“People who know both cities say there are some significant differences in policing, especially around the issue of guns,” Ford Fessenden and Haeyooun Park write at nytimes.com. “The homicide rate in Chicago is just a little higher than in New York when guns aren’t involved. But when it comes to shootings, both fatal and not, Chicago stands out, suggesting a level of armed interaction that isn’t happening in New York.” In other words, more guns, more murder! Here’s how the Times sees it . . .
Chicago has a reputation for strict gun laws, and gun rights advocates often point to it as proof that gun regulation doesn’t reduce violence. But its laws aren’t what they used to be: Federal courts struck down its ban on handgun ownership in 2010, and its ban on gun sales in 2014. And a New York Times analysis showed guns were easily available from nearby jurisdictions, especially Indiana.
As John McEnroe used to say, you’ve got to be kidding me. The reason that Chicago is home to a “62 percent increase in homicides,” that “through mid-May, 216 people have been killed,” and “shootings also are up 60 percent,” is the McDonald decision? The Supreme Court ruling that allowed Chicago citizens to keep and bear arms after a criminal background check?
As for Mssrs. Fessenden and Park’s suggestion that Chicago’s “gun violence” has something to with the 2014 federal ruling striking down the city’s ban on gun stores within city limits, here’s an important data point: there are no gun stores in Chicago. Not one. And just in case the writers are worried that there isn’t enough commerce stifling gun control law in that regard, wikipedia.org reminds us that . . .
On June 25, 2014, the city council passed a new law, allowing gun stores but restricting them to certain limited areas of the city, requiring that all gun sales be videotaped, and limiting buyers to one gun per 30-day period. Store owners must make their records available to the police, and employees must be trained to identify possible straw purchasers.
All of which completely undermines the Times’ subhead declaration that Guns Are a Key Difference. Which is not to say Mr. Fessenden and Park don’t get some things right, however inadvertently and tangentially.
And Chicago is more lenient about illegal handguns than New York, prescribing a one-year minimum for possession versus three and a half years in New York. An attempt to match the New York law in 2013 was rejected by the Illinois legislature out of concern for skyrocketing incarceration rates for young black men.
Chicago’s revolving door judicial system certainly has some ‘splainin’ to do when it comes to gangland murders — which is exactly what we’re talking about. (Some say the gangs are part of the City’s political structure, protecting them from prosecution, but I couldn’t possibly comment.) As for a solution to Chiraq’s gang-related murder fest, the Times’ statism is showing.
New York also hired a lot more police officers in response to the crime of the 1990s, and, during its stop-and-frisk era of the 2000s, steeply increased gun enforcement. Recent studies, including one that looked at increased police presence in London after a terrorist attack, have suggested more police might mean less crime, said Jens Ludwig, the director of Crime Lab at the University of Chicago, which studies crime in both Chicago and New York.
Chicago’s Police Department, overwhelmed, can respond only to the most serious problems, leaving citizens to feel responsible for their own security, he said.
“Might.” Nice. And I know what you’re thinking: the “problem” of Chicago residents “feeling” (it’s all about feelings) responsible for their own security is an argument for widespread legal gun ownership. For more guns. Check out how Fessenden and Park spin that.
“Everyone has to establish deterrence on a retail basis,” [Ludwig] said. “People carry guns in public because other people are carrying guns. It’s literally an arms race, a vicious cycle. There are lots of indications that New York City, by taking guns more seriously and hiring more officers, has gotten a lot of guns off the streets, creating a virtuous cycle.”
“Lots of indications.” Nice. But here’s the important fact: we’re talking about criminals. This “arms race” is amongst thugs, drug dealers, felons, gang members or a combination thereof. A fact the article finally confronts.
Gangs figure in many homicides in New York as well, but recent polls by The New York Times suggest that the gang problem may be worse in Chicago.
Ya think? The rest of the article compares Chicago’s racial segregation with New York City’s, intimating that racism creates “gun violence.” And once again suggests that Chicago’s “murder problem” isn’t the result of criminal endeavor.
Racially segregated minority neighborhoods have a long history of multiple adversities, such as poverty, joblessness, environmental toxins and inadequate housing, Professor Sampson said. In these places, people tend to be more cynical about the law and distrust police, “heightening the risk that conflictual encounters will erupt in violence.”
So gangland killers are downtrodden folks whose homicidal violence is the result of their cynicism about the law and distrust of law enforcement. Who in their right mind is buying what they’re selling?
Surprisingly, the authors don’t conclude their pseudo-scientific examination of Chicago’s murder rate by calling for more gun control. I guess they figured they sorted that out at the top of the article (in case readers couldn’t make it all the way to the end). In any case, this article once again proves that the New York Times’ motto should be: “All the facts that fit our agenda, and none that don’t.”