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Annual James Q. Wilson Lecture
September 23, 1998


Connections Among Television, Guns and Violence
Professor James Q. Wilson
Introductory Remarks by John DiIulio
(unedited transcript)

[START OF TAPE SIDE NO. 1]

MALE VOICE: Good afternoon. Good afternoon. Welcome, I want to welcome everyone. I'm John DiIulio, Professor of Public Affairs at Princeton University, and a Senior Fellow of the Manhattan Institute. And the Manhattan Institute is absolutely delighted to sponsor this gathering, the second in our series of annual addresses on Urban Policy by James Q. Wilson.

Professor Wilson, the nation's most esteemed social scientist, needs no introduction, but please permit me the honor of giving him one. James Q. Wilson is Emeritus Professor of Management and Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1961 to 1987, he was professor of government at Harvard University. He is the author or co-author of 14 books, including to name just a few of my own favorites, Moral Judgment, 1997; The Moral Sense, 1993; Bureaucracy, 1989; Crime and Human Natura, 1985, with Richard J. Hernstein; Thinking about Crime, 1983; and Political Organizations, 1974.

Professor Wilson, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has served in a variety of advisory posts in the Federal Government. He was the chairman of the White House Task Force on Crime in 1967; Chairman of the National Advisory Counsel on Drug Abuse Prevention in 1971-72; a member of the Attorney General's Task Force on Violent Crime in 1981; and others. In 1977 the American Political Science Association conferred on him the Charles E. Merriam Award for advancing the art of government through the application of social science. In 1990, he was awarded the James Madison prize of that Association, for distinguished lifetime of scholarship. And proving that no academic award goes unpunished, in 1991-92, he was elected and agreed to serve as the president of that Association.

Professor Wilson scores of books, edited volumes and essays have been so justly famous and so just influential in both academic and policy circles for many, many years. His depth in fields from criminology to American government, to urban and social policy, has been so remarkable, that his loyal band of former Harvard graduate students, among whom I proudly number, have often speculated about how in the world it is, he does it? Given his recent essays on cloning, our latest speculation is that there is more than one of him. If so, we have respect and admiration for all of them.

So, speaking to us today, on the connections, if any, between television, guns and murder, is my pleasure to give to you America's best social scientist, and the best colleague and mentor anyone ever had, Professor James P. Wilson.

[applause]

PROFESSOR WILSON: I will now remove the incomplete from John's grade record from Harvard. [laughter] Thank you very much.

Whenever there is a horrific killing in the United States, one that attracts the attention of everyone, such as for example, the killings in which young school boys murdered some of their fellow students, and teachers at various High Schools in America, there is an immediate public reaction, which you read about in the newspapers and which I get in the form of telephone calls to me at my office. Why is it that we cannot prevent these crimes by reducing violence on television, or controlling guns in America.

Indeed, on June 13th of this year, President Clinton, shorting after one of these shootings, blamed popular culture and access to guns as their causes. I want to spend a few minutes reviewing what we know about the effect of televised violence on human violence, and what we know about the availability of so many handguns in America on the level of American violence. To try to assess whether knowing these facts, we can make a reasonable judgment, that anything we could do that is politically and constitutionally feasible, would make a significant difference in the homicide rate, if we control these instrumentalities. Let me begin by first turning to television.

The study of the relationship between television violence and human violence, is a wonderful object lesson, what social science can and cannot do. There have been a number of strategies for exploring this relationship and let me go through three or four of them, indicating the strength where there are any, of each and the weaknesses, and there are many of all. Perhaps the first set of experiments were done by social psychologists, of whom Albert Van Dora [phonetic] was a leading exponent, in which they put small children in rooms with large inflatable creatures, called Bo-bo [phonetic] dolls, which, if you punch they bound over and then they bound back up again. And by putting the children in situations in which they are exposed to violence in the form of comic books or television programs or motion pictures, observed how it affected their behavior on bo-bo dolls.

And you will not be surprised to learn, that those who had seen violent programs, were more likely to punch a bo-bo doll, than those who had not seen it. An interesting finding, but it leaves out of account, the question of whether people are bo-bo dolls, or whether there is any long term effect of this exposure on those people who confront a bo-bo doll. These questions went essentially unanswered.

The second kind of study, involved interviews, in which people were interviewed about their watching habits, and then in various ways, their tendency toward aggression was measured, either by putting them in a laboratory setting, setting what kind of dial or knob they would turn, allegedly to impart a harmful shock on others. Or by consulting their teachers evaluation of their criminal record, or perhaps in some cases, evaluating their actual arrest record.

And they discovered that a correlation exists. People who are more likely than others, to watch televised violence, are more likely to turn the dial or engage in other forms of behavior, that reasonable people would call aggressive. But of course, this leaves open the question of which way casualty runs. Is it television violence that is prompting this behavior? Or is it the fact that people who are already violent, chose to watch violent programs on television.

This led to the third and perhaps the most important line of study, a longitudinal study. It was called the Rip Van Winkle study, I think because people were studied at one point in time, and then the same people were re-examined using essentially the same instruments about a decade later. It was done here in New York, upstate, by Leon Erin [phonetic] and Raul Houseman [phonetic]. In 1960, they interviewed the mothers of a group of young children, ages, I believe, 8-10, in which the mother reported on their viewing habits. Their behavior in classrooms, was then evaluated by fellow classmates and teachers.

Ten years ago ... ten years later, in 1970, the same students, now 18-20 of age, were measured again. And Erin and Houseman discovered that those who had watched programs described by their mothers as being violent programs, when they were young, were more likely ten years later, to commit violent acts. And that this was true even when you control for, statistically eliminated, the effects of their intelligence, and the patterns of parental discipline in the homes in which they were raised.

Now this study was in many ways, a landmark, because it tracked the same people over time and claimed to show that over time, the relationship between an early exposure to televised violence, led to a later display of human violence. There were, of course, some problems with the studies. In the first place, they had not examined what the children actually watched on television, they only examined what their mothers said they had watched on television, and there were some statistic problems in the analysis that gave rise to a number of PhD theses, while people explored these difficulties in various journals that no one reads.

Later on, Erin and Houseman repeated this study in five countries around the world, using more sophisticated measures and refining, and I think, improving their statistical technique, and concluded that, in most of these other studies, done in the United States, Australia, Israel and other place, there was in fact, a residual effect of television violence on human violence. That is to say, over the years, people who ... after controlling for the observable characteristics they possessed, watched television violence, were somewhat more likely to commit violent acts.

The fourth and final kind of study, is to explore natural experiments. These are experiments that happen in the real world, because the real world sometimes does things to some people, while not doing the same thing to other people. In this case, some parts of the world have television, and television available for everyone. And other parts of the world, at the same time, don't have television available or available for as many people.

Not too many years ago, a scholar named Brandon Setterwald [phonetic], looked at the homicide rates and the television ownership rates of white citizens in three countries. Canada, the United States, and South Africa. The reason for this experiment, or this examine of a natural experiment, was that in South Africa, there was no television at all until the mid 1970s, whereas in the United States and Canada, television began in the 1950s. Therefore, looking at the white homicide in these three countries, Dr. Setterwald thought, would tell him whether being exposed to violent television in two countries made a difference, using South Africa as a control country.

Dr. Setterwald claimed, on the basis of this analysis, that television caused the homicide rates in Canada and the United States to double. Because white South African rates were either flat or declining, whereas those homicide rates in the other two countries, were rising rapidly.

Now there are, at first blush, certain obvious problems with this analysis. One is that, although I speak as a certified, and perhaps certifiable social scientist, I can assure you that there is no social science factor that anyone has ever discovered, that doubles the homicide rate. Much less one, that cuts the homicide rate in half. One also has to wonder whether South African whites, living in the apartheid regime of that country, were an adequate control group. Whites probably had a variety of ways to protect themselves from violence in that country, of which television may have played a small or diminishing role.

But the most important question of all is this. Why pick these three countries? Why not look across the scope of countries and examine the homicide rate in all nations which differ in the rate at which people watch television? If you do this with the G7 countries, the largest industrialized nations, you discover that the ... effect imputed to Canada, television watching in Canada and the United States, it is not obvious in other countries. For example, television sets increased and television watching increased dramatically during this period in Japan, while the Japanese homicide rate declined. Television set ownership and viewing increased dramatically in France and West Germany, but the homicide rate in these countries remained constant. And even in the United States and Canada, though the homicide rate had gone up in the late 60s and during the 1970s, by 1980 the homicide rate was coming down in the United States and Canada, even though television watching was going up very rapidly.

In short, if you cast a wide enough net, the anomalous fact of South Africa, begins to appear more like a footnote, rather than a conclusion. It is very difficult to assert on the basis of natural experiment, that we know what effect television has on people.

Having reviewed this, let me simply mention some of the problems, and then give you a summary judgment of what I think and what I believe most people think may be the effect of television violence. The first thing to remember, is that television's violence is not always the same thing. I happen to be inordinately addicted to the Road Runner cartoons, all of which I own, in which Wiley Coyote is attempting to do dastardly things to the Road Runner, all of which produce a disaster for Wiley Coyote, usually an anvil, manufactured by the Acme Anvil Company, dropping on his head. That's violence.

Hockey games, in the national hockey league, are violent. The violence is occasionally and ineffectually interrupted by referees, who are there more to make sure that no one gets killed than to prevent the violence. NYPD Blue and Law and Order display violence. Shakespeare displays violence. Jerry Spring displays violence.

But surely all of these kinds of violence cannot be the same. The context may turn out to be very important. For example, compare American and Japanese television viewing, as it has been studied by various scholars. It turns out, if you count who gets killed in the United States, in American television, the bad guys get killed more often than the good guys. And when the bad guys are killed, very little blood and gore is displayed. One of the reason for the great popularity of the recent movie Saving Private Ryan, it is the first pictorial display in the United States, of what really happens to people when they get killed. It is a very gruesome sight indeed.

In Japanese television, on the other hand, the good guys get killed much more often than the bad guys. And when they are killed, a lot of blood and gore is displayed. yet Japan has a tiny, trivial homicide rate. Because of television? Despite television? Or because perhaps television viewing in Japan makes people upset, whereas in America, it does not.

We also know the problem of causality, trying to understand which way relationships move. Most studies do not establish this relationship, although the Rip Van Winkle study, comes as close as we can to doing it. Third, we haven't really explored the mediating variables that operate between the television set and the person. Watching the television set with your children, together has probably a different effect than children watching the television set alone.

But the biggest question is, how big is the effect? And this is a difficult question to answer, because the statistical techniques used in these studies, don't permit you to form a confidence judgment. So, let me now rely on the view of a person, George Comstock [phonetic], who is well known as a critic of television, and has argued in many writings that television violence ought to be restricted.

He says, using the best studies, which is largely the Rip Van Winkle study and its copy in several other countries, the effect of television violence on human violence ranges between four and ten percent. That is to say, if all of the violence were eliminated, or all of the television viewing were eliminated, the violence rate, by the violence rate, he means assault, robbery and homicide, might be reduced between four and ten percent. It is interesting to note, by the way, that this effect is not found in Australia, where the study was done, but in the United States.

It is odd, therefore, that the press, whenever confronted with horrific violence, immediately turns to television as the cause of it. It's even more striking that, in 1982, when a government report was issued, claiming that the evidence, which I've just now summarized, was very strong about this effect, Time Magazine and Newsweek Magazine said that overwhelming evidence now shows that television violence causes aggression.

It does not. They were wrong. But the impression persists, nonetheless.

Television is a problem. It's a problem for most people who view it. I think Bill Benett's of television, Joe Liebermans' criticisms of television, are quite apt. Not because we think it causes violence, but because watching television for many people, a degrading experience. It is an antisocial experience. It is a materialistic experience. Gratuitous violence, gratuitous sex, rough language can make people callous. Do we know these things? No. But we feel these things, or at least most of us feel these things, when we do watch television. I don't have a lot of sympathy for Wiley Coyote, though I identify with him powerfully, but I understand that a coyote who always wake up in a few seconds, from having an anvil dropped on his head, and is alert as bright as ever, has probably not materially harmed.

But I think our own experience in television watching, means that it is a problem. It is a problem that we can judge, because of it's likely effect on ourselves and our own children, without pausing to wonder, what effect it has on people we do not know.

Let me turn briefly to the subject of guns. Everyone knows that the United States has the highest homicide rate of any heavily industrialized nation. But people in fact, disagree as to whether gun prevalence, causes this relationship. I think the evidence suggest that guns to have an effect, but is only one of several effects. Let me tell you why I think it has an effect, but why it is not the largest effect.

The robbery rate in New York and the robbery rate in Berkeley, the burglary rate in New York, is less than the robbery and burglary rate in London. And yet, the death toll from New York City robberies is 50 times larger than the death toll from London robberies. Why? In all probability, it is because robbers in New York City are more likely to be carrying a gun, than are robbers in London. And so that though the underlying crime rate is the same, the lethal consequences to people who are participants in it, differs dramatically.

The assault rate in the United States, insofar as we can tell from Interpol data, is about the same as the assault rate in the Netherlands and Poland and Finland. And yet, the death rate from assaults in the United States, is about four times higher, than the death rate from assaults in the Netherlands, Poland, and Finland. And the implication is, that the assaults in the United States, are more likely to be carried out by somebody in possession of a lethal weapon.

I think as a resident of Los Angeles, I believe that guns make a difference. In Los Angeles we do not have drive by knifings. We do not have drive by poisonings. We have drive by shootings. And without the guns, there would be crime no doubt, perhaps as much crime as there is today with the guns, but it would not involve drive by shootings, often of totally innocent people and small children.

There therefore, is probably an effect. Indeed, it would be astonishing if, in possession of 200 million guns, 60 million of which are no handguns, there were no effect at all. But guns cannot be the whole story. If you look at the homicide rate committed without the use of guns, using fists and clubs and knives and poison and whatever, in the United States, with the nongun homicide rate in England, you discover that, in this way, by eliminating the role of guns totally, from our comparison between these two countries, the American homicide rate is still three times than it is in England.

We live in a more violent society. The average human encounter here is more violent than the average human encounter abroad. Adding guns makes the consequences somewhat more lethal, but cannot explain the difference originally. The New York City homicide rate has been studied by my colleague Erik Monkinan [phonetic], by examining newspaper and coroner accounts back into the 18th century. It's taken him much of his adult life and much of the time of all of his research assistant to do this. And on the basis of this analysis, he has been able to conclude the following.

That for over 200 years, the New York City homicide rate has been dramatically higher than the London homicide rate, by something like a factor of five. And this begins in the 18th century, before television, before radio, before guns, before drugs, before Uzi submachine guns.

Finally John Lott [phonetic] has shown in his book, that guns are a useful measure of self defense. And on the basis of the largest statistical study that has eve been done, of the effects of gun ownership on both guns crimes and gun self defense, he suggest that guns have a greater value for self defense than they have for the killing of other people. And therefore, he argues, controversially, but on the basis of his own state, it was with some plausibility, that states that authorize any citizen without a criminal record to carry a weapon, removing police discretion from this judgment, will reduce the crime rate in their states, other things being equal, by about ten percent.

The final thing to observe, is that the horrific killings by the school children I mentioned earlier, in at least three cases didn't involve handguns at all. Kinckle [phonetic], used a rifle in Oregon. Lucatus [phonetic] used a rifle in Washington. Wooden [phonetic] used a rifle in Mississippi. And not even Sara Brady [phonetic], of handgun control has proposed yet that we strip away the ownership of rifles.

The result of this comparison makes one wonder not, how do we improve our society, by eliminating television violence, something that can be done, perhaps, by appealing to advertisers, by public protests of various sorts, not what can be done by eliminating guns, since I think there is no practical or feasible way to eliminate it, but rather how can we deal with this problem, of when we are confronting young boys or other people, who are committing crimes on the street.

Before I get to this, let me just make one or two additional observations on gun control, which for the moment slipped me mind. As I said, there are about 200 million guns in America, about 60 million are hand guns. James Wright and Peter Rossi at the University of Massachusetts have written two books about how these guns were acquired and how they're used. Interviewing felons that use the guns, as well as studying the flow in the marketplace. And they've concluded that, based on their best estimate, something like 70 percent of all of the guns used by felons in the commission of any crime, were stolen, or borrowed from somebody who had stolen them, or purchased from somebody who had stolen them.

And therefore, if you try to control gun distribution by imposing point of sale restrictions, on federally licensed gun dealers, you have a small, if not indeed trivial effect on guns in private circulation.

Of course, there are other ways to deal with the gun problem. One could, as some as suggested, urge cities to ban guns. That was done in Washington D.C., with no observable effect. One could organize gun buyback programs, have been done in other cities, including Baltimore, with no observable effect. One could sue gun manufacturers for selling guns, on the grounds that they're a dangerous product, much as others have sued tobacco manufacturers on the grounds that they're selling a danger product. But unless the person bringing the suit find a particularly retarded judge, this argument is not likely, in my view, to prevail. After all, the issue in the tobacco case, was whether tobacco manufacturers had wrongfully concealed knowledge about the harmless effects of tobacco while selling it. And the argument has to do with whether they knew that they were selling a product that some people regard as dangerous.

Everyone knows that guns can kill. And the Smith & Wesson and the Colt corporation cannot be held liable for having sold a product that is sold precisely because it has the ability to project a projectile through a large inanimate object. My suspicion is, that these law students which have begun in Chicago and Philadelphia, will probably not prevail. Yet, knowing the varied nature of the American judiciary, I do not want to bet a large sum of money on it.

One could also require gun owners to have mandatory insurance. Much as we are required to have for our automobiles, so that they and their insurance company would be liable if their gun was stolen from them, or used by their children or some other unauthorized person, for inflicting harm on another person.

That is not an inconceivable idea, although we have to note that among automobile drivers, there is a large fraction of people who refuse to buy the insurance and therefore the incentive effect of controlling your guns, like the incentive effect of controlling your uninsured car, is reduced to the extent the insurance is not present.

It may be possible to invent other devices that will make guns safer from misuse. But the important thing to remember is that the vast majority of guns are not, in fact, misused. 93 percent of all the guns in private possession are never used for a crime. They're used for hunting, for target plinking and for self defense in some particular order. And it is hard to imagine how we can restrict this supply in a way that would affect those people who now, by stealing or borrowing weapons them for felonious purposes.

Now we return back to the question of what we do about this problem in America. I think the first thing we do, is urge journalists and presidents and others, to approach the problems of horrific killings as an example of horror. Not as an example of the presence of some questionable commodity in our midst. The boys who engaged in these shootings are, insofar as one can tell, from what has been publicly disclosed about their background, very unusual boys. Boys who had serious problems with depression, mental disorder, who were raised by either inadequate families or in schools which chose to ignore the signs of early difficulty.

The fact that a group of these crimes all occurred this spring, is of course, what generated so much newspaper attention. My suspicion is, these crimes occur at a regular rate and only when they're grouped together, do we pay enough attention to notice them. But we're noting them in a country, in the United States, which now has the highest adolescent suicide rate, or any time of its history. Which has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any country in the Western World, which is the highest rate of illegitimate teen pregnancies of any country in the world.

Many young people in this country are in serious trouble. And if one wishes to address these problems, not perhaps with an idea to preventing Mr. Kinkle [phonetic] from shooting someone in Oregon, but to address the problems that young people have, you don't start by attempting to control commodities in our society, you attempt to control it, by dealing with the people and the backgrounds from which they have emerged.

Bear in mind, that the nongun homicide rate is three times higher in the United States, than it is in England. Bear in mind, that the black homicide rate, which is six to eight times higher than the white homicide rate in the United States, if it were eliminated, if all blacks killed other people at the same rate that all white now kill people, the US homicide rate would still be three times higher here, than it is in the other principle industrialized nations.

Many parts of America are a violent society. We have violent encounters. We brush up against people on street corners, in somewhat the same way that taxicabs brush up against each other on the streets of New York. Our tempers are up, our elbows are flared, our nostrils are out. We're looking for ways of settling scores. We attach great importance to honor, especially in some parts of our society, notably the south. And these struggles tend to occur, whether or not guns are present. What is the gun owning state in the country? No one is quite sure, but it probably either North Dakota or Wyoming. And yet they have among the lowest homicide rates of any state in the union. Because their culture, a western culture, a frontier culture, is not as hostile a culture. Or if hostile, not as concentrated and large a culture as what we find abroad.

Do we know how to make America a less violent society? I don't think we do yet, I think we may discover how to make a less violent society. Perhaps continued social progress will sooth our passions, moderate our energies, but we've had extraordinary economic progress, the greatest the world has ever known, for many decades. Many generations. And although it has kept our homicide rate today, more or less the same as what it was 30 or 40 years ago, it is still dramatically higher than any other place in the industrialized nation.

[END OF TAPE SIDE NO. 1]

[START OF TAPE SIDE NO. 2]

PROFESSOR WILSON: ... society. I don't think we do yet. I think we may discover how to make it a less violent society. Perhaps continued social progress would sooth our passions, moderate our energies, but we've had extraordinary economic progress, the greatest the world has ever known for many decades, many generations. And although it has kept our homicide rate today, more or less the same that ... as it was 30 or 40 years ago, it is still dramatically higher than any other place in the industrialized nation.

There may even be, a virtue to this defect in our nature. American society is perhaps more violent, more turbulent, because it is a society that has not grown up under the conditions that produced European society. Someone once said that the way you make a good English lawn, is to sew seeds and roll them for 300 years. That's much the same way that England has kept its homicide rate low. Whatever kind of seeds it may have sown, 300 years ago, it has rolled those seeds, heavily, for 300 years. In a country in which the government is the most powerful institution, where the government slowly, usually reluctantly grants rights to its citizens, where everyone has grown up, for as long as there had been any recorded history, in a culture, in a village, in a town, where the government is the dominant institution.

America grew up differently from England and from France and from Germany. It grew up in empty soil, where there was no government. Government was imported later on, to provide certain essential functions. A constitution was framed that restricts the power of government. Whatever kind of seeds were sown on American soil, they were not rolled for 300 years. Americans came here expecting to take care of themselves. Recognizing that government was essential, they slowly put it in place, but not until they had long experience with vigilance committees of various sorts, some good, some bad, all designed to enforce order as a result of voluntary action.

Perhaps we live in a society that because of its suspicion of its government, and its successful efforts to keep government compared to Europe at least, relatively weak, we live in a society in which people are now expected, and have always been expected, to take care of their of their own grievances. Our freedoms in this nation may have been purchased at the price of greater violence. Possibly, I do not know. But if this defect in our nature, has a virtue, it probably can be found in our constitutional regime.

Thank you very much.

[applause]

PROFESSOR DiIULIO: I promised Professor Wilson we could get him to the airport to meet his plane, so I'm afraid we're going to have to cut this part short, but we do have time for two or three quick questions. So, I'll let him field them.

QUESTION: You say that the ... when it comes to certain commodities, that you have a couple of commodities that do have a direct and measurable effect on violence, such as legal narcotics and alcohol, from what we know, we do control those, so isn't it a more a question of direct effect and indirect effect?

PROFESSOR WILSON: The question has to do with controlling narcotics and alcohol, which do have an effect on crime and you're surely right. And we do try to control those commodities. Drugs do have an effect on crime. A dramatic effect. Heroin addicts, while on a heroin run, probably commit five to six times as much crime as when they're not on a heroin run. Crack cocaine is what boosted the homicide rate beginning in 1985, and that boost lasted for seven or eight years. So, clearly some commodities, in my view, should be restrained. Because they have a disastrous effect on society and little known beneficial effect on their users.

One could say the same thing about alcohol. We've long learned ... we long ago learned that the control of alcohol is beyond our reach. Alcohol consumption was reduced during the Prohibition Era, organized crime increased, and we finally decided that the gain from one source was not worth the cost in the other, so we stopped.

When I'm talking about controlling commodities, I mean, talking about controlling commodities, neither of which, has the effect, either of alcohol, or of drugs. Both of which have an effect on people only to a small degree.

QUESTION: In New York State, we're trying to pass legislation that brings about a compulsory providing of trigger locks, [unintelligible] particularly of their children, who may have accident access of weapons. Do you favor that?

PROFESSOR WILSON: I have ... I've an open mind about trigger locks for guns. The gain is obvious. If there is a lock, it reduces significantly the prospect that a child or an innocent person might pick up the gun and accidentally discharge it. The number of such shooting per year is remarkably small, there are probably not more ... there may be 15 to 18 thousand homicides a year, there're not more than perhaps 200 accidental shooting of this sort a year.

But if we could reduce it, at little cost, that would be a great gain. The offsetting difficulty, of course, is that if you put locks on guns that are possessed for purposes of self defense, it reduces your capacity to use them for self defense. Maybe there's a way, technologically, to design a device that will be easily removed and quickly removed by the person who owns the weapon, but it would be difficult or impossible for the child to remove. And if that were true, I'd be in favor of it.

QUESTION: I'm a little puzzled by your presentation in that ... you talked very little about what goes on in the family and home study with young people. It's particularly ... in their early years. For example, as we all know, [unintelligible] have ... in some compilations of our country, is up to 70 to 80 percent.

PROFESSOR WILSON: 95 percent.

QUESTION: So, we're looking at conditions of fatherlessness, nurturing of responsible family settings for young people for most of their lives, are responsible mentors or activities such as the boys and girls club, or disciplined, accountable school systems, which youngsters learn about responsibility and citizenship and their relationship to another people and more responsible ... don't these factors really count? You didn't address them at all.

PROFESSOR WILSON: I certainly believe so. And if I'd been allowed to give two lectures instead of one, I would have given that. I made some remarks on this subject at the American Enterprise Institute's Annual Dinner last year and the public Interest printed them and pursuing that issue, the precise issues you mentioned, is to me the most important thing to do. But, if you're going to cover the role of television and guns and violence adequately, it turns out it takes 30 minutes. [laughter] And Larry would only give me 35. And I can't say much about your subject in the remaining five minutes, except to say, I agree with y.

[applause]

FEMALE VOICE: Thank you all for coming. Thank you very much.

[end of recording]

 


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