Homicide Spurt in American Cities Is a Crime-Control Problem, Not a Gun-Control Problem
Blame was quickly placed on gun owners with Chicago School Superintendent Arne Duncan leading the way, commenting the murders resulted from “our appalling fascination with guns”. It seems to me it represents an “appalling fascination with murder” not guns since 99.99% of Illinois gun-owners were not involved in the murders. Most of the murders were committed by young people, making one wonder if there is a stronger relationship to Chicago school’s 51% graduation rate than a “fascination with guns”. The graduation rate is something Mr. Duncan has control of, so it may be something he would rather not talk about. It is much easier for Duncan to blame guns and lack of gun control, rather than address his own shortcomings.
Washington, D.C. and Chicago have some of the strongest gun control laws in the country. Obviously, the criminals who committed these crimes were ignoring those laws. In fact, according to Chicago Police statistics from January 1st through April 30th, 96% of murderers had criminal records, as did 72% of the victims. So what we have are criminals, who should not have guns under current gun control laws, killing mostly other known criminals. Of course, about 30% of victims (and maybe more) were innocent bystanders or victims of robbery and home invasion. The question is why are these violent criminals on the street? Isn’t that a “crime control” problem rather than a “gun control” problem?
And who is in charge in these high crime areas? By and large, liberal Democrats control American cities. For example, in Illinois, if you eliminate Chicago murders, the state's murder rate is about the same as Finland's, while Chicago’s rate would be greater than Mexico’s, whose murder rate is the sixth highest in the world. Mexico, by the way, has more restrictive gun laws than the U.S., but a murder rate three times that of the U.S. And, no, restrictions on gun sales do not help. Mexico has only one gun store (in Mexico City) and it takes 30 days for a citizen to be approved to purchase a very restricted list of guns. This pretty well disproves Chicago Mayor Daley’s contention that tighter government control of gun store sales would minimize gun crime.
Another very liberal Democratic city is Detroit--where no Republicans hold an elected citywide office. Disproving Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s contention that it is the white power structure responsible for the African-American dilemma, the mayor, the district attorney and eight of the nine city council members are black. No white guys to blame in this city, just liberal Democrats. Again, when we separate Detroit from the rest of Michigan we find the gun crime problem concentrated in the Democratic areas with Detroit’s 8% of the state's population perpetrating 59% of the murders. That puts Detroit’s murder rate above Jamaica’s, which is the third highest in the world. And Jamaica’s gun laws may be the most restrictive in the world. Possession of a single bullet, with or without a gun, is punishable by life in prison.
Crime control is and always has been a political issue. So, when crime is not controlled adequately, we must then look to the political system in charge. In the case of many American cities, liberal Democrats are in charge and, therefore, must take responsibility--rather than trying to redirect blame to those law-abiding citizens, including gun owners, living outside urban areas. Statistics show--beyond any argument--legal gun ownership, i.e., guns not owned by convicted criminals, is not an issue in inner-city crime.
So, what are the liberal Democratic policies that contribute to the Third World murder rate prevalent in our cities?
1. Undying liberal Democratic support of public sector unions, especially the teachers unions. High salaries, benefits and pensions of public sector unions drive up taxes, even as economic output decreases. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Detroit where only 21% of high school students graduate. Considering the abject failure to deliver quality education services to their hard-pressed constituents, why don’t liberal Democratic politicians in Detroit opt for school vouchers to allow at least some children to escape the education prison they are shackled to?
2. An anti-business bias which stifles job growth. In Chicago, both Jesse Jackson and ACORN [Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now] led protests against Wal-Mart opening a store in a poor Chicago neighborhood. Apparently, the creation of 500 jobs was not in the best interest of either Jackson or ACORN. Therefore, Wal-Mart simply moved the store just outside city limits and 500 other people took those jobs. Add to that high property taxes, high crime rates and high regulation hurdles and you have a formula for economic failure which is obvious in places like Chicago and Detroit.
3. Not discouraging the violent, misogynist and anti-police rhetoric of the hip-hop/rap culture. Failure of officials to take a stand on moral issues contributes to the death spiral of inner-city neighborhoods. When you live in the most crime-infested areas of the country, the police are not pigs, racial profilers or brutality-merchants. They are saviors.
Only by changing self-defeating public policies like those above can city politicians diminish crime rates and encourage self-help and self-improvement. These elected officials should start with vouchers for kids who don’t graduate, create enterprise zones, lower taxes and provide micro-loans to encourage business (and job) development and hand down longer jail sentences for violent criminals. Finally, how about offering more support for law enforcement in crime-ridden neighborhoods to counter the poverty-industrial-complex supporters, such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
This would not be a resolution for all problems related to our inner-cities, but it would be a start.
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