. Heh.

            Most of our experience with “studies” is busting them, showing how they don’t say what the advocates say they say, or showing how with the exact same methodology, one could show that hospitals cause death. Most “studies” about guns seem to be attacks on things that the people studying don’t understand, and conflation of criminal activity with lawful gun ownership. I’m sure you’re familiar with that. I’d really be interested in what you have to say about this particular one, as well as academic studies in general.

            Triad Tactical Training Center. My brother is moving into a town west of you, so I’ve asked him to consider a monthly IDPA meetup with me at T3C just west of Ramseur. I’ve sent you a Facebook friend request. Keep in touch and maybe we can meet for one of those. It’s a lot of fun and the equipment needs are small. Mostly whatever you concealed carry in. Three mags. You need to be able to holster with one hand, so no collapsing holsters. Meets are on the fourth Sunday of each month. I think my brother and I will start in March when he gets settled in. Not sure yet, though.

  3. This actually makes me feel much safer about the prospect of going to Chicago, since if you stay in the daylight portions of the city you’re apparently relatively safe.

    That said, WOW they’re getting a lot of murders in that 6% of the population!

  4. Let me help the intelligentsia: Birds of a feather get shot together.

    St Louis is experiencing much the same foci of violence. Four small neighborhoods are responsible for the vast majority of the city’s murders. The neighborhoods are typified by self-selected behaviors and ethos; a largely gang and drug centered existence. Behaviors have consequences. Highly polysyllabic words and obtuse sentence structures only serve to obfuscate the facts.

  5. The closed-minded response to this article, simply because it came from “the intelligentsia,” is unfortunate. If John Lott was the author people would be falling all over themselves saying, “See, we told you so! He is a genius.”

    Much like David Kennedy in his work, these authors in fact show what I said earlier — the truth is the inverse of what Rahm Emanuel says: Chicago’s “gun problem” is a crime problem. The implication of this work, like Kennedy’s, is rather than targeting guns, the focus should be on the behaviors that are the problem.

    This is not news to anyone here, but that doesn’t make the study unimportant. Of course people have known for a long time that the sky is blue and water is wet, but thanks to scientists we know much better why that is now than before. With this paper, we have a better idea of the extent, density, and likelihood of exposure to violence within these networks. We have a better idea of why the sky is blue and water is wet.

    Various and sundry other comments here are similarly selectively applied. I have attended MAG-40 and other events at which he was a speaker, and Massad Ayoob uses as many “highly polysyllabic words” as anyone — and no one (that I know of) criticizes him for that. Same for Andrew Branca’s Law of Self Defense Seminar. I have attended the Polite Society Tactical Conference and Tom Givens draws conclusions from his studies self-defense shootings like “the most important thing is to carry your gun” — and no one (that I know of) criticizes him for that.

    Interpreting this study through a pre-existing anti-intelligentsia framework is a mistake. In my obviously minority opinion.

    For Miguel – all said in the interest of honest intellectual engagement and with absolutely zero “pissed off-ness.”

  6. I have to say, I’m kinda disappointed in this dispute. I think both sides are looking at the same thing but from different angles.
    Most of the violent crimes in Chicago are committed on the South Side (single-digit police districts) and the West Side (011, 012, 015 Districts). Every copper and most of the residents know who the offenders are, and it’s very seldom you get a legit victim (i.e., a victim who isn’t a criminal). This study only reinforces the saying “Today’s offender is tomorrow’s victim” and backs it up with scientific factual and statistical evidence.
    I think this study, while it’s put in pretentious language, says what we all know, or at least believe; That a small group of idiots makes a lot of trouble for everyone.
    I’m sure a similar study done in any decent-sized city would show the same thing.

  7. Hatfields & McCoys; Crips & Bloods; Birds of Feather…

    Sink a hundred grand into regression analysis to show that what old people have known for hundreds of years may be plausable… maybe you can buy wisdom…

    No, probably not.

  8. […] Miguel Gonzalez of the (pro-gun) Gun Free Zone blog recently posted on news coverage of a recent academic study of nonfatal gunshot injuries in Chicago. The lead author of the study, published in the academic journal Social Science and Medicine, is Yale University sociologist Andrew Papachristos. Having previously written favorably about Papachristos’s argument that violence is “tragic but not random,” I was excited to see it picked up on in the gun blogosphere. […]

  9. I’ve read this full comment thread, and I’m glad to see Sean’s responses. It’s my perception that Miguel is being dismissive of David Yamane’s comments, but Sean is engaging in serious & sensible dialog. I say this as a listener of Sean’s podcast, and someone who has met David.

    I have not read the study (I’ve read David’s post on it) and don’t know if I will get to it, but here’s my perceived value in the study:

    From a source that is more commonly in support of more firearms regulation comes a study that says that violence committed with firearms is coming from areas & groups that are violent. It seems to show that the gun culture people are the ones committing violent crime (with or without firearms.) It does not appear to call for new regulations that we in the gun culture (1.0 or 2.0, it doesn’t matter) oppose.

    We in the gun culture should not be dismissive of these studies. We should analyze them, and criticize them properly.

    1. Thanks. And thanks for listening!

      I think there is value in saying, “Thanks for proving the obvious.” But that said, have we been handed a gold mine here? We hope for evidence based policing models. We don’t want cops looking at statistics, seeing that blacks are overrepresented in crime, and hassling all the black people they see. But if they can draw a tighter net around the few percent of actually violent people, that would be of incredible value to us all.

      We’ve spent a lot of time listening to the 60’s era crime excuses. “It’s poverty.” “It’s capitalism.” Maybe with a clearer idea of WHO is committing the crimes, we can have a clearer view of what we need to do to address it. It would be nice to see our much reduced crime rate get reduced even further.

  10. My understanding of the study is based on reading David Yamane’s blogpost about it. If my understanding is correct (if it isn’t, that would be my fault,) I think we HAVE been handed a gold mine. We in the gun culture should be trumpeting this to all & sundry.

  11. The ‘smh’ comment worries me. I hope I’m wrong. I like almost everything I’ve heard you say, and what you’ve written, but I think your disparagement of David Yamane is both incorrect, and wrong.

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