Gun Violence in America is Actually Down - Way Down

Just two short weeks ago, liberals across the country were condescendingly accusing Republicans of trying to make policy based on media driven fear rather than sound factual data. The context, of course, was the fact that alleged Syrian “refugees” had been responsible for a mass terrorist attack in Paris, and Republicans wanted to pause our current refugee program just to make sure the appropriate safeguards were in place.

Now here come the exact same liberals, arguing that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT ALL THE GUN VIOLENCE. The New York Times today put an editorial on their front page for the first time since 1920. Note, in 1920, the editorial in question concern trolled the GOP about the dangers of nominating Warren G. Harding, who they predicted would lose to the Democrats in a landslide. For those who are keeping score at home, Harding would go on to win the Presidency by the largest popular-vote margin in history.

Proving that they haven’t gotten any better at policy or politics in the last 95 years, this time the New York Times warns us that gun violence is an epidemic and Everyone Agrees that Something Must Be Done. In this regard, they are of course just echoing President Obama, Hillary Clinton, virtually every other elected Democrat, and every major news network not named FoxNews. Implicit in this incessant drumbeat is the assumption – nay, the universally accepted Known Fact™ – that gun violence is getting worse.

The main problem here, of course, is that no one has stopped to ask whether that is actually true. In the course of this gun control hysteria, a lot of ludicrous and patently false assertions are being thrown around by the gun control crowd. For instance, Fareed Zakaria insanely claimed on Thursday that America was the most violent country in the world, and that we are 20 to 25 times more violent than Europe. I mean, not kidding, these are actual things he said, which are blatantly contradicted by both actual facts and common sense. Then came the equally bizarre revelation that the media has been repeating a statistic on mass shootings whose prominence is literally a Reddit group of anti-gun activists – as opposed to a source where reasonable people might expect to find actual facts.

Just for craps and giggles, what would the actual data say about gun violence, if any liberal involved in this discussion were inclined to look? I mean if we assume that the question of whether gun violence is getting worse is actually relevant to the debate about gun control and whether additional anti-gun measures are necessary, wouldn’t we want to know actual facts instead of say, the half-coherent ramblings of anonymous cranks on the Internet?

It turns out, the Washington Post actually took the trouble to look, and what they found must have caused them physical pain to report, but to their credit, the Washington Post has always been at least five times as honest as the New York Times – and yes, you can insert here a joke about what you get when you multiply zero by five, ha ha.

The title of the WaPo article, as you might expect, is “We’ve Had a Massive Decline in Gun Violence in the United States. Here’s Why.” They then go on to list five reasons for the decline of gun violence in America, not one of which is “more gun control laws”:

Premeditated mass shootings in public places are happening more often,some researchers say, plunging towns and cities into grief and riveting the attention of a horrified nation. In general, though, fewer Americans are dying as a result of gun violence — a shift that began about two decades ago.

In 1993, there were seven homicides by firearm for every 100,000 Americans, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2013, that figure had fallen by nearly half, to 3.6 — a total of 11,208 firearm homicides. The number of victims of crimes involving guns that did not result in death (such as robberies) declined even more precipitously, from 725 per 100,000 people in 1993 to 175 in 2013.

Older data suggests that gun violence might have been even more widespread previously. The rate of murder and manslaughter excluding negligence reached an apex in 1980, according to the FBI. That year, there were 10.8 willful killings per 100,000 people. Although not a perfect measure of the overall rate of gun violence, the decline in the rate of murder and manslaughter is suggestive: Two in three homicides these days are committed with guns.

The irony here is so dense that it threatens the fabric of space/time. The Democrats – whose favorite fantasy is that they are the party of reason and science, and are immune to to all the nasty scare tactics propagated by Republicans who fear people who are different from them – is in fact willfully participating in a scare tactic based on the fear they have of people who are different from them (people who own guns).

If the Democrats have just an unbearable itch to grab people’s guns, they should at least have the guts to come right out and explain to the American people why it is necessary in spite of the fact that gun violence is already precipitously declining in America without any of their “help.” They should have the intellectual honesty to just come right out and say to people, “guns and the people who own them are scary to us and we want them to go away, facts be damned.” And if they had the courage of their convictions, they would do it forthrightly by just attempting to repeal the Second Amendment.