November 14, 2017

Boston Globe Columnist: ‘Hand Over Your Weapons’

The headline at David Scharfenberg’s Friday Boston Globe column reads: “Hand over your weapons.” One might have expected the column to include a discussion of knives, arrows, swards, and the like. But of course it doesn’t. It’s all about why “seizing a huge number of weapons from law-abiding citizens” (meaning “millions of those firearms”) would supposedly be a good idea, and how this Herculean feat might be accomplished.

At least Scharfenberg’s agenda is clear. He realizes that weapons seizures would take guns from the law-abiding,” but then wants readers to believe that doing so will somehow reduce the number of guns in criminals’ hands.

After noting that Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have spoken fondly of Australia’s gun-buyback program, and that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has publicly placed confiscation on the table of policy options, Scharfenberg thinks it might be time for gun-control advocates to “expand their agenda.”

You’re fooling no one, David. The comments referenced in the previous paragraph show that confiscation has been, still is, and always will be their agenda.

Scharfenberg’s “logic” is, as would be expected, laughable (HT Twitchy; bolds are mine throughout this post):

Hand over your weapons

The logic of gun control lies, at bottom, in substantially reducing the number of deadly weapons on the street — and confiscation is far and away the most effective approach. Is there any conceivable turn of events in our politics that could make confiscation happen? And what would a mass seizure look like?

… Matt Miller, a journalist and onetime senior fellow with the left-leaning Center for American Progress, has proposed what he calls a “massive, debt-financed” buyback.

The idea is to supersize the small-scale, voluntary buybacks that happen in American cities — offering hundreds of dollars more per weapon in a bid to make them more effective. “Instead of $200 a gun, Uncle Sam might offer $500,” Miller wrote, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post after Sandy Hook. “After all, overpaying powerful constituencies to achieve public policy goals is a time-honored American tradition; we do it every day with Medicare drug benefits and defense contractors, to name just two.”

John Rosenthal, co-founder and chairman of Massachusetts-based Stop Handgun Violence, says it may be time to embrace a mandatory buyback — the relentless tide of mass shootings leaving weary activists with little choice.

… the Aussies themselves have been touting (their buyback scheme) to any Americans who will listen — suggesting it could succeed in the United States with a little political courage, especially on the right.

Ultimately, if gun-control advocates really want to stanch the blood, there’s no way around it: They’ll have to persuade more people of the need to confiscate millions of those firearms, as radical as that idea may now seem.

$500 per gun times an estimated 300 million guns would require $150 billion of money the government doesn’t have — and that’s before considering the enormous costs of administration and enforcement that would be involved.

What nonsense.

If Scharfenberg and the gun-grabbers really want to “stanch the blood,” i.e., to substantially bring down the homicide rate in the U.S., the answer would be to concentrate law-enforcement and other community-based resources where the problems are — and the major problems are in a surprisingly small portion of the country.

Using 2015 statistics, I did an analysis which subtracted the number of homicides in the 30 cities with populations above 100,000 with the highest homicide rates from the nationwide totals. What I found was that the murder rate in those 30 cities was ten times that seen in the rest of the country:

USmurdersWorst30andRest2015

Given the alarming 2016 increase in murders in Chicago and Baltimore, to name just two, there’s little doubt that an analysis of that year would show at least the 10-to-1 ratio seen above.

The problem is actually far more concentrated than shown in the table:

The majority of murders in the U.S. occur in only a small percentage of counties across the country.

The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) said in a new report that there is a “geographical concentration” of murders, with 68 percent of killings occurring in just 5 percent of the nation’s counties. The homicides also tend to be concentrated to relatively small pockets of those counties, the report said.

“It is stunning how concentrated murders are in the U.S.,” John Lott, president of the CPRC said to Fox News. “And we show that even within these counties, with all these high rates, murders are very concentrated.”

… More than half of last year’s murders occurred in only 2 percent of the nation’s counties.

Even within those counties, most neighborhoods are relatively safe, while a relative few have a disproportionate share of their reported murders:

Take for example Los Angeles County, which had 526 murders in 2014 — the most of any other county in the U.S. But parts of L.A. County, including Beverly Hills, Hawthorne and Van Nuys, had virtually no murders that year.

Indianapolis, Indiana had 135 murders but only four occurred outside of the 465 highway loop that encircles the downtown area.

Washington, D.C. has large swaths without a single recorded murder. The study found that murders were overwhelmingly limited to the eastern half of Washington, D.C.

One of the most interesting findings in the report is that areas with the highest gun ownership rates have low murder rates.

Then there’s Chicago, where the number of murders increased from the 478 seen above to 765 in 2016, Detailed analysis indicates that only a few neighborhoods accounted for half of the increase:

50% of Chicago’s increase (occurred in) 5 nbhds w (neighborhoods with) 9% of city’s pop (population).

Meanwhile, in a huge percentage of the rest of the country, homicides are very rare:

In 2014, the most recent year that a county level breakdown is available, 54% of counties (with 11% of the population) have no murders.  69% of counties have no more than one murder, and about 20% of the population. These counties account for only 4% of all murders in the country.

Rough math would indicate that the murder rate in this 69 percent of U.S. counties was less than 1 per 100,000 residents (4 percent of all murders is roughly 600, divided by 20 percent of the nation’s population, which would be 64 million). That just so happens to equal the murder rate in Australia, the gun-grabbers’ favorite country.

So genuinely attacking the U.S. homicide rate requires pursuing solutions in the areas where murders are overwhelmingly taking place.

Why didn’t Scharfenberg address this? Because he instead wanted to ghoulishly capitalize on the Sutherland Springs massacre, while ignoring the fact that a “good guy with a gun” prevented the killer from completing his grisly mission.

Why did he do that? Because solving the murder problem isn’t what “gun-control advocates really want.”

What they want is to take as many guns as they possibly can from everyone in the nation, regardless of how safe the area in which they live is. This is a surefire recipe for ensuring that bad guys with guns can carry out their crimes with impunity anywhere in the nation, any time.

No thanks, David.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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