A member of the St. Louis Police Department investigates the scene of a shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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There is a second, perhaps even more important qualification to state-to-state comparisons of gun violence: controlling crime is primarily a local decision. While state legislatures enact the criminal penalties for different offenses, local governments set the policies that determine whether someone is arrested and convicted. Cities and counties set spending on police and sheriff departments and policing policies. Most states have local elections for district attorneys and trial court judges. In the last few years, many Democrat district attorneys have been accused of going soft on violent criminals. They may also not request bond for criminals. Judges have also released large numbers of inmates from many local jails over the last few years. …

Consider two very heavily Democrat jurisdictions in heavily Republican states: St. Louis, Missouri; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Over 80% of the voters in both places voted for Biden, though only about 40% of the voters in those states voted for him. Their murder rates are also extremely high, with St. Louis at 52 per 100,000 people and New Orleans at 50. With their large populations, they were a major reason why Missouri’s and Louisiana’s murder rates were 11.8 and 15.8 per 100,000 people, respectively. By contrast, the murder rate for the U.S. as a whole was 6.5. 

Thus, the CPRC research shows that blue pockets scattered across the U.S. map are the zones where most violent crime is committed, and it underscores how the generalizations on one partisan side or the other can mislead.

Such generalizations also shape other public debates about gun violence. In most instances, people equate gun violence with violent crime, murder, and random shootings. Almost 70% of all gun deaths are, in fact, suicides. And while President Biden has repeatedly called for limits on the sale of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, which, he said, have turned “too many” schools, “too many other everyday places” into “killing fields, battlefields here in America,” those weapons are used only in about 2% of homicides. Even for mass public shootings, rifles of any type are not the weapon of choice for most of these mass murderers. Over the last 25 years, 14.9% of these attacks involve only rifles. 

Or consider school shootings. The majority of school shootings, as recorded by law enforcement and criminologists, do not involve students. Instead, 70% of them occur outside school buildings but on school property, according to Northeastern University professor James Alan Fox, whose tracking of mass killings is considered one of the most meticulous. 

“The chances of a K-12 student getting shot and killed at school in the U.S. is 1 in 10 million,” Fox said, notwithstanding the highly publicized carnage at Columbine, Sandy Hook, or Uvalde. 

Fox notes that one huge difference in the numbers comes from gunfire that leaves four or more people hit and gunfire that kills four or more people. Using the latter, stricter, definition, the number of such incidents in the U.S. drops dramatically. Such differences can sometimes warp a national discussion about what is happening. 

“Nothing in the phrase ‘mass shooting’ says people are dying,” Fox told RealClearInvestigations. “The mass shootings we read about are usually conflating those where four or more people were shot and those where four or more people were shot and killed. So, should we be talking about shootings or fatalities?” 

 “You have to be very careful about the definition or you are comparing apples and oranges,” [College of William & Mary economics] Professor Moody warns. “Mass shootings involving gangs or robberies are not the type of attacks that get attention. What makes people nervous and gets international news attention are people being randomly shot in a public place where the goal of the murder is to become famous by killing as many people as possible.”

—  John R. Lott Jr. and James Varney, RealClearInvestigations in Murder, They Spun: Selective Stats Leave Suspicious Fingerprints All Over the Crime Debate

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  1. Back in the 80’s, two people were debating about gun control on TV. The gun control stooge said that since the 1950’s, the number of children that were killed with guns was doubling every year. His opponent pointed out that would mean that millions of children were being killed every year which is more children than we had in the population. He said, “You’re lying.”

    His opponent said, “I’m lying for justice.”

    • Welcome to Leftist Land, where it’s always Opposite Day, and where truth goes to die.

  2. St Louis was mentioned re Missouri as New Orleans was for Louisiana. Basically to show that crime capitals can change the averages for a region. Wilmington for Delaware used to be a similar extreme case but they seem to have exported their gangs throughout the state so the rates are a bit more distributed now. Pennsylvania has Philly and a few smaller towns (on convenient highway locations for interstate transportation of drugs) that do similar numbers and for NY well almost every democrat dominated area with a population of 100k or more (or almost 100k for Albany) while the rest of the state is about as crime ridden as European averages.

  3. They’re just trying to deflect from the real cause of crime: Democrats.

    Imagine quiet, clean, polite, safe cities. Just gotta get rid of Democrats.

  4. Unfortunately there are numerous fools who swallow concocted media crap hook, line and sinker. There is no such thing as gun violence. Violence is Violence. Anyone who can use a hammer, knife, vehicle, etc. to inflict injury or death would use a firearm in the same manner and vice versa…Violence is Violence.

    Then there are the gun talking sacks of sht who sit around and consume years of marxist media concocted slander and libel about POTUS DJT. And when the brain washed gun talkers spot a politically inept fool they regurgitate their demoCrap. In 2020 the choice was between POTUS DJT and Jim Crow Gun Control democRat joe…Ask a Trump bashing democRat butt kissing gun talker who they voted for and the silence is deafening.

    • Debs, get some ‘intimate attention’ from whoever you live with. *Please*.

      There’s no need to go through life as a embittered hag who knows her best years are long behind her… 🙂

  5. The only thing these anti-gun radicals are good at is twisting statistics to support their lies.

  6. Weep think chijo mud away.
    And until America gets that resolved its only going to get worse.

  7. There are 3 kinds of lies. Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics. Having spent some years while working in Government, teaching statistics, how and where to collection them, analysis and how to manipulate them to support the numbers needed to achieve a goal to implement/reject a project. I can take just about any set of numbers and make them look good or bad. Depending on the preconceived goals of the project. The first rule in statistical analysis is remembering, while numbers don’t lie. People can make them lie if properly manipulated.

    • If alive, a lengthy stay in Guantanamo Bay.

      If dead, either dropped into the ocean or cremated so thoroughly only smoke is produced.

      In both cases, damnatio memori. Erase every record of the perp’s existence aside from birth and death.

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