John Lott vs Snopes

Larry Elder has John Lott on his show to discuss where Snopes dropped the ball in their attempt to “fact check” him. An excellent study in statistics. John Lott’s article is entitled, “Fact Checker Snopes .com’s big mistakes in comparing mass public shootings in the US and Europe.” John’s work still stands the test of time and political meanderings.

Here is John’s conclusion from the article:

Snopes.com ignores our comparison of either the EU or Europe to the US and their second table ignores our concern about adjusting for different country populations. If they are going to emphasize that countries in Europe with just a fraction of the US population rarely have mass public shooting (either not adjusting for population differences and/or looking at the “median” yearly rate), the only fair comparison is to look at individual states in the US. Looking at Snopes.com’s desired measure of yearly median deaths, comparing Europe to the US or individual European countries to individual US states produces virtually identical results. The same is true for average annual death rates, even if one adjusts for the population. One thing completely ignored in Snopes.com’s discussion is the very high rate of casualties in Europe compared to the US.

The only thing that is ridiculous is Snopes.com’s comparison of small individual countries to the United States. There is no reason to expect a tiny country like Norway to have the same absolute frequency of attacks as the United States. The types of yearly median comparisons that they want to make only make sense if you compare similarly sized populations (Europe to the US or individual European countries to individual US states).