Philadelphia had more murders in the first half of 2021 than the entire year from 2013 to 2017, denoting the grim reality that neither elected nor appointed leaders have a plan to stop the rise of violent crime in the city. Meanwhile, the media have universally labeled the seemingly uncontrolled crime uptick as a “gun violence” epidemic. By using the term “gun violence” instead of the legal definitions of murder, attempted murder, and assault, the accountability for the criminal who committed these violent crimes is semantically shifted to the mere tool they illegally used to victimize others.
Furthermore, by labeling a preventable surge in violent crime as “gun violence,” we are failing to hold our state and municipal leaders accountable for refusing to enforce the law and address the criminality that is slated to cost between 500 and 600 Philadelphians their lives by the end of 2021. This is not a new phenomenon. For over a century, politicians have been trying to obfuscate their responsibilities to keep their constituents safe by trying to shift the blame to gun control laws.
Economist and native Philadelphian Walter E. Williams is famously quoted by saying, “Most of the great problems we face are caused by politicians creating solutions to problems they created in the first place.” Williams’ quote applies when reviewing our official response to the alarming rise in murders impacting Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable population.
— A. Benjamin Mannes in Call a Murder a Murder