Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Where do We Stand in 2021?

Happy New Year all.  I started writing this post last night as the numbers were trickling in from the Georgia runoffs last night.  I am surprised as anyone about the events of today.  I admit to finding it frightening that Trump's supporters would resort to occupying the U.S. capitol building.  We knew that this was a possibility as Trump refused to accept the results of the election.  WJAC-TV reports that over 500 people from Cambria, Blair, Somerset, and Bedford counties went to the rally.  The chair of the Cambria County Republican Party, Jackie Kulback, says that they left before the violence began.  Even if it were a peaceful protest they likely were exposed to COVID-19 and brought it back to their homes.

Since the election that Biden won, Trump's approval rating hardly changed from 45.9% to 44.1% today.  How sad it would be if they hardly change after today's events.  It would take about 4 day to a week before we know what impact it has had on his approval ratings.

Warnock and Ossoff have won their Senate races.  This means that the Democrats will technically be in control of the Senate and the House of Representatives once Biden and Harris take office on January 20.  The 50-50 split in the Senate (with Harris as the tiebreaking vote) gives the Democrats more leverage but the Republicans, with Mitch McConnell's leadership, still have the filibuster.  They can use it to block any meaningful legislation with only 40 votes.  

In 2013 McConnell used the filibuster to block a bill banning the use of assault rifles in the wake of the Newtown, CT shooting in which 26 people were killed.  The Democrats had a 54-46 majority at the time and the bill had strong support of the families in Newtown but it didn't matter.  There have 56 mass shootings in the US since then with 445 fatalities according to Mother Jones magazine.

Joe Biden will try to be a return to normalcy President.  Trumpism is unlikely to disappear entirely as it was present before he took office.  Trump's niece Mary says it best:

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Jeffrey Epstein and Scientists

I saw an article in The Nation Magazine by Katha Pollitt titled Jeffrey Epstein’s Science of Sleaze where she is shocked that scientists like Stephen Hawking, Oliver Sacks, and Lawrence Krauss would associate themselves with such a creep.  For me the answer is simple, with the shrinking funds for scientific research, scientists almost have to throw themselves at rich people like Epstein for research funds.  

Epstein used the scientists much like he used those girls.  The girls satisfied his sexual fantasies while the scientists gave him a veneer of respectability to distract from his crimes.  He lured the girls with promises of fame while he lured the scientists with promises of money and fame.  He put them together in his eugenic fantasies that he would save the human race.

Epstein never had a college degree but was able to schmooze his way to a teaching position at the prestigious Dalton Academy in New York in mathematics.  He later schmoozed his way to work on Wall Street and became a wealthy financier.  His 'friends' also included Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.

Stephen Hawking and Oliver Sacks are in my online poll for the greatest nonfiction book of all time.  While I am disappointed in them for associating themselves with him I will not take them off the list.  I'm sure you can find things unsavory about other authors on the list but it is important to separate the men and women from their works.

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

A look at the Number of PA Abuser Priests Identified by the Grand Jury

# of Abuser Clergy
Catholic population
Per capita Abusers
Grand Jury Year

Last summer Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the results of the grand jury investigation into sexual abuse by priests and other clergy in the Catholic Church in six of the eight dioceses in Pennsylvania.  The other two, Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown were investigated by grand juries in 2003 and 2016 respectively.  The number of abuser clergy along with the catholic population and population adjusted numbers in abusers per 100,000 population in each diocese are summarized in the above table.  
Profile of victims in the six county 2018 grand jury report

Adjusting the number of abusive clergy for the population that they serve allows for comparing one diocese to another and one investigation to another.  Of the six counties in the 2018 investigation, Harrisburg and Erie had the most abusers identified.  Greensburg and Allentown had the fewest.  The report provided the size of the population each of the six dioceses they served except the Harrisburg Diocese.  I found the 230,000 number on the Harrisburg Diocese website.  

Philadelphia had the smallest number in the state at 5.3 per 100,000 in the 2003 investigationAltoona-Johnstown had by far the highest number in the state at 50.87/100,000 and easily the smallest Catholic population at 98,284 in 2016.  This low population number for this diocese is surprising since it covers eight counties

The Philadelphia investigation was conducted by the Philadelphia County DA Lynne Abraham which may not have had the same resources as the state AG.  The Altoona-Johnstown was focused solely on that Diocese with the smallest population in the state and was conducted by the state AG, possibly as a trial run.  

My classmate from St. Clements School, Shaun Dougherty has been crusading for victims of Catholic Clergy abuse.  Below is a video of him and a friend confronting the priest that abused him a few months ago.  Buona Pasqua a' tutti.

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Are Mass Shootings Rare in Southwestern Pennsylvania?

In the press conference following the horrific shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue which climed 11 lives, Wendell Hissrich, Pittsburgh's director of public safety, said "these events usually occur in other cities, today the nightmare has hit home in the city of Pittsburgh."  The video clip above details six other mass shooting events (defined as events with three or more fatailities) in and around the city that have occurred sine 2000.  These events include Ronald Taylor and Richard Baumhammers racially motivated shooting sprees, Richard Poplawski's killing of three Pittsburgh Police officers a mile from where I lived in Stanton Heights, George Sodini who killed three women at the LA Fitness Center in the South Hills, a drug related shooting in Wilkinsburg and a car wash shooting in Fayette County.

To test this claim I can compare the number of shootings here in Pittsburgh for time and population to the national rate of mass shootings since 2000 adjusting for population and time.  The Poisson distribution is a probability distribution used to estimate the probability of rare events,  In the above graphic x is the number of events of interest, lambda is the mean # of occurrences say the national rate of shootings and x! (called x factorial) is a shorthand way of writing 5! = 5*4*3*2*1 = 120.

Mother Jones magazine maintains an online database of mass shootings related to mass shooters whose motives were not gang related and did not occur in a home.  They list 75 such incidents in their database since 2000.  The shootings by Baumhammers, Sodini, and Taylor were not included but should have been by their criteria so I will include them in the total number of incidents making it 78.  The shooting by Poplawski is not included because it occurred in his home and the other which happened in Wilkinsburg is also not included because it is drug/gang related.  Dividing by the US population in the 2010 census of 308,745,538.  Population adjusted rate of these mass shootings in 0.25 shootings per million residents for lambda in the above equation.  Entering the 5 incidents into the formula for x gives a probability value approaching zero for observing this rate given the national rate.  

If one adjusts the observed incidents for the population of the three counties in which they occurred (1,557,774 from the 2010 census) we find a rate of 3.19 incidents per million which is considerably higher than the national rate 0.25 incidents/million.  If we enter this number into the formula (rounded down to three to make it an integer) we find a probability value of 0.00203 for having exactly three mass shootings here over the period 2000-2018.  The cumulative probability of observing 3 or more shooting per million given the national rate is 0.00216.

Mother Jones Map for Mass Shootings for 1982-2018. Only two incidents from SW PA were included.
If we consider the number of fatalities in last Saturdays shooting, Hissrich is right that the attacks represent a new level of violence here similar to Parkland, or Columbine.  Looking at the number of past mass shootings in the context of the population it looks as though they are more common here than in other parts of the country (though it is not the only hotspot for them as can be seen in the map above).  If drug/gang and domestic violence related shootings are included the numbers would look more horrific for local and the national map.

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Season's Shootings

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Closer look at Hate Crimes in DC, Massachusetts and Washington state: DC has more LGBT Crimes

In a recent post on The Hill Talk I looked at the latest FBI report on hate crimes reported to law enforcement.  The three states reporting the highest rate of incidents (after adjusting for population) are the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Washington.  These states with the highest rates were surprising because they are some of the most progressive states in the US.  I thought I would take a closer look at the types of hate crimes reported in these states by the five categories that they consider: Race/ethnicity/Ancestry, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Disability, Gender (specifically targeting men or women) and Gender Identity (ie. Transgender, gender fluid).  The raw number of incidents were adjusted for the population covered by the reporting entities to allow for the comparison of one state to another and one type of crime to another.  The numbers in the table above are reported as crimes per million residents.

Race/ Ethnicity/ Ancestry
Sexual orientation
Gender Identity
% Population Covered

The % of the population covered is lower for the US as a whole because in other parts of the country some law enforcement agencies do not participate in the FBI uniform crime report.  The state of Hawaii does not participate at all.

For Massachusetts, Washington, and the US a a whole, racial/ethnic motivated attacks had the highest rate of incidence of any subcategory comprising more than half of the total incidents.  These two states had higher rates than the US rate for every category.  Some incidents can fall into more than one category.

DC had considerably higher rates of incidents in each category than the US as a whole except for gender motivated incidents.  There were no such incidents reported there in 2016.  Unlike the other two states profiled and the US, the largest incident rate there was ones that target those of a different sexual orientation.  The graph below shows the rates for each category and entity on a logarithmic scale.  This is done to show differences in the less common categories of gender and disability.

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How is Washington DC an outlier? Let's count the ways. (Repost from Data Driven Journalism)