Gary Younge’s book, Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives chronicles young people who were shot during one day in November of 2013. After the failure of President Obama’s push for more infringements on the Second Amendment, he decided to pick one day at random, determine the details of each shooting victim, and put a human face on them. It must have seemed like a good idea, a way to mix activism and make a buck while pushing the anti-gun agenda.
The problem is that Younge is honest enough to tell the truth of what he found, as much as he could, given his false assumptions about the nature of reality.
He found that the gun control movement is based on lies. Not that Younge’s above stretching the truth himself. He calls 18- and 19-year-old adults “children.” He has to do this, of course, to get to the numbers that the gun haters use in their propaganda.
The vast majority of “children” killed with guns are young males between the ages of 15 and 25, nearly all of whom are victims of gang violence. Most are gang members themselves.
He found that parents in the ghettos where these killings occurred don’t think that gun control is the answer to the problem.
Which brings us to the second thing that struck me while talking to these families about the 10 young deaths of November 23: When I posed an open-ended question to the victims’ parents about why they thought these tragedies kept happening, not a single one mentioned guns. When I asked a more leading question about what they specifically thought of guns, they would always be more forthcoming. Almost all of them saw the ubiquity of guns as a problem. But it did not necessarily follow that they saw getting rid of guns as a viable solution.
As is usually the case with so-called progressives, Younge blames the killings on the guns, not the people who wield them. He uses the old “developed nation” scam to claim that it’s the very presence of guns that cause the killings. But that dodge depends on the reader never checking out the facts about international comparisons. It’s all about selection bias.
If you cherrypick countries you classify as “developed” you can make any case you want. The truth is that other nations have many more or less homicides and many more or less suicides, per capita, than the United States. But the number of guns has little influence on those numbers.
If you look at individual nations before and after gun control laws were implemented, there is little change…except murder rates tend to rise slightly after controls are imposed. Younge, however, didn’t have to investigate international comparisons for this book, so he just spouts anti-gun dogma.
As a “progressive”, it’s not surprising that Younge puts forward the usual excuse of racism for the high level of criminality in the communities where violence is concentrated. But any community where the rule of law is not trusted will tend toward higher levels of violence.
The same result is found all over the world, in communities in Africa, South America, Europe, and Asia. Where there’s no reliable rule of law, people revert to tribalism. In the U.S., the tribes or proto-tribes, are gangs. The commonality is the lack of an effective rule of law, rather than race. The cure is to rebuild trust in the rule of law. If the high crime rates in black urban areas are going to be reduced, people who live there must come to understand that the rule of law is real and will be enforced there. It is precisely what has worked in the approach promoted by David Kennedy from Harvard.
Pushing the idea that black people cannot rely on the rule of law creates the conditions that multiply crimes and criminality in predominately black neighborhoods. Claiming that endemic racism is the cause instead of the lack of the rule of law only makes matters worse by creating distrust and an unwillingness to cooperate with the authorities. We are seeing that problem playing out with the Ferguson effect, all across the country.
The tone of the article in The Nation is refreshingly pessimistic. Younge doesn’t have any solution to the intractable problems he found. The facts are against the imposition of gun control in the United States.
People don’t blame the actions of criminals on the guns that they use. People who don’t live in ghettos don’t see the ghetto problems as their problems. People who don’t face a high risk of violent crime don’t see a need for infringements on the Second Amendment. And people who face a high risk of violent crime find the idea of being armed perfectly reasonable.
I am not going to buy Younge’s book, at least not now. Maybe in a few months, when it’s featured on the remainder table. I already know the reality far better than he does, because I have studied the issue for decades. But “progressives” who have some degree of intellectual honesty, if they check out the facts, may realize the narrative they have been sold is a false one.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.