Adam Lankford refuses to respond to questions about his research on mass public shootings, refuses offer to debate

5 Sep , 2018  

When will all those gun control advocates and reporters who rely on criminologist Adam Lankford’s research begin asking him to answer questions about his research?

Despite getting massive international news coverage and President Obama basing his claim that the United States is unique in terms of mass public shootings, Lankford has refused to provide even the most basic evidence on his research. Not only has Lankford refused to answer questions from researchers on both sides of the gun control debate, but he is refusing to answer those questions from the media. It isn’t obvious why much weight should be put on such a study.

In phone calls and emails from RealClearPolitics, Lankford was asked how he supplemented the NYPD methods. He did not answer those queries. Nor has he responded to requests for his raw data, which is missing from his published paper, or to clear up basic questions. One of them is why he lists “shooters” instead of “shootings,” the term most criminologists use when comparing data. This is significant because mass shootings outside the United States often involve multiple triggermen. Also, although Lankford cites 202 shooters globally from 1966 to 2012, these cases aren’t listed in any appendix and he only lists totals for a handful of countries. This means that other scholars can’t replicate his research to test his findings — or point out shootings he overlooked.”

— Carl Cannon, Washington Bureau Chief, Real Clear Politics, September 4, 2018

Unlike Lankford, Lott has released all of his data in nearly 500 pages of appendixes so people can reach their own conclusions. Lankford declined a request to release his research or to discuss in any way his findings in comparison to Lott’s report. . . .  We appreciate Lott’s willingness to recalculate his results based on our questions, as well as his decision to make public the voluminous data he has collected as he tried to replicate Lankford’s findings. Lankford has chosen to keep his data set private, which makes it difficult to understand how the two researchers come to such different conclusions. Indeed, Lott was unaware that Lankford did not include the Mumbai attacks in his data set until The Fact Checker learned that from Lankford. (That’s because Lankford refused to respond to his queries.)”

— Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, September 5, 2018.

Michael Smerconish has had Lankford on his SiriusXM radio show in the past to discuss his claims about mass public shootings around the world, and Michael has been extremely favorable to Lankford (segments of Lankford’s past discussions with Smerconish available here). But when Smerconish asked Lankford to appear on his show to discuss these objections, Lankford refused.

email from TC Scornavacchi (Smerconish’s producer) available here, September 12, 2018

“Lankford declined an interview request about his study and told Fox News in an email that he’s “’not interested in giving any serious thought to John Lott or his claims.’”

— Lukas Mikelionis, a reporter at Fox News, September 1, 2018

I am not interested in giving any serious thought to John Lott or his claims,” he said in response to an email seeking comment. . . .”

— Stephen Dinan, a reporter at The Washington Times, August 29, 2018

Lankford dismissed the criticism, writing in a statement to Circa that he is ‘not interested in giving any serious thought to John Lott or his claims.’ Academics and gun control advocates have expressed deep skepticism about Lott’s research credentials, arguing his work is informed by his pro-gun stance.”

— Leandra Bernstein, a reporter at Circa News, September 1, 2018

Lankford’s study reported that over the 47 years there were 90 public mass shooters in the United States and 202 in the rest of world. Lankford hasn’t released his list of shootings or even the number of cases by country or year. We and others, both in academia and the media, have asked Lankford for his list, only to be declined. He has also declined to provide lists of the news sources and languages he used to compile his list of cases.”

— John R. Lott, Jr. and Mike Weisser in an op-ed in the New York Post, August 30, 2018

“No qualified scholar would accept work by a researcher who could not, or would not, even explain exactly how he measured his most important variable [mass shootings],” [Professor Gary] Kleck said.

An expert on transparency said that such data should always be released.

“Any research that seeks to influence the public debate on this topic, as this research clearly does, should be required to make their data available so that other researchers can confirm their findings,” professor Robert Reed, replication editor at the journal Public Finance Review, told FoxNews.com.

— Fox News, July 28, 2016

Twice we have asked Lankford to debate and respond to our new research, but he has refused to respond. Of course, we would cover his costs and even provide an honorarium, but Lankford has still not answered any emails.


3 Responses

  1. Joseph Olson says:

    A researcher who will NOT release his “data set” is limiting readers to merely checking his arithemetic. That is not scientific method, that is an indicator of fraud.

    As a University professor, I know a “Red Flag” when I see one.

  2. Tom Campbell says:

    Looks as if U of AL needs to look into the integrity of Lankford’s research in this and, perhaps, other areas. Remember the Lancet published study from years ago that fraudulently linked certain vaccines to autism. This has the potential to be of that order of importance in policy making.

  3. His next project will be global warming……”Proof beyond any doubt that the earth will be fried in 2 years if fossil fuel use continues….also, humans blood will boil as well!” What a clown!

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