Kamala's Con - the California Attorney General's Numbers Game

C.D. Michel October 24, 2014. Posted in CalGunLaws Blogs, Legal Frontlines

Never attribute to malice or conspiracy that which can be explained by incompetence. Trouble is, when it comes to gun control and the California Attorney General's office, both are likely.

A San Diego newspaper recently reported that political comer Kamala Harris, Barack Obama's eye candy, has finally gotten around to producing various legally mandated crime "reports;" but only after the media discovered and exposed that she wasn't. Some might say "better late than never." But in this case it isn't.

Understanding crime and its sources is critical to understanding how to actually prevent crime. Crime prevention, as opposed to, say, passing feel good laws that do nothing except get a politician media coverage for name recognition building among low information voters. Incomplete reporting provides incomplete insight and invites mischaracterizing spin of insufficient data. For example, when a report belatedly put out by the well-funded California Attorney General's office fails to include entire regions of the state where violent crime rates are highest, that report is D grade work at best. Handing it in late makes it worse.

In most states, there are two different types of crime laboratories; those run by the state government and those run by big cities. California is no different. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland analyze their own crimes in their own labs. So relying only on the state labs' numbers excludes violent gun crimes tracked by local labs in Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco ... And if the big cities data is removed from reporting, the overwhelming majority of resulting crimes - the ones analyzed by the state crime labs - are rural and statistically infrequent. This includes crimes of violence, and crimes committed with guns. But that's what the AG's useless report did.

A curious statement in the report itself doesn't help: "Unfortunately, none of the local crime laboratories provided data to the DOJ for inclusion in this year's report." Really? This, of course, begs the question: Why not? Did you even ask? Why would Kamala's local cronies (keep in mind she used to be the District Attorney of San Francisco) not participate, given that she has been in her current job for four years and had plenty of time to coordinate, or insist upon, data collections, as her predecessors did?

Malicious conspiracy? Ineptitude? Both?

One possible explanation is that Harris's office is an accessory after the fact to local crime stat fraud. Like Barack Obama's Chicago, Los Angeles appears to be fudging their crime reporting. One reason local politicians and police might do such a thing is to look successful in combating crime, when in fact they aren't. If raw local numbers forwarded by big city crime labs were then post-processed by a state reporting agency, those local policy failures would stand out.

Another reason might be to make failed gun control laws look effective. California's big city politicians are the ones who push gun control. Los Angeles hyper-regulates guns, San Francisco tries to ban them, and there isn't even a gun store in Oakland anymore. But anyone who lives in these cities knows gang thugs remain ample and armed. Hard statistics, were they made available by city crime labs, might show that local gun control is as lost of a cause as the $3.7M in federal money Kamala supposedly lost.

From here, the AG's report gets odd in so many ways that I can't cover them all. Of immediate interest though is the oddball exclusion of 78% of the "completed examination" firearms from consideration. Of a ridiculously small 474 firearm sample to begin with, only 105 were "qualifying firearms" and thus considered in drawing criminological conclusions. The report offers no definition for what is the qualification standard, what firearms were dismissed, or why. Yet 78% of the firearms were excluded.

Summarizing: Once the media calls her on her failure, California's Attorney General produces a late report, with incomplete data, that excludes most instances of firearms misuse, and doesn't explain why. I wonder if this is at all related to why the entire state of California is absent from the FBIs most recent National Incident-Based Reporting System reports.

The good news, if there is any, for California gun owners is that there is nothing harmful in the report. If there was the gun ban lobby, sorely lacking in statistical scruples, would be issuing press releases. The guns that made the cut covered a broad spectrum, from common handguns to the mythical "assault weapon." Only two "assault weapons" we reported being used in the state (outside of big cities). No machine guns, suppressors or unusual ammunition were used (outside of big cities), and the two incidents of gang-related gun use shows it is still a problem (inside of big cities).

California's governor should insist that his senior employees do their jobs on time and to a minimal level of competence. California's top lawyer should be penalized for not collaborating with big city crime labs to get their raw data. And somebody should pay for not providing data to the FBI so California can be compared to the rest of the nation.

Sadly, the only people who will pay for the AG's failures are the poor folks - the ones most affected by violent crime - living in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland ...