Tuesday, November 23, 2004

a sociologist asks: how many people will ron artest kill this week?

So, are daily homicide statistics available online? There is this sociological finding, repeated in various intro to sociology textbooks, that homicides go up slightly in the week following a highly publicized boxing match. The idea being that high-profile violence gets the testosterone a -pumping and starts thoughts of homicide dancing like sugarplums in a man's head, making it more likely that a given trifling altercation will escalate to a feels-so-righteous-at-the-time murder (this being the scenario of a large percentage of homicides). Anyway, the study was done at a time when boxing was more popular than it is today. Friday night's NBA brawl (Artest et al. 2004) would seem a fabulous proxy for a front-page prizefight from days of yore. And so, if the general idea behind the boxing finding has any merit, I would think one would have to expect some excess homicides this week. (Of course, one intriguing thing about excess death statistics is that you can draw the conclusion that approximately, say, 12 people were murdered who would not have been murdered had Artest decided not to fight with several rows of fans in Detroit, but you cannot determine who those people are.)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The count is up to six in the northwest Wisconsin woods incident.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully that lonely donut man will take the first hit - I don't cotton to his greasy poems - Miffed in Detroit

Anonymous said...

Your commentary is intriguing to say the least and with some merit no doubt. Talk about prime time endorsement of violence! I guess I need to make like Thoreau and go hide in the woods somewhere and withdraw. I'm getting too old for all of this. I grew up in the upper Midwest when young men who had a serious grudge understood that when the fight actually took place out in the country somewhere, away from town and the police and concerned citizens, there would be no blows to the face or groin. There would be some punches to the gut, some wrestling and rolling around on the ground and invariably one cried Uncle and it was all over except for the gossip the next day. We were satisfied with a bruised ego and no blood. There were no weapons to be worried about because the guns people had were for getting a few pheasants and ducks and maybe a deer, or at worst, a rabid skunk that might wander in. I do smile when I recall the brief period of time that I regarded myself as a 'hayseed' - actually going to town and leaving the keys in the car and not locking the house.

Chip said...

Well, even if it were hard to say about homicides, there is a clear linkage between the Motown melee and other kinds of violence. Those involved in the South Carolina-Clemson donnybrook attributed said fracas directly to Artest and friends:
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=243250228

Of course, given Jeremy's point about intro textbooks, this attribution could just be evidence that the sociology majors on the football teams are actually doing their reading.

Anonymous said...

What's the R-squared on those studies?

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

If only they had produced an episode of Tru Calling hinging on this finding.