Thursday, January 31, 2013

I've been dismayed by the number of incidents, the increased gun violence reported lately. It's not like guns have just been discovered here though. Ann Althouse points out the incivility of Senator Durbin's response to the NRA president. The Speaker of the House said that Obama's intent was to 'annihilate' the Republicans. That attitude does seem to be taken up by Mr. Coates at the Atlantic and has been commented on today in the Wall Street Journal. The idea of a 'gun free zone' might have originated in the regulation of bars where one might assume that people might act, 'liquored up,' more impulsively than they might otherwise. It seems like that statement though at a grade school is more a religious statement. It seems to say that guns kill people, and we don't want that. Why not just post 'Thou shall not kill?' Except for the separation of Church and state issue, it would seem to say the same thing. After all 'Thou shall not kill' expresses a rule and an ideal which might be broken but 'gun free zone' is equally easy to break. Perhaps the reason for the increase in violence is due to the national temper. Studying Hamlet, our teacher informed us of the medieval idea that the tone of a state flowed out from the king. If annihilating one's opponents is appropriate for the president then perhaps his 'subjects' are more inclined to annihilate their opponents.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

In re: Kevin Drum's hypothesis about lead and criminality, there were other things going on then of course. There was a nice article in the British Medical Journal on a critical period in brain development, the first two years of life. That period is 'critical' in that you have to have nutrition then for brain development; you can't make it up with a normal diet at some other 2 years of life. Our WIC (Womens Infant and Children) nutrition program started then. At least what I heard from Parkland in Dallas, pre-eclamsia which had maybe affected a third of pregnancies declined in incidence following WIC. And this hypertensive disorder in pregnancy may be associated with a doubling of the incidence* of ADHD which is in turn associated with later criminal behavior. *Zinc and childhood hyperactivity. Brophy MH. Biol Psychiatry. 1986 Jun;21(7):704-5. No abstract available. PMID: 3708042 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE