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Guns and violence — A bullet point reality check

By Mark Alexander
web posted October 16, 2017

In the tragic wake of our nation's most recent sociopathic mass murder, there is a natural instinct in all of us to seek preventive measures to end such attacks. The uncomfortable truth is, however, that there are no measures to preclude the manifestations of evil.

But endeavoring to solve the "gun problem" in America, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has proposed the latest of some 23,000 federal, state and local laws regulating firearms — in this instance the banning of the "bump stock" weapon adaptation that increased the lethality of this most recent assailant's firearms. That device was approved for sale in 2010 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under none other than Barack Hussein Obama's regime, at the same time that his corrupt attorney general, Eric Holder, was using that agency as a regulatory tool to implement their "gun control" agenda.

Feinstein admitted that no law would have stopped the Las Vegas assault: "[The assailant] passed background checks, registering for handguns and other weapons on multiple occasions." She then remembered who she was and declared, "We need a law..."

But while such laws make good political fodder, the fallacy lies in their sense of solution and security: It's pure fantasy.

Of course, Feinstein and her statist ilk are always looking for a path to undermine the Second Amendment. As she said, "It is legal for an American to carry a weapon. It's legal for them to drive a car. However, they register that car." Recall that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was asked last week if she viewed her opportunistic legislative push as a slippery slope toward total gun control. She replied, "I certainly hope so."

Despite the salvation promised by Feinstein and Pelosi, the sociopathic assailant in Las Vegas could have killed and injured many more civilians had he driven a large truck at high speed into the street-level venue of more than 20,000 people. (Recall the motorized attack in Nice, France, last year, killing 85?)

For the record, I don't believe a device that increases the lethality of an assailant's weapon of choice should be legal when its application is intended to circumvent the law — in this case, the National Firearms Act of 1934, which banned possession of select-fire fully automatic weapons without a permit. That law was intended to appease the public concerns about the rising violence of organized crime syndicates, like that of Chicago's South Side Italian gang led by Al "Scarface" Capone.

But have you seen the data on Chicago murders lately — murders by a whole new generation of gangsters spawned, ironically, not by alcohol prohibition but drug prohibition? The grim stats for most any weekend alone exceed Capone's 1929 Valentine's Day Massacre.

Today, Obama's Democrat hometown fiefdom of Chicago, with the nation's strictest gun prohibition laws, accounted for almost half of 2016's homicide increase nationwide. And per capita, Chicago is not the deadliest of the Democrats' urban poverty plantations. The 30 cities with the highest murder rates have been under Democrat control for decades.

To divert attention from that reality, Democrats and their Demo/MSM propaganda machine insist that violence in their urban centers is a "gun problem," but in fact, violence is a Democrat constituency and policy problem.

(And on the subject of media, no one glorifies "gun violence" more than leftist "entertainment industry" hypocrites.)

There is ample evidence that, in the decade up to 2015, as gun ownership increased in the U.S., the rate of violent crime dropped almost 50%. Thus, as research by former Yale professor John Lott concludes, "More Guns, Less Crime."

To that point, one of the safest places on the planet is a National Rifle Association convention or any gun show across the nation — where the per-capita concentration of firearms nears 100%. In fact, the cities that host NRA conventions record significant drops in violent crime while its members are in town.

And on the subject of the NRA as a Leftmedia "whipping boy," columnist Jonah Goldberg wrote this week, "The op-ed pages have been suffused with claims that the NRA has bought Republicans with blood money, stifling the popular will and thwarting democracy in the process. There's just one problem: It's not true. Consider that $3.5 million in [NRA] donations over nearly 20 years The Washington Post made such a fuss about. According to Opensecrets.org, the legal profession contributed $207 million to politicians in 2016 alone."

After decades of declining violence, murder rates began trending upward in 2015 and 2016, according to the latest FBI crime stats, due in large measure to the "Ferguson Effect." Police in urban areas with high crime are backing off enforcement because, after the justified shooting of a Ferguson, Missouri, thug, national and local politicians joined Barack Obama's war on cops, condemning them for alleged "racial profiling."

That notwithstanding, what follows is a bullet-point reality check regarding firearms and violent crime in America and around the world.

We can all agree that one murder in America is too many, and there is an epidemic of violence across our nation.

  • For context, here is the most recent annual data on mortality in America by the numbers:

88,000 people died from alcohol-related causes.

64,000 people died from drug overdoses.

44,000 people died by suicide, many related to drug and alcohol abuse.

40,000 people died in motor vehicles crashes, about a third related to drug and alcohol abuse.

  • Regarding murder rates, the latest FBI uniform crime report lists 17,250 people murdered in the U.S. in 2016. In 70% of those cases, the assailant used a firearm. It is estimated that in less than one-half of 1% of those murders, an "assault weapon" was used.

And again, as noted above, Chicago alone accounted for half the surge in murders last year, but three other long-held Democrat urban centers — Baltimore, Houston and New Orleans — are competing for the murder capital title, though a city's fatal shooting ranking doesn't necessarily reflect its ranking for all shootings.

  • The most significant statistical fact that Democrats do not want you to know: The vast majority of murders in the U.S. are related to drug and gang violence in urban centers and are disproportionately black-on-black. If you aren't involved in one or the other, your chances of becoming a murder victim drop to Western European levels.
  • International rankings: Among the 10 countries with the lowest crime rates, several are among the countries with the highest gun ownership, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Iceland.
  • The United States, despite the gang and drug violence, does not rate among the top 25 nations with the highest murder rates.

Notably, however, according to the latest data, among the world's most violent cities, almost all were Third World, with the following notable Democrat-controlled exceptions:

Number 36 was Detroit, which had 44.60 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Number 34 was New Orleans, which had 45.17 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Number 26 was Baltimore, which had 51.14 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Number 14 was St. Louis, which had 60.37 homicides per 100,000 residents.

  • Regarding Donald Trump's renewed call for tougher immigration enforcement: Most of the world's most violent cities were in the Western Hemisphere, south of our border. Indeed, illegal immigrants from those areas have seeded violent gangs in each of the U.S. cities among the top 50.
  • Mexico, from where most illegal immigrants come, now ranks as the second most murderous nation in the world — second only to war-torn Syria.
  • Concerning Democrats' most-oft cited model for gun confiscation, Australia, where most firearms were "bought back" in 1996: According to the latest firearms causation study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, while there was a "decline in firearm deaths between 1997 and 2013," there was "a decline in total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths of a greater magnitude," thus, "it is not possible to determine whether the change in firearm deaths can be attributed to the gun law reforms."

Finally, some observations about violence being a cultural problem, not a "gun problem."

The esteemed George Mason University professor Walter E. Williams concludes that guns aren't the problem, regressives are: "Customs, traditions, moral values and rules of etiquette, not just laws and government regulations, are what make for a civilized society, not restraints on inanimate objects. ... The benefit of having customs, traditions and moral values as a means of regulating behavior is that people behave themselves even if nobody's watching. In other words, it's morality that is society's first line of defense against uncivilized behavior. ... The attack on moral standards has been orchestrated by the education establishment and progressives."

Political analyst George Neumayr observes, "'Sensible gun control' is the elite's euphemism for making sure that everyone except their bodyguards are deprived of guns. Beware of the word 'sensible' in the mouth of statists. It is what they say right before they violate a right. The left is neither sensible nor serious about controlling wicked behavior. If it were, it would seek to shore up the foundations of civilization, without which the multiplication of laws is useless, to which the tragedy in Las Vegas attests."

And a final observation on Americans and guns from The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan, who wrote in "The Culture of Death — and of Disdain":

I think a lot of Americans have guns because they're fearful — and for damn good reason. They fear a coming chaos, and know that when it happens it will be coming to a nation that no longer coheres. They think it's all collapsing — our society, our culture, the baseline competence of our leadership class. They see the cultural infrastructure giving way — illegitimacy, abused children, neglect, racial tensions, kids on opioids staring at screens — and, unlike their cultural superiors, they understand the implications.

The establishments and elites that create our political and entertainment culture have no idea how fragile it all is — how fragile it seems to people living normal, less privileged lives. That is because nothing is fragile for them. They're barricaded behind the things the influential have, from good neighborhoods to security alarms, doormen and gates. They're not dark in their imagining of the future because history has never been dark for them; it's been sunshine, which they expect to continue. They sail on, oblivious to the legitimate anxieties of their countrymen who live near the edge.

Noonan succinctly described why, against all conventional political odds, Donald Trump was elected president. And she makes clear, as did our Founders, that the Second Amendment is not about the "tradition of hunting," as Democrats often suggest, but about the fundamental right to defend Liberty and self. ESR

Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.




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