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The Dishonest Gun-Control Debate - Indiana is not to blame for Chicago crime.
National Review Online ^ | MAY 3, 2013 | Kevin D. Williamson

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.

First, the broad factual context: The United States has a homicide rate of 4.8 per 100,000, which is much higher than that of most Western European or Anglosphere countries (1.1 for France, 1.0 for Australia). Within European countries, the relationship between gun regulation and homicide is by no means straightforward: Gun-loving Switzerland has a lower rate of homicide than do more tightly regulated countries such as the United Kingdom and Sweden. Cuba, being a police state, has very strict gun laws, but it has a higher homicide rate than does the United States (5.0). Other than the truly shocking position of the United States, the list of countries ranked by homicide rates contains few if any surprises.

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 ThinkProgress’s 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 Chicago’s 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 Illinois’s laws fails to account for the fact that Muncie has a pretty low crime rate under Indiana’s 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 Illinois’s gun laws . . . except that one is left with the many other states in which Chicago’s criminals might acquire guns. The unspoken endgame is having the entire country adapt Illinois’s 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.

Violent crime has been on the decline throughout these United States for decades now, give or take the occasional blip. It is down in relatively high-crime cities such as Chicago and Philadelphia, too, though not as significantly. (It still amazes me that New York, the crazy Auntie Mame of American cities, has not had a Democratic mayor since the Republican watershed year of 1993.) But if you want to find large concentrations of violent crime in the United States, what you are looking for is a liberal-dominated city: Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Oakland, St. Louis, Baltimore, Cleveland, Newark — all excellent places to get robbed or killed. By way of comparison, when Republican Jerry Sanders handed the mayoralty of San Diego over to Bob Filner in December, it was pretty well down toward the bottom of the rape-and-murder charts. The same can be said of New York. I agree with every word of criticism my fellow conservatives have heaped upon nanny-in-chief Michael Bloomberg, but would add this caveat: When he gets replaced by some cookie-cutter Democratic-machine liberal, we are going to miss his ridiculous, smug face. I lived for years in what once was one of the most infamously crime-ridden parts of New York, the section of the South Bronx near where the action of Bonfire of the Vanities is set in motion, and the worst consequences I ever experienced from wandering its streets at night were a hangover and the after-effects of an ill-considered order of cheese fries.

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 Philadelphia’s are plum out of excuses: They’ve 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 they’d 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 it’s, “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 It’s Going to Be Awesome, will be published in May.



TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: banglist; democrats; guncontrol; liberalfascism; nocompromise; secondamendment; youwillnotdisarmus
MB Studio Productions High Capacity Magazine PSA

Hat tip to bankwalker!

1 posted on 05/03/2013 10:42:42 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

They should ask the resident what he knows about project “gangwalker”.

http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2011/09/codrea-exclusive-project-gangwalker.html


2 posted on 05/03/2013 10:49:18 AM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: neverdem

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.


3 posted on 05/03/2013 10:53:38 AM PDT by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight,, he'll just kill you.)
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To: Vaquero

European Murder Rates Compared to the United States: Demographics vs Guns

http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/2013/01/european-murder-rates-compared-to.html


4 posted on 05/03/2013 11:15:21 AM PDT by marktwain (The MSM must die for the Republic to live. Long live the new media!)
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To: cripplecreek
This is causing quite a stir - making the gun control freaks heads explode.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F1nPSNnaBo

only 2 minutes - pass it on after viewing. it is going viral ...

5 posted on 05/03/2013 11:21:04 AM PDT by bankwalker (In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.)
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To: neverdem

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. . .


6 posted on 05/03/2013 11:21:04 AM PDT by Salgak (Acme Lasers presents: The Energizer Border. I **DARE** you to cross it. . . .)
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To: neverdem

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.”

SnakeDOc


7 posted on 05/03/2013 11:25:22 AM PDT by SnakeDoctor ("I've shot people I like more for less." -- Raylan Givens)
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To: neverdem
Chicago is Mexican drug cartel route..

Mexican drug suspect: U.S. gave me immunity

… 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.

DEA BOSS: MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS ARE SO DEEPLY EMBEDDED IN CHICAGO, WE HAVE TO OPERATE LIKE WE’RE ‘ON THE BORDER’

8 posted on 05/03/2013 11:28:09 AM PDT by opentalk
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To: marktwain

From the 2010 census.

Gary, Indiana

Population — 80,294

African American — 84.8%
White — 10.7%
Hispanic / Latino — 5.1%

Muncie, Indiana

Population — 70,085

White — 84.0%
African American — 10.9%
Hispanic / Latino — 2.3%

Now, can anyone connect the dots here?
White —


9 posted on 05/03/2013 11:34:35 AM PDT by technically right
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To: neverdem

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.....)


10 posted on 05/03/2013 11:36:44 AM PDT by Reo (the 4th Estate is a 5th Column)
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To: opentalk

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.


11 posted on 05/03/2013 11:40:30 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Reo
GOP didn't demand Holders resignation, or criminal charges...they just pretend it didn't happen are empowered even more.
12 posted on 05/03/2013 11:41:05 AM PDT by opentalk
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To: neverdem

http://home.nra.org/home/document/2013-nra-annual-meetings-exhibits

It’s LIVE on now - Perry is speaking.


13 posted on 05/03/2013 11:42:46 AM PDT by presently no screen name
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To: cripplecreek

Thanks for the link. Holder should have been impeached. The GOPe is useless.


14 posted on 05/03/2013 11:57:02 AM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: neverdem

“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.


15 posted on 05/03/2013 12:00:56 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: Salgak

Thanks for the info!


16 posted on 05/03/2013 12:08:25 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: opentalk

Thanks for the links.


17 posted on 05/03/2013 12:14:27 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: neverdem
Excellent piece.
18 posted on 05/03/2013 12:14:34 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (An economy is not a zero-sum game, but politics usually is.)
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To: SnakeDoctor
"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.”

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?

19 posted on 05/03/2013 12:23:14 PM PDT by TigersEye (If babies had guns they wouldn't be aborted)
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To: presently no screen name

Thank for the link. I’m listening to the audio.


20 posted on 05/03/2013 12:27:18 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: cripplecreek
Thanks for the info.
Fits the pattern: Arm our enemies, disarm America.

This should be its own thread. It's a huge story.

21 posted on 05/03/2013 12:58:24 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (An economy is not a zero-sum game, but politics usually is.)
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; Jeff Head; ...
Benghazi Source: "Huge Breakdown" Between State Department And Military

Southern Whites' Shift to the GOP Predates the '60s

http://home.nra.org/home/document/2013-nra-annual-meetings-exhibits Sarah Palin is speaking now.

Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

22 posted on 05/03/2013 2:18:01 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: neverdem
[Article] 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.

One of the main perps in this "hunt for slick sophistries" has been Johns Hopkins University, which has consulted to The Brady Campaign and Violence Policy Center and other gun-grabbing NGO's for years, sifting statistics for something they can use: "Well, we can say this ....."

As the author points out, most of these statements are trash science impressive only to the ignorant and credulous.

Just a few days ago, the Regime pried loose the manacles conservative Congresses had slapped on the Centers for Disease Control, to prevent their doing the same thing, but with the prestige of their Center thrown into the scales. The CDC will now campaign against guns as against cigarettes, as a "national health hazard", on similarly weak statistical correlations (which, mind, never amount to "proof" unless a proof is offered and supported).

23 posted on 05/03/2013 4:30:43 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: neverdem

Bttt.


24 posted on 05/03/2013 7:05:36 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (NRA)
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To: neverdem
First, the broad factual context: The United States has a homicide rate of 4.8 per 100,000, which is much higher than that of most Western European...

Let's break the numbers down, What's the rate for American whites - blacks - Hispanics... I suspect white Americans and white Europeans have similar numbers...

25 posted on 05/03/2013 7:57:25 PM PDT by GOPJ (The screed of so-called journalists: 'If it doesn't fit, you must omit.' - - freeper Vigilanteman)
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To: neverdem

You should warn about the vulgarity in that video.


26 posted on 05/04/2013 3:21:00 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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