In the red corner, John Lott; in the blue corner, John Lott

When I looked at the reviews of More Guns, Less Crime I wasn't sure that this review was written by Lott:

i-6da7393c8ff6de1c28d52199d33a151e-stars-5-0.gifIf you are interested in the facts, read this book, July 10, 2000
Reviewer: A reader from Miami, Florida
A couple of friends of mine have been nagging me to read this book for a couple of years. When the second edition came out I finally gave in and got it (for $9.60 I couldn't argue that the price was too high). Anyway, I am only sorry that I didn't read this book earlier. As an academic and a person who has been somewhat anti-gun, I had two reactions to the book...

The only reason why I wasn't sure was that the reviewer's location was given as Miami. All the other Lott reviews were posted from places where he lived or worked. Maybe he was visiting Miami when he posted it, but there was still some doubt.

So I looked for other reviews posted from Miami and found this review of Kleck's book:

i-5b1e6e9c3df434a5afbe1ec9c5688a5c-stars-3-0.gifInteresting reference book, though somewhat dry, July 10, 2000
Reviewer: sherwinrl from Miami, Florida

Kleck has but together quite a useful overview of the research on guns. I liked the detailed discussions of the existing literature, and, as a nonacademic, I did not find it too difficult to read. Unlike the other reviewers who are picking a fit between Kleck and Lott, I thought that both were valuable. They both have their strengths. Kleck's is to use survey data, while Lott's is to examine the impact of gun ownership and gun laws on crime rates. Both books go into the other's territory (as they should), but their relative strengths are clear.

On the survey data, I wish that Kleck would have dealt more with the survey data about offensive gun use. I also wish that he could explain why his survey data does not imply a net benefit from using guns.

My only real complaint on the quality of the writing is that too much of the book is such and such shows this and such and such shows that and .... This is fine if the book is to serve as a reference source. It is not too thrilling to have to read through.

Posted the same day from the same location. Contains the phrase "as a nonacademic" while the other one has "as an academic". Writes about Lott while reviewing Kleck. And look who supposedly wrote it: sherwinrl. That would be Sherwin R Lott, John Lott's fourth son, the Sh in MaRy RoSh and no more than eight when this review was posted. Lott also posted a review under the name maximcl, his oldest child. Cute trick he has, posting under his children's names. Anyway, the first review is confirmed as one by Lott and I've found yet another one of Lott's reviews of Kleck.

And notice how in this review he writes "Unlike the other reviewers who are picking a fit between Kleck and Lott, I thought that both were valuable." He's referring to two previous reviews, one by "A reader from Philadelphia" and one by "A reader from Madison Wisconsin". Only they were two more of Lott's sock puppets. We're entering higher-order sockpuppetry when you have your socks arguing with each other.


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Is it too much to ask for an educated man like John Lott to come up with better names for his sock puppets?

If you're going to play around like this, doesn't it make sense to be a little more creative so you won't get caught?

This has gotten Lott into the territory usually occupied by the likes of Ed Conrad, a pretty well known Usenet kook who started using sock puppets back in the olden days 10 years ago. (Ed's got "several hundred million year old human fossils from Pennsylvania" which he's been promoting for years.)

I love Ed. I miss Ed. I need to go visit And remember Andrew McRae is just a part of the conspiracy who switched out Ed's sample!

By ArchPundit (not verified) on 17 Feb 2004 #permalink

I'm with Luke...I'm just in shock at how bad a job this guy is doing of revealing his sock-puppetry. Then again, maybe I shouldn't be -- even his attempts at rigorous academic work are hopelessly sloppy, too.