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:

Hinderaker:

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.


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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.


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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?

UPDATE:  Oh.

Surely There Must Be Some Mistake

UPDATE:  As always we follow the 24 hour rule here in SITD.

But – and I’m strictly speculating here – am I the only one who thinks it’s odd that the killer or killers (news reporters are conflicted on that point) didn’t stick around to go out in the usual blaze of media glory, but shot up the meeting and drove away in a “black SUV?”


Another mass shooting in California.

That is to say, a state that has every restriction that gun owners want (or admit to wanting so far):  magazine limits, background checks on private sales, the works.

A state that does its best to prevent a “good guy” from getting a gun.

How could this possibly be?

Watch for the media and the “President” to try not to waste the crisis – and for a lot of lies from both.  And above all, remember the 24 hour rule with media coverage.

 

Charges

The Henco Attorney’s office hit the noon deadline on Monday to charge the suspects in last week’s shooting at the Black Lives Matter rally.

And the charges are interesting:

Allen Lawrence Scarsella, 23, of Lakeville, was charged with six counts including second-degree riot and second-degree assault. Joseph Martin Backman, 27, of Eagan, Nathan Wayne Gustavsson, 22, of Hermantown and Daniel Thomas Macey, 26, of Pine City were each charged with one count of second-degree riot-armed with a dangerous weapon.

Bear in mind that Macey was one of those rare Asian white supremacists.

Quite the melting-pot we have, here.

Anyway – as the media begins the process of trying this case in public, some people are going to be disappointed right out of the gate:

Freeman said the Minnesota hate crime law only moves a misdemeanor crime to a gross misdemeanor and a gross misdemeanor to a felony. The four men were not charged with that because the sentences for them, especially the suspected shooter, Scarsella, would be significantly longer for the riot and second-degree assault charges. However, Freeman noted he has been consulting with U.S. Attorney Andy Luger about this case and if federal hate crime sentences would draw a longer sentence, he would be willing to turn the case over to them.
There is no doubt, he said, that this attack by the four was racially motivated.
“The defendants’ own statements, their videos, show that these are sick people,” Freeman said. “Maybe I shouldn’t say that, but the language they use, and what they say about fellow Americans, citizens, are just not acceptable.”

Unlike every media outlet in the Metro, I’m not going to attempt to try this case on this page.  As we discussed the other day, there’s at least a chance that this could be tried as self-defense – although as I pointed out at the time, if one plans to try to plead self-defense, it’s best to go to the police, rather than having them come and get you first.

Best Practices

In recent weeks, this blog, as well as the rest of the media, I’ve noted a bit of an uptick in publicized violence in the St. Paul public schools.

The Minneapolis public schools seem to of
been paying attention – and turn their best minds on to the problem of school violence.

We know this, because they have solve the problem.

The Minneapolis public schools are now a “violence free zone“.

Midway Between Lexington And Hell

I remember back in the eighties, back when I used to occasionally frequent bars on University Avenue on the weekend, ducking into Big V’s, near Snelling.  Back then – long before the Turf Club became a hangout for music hipsters – it was a place to go if you were in the mood to crowd into a long, narrow room with a cement floor and a single row of ripped naugahyde stools and listen to a band that was on the floor three feet away from you, under the watchful eye of bartenders who could rip your arms out at the shoulders, and the men who loved them.

I haven’t been there in a while – which was why it was a bit of a shock to see that they were going to start closing down early because the area is getting just too dodgy.

I got this from a regular reader of this blog:

I was at Big V’s a few weeks ago and my friends and I were talking about this very topic- is the area less safe? I was saying it felt that way to me and others agreed, but we wondered if it was because we were now older, perhaps some of us more sober, so we noticed more around us.

You may be older and more sober – but there’s more to notice.

Up by my house, half a mile north of Big V’s, we’ve had two smash-and-grab burglaries and, a few weeks back, the first daylight armed robbery I can remember in 22 years on the block.

On the Hamline/Midway neighborhood Facebook page, there is of course the usual tension; those who believe that crime is on the rise, and think that the Green Line has turned into a commuter line for criminals, those who say there’s nothing to see here, move along, citizen.

I really want to believe that, but I know the Russian Tea House owners have noticed a decrease in sense of safety and now Big V’s.

Which is a good reminder; if you’re in Saint Paul on Friday, go to Russian Tea House for lunch.  You’ll thank me.  Then you’ll thank me again. It’s a neighborhood treasure.

And Metro Transit’s response? The increase in the number of service calls [reported by the Saint Paul police] doesn’t mean anything. Some of those numbers include “proactive visits” to the area. Right..because the cops are always running proactively to the safe parts of the city.

Light Rail lines nationwide tend to be commuter lines for criminals.   Expect the establishment in the Twin Cities to deny that has hard and often as they can.

Nothing Here But Us Un-Enhanced Sentences

Back during one of the previous crime waves in gun-hostile Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the legislature – with the help of gun rights groups – passed a pretty significant tool for prosecutors to use against gun crimes; an up-charge for committing a crime with a firerarm, with a mandatory five year sentence.

In a subsequent crime wave, it was noted that the Ramsey County attorney at the time, the useless Susan Gaertner, had pled the upcharge out in every single case in which it was offered.

We also noted, in relation to last summer’s shooting of an armed robber by a citizen with a gun in Saint Paul, that the Ramsey County Attorney’s office had declined to use the statute to charge Laurentai Broadbent’s accomplices.

Now, MPR – in a piece by Brandt Williams – notes that  it’s a statewide trend; it’s the exception rather than the rule that prosecutors use the upcharge for gun crimes. MPR notes that the sentence is applied in only 42 percent of applicable crimes.

I’m going to speculate, here; those 42 percent come disproportionally from Greater Minnesota, most likely districts with conservative majorities or pluralities.

I’m going to try to find the numbers involved, and see if there is some sort of geographic correlation to this discrepancy.

Piling On

The City of Cambridge is proposing making harming a cop a “hate crime”.

It’s a hot-button issue right now, both nationally in the wake of a series of politically charged police-killings (against a backdrop of a generally very safe year for police) and the killing of a rural Minnesota sheriff’s deputy over this past weekend.

It’s a dumb idea, and not just because “hate crime” legislation is misguided.

Police have a dangerous job; not the most dangerous job, but why split hairs?

But right now, any sort of attack against a police officer – from lethal force to harsh words – is already accompanied by harsh upcharges and sentence enhancements.  If the thought of “life without parole” doesn’t deter a potential cop-killer, why would “life without parole and a hate crime conviction?”

More Guns (In The Hands Of The Law Abiding) And Fewer Liberals = Less Crime

After every mass-shooting incident, both sides in the Second Amendment debate sound off.  The left believes “commonsense gun control” leads to less crime.  The right believes “more guns equals less crime”.

Both sides tend to leave it at the level of chanting points, without ever really submitting evidence, much less proving anything [1].

So I thought I’d give it a shot.  What brings more “gun safety” – more guns, or less?

Definition Of Terms:  To start with, I took crime data from the states and the the 70 or so largest US cities – places with over 250,000 people.

For lack of a better measure, I used each state’s governor s the bellwether of the city’s political makeup – which may not be academically perfect, but as a practical matter it’s as useful a measure of each state’s sympathies as we have.

States of Affairs:  And the murder rates break down like this:

  • Democrat States: 12.2 murders per 100,000
  • GOP States: 11.0 murders per 100,000 (all figures henceforth will be per 100,000).

Well, that looks pretty even; that’s like an 10% variation.  Hardly outside the margin of error, really (although as we discussed some time ago, there’s plenty of variation there, too).

The differences in violent crime, robberies and aggravated assaults and rapes and the like, are a tad more dramatic – but only just:

  • Democrat States: 841.18
  • GOP States: 749.12

Democrat states have 12% more violent crime.  Again – could be just statistical noise.

Urbanity:  But if you’re from Minnesota, or most states with a large urban area that controls half the population, you know that state politics don’t tell you everything.  In places like Illinois, Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Iowa, even New York and California, solid-blue cities float in huge placid prosperous lagoons of red.

Again – I broke out “control” by the city’s current mayor, or in the case of the few cities using  Manager/Commission government, the control of the commission.

So when you break out the murder rates of American cities of over 250,000, they come out more like this:

  • Democrat Cities: 12.9
  • GOP Cities 7.77

So the murder  rates in cities that have mayors from the Democrat Party are 60% higher than in GOP-run cities.

OK, that’s significant.  And the violent crime rates are similarly skewed:

  • Democrat Cities: 875.3
  • GOP Run Cities: 561.0

There is 56% more violent crime in cities run by Democrats.

More Guns, Less Guns…:  But when cornered by Gun Rights supporters, gun control activists punt to the line that “it’s all about the availability of guns”.

The only true measure of the availability of guns is “can you find one that you can afford without breaking the law?”

But I figured I’d meet the left and the gun grabbers halfway on this one; I measured all cities by the “Brady Campaign Scorecard” rating of the state in which they reside (which is a little unrealistic, since some cities have “tougher” gun laws than their states; I’ll work on that).

The assumption:  A “high” Brady rating, an A or B, implies “tougher” gun laws and, by extension, fewer guns (for the law-abiding).

And the numbers break out like this (“winners” will be in bold type):

Brady Rating  All Cities Democrat Cities GOP Cities Difference
A 12.48  13.3  8 Democrat cities rate 66% higher
B 12.75  13.75 None No B-rated GOP cities.
C 14.16  16.1  6.4 Democrat cities have 251% higher murder rate.
D 10.22  10.7 11.25 (two cities) GOP cities 5% higher.  Skewed by Oklahoma City’s crime rate.
F 10.51  11.77 8.03 Democrat cities 47% higher.

Violent Crime by Brady rating

 Brady Rating All Cities Democrat Cities GOP Cities Difference
A 816.73  909.88  499.5 Democrat cities rate 82% higher
B (only Boston and Chicago) 835  835 (only Boston reported)  NA No B-rated GOP cities
C 913.85  1032.2 440 235% higher in Democrat cities
D 727.97  770.35  558.45 38% higher in Democrat cities
F 758.1 805.75 673.56 20% higher in Democrat cities.

So the big variables seem to be not so much the availability of guns or the strictness of gun control laws, which doesn’t seem to be correlated with any rises and falls in murder or violent crime rates.

But being controlled by the Democrat party?  There’s a straight line correlation there.

Now, I’m not saying that Democrats cause crime.  Democrats bleed just like the rest of us do.

But the pathologies that one-party “progressive” Democrat rule inevitably brings do seem to be correlated with higher murder and violent crime rates.

Correlation doesn’t mean causation.  But it suggests a possible path to causation.

[1] I know – the Second Amendment crew does submit evidence, and has proven its case to everyone but our idiot media.  I’m just saying it for purposes of argument.

Happenstance

Airman First Class Spencer Stone – one of the heroes of last summer’s episode on the French train, when Stone and two American friends disarmed and subdued a Muslim terrorist with an assault rifle – has been stabbed in the chest.

Stone is apparently in stable condition.

Sacramento police said it was a random happenstance, not related to the incident in France.

Still looking to see if Homeland Security is rounding up “right wing terrorists” as suspects.

And Another One

A shooting at Umpqua Community College in southwestern Oregon has apparently claimed 10.

First things first; I’ll urge prayers, or whatever your worldview calls for, for the survivors, and the families of the victims.

And I urge you not to believe anything the media has to say about it for the next couple days.

But it bears noting that Umpqua is – you guessed it…:

The community college is a gun-free campus.

“Possession, use, or threatened use of firearms (including but not limited to BB guns, air guns, water pistols, and paint guns) ammunition, explosives, dangerous chemicals, or any other objects as weapons on college property, except as expressly authorized by law or college regulations, is prohibited,” the college’s security policy states.

How many more innocent lives will be sacrificed to the false god of gun control?

UPDATE: Well, this is kinda interesting:

[Korney Moore, an 18 year old student] said she saw her teacher get shot in the head, apparently after the gunman came into the classroom. At that point, Moore told the newspaper, the shooter ordered everyone to get on the ground. The shooter then asked people to stand up and state their religion and then started firing, Moore said..

Huh.

Diagnosis: Idiots

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

An electrician friend had his van broken into, hundreds of dollars of copper wire stolen.  Repeatedly.

The cops wrote a police report so he can report it to his insurance company.  But there’s a $500 deductible for each incident, so the few nickels the thieves make selling scrap wire cost him thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.  Thievery in Minnesota is a “cost of doing business.”

Minnesota is too civilized to punish thieves by cutting off their hands and thereby dissuade others.  We put them on probation to steal again.

Minnesota is too civilized to punish thieves.  Nobody is dissuaded from crime.

Minnesota is too civilized, too afraid of offending the offensive.

Minnesota is . . . doomed?

Joe Doakes

When citizens can’t count on “law and order” to uphold the law and preserve order (and, let’s be honest, also count on law enforcement to prosecute organic civilian efforts to enforce law and order more rigorously than actual criminality), how long can a free society survive?