Reader Porkchop writes:
There’s some unintended irony in a recent Washington Post ‘Fact Checker’ article regarding Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ comments about the nation’s crime rate:
Since becoming attorney general in February, Sessions routinely has warned of a violent crime wave sweeping the nation — spurred primarily by increased violence in major cities.
Sessions uses the alleged crime wave as evidence for the need to return to “law and order,” which President Trump has vowed to make a top priority during his presidency. As attorney general, Sessions has advocated for several policies aimed at preventing violent crime from continuing to rise, including tougher policing practices, reinstating mandatory minimum sentences for drug users, providing surplus military equipment to police departments, and a dismantling of “sanctuary cities.”
In debunking Sessions’ position that crime rates are on the increase, the article accuses him (accurately) of cherry-picking statistics. They say he’s using stats from short periods of time and highlighting certain high crime cities such as Chicago to justify his claims that violent crime is “’back with a vengeance,’ and that it is ‘surging.’”
“Crime is at historically low levels,” said Nick Petersen, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Miami. “There may be small increases month to month and year to year, but there is a little random noise in the fluctuations.”
The Post ultimately doesn’t think much of Sessions’ argument.
Yet Sessions claims violent crime is “back with a vengeance,” and that it is “surging,” which is the result of a “staggering increase,” in crime in urban areas. With every dramatic assertion, Session is stoking American’s fears about crime and safety to advance a political agenda of “law and order.” Sessions earns Four Pinocchios.
Fair enough. Except that Sessions’ claims mirror the same arguments used by “gun safety” advocates to justify their calls for more regulation of and restrictions on firearms ownership — something the Post institutionally, through its editorial staff favors enthusiastically. (To be fair they also publish pro-2A opinions by people like John Lott and provides a platform for Volokh Conspiracy writers such as David Kopel.)
What’s good for the goose is good for the anti-gun gander. So the next time The Post, Gabby Giffords, Shannon Watts or one of your hoplophobic friends claims that, because of increased crime, something must be done to reduce Americans’ access to firearms, you can point to out that no less an authority than the Washington Post has demonstrated that it just ain’t so.