Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Truth Few Wish To Face

The plague of gun violence in the U.S., it turns out, is not as widespread or as random as many gun control advocates would have us believe. Indeed, gun violence in America largely consists of black and Hispanic males shooting other black and Hispanic males. According to a study by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, based on data collected by the Center for Disease Control, 1.5 white Americans in 100,000 were shot and killed in 2007 — still higher than the Canadian rate of 0.6, but, given the population densities of the two nations, at least in the same ballpark. On the other hand, the rate for Hispanic Americans was an alarming 5.2 per 100,000 — more than three times the rate among whites Americans. The rate for African Americans was a grotesque 18.1 per 100,000, or roughly 12 times the rate among whites Americans. The rate for African-American males was an obscene 37.59 per 100,000.

Those are the victim rates. The ethnic disparities among gun homicide offenders mirror the disparities among victims. Though blacks make up less than 13% of the U.S. population, year after year they commit more than half of all gun homicides. The numbers for Hispanic offenders are harder to pin down since law enforcement agencies tend to group them with white offenders — perhaps to make the black-white contrast seem less stark. But given the high rate of Hispanic victimization, and the fact that more than half of all homicide victims in the U.S. are acquainted with their killers, it seems safe to conclude that Hispanic offenders also commit gun homicides at substantially elevated rates.

Recognizing the centrality of ethnicity to the problem of gun violence is just another way of saying, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” But it also underscores the gnarly politics of dealing with the issue. You likely could significantly reduce incidents of gun violence in the U.S., and save many black and Hispanic lives in the process, with mandatory sentencing. So, for example, if you’re convicted of using a gun to commit a crime, we could tack an extra five years onto the end of your sentence. If you discharge a gun while committing a crime, make it 15. If you shoot someone, make it 25. No exceptions. No plea bargains. No mercy.

If states began to adopt such sentencing guidelines, you likely would have a drastic reduction in gun homicides — not because violent criminals would necessarily be deterred, but because, once they’re caught and convicted, they’d be incarcerated for much longer periods. It would therefore be a boon to the overwhelming majority of blacks and Hispanics, who are law-abiding citizens. But it would also require building many more prisons and filling them with mostly black and Hispanic males — which means that most blacks and Hispanics would oppose the effort. So too would every left-of-center advocacy group that fancies itself a guardian of minority interests.


Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, it looks like you aren't going to invited to any NAACP dinners!

But, yeah, sometimes the "Truth Hurts," and not everything can be blamed on George Bush.

So be prepared to be declared a "Right-Wing Extremist" and be placed on the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Watch List."

Bob said...

@Bubblehead Les: Isn't that just like liberals, to put you down on a list, marking you for the gulag if they ever achieve true power?

Anonymous said...

Well, you might save a bunch of lives, but are those really the lives we should want to be saving?

I'm all for reducing the survival rates of gangbangers and hoods.