Friday, October 21, 2016

Why Political Gun Control Fails: A "Progressive" gets it Half-Right

Gary Younge has written a book about young people shot during one day in November of 2013.  After the failure of President Obama's push for more infringements on the Second Amendment, he decided to pick one day at random, determine the details of each young shooting victim, and put a human face on them.  It must have seemed like a good idea, a way to mix activism and to make a buck while pushing the gun-hater agenda.

The problem became that Younge is honest enough to tell the truth of what he found, as much as he could, given his false assumptions about the nature of reality.

He found that the gun hater movement is based on lies.  Younge does a bit of truth-stretching himself.  He calls 18 and 19 year old adults "children".  He has to do this to get the numbers that the gun haters use in their propaganda.  The vast majority of "children" killed with guns are young males from 15 to 25, nearly all of which are victims of gang violence. Most are involved in the gangs themselves.

He found that parents in the ghettos where these killing occurred do not think that "gun control" is the answer to the problem.  From
Which brings us to the second thing that struck me while talking to these families about the 10 young deaths of November 23: When I posed an open-ended question to the victims’ parents about why they thought these tragedies kept happening, not a single one mentioned guns. When I asked a more leading question about what they specifically thought of guns, they would always be more forthcoming. Almost all of them saw the ubiquity of guns as a problem. But it did not necessarily follow that they saw getting rid of guns as a viable solution.
As is usual with today's "progressives", Gary blames the killings on the guns, not the people who are shooting them.  He uses the old "developed nation" scam to claim that it is the presence of guns that cause the killings.  That scam depends on the reader never checking out the facts about international comparisons.  It is all about selection bias.  If you cherry pick what you call "developed" you can make any case you want.  The truth is that other nations have many more or less homicides than the United States, per capita, and many more or less suicides per capita than the United States.  The number of guns has little influence on those numbers.  If you look at individual nations before and after gun controls were implemented, there is little change, except murder rates tend to rise slightly after controls are imposed.

But Gary did not have to investigate international comparisons for this book, so he is just spouting "progressive" dogma.

As a leftist, it is not surprising that Gary puts forward the usual excuse of racism for the high level of criminality in the communities where violence is concentrated. But any community where the rule of law is not trusted will tend toward high levels of violence.  The same result is found all over the world, in communities of people in Africa, South America, Europe, and Asia. When there is no reliable rule of law, people revert to tribalism. In the U.S., the tribes or proto-tribes, are gangs. The commonality is the lack of an effective rule of law, not a common color.  The cure is to build trust for the rule of law.

If the high crime rates in black urban areas are going to be reduced, people in those areas must come to understand that the rule of law is real and will be enforced in their neighborhood.  It is precisely what has worked in the approach pushed by David Kennedy from Harvard.

Pushing the idea that black people cannot rely on the rule of law creates the conditions that multiply crimes and criminality in black neighborhoods. Pushing the meme that racism is the cause instead of the lack of the rule of law makes matters worse by creating distrust and an unwillingness to cooperate with the authorities.  We are seeing that problem playing out with the Ferguson effect, all across the country.

The tone of the article in The Nation is refreshingly pessimistic.  Gary does not have any solution to the intractable problem he found.

The facts are against the imposition of gun control in the United States.  People do not blame the actions of criminals on the guns that they use.  People who do not live in ghettos do not see the ghetto problems as their problems.  People who do not face a high risk of murder do not see a need for infringements on the Second Amendment. People who face a high risk of murder find the idea of being armed a reasonable response.

I am not going to buy Gary's book, at least not now.  Maybe in a few months, off the remainder table.  I already know the reality far better than Gary, because I have studied the issue for decades.  But "progressives" who have some honesty in their soul, if they check out the facts, may realize the narrative they have been sold is false.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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