"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, January 25, 2013

Predictable Versus Unpredictable Violence

With the President energized to enact (or impose) new restrictions on guns, I have been thinking about violence.   It appalls me, as it should any actual "liberal" (i.e., someone who actually cares about human beings as individuals), that there is a huge reaction when white children are murdered in an inexplicable, unpredictable violence caused by an insane individual, while there is little reaction when hundreds of black youths are killed in utterly predictable violence because our inner cities have descended into chaos and criminality due to the drug trade.

Consider these statistics from the CDC.  
  • In 2010 there were 11,078 homicides by firearms in America.
  • Of these, 9,340 were male, or approximately 84%.
  • Of these, 5,553 were black males.   That's slightly over 50% of the total number of murders.
  • And, of the total, 7,220 were between the age of 15-34, or approximately 65%.
Now, I can't get my hands on perfect statistics, but these numbers yield an inference that a wildly disproportionate number of America's gun deaths are murders of young black males.  

Do you think that has something to do with drug-related gang shootings?   I do.

Do you think there will be fewer of these drug-related gang shootings if namby-pamby liberal Senators like Dianne Feinstein, catering to their namby-pamby white suburban liberal voters, enact a cosmetic gun control law?   I don't.

Legislation can do little to affect unpredictable "Black Swan" events like a mass school shooting.   Connecticut had a state-level assault weapon ban, the Newtown shooter's mother had purchased the guns he used legally, and he had not been guilty of any prior crime of violence.   He was weird kid with neglectful parents, including an absent father, and he went nuts in a particularly gruesome way.   Tell me how to keep that from happening.   Then, tell me whether you want to live in that world.   Because the logic of the liberal position seems to end in an Orwellian world of disarmed people subject to arbitrary government decisions about who is sane or insane prior to any criminal acts.  

By contrast, legislation can do a lot to affect the utterly predictable violence in our inner cities.   Here's what I'd do.

1. Decriminalize drugs.   We're getting good at losing wars -- see Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, etc.   Let's declare defeat and end the War on Drugs.

2. End the job-killing insanity of the minimum wage.   Let's put young men back to work.

3. End the job-killing insanity of federal environmental and safety-related hyper-regulation.   Let's start building factories in America again.

4. End the job-killing idiocy of our anti-fossil fuel policies.   Let's make America the cheap energy center of world manufacturing.

In short, if you want to get rid of violence, eliminate the economic incentives for criminal behavior and increase the ability of young, uneducated, semi-skilled men to get decent manufacturing jobs.   Human nature being what it is, there will always be violence and murder -- heck, we're watching Cadfael, and there were apparently murders by the bushelful in medieval England.   But we can reduce the incentives to commit murder by reducing the economic rewards for criminality and increasing the economic rewards for work.

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