Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Updated: Violent Crime Down, Poverty Up: Two Big Liberal Lies Blown To Bits

June 11, 2012 - The FBI said this week that violent crime in the U.S. declined for the fifth year in row. In 2011, reports Reuters, "the number of murders dropped to the lowest in more than four decades, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday."

Violent crime rates in the U.S., including murder, rape, robbery and assault, "dropped 4 percent in 2011 from the previous year, according to the FBI's Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report," said the report. The FBI will issue its final report in the fall.

Well, well, well. I wonder how my liberal friends are coping with this news. Those FBI stats must be making them crazy.

In fact, the FBI's statistics completely blow apart two of the biggest lies. Needless to say, nobody in left-leaning mainstream media is mentioning concealed-carry as a possible factor in the lower murder rates. That leaves it to me, I guess.

LIE NUMBER ONE:
"Allowing Concealed Carry Will Take Us Back To The Wild West"


All but one of the United States have legalized some form of "concealed carry," which allows citizens to have a firearm with them outside of their homes. Illinois is the only holdout left that does not respect its people enough to let them protect themselves against bad guys who possess illegal firearms.

Shortly before Wisconsin became the 49th state to legalize concealed carry last fall, a lot of liberals in the Badger State went into panic mode. It became legal there on November 1, 2011.

I spent five months in Wisconsin last year, July through December. That summer, one of my liberal acquaintance there said to me, "Oh my God, it's crazy," she said to me, "It's gonna be like the wild wild west! Can you imagine road rage with guns?" I laughed and pointed out that her feared scenario had not happened in the 48 states that already allowed concealed carry, and that violent crime and robbery had actually stayed the same or, more often, declined after those states legalized it. Her response was to roll her eyes and become semi-comatose in a deeper state of paranoid confusion.

In late November, about three weeks after concealed carry became legal in Wisconsin, I ran into Miss Liberal again. "Have you seen any good gun fights on the streets," I asked her, barely containing my laughter.

Her response, as before, was to roll her eyes and become semi-comatose in a deeper state of paranoid confusion. It has now been over half a year since Wisconsin allowed concealed carry, and I am not aware of any statewide increase in gun violence there. (Are you?)

The classic “blood running in the gutters” and “dead cops everywhere” hysterical pontifications of the anti-gun crowd have been proven to be nothing more than noxious and provably untrue rhetoric....When a gunfight erupts you don’t have six minutes to wait for police to arrive. You don’t have six seconds. You are lucky if you have six-tenths of a second in some cases. In order to achieve the little temporary safety you call for, we would all have to sacrifice a significant degree of personal liberty. I prefer not to live in a police state, and prefer to provide for my own safety. I also advocate that others provide for theirs, and for the safety of the general public in the process. ~ Seth Richardson, The Broadside

Although gun ownership is way up, liberals are confronted with the inconvenient fact that gun-related homicides keep going down. The fact that it is more difficult for the bad guys to victimize Americans surely has been a contributing factor in the declining crime rates nationwide.

LIE NUMBER TWO:
"Poverty Increases Violent Crime"


Liberals have long insisted that high rates of violent crime are caused by higher rates of poverty. Yet, here we are in the Great Recession, with high unemployment (over 8 percent nationally for three years, higher in many states) ... but violence crime has declined. Americans' families' wealth declined by 40 percent. This week, along with the FBI report of declining violent crime, came reports that many American families have seen their wealth all but wiped out.

"The recent recession wiped out nearly two decades of Americans’ wealth," reports The Washington Post this week, "according to government data released Monday, with ­middle-class families bearing the brunt of the decline. The Federal Reserve said the median net worth of families plunged by 39 percent in just three years..."  That's not all. In just one recent year, the U.S. poverty rate jumped from 14.3 percent in 2009 to 15.1 percent in 2010 according to the U.S. Census. A brief post at The National Journal last week gives a nice "snapshot" of the Census data, including these highlights:
  • Between 2007 and 2010, the share of Americans living in poverty increased by 2.6 percent. In 2007, 12.5 percent of the U.S. population lived in poverty.
  • The 2010 poverty rate (15.1 percent) was the highest since 1993.
  • Although the rate is not the highest it’s ever been, the number of people (46.2 million) living in poverty is.
In September, 2010 the Christian Science Monitor reported about the decline of violent crime and pondered the relationship to increasing poverty.

"Poverty rate rose in 2009, but the FBI's new crime numbers show another big decline, especially in violent crime. The ties between poverty and crime may not be so obvious after all," repored CSM. "The report marks the third straight year of falling crime rates – a period that roughly overlaps with the recession. At the least, the trends show that America, for all its Hollywood violence fantasies and its occasional mass murders, remains at heart an orderly republic, where police, judicial jurisdictions, and even vigilant neighbors keep a reasonable check on society's darker inclinations – even when the society itself is strained." (My emphasis added.)

MORE POVERTY + MORE GUNS = LOWER MURDER RATE?

Liberals have been lying to you for decades about the correlation between crime and poverty. In summary, the connection ain't necessarily so. Even though, as the National Journal noted last week, there are more Americans living in poverty than ever, the FBI is telling us that the murder rate nationwide is the lowest it's been since 1968.

The Left has also lied about the effects of allowing citizens to carry guns for protection. And what happened between 1968 and 2011? The restrictive Gun Control Act of 1968, passed by Congress, "included prohibitions on mail order firearm sales, sales between residents of different states, recordkeeping on ammunition that can be used in a handgun, and prohibition of importation of firearms not considered 'sporting' by the Treasury Department (BATF)." However, state legislatures have gone the opposite direction, allowing various forms of concealed carry until, in 2012, only Illinois denies its residents full Second Amendment rights. The states, in their wisdom, knew that an armed citizenry is a safer citizenry.

Don't believe me? I'm just the messenger, folks. If you have any arguments you should contact the FBI and the Federal Reserve Bank. They've got a lot more statistics they'd love to share with you.

Of course, there are hot spots and exceptions, tragic islands of violence that some liberals will point to as "proof" that guns must be banned from everyone's hands. Chicago's violent gang problem is one such example. The gangs have long been a problem there, but 2012 has seen a sharp increase in gun-related homicide from a year ago. What the anti-gun liberals conveniently ignore, of course, is the obvious fact that the shootings are done by criminals doing criminal things with guns that are almost always stolen and/or not registered. The insane drive-by shootings that hurt so many Chicagoans are not done by law abiding citizens with their registered firearms.

Let me leave you with a quote from James H. Miller, President, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI). In 2006, while the concealed carry debate was in full swing in Wisconsin, the WPRI issued a report titled "Concealed Carry Legislation: An Examination of the Facts." In that paper, Miller wrote a "Report From The President," in which he said, "We know that criminals will always carry firearms with or without legislation. It is the people who obey and respect our laws who will benefit from concealed carry."  Indeed, Miller's words have been shown to be true.

Update/Addendum, 21 July 2012:

Wiegman
I came across an interesting (albeit less-than-comprehensive) research paper titled "Impact of Concealed Carry Weapon Laws on Crime Rates" (pdf) by Prof. Kenneth M. Wiegman for an "Introduction to Criminal Justice" course at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. The paper essentially destroys anti-concealed carry argument that it will increase violent crime.

The paper, dated 7 December 2009, is only 4 1/2 pages in length (not counting the cover page and a citations page). Prof. Wiegman holds a Master of Science in Criminal Justice. He began his paper with this:

"Concealed carry weapon laws have been unsuccessful in significantly affecting the rates of violent crime in states where they have been enacted."

However, that is not a bad conclusion for proponents of concealed carry. That statement certainly contradicts the frantic screams of the anti-gun crowd, who have long said that concealed carry would increase crime, and here is Prof. Wiegman saying that they have not "significantly" affected the rates of violent crime - up or down. He ended his paper with this (my emphasis added):

"In conclusion, there is no significant change on crime rates when concealed carry weapon laws are passed. These studies show that by slightly changing the criteria, altering the filtering of the data used in the analysis, or using different analysis techniques, different results can be produced that indicate that the crime rates either increased or decreased after the law was implemented in comparison to what it was before. In fact, many of the studies on the effects of concealed carry weapon laws are based in part on the data Lott collected, differing only in analyzation approach and/or additional updates in data collection; all of them produced different results. If concealed carry weapon laws had a major impact on crimes, it would be easy to see the change in the rates. In reality, though, there are many factors that effect crime rates, and concealed carry weapon laws are just a minor one."

Some anti-concealed carry folks might use Wiegman's paper as ammunition (pardon the pun). However, his conclusion is neither pro nor con. If anything, it vindicates the pro-concealed carry position by saying that it does not increase violent crime.

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