Archives For March 5, 2018

Here’s another way of looking at it: Instead of asking why so many mass shooters are white, we could ask what it is about mass shootings that differentiates them, even to a small extent, from the broader trend of racial inequalities in murder rates. Why might the huge disparities that we see in homicides, born of systematic disadvantage, be diminished (though not reversed) in our most extreme episodes of violence?


The USA Today data set Lankford relied on differed from the Mother Jones collection in key ways. Most significantly, Mother Jones defined “mass shootings” as only those that took place in public settings. USA Today went with a broader definition of “mass killings,” including any with four or more victims. Public massacres like the one in Las Vegas represent just one-sixth of this larger data set. (The Mother Jones data doesn’t include, for instance, killings that unfold in a private home with members of the killer’s family as the victims.) With that said, Lankford found that the USA Today data showed there was no difference between the whiteness of mass murderers and of murderers overall. (Whites made up 37.9 percent and 36.5 percent of those groups, respectively.) Black Americans committed a slightly lower percentage of mass murders than other murders, and those described as Asian committed a somewhat higher percentage of mass murders. Taken as a whole, he concluded that there is “a clear discrepancy between the popular assumptions about mass murderers in the United States and the evidence-based reality.”

A similar thing could be said about the Church of England. Britain is one of the most Godless countries on earth and yet Anglican and Catholic schools are still very popular because people like the ethos, and parents are prepared to take their kids to church every Sunday to get in. Many find it a rewarding experience, after initial reluctance, but then there is a fair amount of evidence that regular churchgoing increases health and happiness.

Ersatz religion has many of the benefits of the real thing, and the same can be said for ersatz village life. Ever since the Industrial Revolution there has been a romantic longing to return to the countryside, which in the 19th century was largely the idea of High Tories who glossed over the horror of rural life. Yet for the all advantages of city living – sweatshops are generally far better paid than backbreaking agricultural work – there is evidence that urban living has a bad effect on our mental health, with city dwellers 40 per cent more likely to suffer from psychiatric problems.(  (Although the mentally ill are also more likely to move to cities.)

What Goes Into the Overall Score?

  • Health Care 16%

    The highest-weighted ranking looks at health care access and affordability, health care quality and health outcomes for citizens.

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  • Education 16%

    The education ranking measures how well states educate students in preschool, K-12 and different levels of higher education.

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  • Economy 14%

    The economy ranking tracks unemployment rates, GDP growth, migration into the state, patents, new businesses and more.

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  • Opportunity 13%

    This ranking measures poverty, housing affordability and equality for women, minorities and people with disabilities.

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  • Infrastructure 12%

    The infrastructure rankings gauge the quality of states’ bridges, public transportation, power grids, broadband and more.

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  • Crime & Corrections 11%

    Crime & Corrections ranks states based on public safety and the quality and fairness of their prison systems, including racial bias.

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  • Fiscal Stability 10%

    This ranking tracks states’ government credit ratings, liquidity, pension fund liability and budget balancing.

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  • Quality of Life 8%

    This new ranking tracks states’ air quality, pollution, voter participation, social support and more.

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Weights may not add to 100 because of rounding.