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Posted on January 6, by Scott Alexander [Epistemic status: Content warning for discussion of suicide, murder, and race] I. There was a mass shooting — this time, in San Bernardino, California. And once again on Sunday, President Barack Obama called for measures that make it harder for would-be shooters to buy deadly firearms.
The research on this is overwhelmingly clear. No matter how you look at the data, more guns mean more gun deaths. Vox does the same thing here and here Gun deaths are a combined measure of gun homicides and gun suicides.
Here is a graph of guns vs. And here is a graph of guns vs. The relationship between gun ownership and homicide is weak and appears negativethe relationship between gun ownership and suicide is strong and positive.
The entire effect Vox highlights in their graph is due to gun What causes alcoholism essays, but they are using it to imply conclusions about gun homicides. I am not the first person to notice this.
And Robert VerBruggen of National Review does the same analysis decomposing gun deaths into suicides and homicides, and like me finds no correlation with homicides. German Lopez of Vox responds here. This is true, although given that Vox has done this time and time again for months on end and all VerBruggen is doing is correctly pointing out a flaw in their methods, it feels kind of like an isolated demand for rigor.
Lopez suggests the ones at the Harvard Injury Control Research Centerwhich has done several statistical analyses of gun violence. They list two such analyses comparing gun ownership versus homicide rates across US states: This study does indeed conclude that higher gun ownership rates are correlated with higher murder rates after adjusting for confounders.
Furthermore, even after adjusting for confounders it finds in several age categories that higher gun ownership rates are correlated with higher non-gun homicide rates eg the rates at which people are murdered by knives or crowbars or whatever at p less than 0. This is really suspicious!
Unless guns are exerting some kind of malign pro-murder influence that makes people commit more knife murders, some sort of confounding influence has remained.
The study gets its murder rate numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics, which seems like a trustworthy source. This makes some intuitive sense. Among people who want to commit suicide, suppose a fixed percent prefer to use guns compared to other methods.
In that case, the determining factor for whether or not they use a gun will be whether or not they have a gun. Hospitals diligently record statistics about suicide victims including method of suicide, so if our assumption holds this should be a decent proxy for gun ownership within a state.
When I repeat it with the real gun ownership data, all of these positive correlations disappear. Real gun ownership correlates very modestly — 0. For some reason, suicidal Southerners are much more likely to kill themselves with guns than suicidal people from the rest of the States, even when you control for whether they have a gun or not.
This is why they found higher homicide rates, including higher rates of non-gun homicide. They also have wised up to the fact that Southern-ness is important, and they include a dummy variable for it in their calculations.
They also control for non-gun crime rate, Gini coefficient, income, and alcohol use. They find that even after controlling for all of this stuff, there is still a significant correlation between gun ownership level and gun homicide rate.
Further, this time they are using good statistics, and there is not a significant correlation between gun ownership and non-gun-homicide rate. Further, there is a correlation between gun ownership and total homicide rate, suggesting that the gun-gun-homicide correlation was not just an artifact of people switching from inferior weapons to guns while still committing the same number of murders.
Further, this is robust to a lot of different decisions about what to control or not to control, and what to include or not to include.
I repeated all of their analyses using two different sources of gun ownership data, a couple different sources of homicide and crime rate data, and a bunch of different plausible and implausible confounders — thanks a lot to Tumblr user su3su2u1 for walking me through some of the harder analyses.
I was able to replicate their results. Pro-gun researcher John Lott had many complaints about this studyincluding that it was insensitive to including DC and that it was based entirely on the questionable choice of controlling for robbery rate — but I was unable to replicate his concerns and found that the guns-homicide correlation remained even after DC was included and even when I chose a group of confounders not including robbery rate.This raises a curious observation: it should really only be kosher to round off >1 digit at a time.
If you only know something to the accuracy of , you can’t round to 45, only to 40, because the is already “rounded” within your understanding of its accuracy — it could be a , and therefore the rounding to 45 isn’t appropriate.
For example, a good cause and effect essay on alcoholism should begin with an overview of alcoholism. Where possible, the assertions in the essay should be supported by accurate statistical information.
In this case, a helpful tip would be to provide statistical evidence of government funds spent on alcoholism-reduction campaigns.
Arguments about the prohibition of drugs, and over drug policy reform, are subjects of considerable controversy. The following is a presentation of major drug policy arguments, including those for drug law enforcement on one side of the debate, and arguments for drug law reform on the other.
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Over the past several years, more and more information has been linked to the biological causes of alcoholism. "The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence claims that more than 13 million American adults are alcoholics, and another 76 million have been affected by /5(9).