Willfully incredulous. Factually obtuse. Pathetically doofus-like. It seems there’s no end to the number of mainstream journalists who are (or, at least, profess to be) surprised by the correlation between relaxed gun laws, increased gun ownership and reduced violent crime. No matter how many times the facts hit them over the head. And writers in the Old Dominion are evidently no different…
For the latest “revelation,” let me carry you back to old Virginny and the pages of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Their crime and courts reporter, Mark Bowes, notes the increase in justified homicides by both police and individual citizens, then conjures amorphous “changing attitudes about the circumstances in which lethal force can be used in self-defense situations” to explain it all.
To try to unravel this impenetrable enigma, he constructs an ill-defined correlation between changes in self-defense laws in various states and the fact that “increasingly permissive gun laws have made it more likely that people are armed while in public.” Shaking in your boots yet?
But then he lets loose with the real kicker:
Interestingly, the national rise in justifiable homicides has occurred as violent crime levels have dropped. The estimated U.S. violent crime level total in 2009 was 5.2 percent below the 2005 level and 7.5 percent below the 2000 level, according to the FBI.
Shazam! Mark’s evidently agog that the prospect of people having the ability to protect themselves might give criminals pause from time to time. That’s almost as good as the hundreds of writers who have noted overall crime dropping despite prison populations at record levels. Will wonders never cease?
Bowes notes the increase in both police officers killed in the line of duty and police shootings, neither of which are at all-time highs. Casual readers might fall into Bowes’ trap of being alarmed by (gulp) more guns! More shootings! Which naturally mean more crime! Oh. Wait. No, no they don’t.
Much as they hate to admit it, FBI data has shown an inverse relationship between relaxed gun control laws and the violent crime rate. It’s all terribly inconvenient, but there it is. These unfortunate facts make “common sense” gun control look, well, pretty dumb. I won’t hold my breath waiting for a journo to make that correlation, though.