All Gun Violence is Local. Very Local

by Kate

On October 1st, Philadelphia played host to three firearms-related murders in three hours. The killings raise the city’s gun death toll to 263 homicides. So far this year. While The City of Brotherly Love’s ballistic carnage still lags behind Chicago’s 400 deceased (and counting), you’d think there’d be more outrage. Yes, the local news continues to report the shooting deaths under the well-established principle “if it bleeds, it leads.” Yes, there are groups bemoaning the problem of “gun violence.” But, in general, it’s just another day at the office for another major American city, where gun control means gang bangers shoot guns and tax-paying good guys ignore it and get on with their lives. And there’s no better illustration of this “all gun violence is local” than the District of Columbia . . .

As Washington Times’ writer Emily Miller highlights in her series, our nation’s capital [still] has some of America’s most restrictive gun laws. As this 2010 crime stat table from guardian.co.uk’s Data Blog shows, D.C. was America’s most violent “state” (indulge me here) with 16 firearms murders per 100k population. Louisiana — number two on the list — doesn’t even come close, with 7.75 firearms murders per 100k population.

The absolute number of D.C. firearms murders in 2010 was 131. Again, that’s compared to Philly’s 2012-and counting 263 murders and Chicago’s 400+ murders. Washington D.C. is 68.3 square miles. Philadelphia (proper) is 135 square miles. Chicago (proper) is 234 square miles.

Given the murders per head and the relative compactness of D.C., its residents should be more aware of — and concerned about — firearms murders than Philadelphia. Stranger still, many of D.C.’s gun crimes happen within sight of the White House and the Capitol building.

But the people who “matter” don’t see it. They don’t fear it and why would they? When was the last time you heard about a member of Uncle Sam’s elite being shot in the nation’s capitol? The really powerful ones have their own bodyguards. The ones beneath that are protected by the police.

Washington’s elite are doing stupid things, but they are not “stupid people in stupid places.” And that’s important because gun violence is extremely local. The vast majority of firearms murders happen within a very small section of a city. These areas are cut-off from the safer, more affluent parts of the city by geography, culture, policing, politics, media and more.

Gun laws are designed by the elite for the elite who don’t face the same violence as less affluent people who sometimes live only a couple of miles or less away. In D.C., Philly, Chicago, New York, LA, etc., gun control laws “work”—for the people who “matter.” The residents of areas where gun crime is rife put up with gun control laws because they don’t understand that the laws are working against them and also because they don’t have any choice about where they live or what their legislators do.

That’s not strictly true. We live in a democracy. But in terms of D.C.’s gun control laws, democracy hasn’t really worked. Or it has, just in the wrong way. Luckily, the Supreme Court threw out D.C.’s gun laws for residents who didn’t know better or care enough to do something about them themselves. And then the Justices rode safely to their homes somewhere in a safe suburb.

I guess the Founding Fathers knew what they were doing. And they did it in Philadelphia.

comments

  1. avatar Aharon says:

    Obama’s fault.

  2. avatar jwm says:

    Yes gun violence is local. The majority of gun violence is done by gangbangers against other gangbangers. For most of us that’s as foreign and unconnected from our daily lives as reading about a religious festival in Tibet.

    Just as it’s wrong and inaccurate to compare crime and violence stats from one country to the next, the people and cultures are too different to have real meaning, it’s impossible for most of us to get a true handle on the minds of these murderous gangsters.

    We simply need to insist on our rights to defend ourselves from the rare encounter with these gangbangers and other “ordinary” predators.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      The statisticsa do not necessarily support the proposition that most murders are by gangbangers. The FBI for 2010 lists over 12,000 murders, only 800 some odd of which are attributed to gang or juvenile gang violence. You are just as likely to get shot in a robbery. That is still less than 15% of all murders. Fully 35% of murders are unclassified. Half of murders are during an argument–and since the distribution is relatively equal, we have to assume domestic violence of some type. see http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl13.xls

      1. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

        The US government acknowledges that career criminals , gangs , and suiciders account for over 92% of deaths by illegal use of a firearm each year. The FBI data does not identify if the shooter was a felon or gang member. They do identify if the murder was committed while during the committing of another crime or during gang activities. So be careful on what you claim as multiple police firearm discharge reports do indeed show career criminal and gang members responsible for most murders.

  3. avatar ST says:

    “Gun laws are designed by the elite for the elite, who don’t face the same violence as less affluent people who sometimes live only a couple of miles or less away. In D.C., Philly, Chicago, New York City, LA, etc. gun control laws “work”—for the people who “matter.” The residents of areas where gun crime is rife put up with gun control laws because they don’t understand that the laws are working against them and also because they don’t have any choice about where they live or what their legislators do.”

    I disagree.

    The residents of areas where gun crime is rife DONT put up with gun control. In fact, they are the very people who demand MORE of it. The people of Washington D.C. haven’t know what freedom was like since the early 1970s when their gun ban was passed. The number of civilians in Chicago city limits who know and exercise their 2A rights legally can probably fit into a VW Bus. As far as these voters are concerned guns represent a social problem solvable ONLY by additional government regulation, up to and including a general ban if necessary.

    The theory of such residents who support gun control goes,all people are capable of violence and prone to anger. Without guns, no one can kill each other .Simply order government to take all the guns and the problem solved. Except that stupid NRA keeps bribing Congress with their bottomless pit of filthy lucre, so the shootings keep happening and the ban which can save us all never happens.

    Its not about elites vs the poor-the elites by virtue of their status are making the gun laws, but the poor are the ones demanding the elites “do something” about gun violence.

    If all their lives a group of people are told from childhood that the sky is blue because the NRA poisoned the atmosphere, one day as adults they’ll want Government to ban the color blue.

    D.C. , Chicago, and places of that mindset are examples of what happens when people are told systemic lies about the fundamentals of life for generations.

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    I’m with ST on this one, but I go a bit further. I believe that the American people always get the government that they deserve. People who fall for the easy lie are either stupid, or ignorant, or both, and their leaders prefer them to stay that way.

  5. avatar Mike OFWG says:

    DC will crack down on the gang bangers when one of them caps one of the pandas with his nine.

  6. avatar Nelson says:

    Dear Kate:

    “We live in a democracy.”

    NO, we do NOT:

    Article IV, the Constitution FOR the United States of America:

    “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”

    This clause, sometimes referred to as the Guarantee Clause, has historically been a part of the debate about the rights of citizens vis-a-vis state governments. The Guarantee Clause mandates that the federal government as well as all U.S. states must be grounded in republican principles, such as consent of the governed.

    The Constitution does not explain what exactly constitutes a republican government. However, the Federalist Papers give us an insight as to the intent of the Founders. A republican form of government is distinguished from a pure democracy, which the Founding Fathers wanted to avoid; as James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 10, “Hence it is that such [pure] democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

  7. avatar GS650G says:

    I carry in Philly, in Germantown, in Overbrook, in fact anytime I’m in the neighborhoods day or night. Since I stand out more than residents I watch what is going on as soon as I exit the car until I’m inside the building. Before leaving I check the gun, check the street, get my keys ready and make a line for the car.

    That’s the way to move in areas some might say you don’t belong in. The locals have relationships with everyone on the block, they can move about and feel a little better about their well being. But be someone from outside the block with a nice car, carrying something into a house of perceived value, and being a different race from everyone else around you and the potential for trouble exists.

    Or just scratch off the nice car and different race and just be a stranger with something that looks valuable and “tag” you’re it.

    The frantic Caucasians in the video are typical Philly liberals who see more gun regs as a solution. They are targets for crime, scared of stronger, armed criminals. While they question anyone having an unregistered gun, despite there being no registration of guns in PA, a question I would ask is do they know who the paroled cons are or who the troublemakers might be? I bet they know who’s kids are in trouble or who’s “old man” got out of jail and can’t find a job. Who’s selling drugs to make ends?
    What these residents need to do is start looking at the people they live around and if they can’t move then they need to collectively do something about the problem people. It’s their flipping neighborhood, don’t ask the government to disarm everyone and expect it to pacify the criminals in your midst.

  8. avatar MD Matt says:

    To add to this,
    “Luckily, the Supreme Court threw out D.C.’s gun laws for residents who didn’t know better or care enough to do something about them themselves. And then the Justices rode safely to their homes somewhere in a safe suburb.”

    This is not strictly true. The court struck down one of DC’s laws, but left many other restrictions in place. While it’s theoretically possible to get a handgun in DC, it isn’t practically feezable for most citizens due to fees and procedural red tape.
    This article presents gun violence through a very narrow lens. I really dislike the recent trend toward breaking everything down into class/socioeconomic terms. Gun violence isn’t limited to “those people” any more than the second amendment is meant to apply soly to “my people.” The current laws don’t protect elites per say. If you disarm a portion of society, you make that group more vulnerable. You don’t make the elite more secure by disarming the public. The elite, with their own bodyguards and personal carry exceptions, aren’t safer because the public has less access to handguns. Criminals still have guns regardless.
    We have here what’s called a “representative democracy.” The people who make it into office represent the majority choice of the people who bothered to vote.

    “In D.C., Philly, Chicago, New York, LA, etc., gun control laws “work”—for the people who “matter.” The residents of areas where gun crime is rife put up with gun control laws because they don’t understand that the laws are working against them and also because they don’t have any choice about where they live or what their legislators do.”

    This is also not true. Gun control doesn’t work for anyone from a safety perspective (which I believe is the author’s intent.) Rather it fulfills a moral belief in the premise, that less guns equal less violence. From their perspective, gun control works. Because guns are evil, and limiting their presence in society curbs the spread of that evil.
    People do have a choice. They can stand up and demand change publicly. They can support candidates who more closely represent their views. They can run for office themselves. They can run websites that educate the public and promote their values. They can go out and educate the public. They can move elsewhere if they don’t like where they live. You can’t have it both ways. The anti-gun crowd is deluded idealists fighting for a logically fallible cause which they believe makes the world a better place. They can act to change who they vote for. They don’t because:
    • They embrace those ideas.
    • Voting for a single candidate comes down to a variety of issues of which gun rights is only one.
    • Gun rights or the lack there of, isn’t a nationally recognized issue right now.

    I like the use of stats, but the class warfare argument continues to be a straw man argument imho. If you love guns, then the only way we will pass that love on is to stop thinking in terms of us and them and start thinking in terms of just us. That’s “us” as in all citizens.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email