This was a good week for OSD blog posts. New in-depth posts from both two recurring characters in this newsletter (and two OSD cofounders), Chuck Rossi and BJ Campbell, went up on Friday:
Staying Social: Building Our Voice in the Public Square
Chuck was an engineering director at Facebook for 11 years, and became the person working on making the company's gun content policy more reasonable. Easier said than done, and really interesting stuff at two-billion-user scale. In this post, he explains why Facebook and Instagram keep restricting gun content, what you can do to keep yours on there, and how we can turn the momentum on this in the right direction.
The Racist Mathematics of the Virginia Gun Control Bill
Almost uniformly, discussion of gun control issues is a debate about how the laws should look on paper — without ever engaging the idea that that's often completely uncorrelated with how they look on the ground. Here BJ walks through the gun control bill currently getting a push in Virginia, and explains who it is that ends up feeling the brunt of law enforcement.
Merry Christmas to all those who are into that, and a great week to all of you.
This week's links
The Firearms Policy Coalition just sued Pennsylvania
On Monday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro tried to unilaterally ban 80% receivers in the state by simply declaring them to be firearms. On Friday, FPC sued to stop him. Move fast and (un)break things.
$25MM appropriated to CDC to pay for research on shooting-deaths
On a meta/game theory level, this is pretty interesting. The Dickey Amendment, which prevents the CDC from advocating gun control, remains in force. But after a clarification last year that that doesn't prevent general research into "gun violence" (we try not to use that term, because it's a good example of a begging-the-question fallacy), the CDC is now about to get $25MM earmarked for research on guns.
The game theory part is that for a long time, the lack of such funding has been a useful talking point. That's moot now. And at the same time, if the research that emerges isn't seen as credible, then it's hard to see how this shifts things in any direction.
We're big fans of data and knowledge. Some of the CDC's past gun-related research has been disappointingly biased. But their raw data and summary reports are frequently quite informative. We'll keep an eye on this and update you as new research emerges.
The Trace chronicles how lockdown drills — which are now conducted in 95% of American schools — teach kids to be afraid (and we'd add: afraid of statistically-basically-nonexistent risks). We wrote a tweet thread recently about the incentives of fear-coaching when it comes to guns.
Fun with maps
Handwaving Freakoutery (that's BJ Campbell again!) dives deep on county-level heatmaps showing suicides-by-gun and homicides-by-gun across the entire US. Lots of interesting patterns — and interesting lacks-of-patterns.
California man accidentally sets off his own burglar alarm, the police show up and confiscate 156 guns from him
A good time to re-up this lecture: Don't Talk to the Police.