Guns don’t kill people and you’re not going to like it when I point out who does.

January 23rd, 2006

I love it when people blame guns for crime.

It’s even better when someone like Gregory Stanford of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finds a way to blame guns AND America at the same time.

In an column entitled “Our deadly exports: Guns, viagra canada recipe violence and homicides”, cialis Stanford basically says Toronto’s elevated homicide rate in 2005 is our fault.

(To be fair, Gregory isn’t the first one to try to blame the evil United States for Toronto’s problems. Toronto Mayor David Miller himself laid the blame on our doorstep when he said, “The U.S. is exporting its problem of violence to the streets of Toronto.”)

I have a question for Mr. Stanford (and Mayor Miller, for that matter): why do you keep blaming guns (and America), but not the young black men who are the ones committing the shootings?

I’m aware that the above statement is inflammatory.

And, whether you believe it or not, I’m not a racist.

I’m a realist.

And I can do the numbers:

Let’s start with the disingenious assertion that guns cause violent crime.

According to a BBC report there are approximately 200 MILLION guns in the United States.

The FBI estimated that there were around 10,242 murders committed with guns in the year 2000.

Do the math.

That means 0.005121 percent of the guns in the United States were used in a murder that year.

Take a moment to digest that number.

If guns were the (or even a) root cause of homicide, wouldn’t more than .005 percent of them lead to a murder?

Or course they didn’t, because 99.99 percent of guns in America are owned by responsible, law-abiding people.

Now let’s take a look at the numbers that really tell us what’s going on in Toronto (and Milwaukee for that matter):

Staff Inspector Brian Raybould, head of the Toronto police homicide squad and a 36-year veteran of the Toronto police force, was quoted in the Buffalo News saying that 90 percent of his city’s shooting deaths are gang-related and are mostly “young black men shooting young black men.”

According to this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel graphic, 75% of the 122 people killed in Milwaukee in 2005 were black.

Because murders are almost always between members of the same race, I can only assume this means that 3 out of every 4 murders in Milwaukee in 2005 were commited by a black man.

(I have to make an assumption because an internet search turned up not a SINGLE statistic about how many of the killers in Milwaukee in 2005 were black. Note to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: you’re not doing the community a favor by trying to hide the truth about what’s going on in the inner city. If we don’t start by identifying a problem, we have no hope of fixing it.)

I have to say, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that young black men are commiting the majority of murders in Milwaukee given that even African-American columnist Eugene Kane admits as much in this article and in this one.

In 2002, even the U.S. Department of Justice stated that blacks were 7 times more likely than whites to commit a homicide .

Does all this mean that I think blacks are evil or more prone to violence as a race?

Emphatically no.

I believe there are cultural issues inside and outside of the black community that need to be addressed if we are going to end the violence.

But one thing we KNOW will not fix the problem is blaming the guns instead of the people who pull the triggers.

Gun control does NOT stop gun-related violence. Washington D.C. has the most restrictive gun law in the country and it hasn’t made it a safer place to live.

Thanks to Governor Jim Doyle, Wisconsin continues to deny its law-abiding citizens the right to bear arms and yet the homicide rate in Milwaukee still skyrocketed.

Guns don’t cause violence and I’m sick of people whose cause it is to outlaw guns using the existence of violence as their justification.

We will never solve this problem as long as people like Gregory Stanford and the Mayor of Toronto insist on targeting guns and refuse to set their sites on the real issues that trigger violence in the inner cities.

Entry Filed under: Milwaukee,Observations,Politics

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jenna  |  January 23rd, 2006 at 8:24 am

    Excellent post. Of course, I agree 100%. I might just have to borrow your percentage of guns that are used in homicides stat.

  • 2. Simon Owens  |  January 23rd, 2006 at 10:23 pm

    A more accurate statistic would be quoting how many crime-related shootings there are every year, since not every fired shot causes death. You might find the number to be much higher.

  • 3. Administrator  |  January 23rd, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    Simon,

    OK. I’ll take that challenge. In fact, I’ll go so far as to use the number of times a gun was brandished at all in the commission of a crime.

    According to the U.S. Department of Justice guns were used in the commision of a crime 428,670 in the year 2000 (the same year I cited earlier). That includes all weapons that were fired or simply displayed.

    That means that 0.214335% of the guns in America were used in the commission of a crime. So while the number did increase, it is still less than 1/4th of one percent.

    To be honest with you, this is even less than I suspected it would be. (It’s probably even smaller considering that quite a few of those incidents probably involved the same weapon.)

    Let me be clear, I think even one crime committed with a firearm is one too many.

    However, it’s not the gun that is to blame. It’s the person who uses the gun in a violent fashion. And the cultures and societies that create the circumstances that lead to that person making that decision. To me, gun control is a red herring that distracts us from dealing with the real issues like poverty, ignorance, and prejudice.

  • 4. Simon Owens  |  January 24th, 2006 at 12:20 am

    Thanks for including that new statistic. I think it helps your point.

    I’m not really super pro gun control. I do think that there should be some gun control, but on the whole I believe in an American’s basic right to own a firearm, though I will likely never buy one.

  • 5. Administrator  |  January 24th, 2006 at 12:32 am

    Thanks for motivating me to go look it up. I was surprised by the results.

    I actually believe in quite a bit of gun control myself.

    I’ve always thought that you should be licensed to own and/or carry a gun just like you’re licensed to drive a car.

    You should have to pass a written and practical test and have to renew it every couple of years.

    That stance makes me out-of-sync with pretty much everyone on both sides of the debate.

  • 6. slaw  |  February 2nd, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    Personally I strongly believe in a persons right to OWN a gun, but not his right to carry it around with him wherever he wants.
    First off, you stated these supposedly wonderful statistics about how not to many guns have been used in murders EXCEPT they are from 2000, not 2005, a LOT can change in a year so I think that really doesn’t even adequatly address the crime since in milwaukee the murders jumped 38% in one year alone!!! If you want to state some out dated numbers, I could take approx same time period you used and find that “Almost 60% of youth suicide deaths in 1999 were firearm-related.” and “Among young people 10 to 19 years old, there were 1,078 suicides with guns in 1999 – about 3 on average every day of the year” -NCHS National Vital Statistics System for numbers of deaths, U.S. Bureau of Census for population estimates.

    While these suicides should have been reconized as problems by parents earlier, they wern’t. However attempted suicides not using guns fail much more often and the child has a chance for help, even if its late. so how about some straight facts using percentage of murders in milwaukee that were recent to reflect the recent crime.

    Living in wisconsin, which is a BIG hunting state full of gun fans I know hunters vote to support any gun law they can even if it’s not resonable so it will most likely pass, which I feel is going to be more of a problem for Milwaukee then a solution. Milwaukee is an EXTREMLY segregated city and has major racial problems and killings already. (plus lots of drunks everywhere who arn’t thinking about what they do when they do it and cops who are ready, and have shot anyone that gives them slight oposition that they suspect might be armed.)
    I DON’T believe guns CAUSE crime but when there is crime I cannot see how making guns more redibly avalible (which they will be, not just to the average guy but to crimminals as well) will solve anything..except having more shoot outs between people maybe. Oh yeah just like the old west,…we may just go back to hanging and lynching people while we are at it too :P

    Going back to the thought that a lot of the gun murders were/are used between blacks and blacks, which I believe is true, what good would it do the average person to have a gun?? Unless he frequantly walked alone in the ghetto. :P

    However in one milwaukee news article I read the police stated “People killed each other over dish soap, a dress, a pair of shoes, pork neck bones, whose rap is better and other petty issues, police said”
    more guns will help this?? I just don’t see that.
    I read a short but well written article which pretty much sums it all up in my opinion..
    “of course there are places where concealed guns would be proihibited: resturants where alcohol accounts for more then half of sales, bars/taverns, child care centers, shelters, schools, college campuses, hospitals and clinics, police stations, prisons, courthouses, sporting events, and airports. Additionally public facilities and private businesses can ban concealed weapons on the premises if they do things such as post required signs. So, Basically, the only place you could actually carry a weapon is walking down the street. There, and in a car, which makes perfect sense in case you get into a fender bender- after all, few things go together better then road rage and firearms.”

  • 7. From Where I Sit » &hellip  |  February 11th, 2006 at 2:42 pm

    […] Of course, you could just start with my explanation. […]

  • 8. From Where I Sit » &hellip  |  February 20th, 2006 at 8:29 pm

    […] I’ve already debunked the claim that guns CAUSE crime. […]

  • 9. From Where I Sit » &hellip  |  May 1st, 2006 at 11:11 am

    […] (Some of you might remember the post I made debunking the claim that guns “cause” crimes. In a nutshell, more than 99.99 percent of the guns in America are NOT used in a crime. If guns cause crime they don’t seem to be very good at it.) […]

  • 10. Gary morrill  |  June 14th, 2006 at 9:00 pm

    Your point is well made and I agree reasonably well with your findings except I believe we are too ingratiating to the primary culprits and those would be young blacks. They have a group attitude of hyper-machismo which not only leads them to the commision of crimes of violence related to gang power issues and of course drug trafficking but also to siring out of wedlock children at an alarming rate. These people have graduated from being a drag on society to being true dangers to it. They are destabilizing the core stuctures of their own cultures and the fallout is being felt throughout society.
    I don’t have an answer that would be considered acceptable in civilized society.

  • 11. Zeeshan  |  November 24th, 2006 at 10:47 am

    Point taken; It really is unfair to blame the violence on the streets of Toronto on the US but neither is it the fault of “young black men”.
    The violence can squarely be blamed on certain MEDIA CULTURE only found and produced in the United States that glorifies violence. Look at international gun-related statistics on violence(official Interpol website) and you’ll find the murder rate per 100,000 in the US to be equal to that of over-populated, lawless Third World nations. (point to note: rape and violence against women is HIGHER in the US by 400% than even Pakistan!!)

    It seems that media promoting the most gross violence creates the same problems as over-population and poverty do in the Third World.

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Being in a wheelchair gives you a unique perspective on the world. This blog features many of my views on politics, art, science, and entertainment. My name is Elliot Stearns. More...

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