Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New York Times and Homicides

A loyal Ten Ring reader asked me to comment on last Sunday’s New York Times article on rising homicide levels in a few cities. Here at Ten Ring we always try to make our readers happy (and Seth, if you’re reading, I haven’t forgotten that you’ve asked for a “One From the Vault” on my bullseye gun—soon).

Yesterday David Hardy at Arms and The Law took a look at the statistics in the same article. Be sure to give it a read too.

The article, written by Kate Zernicke, focuses on Milwaukee. Police there are befuddled by a rise in homicides stemming from seemingly minor arguments. People have been shot for dirty looks, arguments over cell phones, etc.

Zernicke mentions that part of the problem could be lax sentencing. Cops complain that people who were jailed are released too fast. Still, she includes the usual support for gun-control quotes so beloved by New York Times reporters. Here’s the worst example:
“A large part of the problem, the police say, is simply more guns on the streets as gun laws have loosened around the country. In Philadelphia, Commissioner Johnson said, since the state made it easier to get a gun permit in 1985, the number of people authorized to carry a gun in the city has risen from 700 to 32,000.”
Philadelphia has failed in attempts to exempt the city from statewide carry permit laws, so Johnson’s statement is just sour grapes. The 32,000 people with gun permits are doubtlessly Philadelphia’s most law-abiding citizens and their guns aren’t on the streets in the way the quote implies.

The article goes on to discuss different approaches to dealing with rising murder rates in a handful of cities. Boston is doing sweeps of people who have warrants, Kansas City follows up on all aggravated assault cases, and Milwaukee police recognizes that only a handful of criminals are likely to commit murder. They call them MVPs (Major Violent Players).

Hidden in plain sight on (web) page one is a very important statement for us gunnies:
“The police say the suspects and the victims tend to be black, young — midteens to mid-20's — and have previous criminal records. They tend to know each other. Several cities said that domestic violence had also risen. And the murders tend to be limited to particular neighborhoods.”
This statement is similar to Charlton Heston's interview in Bowling for Columbine in which Michael Moore, using clever edits, made Heston imply that black people create out gun violence problem. Now here a New York Times reported is saying that much of the homicide problem in America is primarily limited to people of color who live in poor neighborhoods. Now I know that someone will claim I’m racist for pointing this out. But, let me also point out that white men tend to be over-represented in serial murder and serial pedophilia.

There are many reasons that crime is found in one neighborhood but not in another. There’s America’s legacy of racism, which people of color struggle against in ways few white people can understand. Slavery is only a handful of generations gone and history does affect the present. Other reasons exist as well, but I’m not qualified to explain them. The article quotes someone who is:
“’We're not talking about a city, we're talking about this subpopulation, that's what drives everything,’ said David M. Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.”
So, if mainstream media, police, and sociologists realize the problem stems from a small group of people, why do we as a society persist in taking guns away from people who are not the problem? I hear crickets chirping out there.

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