Thursday, August 06, 2009

The sky is falling

I live in a small county in Florida. Violent crime rates in this county are declining with 486 per 100,000 population last year. In Pittsburgh they are also declining with about 1070 which is none the less about twice the national average. of course far from all of violent crimes involve firearms. A great many involve fists, beer bottles, baseball bats and knives, but Pittsburgh has much, much more restrictive gun control than Florida and probably fewer guns.

For what it's worth, traffic fatalities in Florida are at 14 year lows and even if shark and alligator attacks and lightening strike fatalities reflect a growing population, you can't say it's getting more dangerous, despite the constant appeal to the relentless fiction that it is.

You'll be reading about the four people killed in Pittsburgh by a misogynous, racist, paranoid and perhaps schizophrenic nutjob for some time and you will hear suggestions that this could have been prevented by even tighter gun control although there won't be any practical, or constitutional, suggestions short of blanket confiscation. The won't be any evidence that such has ever been the case. Pittsburgh already requires guns to be registered. Florida does not.

There are many reasons that you might consider Pittsburgh to be more dangerous than an unincorporated town in Florida, but obviously registration Vs. non registration requirements aren't a significant factor, so can we dispense with the knee-jerk reactionary rhetoric and the stereotyping of gun owners -- but we won't. We'll hear the same axe grinding, throwing out the same sparks and we will continue to advocate the same cures that haven't had any effect and ignore whatever it is that has.

Just watch and see.


d nova said...

i must admit i'm havin a lil trouble figurin' out what u'r gettin' at here.

densely populated cities pretty near always have higher crime rates than small counties, but pennsylvania's rates are way lower than florida's, both 4 violent n property.

Capt. Fogg said...

Sometimes I don't know what I'm getting at, but I think it's that we're trying to get different results doing the same old thing. Gun registration and waiting periods and handgun bans and purchase limits don't seem to be a significant factor in crime control and severity of punishment doesn't deter suicidal maniacs.

If gun crime is declining, which in general it is, I'd like to put some effort into finding out why. I suspect real progress could be made by changing our drug policy since I think it's still a major factor.

But I'm also pointing out that these statistically rare events and the hysteria the media builds around them can't be the basis of rational action and doesn't produce the kind of thought we should be putting into lawmaking.

d nova said...

i beg 2 differ (at least in part). as you can see here ( a long decline in homicides began after the brady bill passed in 1993. there was an uptick for 2 years after the gops let the assault weapons ban lapse. it's not definite proof, but i think it's at least food 4 thought.