Between 2009 and 2020, Josh published more than 10,000 blog posts. Here, you can access his blog archives.


Unprecedented Talks on Thursday at University of Michigan and Detroit Mercy College of Law

February 11th, 2014

On Thursday at noon I will be giving a talk at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, with commentary by Professor Nick Bagley. Later that afternoon, I will be driving downtown, and giving a talk at Detroit Mercy College of Law. If anyone is in there area, please stop by and say hi!

Detroit Police Chief: More Concealed Carry Permits Deter Crime

January 5th, 2014

The Police Chief of Detroit–a city ravaged by budget cuts, and often unable to provide the most basic municipal services–has emphatically put his weight behind citizens owning guns as a means to deter crime.

Detroit— If more citizens were armed, criminals would think twice about attacking them, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Thursday.

Urban police chiefs are typically in favor of gun control or reluctant to discuss the issue, but Craig on Thursday was candid about how he’s changed his mind.

“When we look at the good community members who have concealed weapons permits, the likelihood they’ll shoot is based on a lack of confidence in this Police Department,” Craig said at a press conference at police headquarters, adding that he thinks more Detroit citizens feel safer, thanks in part to a 7 percent drop in violent crime in 2013.

And he didn’t always think that way.

Craig said he started believing that legal gun owners can deter crime when he became police chief in Portland, Maine, in 2009.

“Coming from California (Craig was on the Los Angeles police force for 28 years), where it takes an act of Congress to get a concealed weapon permit, I got to Maine, where they give out lots of CCWs (carrying concealed weapon permits), and I had a stack of CCW permits I was denying; that was my orientation.

“I changed my orientation real quick. Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.”

Craig’s statements Thursday echoed those he made Dec. 19 on “The Paul W. Smith Show” on WJR (760 AM), when he said: “There’s a number of CPL (concealed pistol license) holders running around the city of Detroit. I think it acts as a deterrent. Good Americans with CPLs translates into crime reduction. I learned that real quick in the state of Maine.”

And–this is rich–the guy from Brady said his position is “emotional.”

Robyn Thomas, director of the the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, disagreed.

“I think at its core, his position is an emotional one, based on the idea that people feel safer when they have guns. But studies have shown more guns don’t deter crime,” Thomas said. “There’s no research that shows guns make anyone safer, and it does show that, the more guns in any situation, the higher the likelihood of them harming either the owner, or people who have access to them.”

For crying out loud, the overwhelming majority of Brady’s appeal is emotional.

Shootings in Los Angeles Airport and Detroit Barbershops

November 8th, 2013

Last week one person was killed in a “shooting” at Los Angeles International Airport. It reached critical mass in the media. A search for “Shooting LAX” on Google News turns up 53 million hits. Yesterday there was a “shooting” at a barbershop  in Detroit. It was apparently precipitated when thirty people were gambling in a backroom. Three people were killed. Have you heard about it? Probably not. A Google News search turns up a mere 125,000 results. I will reiterate my thoughts on why some shootings gather more media attention than others.

Making my point, with humor, is Andy Borowitz:

A new study released today indicates that Americans are safe from the threat of gun violence except in schools, malls, airports, movie theatres, workplaces, streets, and their own homes.

Also: highways, turnpikes, libraries, places of worship, parks, universities, restaurants, post offices, and cars.

Plus: driveways, garages, gyms, stores, military bases—and a host of other buildings, structures, and sites.

Barber shops in Detroit aren’t on that list.

And, on cue, ThinkProgress blogs “A Mass Shooting Happened Yesterday But You Didn’t Hear Anything About It.”

What makes this shooting different? Several things. First, it happened in Detroit, a city with a staggeringly high murder rate. Second, the reported gunman had a criminal history, and may have had a longstanding feud with some of the victims. And, third, it happened in a space where many people can’t imagine themselves: a gambling session in the back room of a barber shop.

Sadly, the relative media ignorance of the shooting tracks with a common theme: Gun crimes often occur in low-income neighborhoods with largely non-white victims, but, from the news, you’d think every shooting put the white and affluent at risk of violence. There’s an obvious reason from a producer’s perspective: They want traffic, or viewers, and think they can get more if more well-off news consumers are self-concerned with the story. But it doesn’t reflect the reality of gun violence in the United States, where black people are far more likely to be victims of gun homicides compared to their white counterparts.

I agree with this assessment entirely.

How would the Detroit Tigers winning or losing the World Series affect the outcome of Michigan’s electoral votes?

October 24th, 2012

Game 7 is 10/31. Election day, and really even the parade following a victory, will take place before the 11/6 election date. But it is fun to speculate how the outcome of the World Series could affect the votes. Let’s assume the parade was the day before the election? Would there be undervoting in Detroit? Would certain demographics be more likely to celebrate and be in a not-so-eager voting frame of mind? If the Tigers lost, would people be upset–and would that make it more likely for a vote for Romney or Obama? Who knows. The Yankees are out of the series, so the baseball season ended for me some weeks ago.

Detroit Shrugged as the Motor City Goes Dark

May 25th, 2012

Detroit, whose 139 square miles contain 60 percent fewer residents than in 1950, will try to nudge them into a smaller living space by eliminating almost half its streetlights.

As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city, whose finances are to be overseen by an appointed board, can’t afford to fix them. Mayor Dave Bing’s plan would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, saving the city $10 million a year.

It’s like a Rand novel.