When People Complain About Donald Trump’s Appeals To Base Nature…

…they really need to get some perspective.

The Philippine president-elect has encouraged the public to help him in his war against crime, urging citizens with guns to shoot and kill drug dealers who resist arrest and fight back in their neighborhoods.

In a nationally televised speech late Saturday, Rodrigo Duterte told a huge crowd in the southern city of Davao that Filipinos who help him battle crime will be rewarded.

“Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun — you have my support,” Duterte said, warning of an extensive illegal drug trade that involves even the country’s police.

If a drug dealer resists arrest or refuses to be brought to a police station and threatens a citizen with a gun or a knife, “you can kill him,” Duterte said. “Shoot him and I’ll give you a medal.”

That’s more than a wall.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Killing a police officer could become a hate crime. That’s a bad idea that is part of a larger trend of bad ideas. Punishment should depend on the act, not the motivation. I oppose the law.

Criminal law is intended to deter bad acts. Swift and certain punishment of the first bad actor will deter others from committing that bad act. Anything that makes swift and certain punishment less likely diminishes the disincentive and thereby weakens the overall purpose of criminal law.

Example: Street Thug A shoots and kills a police informant. Street Thug B shoots and kills a plainclothes undercover police officer. Why should Street Thug B’s crime be worse than Street Thug A’s crime? Murdered is murdered. How will adding an extra year to the sentence deter Street Thugs from shooting people?

Hate crime laws put the jury in the position of divining what was in a person’s heart at the time of the crime. “Who knows what Evil lurks in the hearts of men?” is a catch phrase for a vigilante, not a blueprint for justice.

Even worse, the notion sets some classes above others for arbitrary and political reasons which leads to rent-seeking and long-term fragmentation of society into special interest groups clawing to be above each other in the hierarchy of rights and punishments. In ancient times, a Lord could kill a Commoner by paying a nominal fine, but a Commoner who killed a Lord was tortured to death. America was specifically intended to put a stop to that. Hate crime legislation is a step backwards in time, it sends us in the wrong direction.

Joe Doakes

But it makes someone feel good.

Which is becoming our new legal standard.

Strib and NoMi: Accidental Honesty

The Strib ran on op-ed by a Mickey Cook, of North Minneapolis.

The whole thing ably reflects the elephant in the Metro DFL’s collective room; the CIty of Minneapolis has, for decades, left North Minneapolis to other people to fix.  While the City has invested endless money, time and care in the South side, Northeast and Dinkytown, the Northside is the hot potato in a perennial game between the City, the State and the Feds, with everyone going “Not It”.

It’s a good piece; read the whole thing.  Here’s the pullquote:

This community is falling apart, and Minneapolis is investing in an overpriced football stadium downtown and green ways and bike lanes that go largely unused in “NoMi.” The City Council is voting to ban plastic bags, while investors shoehorn complex after complex of “affordable housing” into north Minneapolis neighborhoods. Yet we can’t even maintain the mainstays of a decent retail chain store or a reliable grocery store that isn’t constantly threatening to pull out. We can’t get take-out without getting taken out. We have no peace with all of the boom cars.

Mr. (?) Cook has got the problems figured out cold.

The solution?  Let’s talk (emphasis added):

We can see you, Minneapolis. We can see the lack of attention from the police chief and the mayor, failing to enforce what few laws we do have.

There is no shortage of laws in North Minneapolis, or anywhere else in the state.  Everything that goes wrong in NoMi breaks some kind of law or another.

But enforcement?

We can see the rats’ nest of bureaucratic yarn tangle. These two officials have wholeheartedly turned their backs on this neighborhood. Their predecessors, as far back as I can remember in my four decades of living in Minnesota, have never summoned enough gusto to get things truly under control.

One wonders what sort of effort, or gusto, it would take – and whether Minneapolis’s Social Justice caste (based more in Kenwood and Crocus Hill than in NoMi, and sodden with political clout in both city halls and the state capitol) would tolerate it.

But least of all would the Social Justice caste tolerate the one thing the citizens of North Minneapolis could do that would give them a genuine voice; break their ties with the DFL and vote for an alternative to the failed one-party system that’s gotten them where they are.

Interesting Times

It’s been a fairly violent year in Saint Paul.   This past weekend was worst of all; nine total shootings, with two dead:

On the upside, I haven’t noticed the metro’s anti-gun crones blaming the shooting wave on the law-abiding gun owner yet; partly, I suspect, because they’re still learning how to update blog posts, and partly because most Metro gun grabbers don’t know where Saint Paul is (outside the Griggs Building, anyway.  BTW, if you’ve ever asked yourself “why is there a Green Line stop at Fairview Avenue, it’s because the Griggs Building is the home for most of the Democrat, Union and “Social Justice” non-profits who provide most of the Green Line’s non-criminal riders).

The bad news?  It‘s still a DFL-run city:

Addressing the root causes of violence has also been important to the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council, said Deanna Abbott-Foster, the executive director. Sunday’s homicide occurred in Dayton’s Bluff.

“We’re hoping not just to respond to violent incidents, like a murder, where we all rise up and say, ‘Oh no!’ and then go back to business as usual,” Abbott-Foster said. “We’re hoping to … take a more holistic approach and ask, ‘What’s happening here?’ There’s a lot of poverty, a lot of unemployment, all kinds of issues that lend themselves to violent outbreaks.”

Yeah, focus on that.  That’ll work.

Because poverty causes crime, right?   Like, as P.J. O’Rourke wrote 25 years ago, “if you took Thurgood Marshall’s bank account away, he’d wind up selling crack at the Port Authority”.

No.  A society where there is motive, opportunity, and increasingly little consequence for dumb people to try to take what isn’t theirs is the problem.

And after years of dodging that, er, bullet, Saint Paul is arriving in the 21st century in the worst possible way.

Damn That NRA!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Thieves used the cab of a semi-truck to smash down the door of a Ventura, California gun store to steal guns.  Video is on-line.

 15 guns in the hands of criminals and no background check!  Damn the NRA.

 Why won’t Congress pass common-sense legislation making semi-trucks safer?

 Joe Doakes

And storefronts!

Oh, wait – they already did.  The thieves got bigger trucks and heavier chains.

Why, it’s almost as if criminals will go above and beyond what the law tries to prevent them from doing…

Two Americas, Redux

As you may recall, I had the great pleasure of hobnobbing with Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager last week.

And we were regaled with Hugh’s optimism…on many fronts.  He’s an optimistic guy.  He also just landed a drive-time network talk show contract with; I’d be pretty sunny too.

But one of Hugh’s rays of sunshine continues to be his faith in the criminal justice system; that it’ll work the way it was explained when he was a 1L at Michigan Law, or maybe 9th grade civics class.  He has that faith in the system that only people in the system have.

In this case, it’s the faith that Hillary will ever be indicted, much less tried, for deliberately breaking federal law with her email server.

It’ll never happen.

Kevin Williamson:

People like Hillary Rodham Clinton do not go to jail without first becoming governor of Illinois or mayor of Detroit, and Herself always has her sights set on a higher office than those. But even relatively lowly players in her world escape jail time. Lois Lerner turned the Internal Revenue Service into a branch of the Obama campaign, using the agency’s fearsome investigatory powers to harass tea-party groups and conservative organizations. She’s enjoying a fat pension right now rather than the federal hospitality she so richly deserves. Kamala Harris, who is trying to do much the same thing with the office of the attorney general in California, probably is headed to the Senate. The Texas prosecutors who harassed Kay Bailey Hutchison, Tom DeLay, and Rick Perry for wholly imaginary crimes are in no danger of facing real recriminations.

One of the few legitimate reasons for a goverment at all is a fair, predictable, just system of justice.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has violated a half-dozen national-security statutes, has criminally withheld information from investigators, and much more. It is a safe bet that the consequences of her doing so will be considerably less than those of failing to pay a parking ticket issued by the duly constituted authorities of Muleshoe, Texas. Something about that isn’t right.

When you lose that, in addition to all the obvious things, you lose…one of the few legitimate reasons to have a government.


Up to a quarter of death penalty cases involve some degree of prosecutorial misconduct;  prosecutors behaving badly is behind a majority of the over 130 people released from death row in the past forty years.

But how often do the prosecutors and police involved in twisting the legal system against the defendant pay?

Well, once, anyway:

Today in Texas, former prosecutor and judge Ken Anderson pled guilty tointentionally failing to disclose evidence in a case that sent an innocent man,Michael Morton, to prison for the murder of his wife. When trying the case as a prosecutor, Anderson possessed evidence that may have cleared Morton, including statements from the crime’s only eyewitness that Morton wasn’t the culprit. Anderson sat on this evidence, and then watched Morton get convicted. While Morton remained in prison for the next 25 years, Anderson’s career flourished, and he eventually became a judge.

And in exchange for railroading an innocent man, what happened?

In today’s deal, Anderson pled to criminal contempt, and will have to give up his law license, perform 500 hours of community service, and spend 10 days in jail. Anderson had already resigned in September from his position on the Texas bench.

It’s a start.

I urge you to read the whole thing.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Every week, the Court of Appeals releases opinions on criminal cases.  Every week, there’s an ineligible person in possession of a pistol.  And these aren’t all of the ineligible persons in possession – these are only the ones that had a good enough legal argument to appeal.  There’s no telling how many other felons had guns but didn’t appeal, or plea-bargained the charge away.  It’s a genuine epidemic and nobody is going anything about it.

So here’s the question for every one of those cases: Where’d this particular felon get this particular pistol?  Did he pass a background check?  Order it off the Internet?  Buy it at a gun show?  Which Obama gun-control proposal would have prevented him from acquiring the pistol?  We don’t know because the court doesn’t report that fact and if the cops asked at all, the felon undoubtedly lied to protect his source.

Maybe we need an incentive program?  Maybe the cop says “Look, man, you’re going away.  Nothing can change that.  But if you give up the name – and the name checks out – we hand you $1,000 cash, tax free.   Plus you get a carton of Marlboros and one extra hour of yard time each week.”

Maybe it wouldn’t work.  But maybe it would.  We know from the War on Drugs that cracking down on suppliers is far more likely to dry up the supply than piling more restrictions on innocent, law-abiding citizens.  Why not use a proven technique in the War on Crime?

Joe Doakes

That presumes that the Minnesota left – who control law enforcment in the state – are interested in addressing crime.

Absolute Moral Authority

Jesse Hughes – lead singer of the band “Eagles of Death Metal”, the band that was playing at the Bataclan in Paris the night of the Paris Massacre – says what every gun rights activist already knows; the only response to bad guys with guns is good guys with guns:

“Did your French gun control stop a single [expletive] person from dying at the Bataclan?” Hughes said. “And if anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.”

The left’s answer, inevitably, is a series of academic postulates that wither as fast as the crowd at Bataclan under reasoned scrutiny, to say nothing of real-life events.

Dear MOA: With all due respect: QQQQ.

The only reasoned response?  You, and you alone, are responsible for your and your family’s protection.  And while the world is demonstrably safer than it was, 20 and 70 and 200 years ago, human nature means that evil, some time, some place, will be waiting for someone, somewhere – whether in the form of a lone mugger, a couple of rapists,  a gang of terrorists, or a government full of gangsters.

By the way – there’s been four terror-related mass shootings, and ten terror attacks altogether, since the Charlie Hebdo massacre, with a total death toll of 152, and 388 injured.

In Zürich, where handgun carry permits are relatively plentiful?  Holding steady at zero and zero.  While correlation doesn’t equal causation, it fits a pattern that we see here in the US, and that they saw in Israel in the seventies; terrorists (like delusional mass-shooters in general) avoid places where there might be resistance.

Cause And Effect?

Panera is the latest large chain to succumb to the blandishments of “Harpies For A Criminal-Safe World” “Moms Want Action” (a fully-owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg).

Bakery-cafe chain Panera Bread has joined a growing list of retailers including Starbucks and Target  by announcing that customers should leave their guns at home.

It makes no difference to me – I have eaten at Panera exactly thrice, and the last two, it was because someone else was picking up the tab.   I never ever really want an $8 grilled cheese sandwich that bad.

In the weeks and months leading up to this policy announcement, Panera Bread sought advice from Michael Bloomberg-backed Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, now part of the former Mayor’s $50 million Everytown nonprofit.

Behind every dumb decision about guns…

“Panera deserves our thanks and our congratulations for taking this important step, and I applaud the company for proactively consulting Moms Demand Action as it developed and implemented its policy,” said the group’s founder Shannon Watts, who has herself become the focus of ire from open carry activists and the NRA in recent months following efforts to see retailers and restaurant chains change their firearms policies.

And everyone deserves Moms Want Action’s(a fully-owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg) thanks for taking this action, which will end “gun violence” at Panera restraurants nationwide…

…oh, wait.   Never mind.

Why I Oppose The Death Penalty, Part MMMIX

Convictions gained through official misconduct; it’s not just for Manitowoc County Wisconsin any more.

Among those exonerated, 58 had been convicted of homicide, including five people who had been sentenced to death, it said. About three-quarters of the homicide exonerations included official misconduct, it said.

Another large group involved drug possession. Many times people held in custody falsely confessed to a crime to avoid a trial where they faced much longer sentences, the report said.

Texas was the top state for exonerations, propelled by conviction integrity units set up in its most populous counties. The state known for its tough approach on crime has also been a national leader in prosecutorial reform.

“For the integrity of the system, it is the right thing to do,” said Inger Chandler, head of the Harris County District Attorney’s Conviction Review Section, where there were 42 exonerations in 2015.

As long as prosecutors’ employment depends on politics, our “Justice” system will have a noxious layer of endemic injustice baked in.

A Little Trouble

I’m not sure a lot of people on the left really understand what the Hillary Clinton email scandal entails.

And I’m not sure reading this excellent synopsis by Deroy Murdock will help – because if there’s anything liberals “get” less than economics, it’s intelligence.

But for those with ears to hear, Murdock’s piece is pretty damning.  Some of the consequences of having a foreign power “out” a “Special Action Program”:

  1. Intel officers responsible for those programs must be alerted.
  2. Once alerted that SAP was mishandled and on a system that has been attacked, it is only prudent to end those programs.
  3. What does ending those programs mean? Depending on the SAP involved, it could mean redoing war plans, terminating ongoing covert actions, rethinking how the exposed covert actions must be done and executing on that new plan, or, if it reveals a source, removing that source from his environment.
  4. That has a significant impact. Presume, if you will, that it was a source. If that source were providing intel of such value that it rose to the SecState, now we’ve lost that source.
  5. Intel officers care about their sources, and for two reasons. One, we’re human beings. We don’t want those assisting us and our country to be hurt, even though we recognize the danger in which they are placing themselves. Two, the business model doesn’t work very well if sources think they’ll be outed. The US intel community already has so much trouble in that regard due to Edward Snowden and Bradley [now Chelsea] Manning. This just compounds it. Think about the next meeting between a prospective source and a CIA case officer trying to recruit that source to risk his/her life for the United States: “Are you sure a high-level official won’t out me?”

Read the whole thing.

And give it to your liberal friends.  See if the eyes glaze over with incomprehension.

A Good Guy With A Gun?

A couple of wannabe thugs apparently tried to turn a craigslist transaction into a heist in Shakopee yesterday.

And while the article doesn’t say so explicitly, reading between the lines, it would appear the Fugs picked the wrong guy:

Police radio reports indicated that the apparent victim of the attempted robbery had a handgun and fired at the would-be robber. Shakopee police and other law officers were looking for a silver-gray Chevrolet Venture van with at least two people inside, with at least one armed with a revolver.

Radio reports indicated that the robber ran from the scene toward the White Castle restaurant near Walmart and then got into a vehicle, which reportedly got on Highway 169. The State Patrol was looking for the vehicle.

The apparent victim was waiting near the Walmart garden center entrance for police. He apparently was not injured.

Police were planning to look at store video.

The article doesn’t say so explicitly – but waiting for the cops at the store after an incident is the behavior you’d expect from someone who took carry permit training.

Kim Norton and Heather Martens, obviously, would have preferred that the victim submit meekly, and maybe die.

UPDATE:  The Strib is being veeeeeeery slow to release the facts of this case, including who shot first and who shot who.

This Story…

…is being treated as a sign of how very out-of-touch and cripplingly politically-correct Chicago, and the city’s airport authority, are:  airport cops – who are unarmed at O’Hare and Midway Airports – are being instructed to scamper away and hide in the event of a mass shooting at either airport:

“If evacuation is not possible, you should find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Block entry to your hiding place and lock the door,” but Matt Brandon, secretary-treasurer of the airport officers union, told CNN they have serious issues with the protocol.

“These men and women are sent to the Chicago police academy, and trained as police officers, and being a former police officer, I know your first instinct is to go to the problem — not run away from the problem.”

On the other hand?  I think every cop in America should be given the opportunity to contemplate facing a mass shooting with nothing but their wits and charm…

…well, no.  Not every cop in America.

Just every urban police chief.

Every urban police chief – the ones the gun grabbers always cite as supporting gun control – should be inveighed spend some time in a “gun free zone” as a “gun-free” person.  Not as a Blue Noble with the power of life and death.  No – just like every other schlub.

Failing that, though?  Unarmed cops at two of the major airports in one of the biggest “gun-free” cities / crime cesspools in the country?

Just brilliant.

A Laughing Matter

While the Democrats love to prate and gabble about “gun violence”, they stay rigorously clear on the one “gun safety” measure that has a proven record of, y’know, reducing gun crime – prosecuting criminals who use guns.

The federal legal framework for going after gun criminals has existed for a long, long time – but different administrations, shall we say, approach the issue with different degrees of vigor:


The Clinton administration talked a good game on guns–remember the “assault weapons” ban?–but when it came to actual law enforcement, its record was horrendous. (Someone should mention that to Hillary.) Things shaped up considerably under the Bush administration, which achieved record levels of gun-crime-related convictions. But when Barack Obama became president and Eric Holder took over the Department of Justice, enforcement went straight downhill. Over the course of the Obama administration, it has only gotten worse. Today, gun convictions are down 35% since the Bush administration peak in 2005 and 2006. Obama and Holder had an agenda, but it wasn’t law enforcement.

So on guns, as with regard to most other issues, Barack Obama is all talk. He isn’t interested in solving problems, he is just seeking political advantage. His corrupt administration can’t end soon enough.

Unless, of course, it’s replaced by something worse.

Gun Homicide: Comparing Apples And Apples, Part IV

On Friday, we talked about comparing the US murder rate to the rest of the world.

Monday, the subject was what’d happen if we excluded America’s top forty highest-crime cities from the average.

Yesterday, we talked about what’d happen if we left the Old South, with its centuries of relatively violent Scots-Irish heritage, out of the nation’s murder rate.

In every case, the results were big.

Now, let’s go bigger.

The Math:  Here’s what it comes down to.

If you take the US’s 319 million people and 12,000-odd homicides (about 8,000 of which involve guns), and subtract:

  • murders in the states of the Old South, the former Confederate and Border states (with population and murders from from Southern cities among “Top Fifty” cities’ overlapping murder rates removed, since they’re counted in the next bullet, and we wouldn’t want to deduct them twice)
  • murders in the fifty US cities with the highest murder rates

And what does that leave?

Peace And Tranquility:  Incredibly, of the roughly 12,000 murders in the US in 2014, around 8,700 took place in either the Top Fifty crime cities, or the former slave states.

That’s 71% of the homicides for the entire US.

In other words, just a little over a quarter of all murders in the US happen outside the Old South and the fifty cities  and the slightly over a third of the population, with the highest murder rates.

The homicide rate for rest of the US – including many of its largest cities, and all of its urban and suburban areas outside Dixie –  falls to…1.8 per 100,000.   That’s the same as Israel – and it’s tied for #163 in the world.  It’s about 20% lower than Norway’s murder rate.   It’s not a lot higher, statistically, than Belgium, Canada, or Finland.

It’s about the same as North Dakota’s was, before the oil boom. Or Vermont today.

Or, as a matter of fact, almost identical to that of…

…wait for it…

…no, wait for it…

Peaceful, placid, passive-aggressive Minnesota.  North Minneapolis included.

And firearm crimes are more like 1.1-1.2/100,000.  Not “vanishingly low”, but pretty low.   About the same a Croatia, Macedonia, or Israel.

So…What?:  One of the Second Amendment movement’s oldest, most successful aphorisms is “guns don’t kill people; people do”.

And people do evil, or stupid, things for as many reasons as there are people.

But there are some overarching patterns that drive violence in the US; a violence-prone urban culture, with its gangs and black-marketeering and deeply dysfunctional justice system, and a deep south with a tolerance for petty and major violence that far exceeds the rest of the country.

And with those controlled for, the level of violence in the US, by world standards, is to say the least, low.

Continue reading

Crime Tips From Mike Freeman

A friend sends this passage from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, on KSTP news last night:

Today’s crime tips from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman:

“If you’re going to rob or burglered (sic) you know, the burgluring you can do in an unoccupied home and take the stuff and get out of there. If you’re going to rob a person you knock them down, take their money, and go. You don’t kill them.” – KSTP News at 6:30

i’m sure that will help.

Gun Homicide: Comparing Apples And Apples, Part III

Friday, we noted that gun grabbers try their darnedest to keep discussions of murder rates to “western, industrialized” countries – because of course brown people in the third world only matter if you can get them to vote Democrat.

And yesterday, we discussed both the murder rate in America’s 50 cities with the highest murder rates, and how subtracting their population and murders from the US rates drops the US overall murder rate by over a quarter.

Still Smelling The Gunpowder:  But cities don’t have a monopoly on criminal pathologies.  But they share some reasons.

In the immediate wake of the 2008 elections, a wave of pundits and scholars, including the U of M’s Eric Ostermeier, noted a factoid; states that voted for John McCain had higher crime rates than states that voted for Obama.

In response, I pointed out a couple of things:

  • state by state comparisons were meaningless, since the real breaking point in crime numbers occurs when comparing urban, suburban and rural counties
  • If you left out the McCain states that were members of the Confederacy, McCain’s states had extremely low murder and violent crime rates.

Let’s look a little further.

Of Trash And Accent:  The states that became the Confederacy were most notably marked by the presence of slavery – and African-America still suffers from some of the aftereffects of slavery and post-slavery discrimination – but there was more to it than that.

The Old South brought with it some of the worst features of the post-feudal European society that it sprang from – including a fairly rigid class structure.  At the top were the aristocratic, largely British plantationers.  At the bottom, of course, were the slaves

Not far up from the slaves were the masses of what in Europe would have been called peasants; white, largely Scots-Irish people, mostly poor, many of whom came to the US under indentured conditions not much better than slavery.  They lived, until well after the Civil War, under a caste system that didn’t stress upward mobility, or any of the things – education, civil behavior and the like – that led to it.  That, combined with the Scots-Irish heritage of a level of tolerance for violence far above and beyond that of most European transplants, with honor killings, duels, violent family feuds and other shenanigans a part of the background until fairly recently, helped lead to an ambient level of violence far higher than the rest of what became the US, even before there was a US.

You want it spelled out in more detail?  See a sociologist specializing in southern Scots-Irish culture.

What it boils doen to is that even today, in the states that made up the Confederacy (I included the former “Border States” of Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland, by the way – they weren’t in the Confederacy, but they kept slaves and had plantation systems, which is what led to the sociological pathologies in the first place), the roughly 113 million residents have an overall murder rate of 5.8 per 100,000.  By themselves, the states of the old Confederacy alone had a murder rate of 6.1/100/000.

The Math:  So let’s leave the population, and murder rate, of the Old South out of the picture.  With their population and murders dropped out of the population, but still including the population and murders of every city outside the Old South, all of the Detroits and Newarks and Oaklands, the US’s murder rate drops to 2.99 per 100,000.  That’s a drop of a little over a quarter.

It’s a murder rate comparable with that in Taiwan, or Nepal.

So what happens when we leave America’s two greatest concentrations of violent pathology out of the nation’s murder rate?

We’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Continue reading

Gun Homicide: Comparing Apples And Apples, Part II

Last Friday, we noted that to the US’s murder rate of 3.8 per 100,000 ranks 121st in the world overall.

Which, to “Gun Safety” advocates, is just wrong; they insist on constraining the comparison to only “western, industrialized” countries – as if the life of a human being in Honduras or South Africa is somehow worth less, or their murder is of less weight than someone from Highland Park.   And I noted that the reasons for the comparison are to make the US look as bad as possible, against small, socially-homogenous countries like Denmark and Norway and Japan.

But I noted that among larger, westernized nations with at least a passing notion of human rights and any kind of social diversity at all, the US still fares pretty well

But then, I thought – what if we factor out the parts of US society that have the major crime problems?  What happens then?

In The City:  First, I thought, we should take a look at America’s cities.

For whatever reason, cities have almost always had a disproportionate murder rate.

So why is that?

Well, that question is one that keeps scads of otherwise unemployable sociologists hard at work.   But it’s no secret that American cities are faced with three pathologies:

  • A “War on Drugs” that creates a lucrative black market in which someone with no education can make a stupendous income – provided he or she is willing to defend that income by all means necessary. The estimates of how many murders occur due to the “drug war” vary, but range as high as half.
  • An “urban culture” that glorifies violence.
  • Decades of social service agencies using the inner cities as “warehouses for the poor”, for bureaucratic and political reasons.  And while there’s little direct causal link between poverty and crime, long-term grinding poverty certainly provides fertile soil for growing crime.

Also, of the top 50 cities in terms of homicide rate – accounting for 11.3% of the population of the US – all but a very vanishing few are Democrat-controlled.  This isn’t so much intended to politicize the issue as to point out that single-party-dominated governments are always less effective at carrying out government’s valid jobs, like law enforcement.

But the fact is, some American cities have downright third-world murder rates:  Saint Louis tops the list in 2014, with almost 50 homicides per 100,000.  Detroit clocks in at 43.5.   We have 25 cities with murder rates above 10/100,000 – triple the national average.

In fact, if you take the ten US cities with the highest murder rates -Saint Louis, DetroitNew Orleans, Baltmore, Newark, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Atlanta, Cincinnati – they add up to about 1% of the entire population of the US – but they account for a solid 10% of all homicides in America.

But let’s go bigger than that.

The fifty American cities with the highest murder rates – from Saint Louis down to Charlotte, NC (5.5/100,000) together accounted for approximately 4.426 murders in 2015 – about 3,000 of them likely with firearms.

The Math:  So when you take the top fifty US cities in terms of murder rate, with their 34,7521.052 people (11.3% of the population), and their approximately 4,530 homicides from the US’s population and total number of murders, and subtract them from the rest of the United states, you get about 284 million people, and a murder rate of just under 2.68 per 100.000 people.  That’s roughly equal to the murder rate in Hungary – it ranks the US at #145 worldwide.

It also means that about 11% of the entire US population commits about 38% of the murders.

But the problems of American urban society aren’t the only ones driving up the United States’ homicide rate.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at a problem that dates back to before there were cities, or a United States for that matter.

  • Last Friday: Intro
  • Today:  The effect urban crime has on America’s murder rate.
  • Tomorrow:  We’ll look at the murder rate in the Deep South.
  • Wednesday:  We’ll see what the US’ murder rate would be without its biggest social pathologies.

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Gun Homicide: Comparing Apples And Apples, Part I

When you get into a discussion with “Gun Safety” advocates, they usually start by knowingly, solemnly intoning that the US has some variant of “the highest gun murder rate in the developed world”.

In response to which I always ask two questions:

  • Why just “western, developed countries?”:  The United States’ murder rate is actually in the bottom 2/3 of the world; with 3.8 murders overall per 100,099 people, we rank #121 in terms of murders overall.   And isn’t murder, murder?  Isn’t the life of a Honduran, or a Venezuelan, or an Indian or Russian, worth exactly the life of an American?   Isn’t their murder just as grave an offense?
  • Why just “firearms” murders?:  In the immortal words of Archie Bunker:

    Are we to believe that murders committed with guns are more heinous than other murders? That murders with knives, clubs, gasoline or bare hands are somehow of less weight than those using firearms? That’s utterly illogical.

The stated goal of comparing only “western, industrialized” countries, we’re told, would be to “compare apples to apples”.  The real goal is to try to cherrypick results.  Of course the US will have a higher murder rate than Denmark, Sweden or Belgium – all of them are small, socially and culturally homogenous countries.   And of course we’ll have a higher murder rate than, say, Japan – a larger nation, but with a socially homogenous population (that, incidentally, tolerates police powers that’d make the ACLU yak up it’s collective skull).

So the correct response is to really compare apples to apples:  large, socially-diverse societies with at least a pretense of individual rights (and it may be a thin pretense indeed).

There, the US and it’s 3.8/100,000 murder rate (about 2/3 of which are firearm murders) looks pretty good compared to other large, industralized, socially and culturally heterogenous nations and the frictions and stresses they lend to the situation:

  • Argentina: 5.5
  • Brazil: 25.2
  • Russia: 9.0
  • South Africa: 31.0
  • India:  3.5 (and virtually no civilian gun ownership)

But I got to thinking:  What if we took the next step, and accounted for the effect of social and cultural diversity and history in the US murder rate?

What effect would that have?

We’ll tackle that next week:

  • Monday:  We’ll look at the effect urban crime has on America’s murder rate.
  • Tuesday:  We’ll look at the murder rate in the Deep South.
  • Wednesday:  We’ll see what the US’ murder rate would be without its biggest social pathologies.



Blood On The PC Merchants’ Hands

In 1994, in a church parking lot off of Sixth and Arcade on the East Side of St. Paul, Guy Harvey Baker, a deranged Gulf War veteran, shot and killed a Saint Paul police officer – Ron Ryan Jr.

Baker then drove towards a woman, standing in the door of the nearby apartment building across the parking lot, to eliminate the only eyewitness.

A man in an apartment building across the street, Lyle Granlund, who happened to be an expert marksman – and had a loaded handgun at hand – considered shooting the murderer.  But then, he reconsidered – thinking that Tom Foley, the Ramsey County attorney and Wahhabi DFLer – would likely prosecute him with just as much zeal as he would the cop killer.

So instead, Granlund shot to mark the car – putting rounds through the back windshield, lodging them quite intentionally in the dashboard and glove box, saving a round in case Baker came after him next.  Baker took off, to be found later that day (via the broken back window), leading to a further shoot out that killed another St. Paul policeman, Officer Tim Jones, as well as his dog Laser.  Had Granlund not feared prosecution (quite legitimately – Foley did, in fact, try to prosecute him, and stopped only when the St. Paul police refused to cooperate), Baker would have ended his spree in that parking lot, with one dead, and Officer Jones would have lived to serve another day.

Political correctness killed a police officer.

And it’s tragic to see that we have learned absolutely nothing from the event. It’s entirely likely that 14 people are dead in San Bernardino because people fear politically correctness-induced repercussions is on the part of the authorities more than they do criminals.

Enough Is Enough

I’ve been offline for a bit, so I guess I’m just catching up, here.

My condolences to the victims of yesterday’s episode of workplace violence in San Bernardino.

Clearly, the avalanche of white-supremacist violence that the left, media and Administration (pardon the redundancy), and especially against the Planned Parenthood clinic just two miles away from the event, in our climate-change-afflicted nation, have been warning us about is coming rapidly to pass.

The real tragedy is this: if California merely banned magazines larger than ten rounds, as well as a much wider range of “assault weapons” than Federal law currently addresses, and instituted much more intrusive background checks than the rest of the country, none of this would have happened.

We can still be thankful that none of the victims, being in a “gun-free” government building, were able to resist, or who knows how bad it could have gotten?