Why Do Democrats Think They Can ‘Win’ the Crime Issue? – The American Spectator
Crime is a people problem. If you understand nothing else about crime, you must understand this — crime is committed by people. It is not committed by inanimate objects, and while data on criminal activity can be charted as a trend over time, trends don’t commit crimes, people do. There is a word for people who commit crimes; we call these people “criminals” and, if anyone is interested in investigating trends, one trend is fairly consistent — most violent criminals are repeat offenders, and will not stop this behavioral pattern unless they are locked up in prison.
Keep all these facts in mind the next time you hear Democrats or the news media (but I repeat myself) discussing “gun violence” as an issue. Democrats do not want to discuss crime as a people problem, but rather as a gun problem, because (a) most gun owners are Republicans and (b) most criminals are Democrats. Or, that is to say, the violent crime problem in America is largely concentrated in urban areas where Democrats get the majority of the vote.
If Democrats don’t want to prosecute actual convicted felons for illegally possessing firearms, why do they expect their demands to ban “assault weapons” to be taken seriously?
Research by John R. Lott Jr. highlights just how geographically concentrated the murder problem is in the United States. Of the more than 3,000 counties in the country, 52 percent had zero murders in 2020, while the 31 counties with the highest murder rates (the worst 1 percent) had 42 percent of the nation’s murders. Expand the focus to the worst 2 percent (62 counties), and these accounted for more than half (56 percent) of U.S. murders in 2020. Lott concluded: “Murder isn’t a nationwide problem. It’s a problem in a small set of urban areas …”
Yes, but what about “gun violence”? What about the inflammatory rhetoric of Democrats demonizing the National Rifle Association (NRA) as somehow to blame for America’s crime problem? Among other things, Lott took into account rates of firearm ownership, and found an inverse relationship between the prevalence of murder and rates of gun ownership: “According to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey, the household gun ownership rate in rural areas was 79% higher than in urban areas. Suburban households are 37.9% more likely to own guns than urban households. Despite lower gun ownership, urban areas experience much higher murder rates.”
So much for the correlation between gun ownership and crime. What do we know about the correlation between politics and crime? The five U.S. cities with the highest per capita murder rates are St. Louis (69.4 per 100,000 population), Baltimore (51.1), New Orleans (40.6), Detroit (39.7), and Cleveland (33.7). In the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden got 82 percent of the vote in St. Louis, 87 percent in Baltimore, 83 percent in New Orleans, 94 percent in Detroit and 80 percent in Cleveland. In other words, the most dangerous cities in America are all Democratic Party strongholds.
These facts are not difficult to discover, if anyone is willing to do a few Google searches, but you would probably have no idea about any of this if your source for news was ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS, the New York Times, the Washington Post or the Associated Press. The so-called “mainstream media” seem to operate as a cartel, doing everything in their power to prevent the public from learning the truth about crime in America. Consider the simple matter of what counts as a crime story of national interest. The cartel media love to go into 24/7 coverage mode on “mass shootings,” but are notably selective in their choices as to which ones deserve such attention.
For example, did you hear about the mass shooting in Philadelphia last week? One person was killed and four others were wounded in an incident in which more than 50 shots were fired in a garage in the city’s Kensington neighborhood. According to WPVI-TV, this was the 84th mass shooting in Philadelphia since 2020, but how many of those mass shootings got so much as one word of coverage on CNN? Pretty close to zero, I’m sure. The fact that Philadelphia has had more than 500 homicides in each of the past two years? CNN and other members of the media cartel ignore it, for the simple reason that the bloody carnage which has earned the city the nickname “Killadelphia” doesn’t help advance the preferred political narrative.
Most of the facts about crime in America don’t fit that narrative. According to the FBI, in 2021 there were about 23,000 homicides in the country and, based on data from 2019, about 54 percent of U.S. murder victims are black people, most of whom are killed by other black people. It is impossible to discuss violent crime in America without acknowledging that at least half of it involves black people, both as victims and perpetrators, despite the fact that blacks are only 14 percent of the U.S. population. The national media clearly doesn’t want to discuss this — for reasons that are fundamentally political — and so the picture of crime in America conveyed by the media is distorted beyond recognition. This political distortion produces a yawning chasm between the reality of crime and its portrayal in the news media.
Democrats are the intended beneficiaries of this warped coverage, and it is obvious that they never expect to be held accountable for their rhetoric about crime. Exhibit A is Joe Biden who, whenever any mass shooting attracts national attention, predictably repeats his call for banning so-called “assault weapons.” No reporter ever seems to question this response, as if it were self-evident that such a ban would eliminate mass shootings or, at least, reduce violent crime. However, this belief is not borne out by the data. According to the FBI, there were only 403 murders in 2017 in which the weapon used was a rifle of any kind, compared to 7,032 committed with handguns. In fact, more people were murdered with “blunt objects” (clubs, hammers, etc., accounting for 467 victims) and “personal weapons” (hands, fists, feet, etc., with 692 victims) than were killed by rifles. But because there is no simple legislative “solution” to such crimes, Biden has no pat response, and nobody in the press corps raises questions about the president’s formulaic demands for banning “assault weapons.”
We live in a nation where more than a thousand people a year are beaten to death with fists, hammers, etc., and you might imagine that at least one of these blunt-force murders would merit attention from the national media, but instead they are ignored, just like the 1,500 or so people stabbed to death in America every year. And why are these brutal crimes ignored? Because the media wish their audience to think of the crime problem as a gun problem, for which the solution is to elect Democrats who will enact stricter gun-control laws.
This simplistic attitude ignores the obvious question of why Democrats are against enforcing the gun-control laws already on the books. In New York City, where Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has been busy ginning up charges against former President Trump, his chief prosecutor sings the praises of her office’s “gun diversion” program that avoids sending criminals to prison on weapons charges. New York City saw a 22 percent increase in major crime last year, yet putting criminals behind bars is not a priority for Meg Reiss, Chief Assistant District Attorney in Bragg’s office, who has flatly asserted, “We know incarceration doesn’t really solve any problems.”
Joe Biden could order his Attorney General Merrick Garland to stop this turn-’em-loose approach to gun crimes in New York City. Under federal law (Section 922g), it is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison “for a person convicted of a felony to ship, transport, receive, or possess a firearm or ammunition.” Yet neither Biden nor Garland has shown any inclination to interfere in New York’s “gun diversion” program that sets such offenders free to commit further crimes, preferring instead to demonize law-abiding citizens for owning “assault weapons” — by which they mean, for example, AR-15 type rifles, of which an estimated 20 million are legally owned by Americans. If Democrats don’t want to prosecute actual convicted felons for illegally possessing firearms, why do they expect their demands to ban “assault weapons” to be taken seriously?
Rhetorical questions aside, however, America’s crime problem is not just the fault of Democratic politicians, but also of Democratic voters. In Chicago, where crime has risen nearly 50 percent since 2019, voters recently had the opportunity to replace their soft-on-crime mayor, who placed third in the election, but in the subsequent runoff, they chose an even softer-on-crime candidate, Brandon Johnson. In an interview with CBS News last week, Mayor-elect Johnson…