I went to grad school in Tucson. Loved the city and region in so many ways. Gun violence perpetrated by the mentally ill was something that this Canadian found hard to get used to.
Although last week’s incident had more human victims, my sense from living there was that it wasn’t unusual to have someone suffering from a mental-illness issue wandering public places with a loaded gun.
One incident at the U of Arizona while I was there involved an individual walking into the grad student computer lab (at a time when I was usually there, but thankfully wasn’t this time), opening fire, missing all the people but destroying two computers, and then wandering down the main campus waving his gun before police grabbed him. It was never clear why he did this (hearing voices, maybe). Subsequent investigation revealed he had long been in treatment from mental illness, but that this did not prevent him from purchasing the firearm legally the previous week because mental health records cannot be used in background checks.
Yes this story is anecdotal but maybe the answer to why certain people in certain places commit these mass murders is a combination of less help for the mentally ill combined with slightly easier access to weapons.
Archive for January, 2011
Read about my travel adventures in the business section of today’s New York Times.
Do gas taxes, tolls, and auto registration fees ensure that America’s highways “pay for themselves?” Not at all.
A new report by U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, shows the cumulative net subsidy that U.S. taxpayers have paid for the interstate highway system since its inception —a sum that is fast-approaching $700 billion.
“Beautiful Places: The Role of Perceived Aesthetic Beauty in Community Satisfaction” is a new paper on regional studies that I wrote with my MPI colleagues Charlotta Mellander and Kevin Stolarick.
Here’s the abstract:
This research uses a large survey sample of individuals across United States locations to examine the effects of beauty and aesthetics on community satisfaction. The paper conducts these estimations by ordinary least-squares, ordered logit, and multinomial logit. The findings confirm that beauty is significantly associated with community satisfaction. Other significant factors include economic security, schools, and social interaction. Further, community-level factors are significantly more important than individual demographic characteristics in explaining community satisfaction.
Read the full paper here.