Organized Crime in Vegas, Caused by Lead?

By October 21, 2007Briefly Legal

Two smart items from our friends at the Pacific Research Institute this week.

Writing in the Las Vegas Business Press, Lawrence McQuillan, co-author of U.S. Tort Liability Index, draws a connection between Las Vegas’ culture of corruption and the city and state’s litigation-encouraging legal climate:

The legal environment in Sin City encourages frivolous lawsuits by rewarding plaintiffs staggering awards. Unfortunately, these handsome payouts have come at the expense of the local economy, taxpayers and even the integrity of the judicial system itself.

First, Las Vegas courtrooms feature an atmosphere of lawlessness — or at least extreme impropriety — characteristic of the Old West. Already this year, residents have been confronted with several embarrassing stories concerning out-of-control judges.

And Josh Trevino analyzes a piece in the New York Times Magazine that praises a theory by Amherst economist Jessica Wolpaw Reyes that environmental regulation has reduced crime, because cutting lead exposure increases the average intelligence. So regulation’s “social value” proves its worth. Josh’s comment is directly to the point:

It is only in taking refuge in unquantifiable “social value” and unprovable correlations that these assertions may be made: when dealing with quantification and demonstrable causality, we know that costs imposed by state intervention in market mechanisms are almost never offset by any purported gain. Hypothesizing on a connection between leaded gasoline and societal violence is an interesting academic exercise — but as a guide for policy formulation, it is not merely worthless, but malign.

Prediction: Sometime within the next year there will be a congressional hearing called to promote the theory. Professor Reyes will be a witness.

P.S. It’s true many Las Vegas mobsters have suffered after hearing the phrase, “Eat lead.”

Leave a Reply