Statistical Help


Vote Independant!!!
Below is a project for the sociology class. These are the same statistics that michael moore used in his Faux-Documentary film, Bowling for Columbine. The whole project is baised from the get go and I was hoping that some one on here could point me in a direction to blow a few good holes in these statistics before I turn in the project. Thanks in advance.


Deviance Project
Easy access to guns or too much violent TV? Sociologists have weighed the impact of these factors by comparing rates of homicide and aggravated assault in places with (a) the same levels of exposure to violence in the mass media and (b) different gun laws and access to firearms. They reason that if such places differ in their rates of homicide and aggravated assault, then gun laws and the availability of firearms have an effect on the rate of violent crime. On the other hand, if rates of homicide and aggravated assault do not differ in the two types of cities, then gun laws and the availability of firearms have no effect on the rate of violent crime.

Seattle and Vancouver are well suited for such a comparison. They are only 140 miles apart. They have about the same population size, unemployment rate, median household income, and percent white (see Table E6A). At any given time, most of the ten most popular TV shows, movies, magazines, videos, computer games, and CDs in Seattle are among the top ten in Vancouver. Exposure to violence in the mass media is about the same in both cities.

The big difference between the two cities is that they lie on different sides of the American-Canadian border, and gun laws differ in the two jurisdictions. People in Seattle can easily buy a gun for any reason after a five-day waiting period. Over 40% of households have handguns. In Vancouver, a permit is required to purchase a handgun. Such permits are issued only to people who have a lawful reason to own a handgun. Each potential handgun owner is investigated to determine that he or she has no criminal record and is sane. Self-defense is not accepted as a valid reason for owning a handgun. Illegal possession of a handgun is severely punished with two years' imprisonment. Only 12% of Vancouver households have handguns.

Please examine The table provided which compares Seattle and Vancouver on a number of dimensions. Now rent Bowling for Columbine (it is available at any movie store). Watch the segment on gun control which compares these two cities. Use what we have learned in class and from the book and tell me what conclusions you make from the movie and the information provided.
Seattle Vancouver
Approximate Population 500,000 500,000
Unemployment Rate 5.8% 6.0%
Median Household Income $15,250 $15,500
Percent White 79% 76%
% of Households with Guns 41% 12%
# of Aggravated Assaults per 67.9 11.4
100,000 persons that used
a firearm (1983 statistics)
# of Murders per 100,000 4.6 1.0
persons that used a firearm
>> View/Complete Assignment: Deviance Project


New member
Well, without doing any research myself, I would first suggest you find, read and examine the original data this information came from. If you know anything about statistics, you know there are three average numbers, but all three mean totally different things. And that's just a start. The numbers in the original data can be manipulated any way the user wants. Without the original raw data, you'll have a hard time disputing the figures quoted. Second, look at the original study and see if there are any flaws in the way it is set up. If there is even one, the study is tainted (or potentially) and the numbers could be skewed. Michael Moore is an ultraliberal and will skew anything to his point of view if he can find a way to do it. I'm sure these numbers, while maybe true, do not reflect the truth in teh original study, or the study was flawed in some other way.


Vote Independant!!!

Thanks for the info, I'm reading it, but it may take time to pick out that study if it's in there. I'm going to do the assignment as written and give conclusions based on it and then I'm going to give the professor any information that I find that points to a bias in the research or faulty methods.

I'm annoyed that younger less experienced college students will end up doing that assignment and view all it as fact and think that it's a fair and balanced assignment.


New member
Makes you wonder why, of all possible statistical studies out there, your "professor" would've chosen this one. Liberal slant? Noooooooooo


New member

I have this same assignment and I'm sure it's from the same sociology teacher based out of the 757. I'm making this a lot harder than it should be...going along with the statistics and reasoning of the most misleading media junkie, Michael Moore, makes my head spin. I don't have the time to prove him wrong and it's going to be hard to go along with my teachers resource. Ahhhhh, here it goes....


Grognard Gunny

New member
One thing I discovered in College (early on in my "late start" degree quest) is that "Professors" do NOT like to have their "pet" theories questioned or challanged by mere students, despite whatever supporting data/info you can come up with in support of your POV. In my case, good grades were a prerequisite for keeping my academic scholarship intact. (I managed to get through with no residual student loans outstanding. Not to mention picking up a Graduate Assistantship and ending up with a dual Masters.)

As a result, I "locked horns" with a "Human Relations" Professor over a topic and got a poor grade on the resultant paper. Discretion being the better part of valor, I changed my tone and played her Liberal Game for the rest of the Semester, ending up with the lowest grade I ever received for a collage course. B+. Considering that semester was the first that I was in the "Scholarship" program, I had to scramble like eggs to get my GPA back up. (Not to worry, ended up top grad GPA wise as both undergrad AND Grad level in my class.)

Anyhow, I considered it a lesson learned, if it don't mean nothin', don't fight the system (or the "expert"), it will cost you more in the long run than it is worth.

Some will say that is the coward's way out. Maybe..... I consider it self survival. Besides, if the "students" are so weak minded as to go through college placidly accepting everything that is force fed you without examination, questioning or revalidating on your own...... you get exactly what you "process"..... thoroughly indoctrinated "padawan learners" who question nothing.

Just the type of citizen the Socialists like to rule over. Just sayin'....



New member
I agree with GG here.
You can research the source numbers, re-run them based on any number of criteria, but if your results and paper aren't close to what the professor wants, it will be perceived as an attack on the professor's point of view.
This will probably get you a lower grade since you will be "incorrect" in your findings. Some professors are willing to put aside any personal investment in their assignments to students, but most won't. I've been through this in college with a similar experience to GG's and it nearly cost me my scholarship as well.

Do the work for yourself if you want to be as thorough as possible, but I woudn't rock the boat if it's clear you won't be able to win this one. There's time enough for that later when your college career won't be at stake.

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