Skip to comments.The Dishonest Gun-Control Debate - Indiana is not to blame for Chicago crime.
Posted on 05/03/2013 10:42:42 AM PDT by neverdem
Signs at a gun-control rally in Washington, D.C., January 26, 2013.
The gun-control debate is one of the most dishonest arguments we have in American politics. It is dishonest in its particulars, of course, but it is in an important sense dishonest in general: The United States does not suffer from an inflated rate of homicides perpetrated with guns; it suffers from an inflated rate of homicides. The argument about gun control is at its root a way to put conservatives on the defensive about liberal failures, from schools that do not teach to police departments that do not police and criminal-justice systems that do not bring criminals to justice. The gun-control debate is an exercise in changing the subject.
We hear a lot about gun deaths in the United States, but we hear less often the fact that the great majority of those deaths are suicides more than two-thirds of them. Which is to say, the great majority of our gun death incidents are not conventional crimes but intentionally self-inflicted wounds: private despair, not blood in the streets. Among non-fatal gunshot injuries, about one-third are accidents. We hear a great deal about the bane of assault rifles, but all rifles combined scary-looking ones and traditional-looking ones alike account for very few homicides, only 358 in 2010. We hear a great deal about weapons of war turning our streets into high-firepower battle zones, but this is mostly untrue: As far as law-enforcement records document, legally owned fully automatic weapons have been used in exactly two homicides in the modern era, and one of those was a police-issue weapon used by a police officer to murder a troublesome police informant.
Robert VerBruggen has long labored over the various inflated statistical claims about the effects of gun-control policies made by both sides of the debate. You will not, in the end, find much correlation. There are some places with very strict gun laws and lots of crime, some places with very liberal gun laws and very little crime, some places with strict guns laws and little crime, and some places with liberal gun laws and lots of crime. Given the variation between countries, the variation within other countries, and the variation within the United States, the most reasonable conclusion is that the most important variable in violent crime is not the regulation of firearms. There are many reasons that Zurich does not much resemble Havana, and many reasons San Diego does not resemble Detroit.
The Left, of course, very strongly desires not to discuss those reasons, because those reasons often point to the failure of progressive policies. For this reason, statistical and logical legerdemain is the order of the day when it comes to the gun debate.
Take this, for example, from ThinkProgresss Zack Beauchamp, with whom I had a discussion about the issue on Wednesday evening: STUDY: States with loose gun laws have higher rates of gun violence. The claim sounds like an entirely straightforward one. In English, it means that there is more gun violence in states with relatively liberal gun laws. But that is of course not at all what it means. In order to reach that conclusion, the authors of the study were obliged to insert a supplementary measure of gun violence, that being the crime-gun export rate. If a gun legally sold in Indiana ends up someday being used in a crime in Chicago, then that is counted as an incidence of gun violence in Indiana, even though it is no such thing. This is a fairly nakedly political attempt to manipulate statistics in such a way as to attribute some portion of Chicagos horrific crime epidemic to peaceable neighboring communities. And even if we took the gun-crime export rate to be a meaningful metric, we would need to consider the fact that it accounts only for those guns sold legally. Of course states that do not have many legal gun sales do not generate a lot of records for gun-crime exports. It is probable that lots of guns sold in Illinois end up being used in crimes in Indiana; the difference is, those guns are sold on the black market, and so do not show up in the records. The choice of metrics is just another way to put a thumb on the scale.
The argument that crime would be lower in Chicago if Indiana had Illinoiss laws fails to account for the fact that Muncie has a pretty low crime rate under Indianas laws, while Gary has a high rate under the same laws. The laws are a constant; the meaningful variable is, not to put too fine a point on it, proximity to Chicago. Statistical game-rigging is a way to suggest that Chicago would have less crime if Indiana adopted Illinoiss gun laws . . . except that one is left with the many other states in which Chicagos criminals might acquire guns. The unspoken endgame is having the entire country adapt Illinoiss gun laws. But it is very likely that if the country did so, Chicago would still be Chicago, with all that goes along with that. Chicago has lots of non-gun murders, too.
On the political side, perhaps you have heard that the National Rifle Association is one of the most powerful and feared lobbies on Capitol Hill. What you probably have not heard is that it is nowhere near the top of the list of Washington money-movers. In terms of campaign contributions, the NRA is not in the top five or top ten or top 100: It is No. 228. In terms of lobbying outlays, it is No. 171. Unlike the National Beer Wholesalers Association or the American Federation of Teachers, it does not appear on the list of top-20 PACs. Unlike the National Auto Dealers Association, it does not appear on the list of top-20 PACs that favor Republicans. There is a lot of loose talk about the NRA buying loyalty on Capitol Hill, but the best political-science scholarship suggests that on issues such as gun rights and abortion, the donations follow the votes, not the other way around. That is not a secret: It is just something that people like Gabby Giffords would rather not admit.
By way of comparison, Chicago is populated by uncontrolled criminals, and not infrequently governed by them. The state of Illinois has long failed to put career criminals away before they commit murder, as we can see from the rap sheets of those whom the state does manage to convict for homicide. Even Rahm Emanuel can see that. But still, nothing happens. Like those in Chicago, Detroits liberals and Philadelphias are plum out of excuses: Theyve been in charge for a long, long time now, and their cities are what they have made of them.
You can chicken-and-egg this stuff all day, of course: It may be that Detroit is poor, ignorant, and backward because it is run by liberals, or it may be run by liberals because it is poor, ignorant, and backward. You can point the accusatory vector of causation whichever direction you like, but the correlation between municipal liberalism and violent crime remains stronger than that of violent crime and gun restriction. It is hardly the fault of the people of Indiana that Chicago is populated by people who cannot be trusted with the ordinary constitutional rights enjoyed by free people from sea to shining sea.
But talking about what is actually wrong with Detroit, Chicago, or Philadelphia forces liberals to think about things theyd rather not think about, for instance the abject failure of the schools they run to do much other than transfer money from homeowners to union bosses. Liberals love to talk about the root causes of crime and social dysfunction, except when the root cause is liberalism, in which case its, Oh, look! A scary-looking squirrel gun!
But the gun-control debate proceeds as though suicide and violent crime were part of a unitary phenomenon rather than separate issues with separate causes. The entire debate serves to obfuscate what ails our country rather than to clarify it.
Kevin D. Williamson is a roving correspondent for National Review. His newest book, The End Is Near and Its Going to Be Awesome, will be published in May.
Hat tip to bankwalker!
They should ask the resident what he knows about project “gangwalker”.
No it’s death merchant Chicago politicians who would let innocent Chicago residents die rather than punish gun criminals that are the cause of all the violent deaths in Chicago. It is there political solution to take away your rights and blame you in the process.
European Murder Rates Compared to the United States: Demographics vs Guns
only 2 minutes - pass it on after viewing. it is going viral ...
Statistics are misleading: Cops here, along with the Coroner, determine cause of death (i.e. Accident, Homicide, Suicide, etc)
In places like Britain, there is no official cause of homicide unless a conviction of murder or manslaughter is made in a case regarding the death. So unsolved crimes are not homicides. Nor are cases where the perp was not convicted by a court of law. . .
Hell of a pull-quote ...
“You can chicken-and-egg this stuff all day, of course: It may be that Detroit is poor, ignorant, and backward because it is run by liberals, or it may be run by liberals because it is poor, ignorant, and backward. You can point the accusatory vector of causation whichever direction you like, but the correlation between municipal liberalism and violent crime remains stronger than that of violent crime and gun restriction. It is hardly the fault of the people of Indiana that Chicago is populated by people who cannot be trusted with the ordinary constitutional rights enjoyed by free people from sea to shining sea.”
Prosecutors say Vicente Zambada-Niebla oversaw drug running on a massive scale into the U.S. But now, from behind bars at a maximum security prison in Chicago, he's making his own explosive accusations -- that U.S. government agents have been aiding Mexico's infamous Sinaloa cartel -- even tipping off leaders on how to avoid capture.
From the 2010 census.
Population — 80,294
African American — 84.8%
White — 10.7%
Hispanic / Latino — 5.1%
Population — 70,085
White — 84.0%
African American — 10.9%
Hispanic / Latino — 2.3%
Now, can anyone connect the dots here?
Indiana’s not to blame for Chaicago’s crime? But the President just said that the US is to blame for Mexico’s crime. (Sounds to me like we’re being set up for another go-’round of Fast & Furious.....)
There are a lot of rumors that the FedGov is using the Mexican cartels for its own purposes. Just like there were rumours about Columbia, till they took care of the problem.
It’s LIVE on now - Perry is speaking.
Thanks for the link. Holder should have been impeached. The GOPe is useless.
“Other than the truly shocking position of the United States, the list of countries ranked by homicide rates contains few if any surprises.”
I crunched the numbers available in MS-Excel format from that Wikipedia link. Since there was some countries for which there was no data, for one or more years in the data-survey-list, I eliminated any country with no data for any year and took an average for every country for whatever years of data available for a country.
The U.S., on simply homicide rates, comes out at a little below the median (1/2 are above the median and 1/2 below) and at less than half the average rate (some very high rate countries take the average way up).
What needs to be understood altogether is that a lot of factors go into the social excuses for homicide rates, but only one fact determines why a homicide is committed or not, regardless of any of those excuses - someone decides for whatever reason under whatever conditions and context that they have the right to take a life.
We know that to be true because for each and every social excuse for a high homicide rate the majority of people that could fit that excuse do not commit a homicide. In spite of their life troubles, in spite of excusing their actions for the same reasons, the majority of those who might fit any of those excuses CHOOSE to not be murderers.
It makes it clear that in the final analysis becoming a murderer is a choice, not a given of someone’s life circumstances.
Thanks for the info!
Thanks for the links.
Exactly! If easy access to guns in Indiana is the cause of murder in Chicago then why isn't the murder rate in Indiana as high as it is in Chicago?
Thank for the link. I’m listening to the audio.