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Democrats Control America’s Most Dangerous Cities. So Why Do They Keep Passing the Buck on Gun Crime?

Progressives and conservatives traditionally have exhibited different attitudes to the lessons of history. While conservatives have tended to take cues from the past as they build measured hopes for the future, progressives have urged that we break free from tradition in order to create bold and ambitious blueprints for a society they consider to be more just. In the United States, however, this pattern appears to be breaking down, as it is now progressives who tend to embrace a more rigid, backward-looking approach, especially on issues tied to identity. Unlike conservatives, progressives aren’t looking to revive a better, sometimes idealized version of their country. But they have become bogged down in the politics of historical redress, at the expense of forward-looking policies that would actually improve people’s lives.

A microcosm of this larger tendency was put on display during last month’s Democratic primary debates, which touched on the issue of urban gun violence. No Democratic presidential candidate expressed a sense of responsibility for the plague of violent crime in America’s cities, even though the largest urban areas are almost all controlled by Democratic politicians.

The issue first came up during questions posed to Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. NBC’s moderators challenged Buttigieg by bringing up a recent incident in which a white police officer killed a 54-year-old black man. While that episode nominally relates to the issue of urban gun violence, it also allows Democrats to dwell in ideologically comfortable territory, since progressives have been drawing attention to police-involved shootings for years. (Indeed, it would be far more useful—and revealing—if it were instead conservative Republicans who were being pressed on this problem). Moreover, the preferred Democrat approach—tracing the problem to the country’s original sin of racism—isn’t especially helpful.

In answer to the question, Buttigieg dutifully offered a look back to history, noting “there’s a wall of mistrust put up one racist act at a time.” A question about the other shootings in South Bend—the vast majority of which are not committed by police officers—would have been far more illuminating. South Bend is one of the 30 most dangerous cities in America, with a per-capita homicide rate (16.8 per 100,000) comparable to that of Chicago (17.5 per 100,000). And this rate has remained virtually unchanged since Buttigieg became mayor in 2012, despite the seven years he’s had to address the problem.

At one point, the mayor did acknowledge the high death toll. “The worst part of the job is dealing with violence,” Buttigieg confessed. “We lose as many as were lost at Parkland [referring to the 2018 Parkland, Florida school shooting] every two or three years in my city alone. And this is tearing communities apart.” No doubt, this is absolutely true. But there is something oddly passive about the tone of such pronouncements, as if Buttigieg and other politicians were talking about a natural disaster. In truth, this ongoing tragedy is an indictment of American political leadership, including at the local level. If you can’t adequately fight crime as a mayor, why would one imagine you are fit to run a whole country?

Another presidential hopeful, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, showed a similar lack of self-awareness. Booker declared, in a tone that almost seemed to suggest pride, “I’m the only one on this panel here that had seven people shot in their neighborhood just last week. Someone I knew…was killed with an assault rifle at the top of my block last year.” Again, this sounds like someone reporting on a kind of naturally occurring cataclysm. Yet, in addition to serving as a senator from New Jersey for five years, Booker served as mayor of Newark for the previous eight. Newark’s government, like New Jersey’s, is part of the problem.

Like both men, I’ve seen the consequences of gun violence up close. The Toronto area, where I grew up, isn’t plagued by homicide rates comparable to those of large American cities. But we still lose dozens of young lives each year to guns. The level of fear I have felt upon getting a text about a shooting in front of my mother’s home, or hearing gunshots outside my own apartment, is only a fraction of that suffered by American families I’ve met in Newark, NJ, and Columbus, OH (a few hours southeast of South Bend). One thing I’ve learned through my work is that it’s hard for people of any age to move on from losing loved ones to violence. As author and journalist Alex Kotlowitz has explained, “[a] single act of violence—it shapes who people are. It gets in their bones.”

In keeping with their preference to remain on safe progressive turf, Democratic presidential candidates typically have limited their policy proposals in this area to gun-control measures—such as universal background checks (mentioned by Buttigieg during the primary debate) and a national buyback program (which is included in Booker’s platform). Yes, such top-down measures would be helpful, as most Americans agree, but they won’t fix the problem. A lot more can be done to make American cities safer, including local actions taken by Democrat-controlled city governments. And given the large number of Democratic presidential candidates, hailing from different parts of the country, this is an opportunity for a discussion of such policy ideas to take place on the national stage.

As mayor of Newark, for example, Booker himself saw double-digit reductions in shootings over the course of his first term (2006-2010). This is to his credit. And at the end of those four years, Booker credited a variety of city government initiatives for increasing community safety: more police officers, security cameras, gunshot-detection systems, services for ex-offenders, fatherhood support programs and an illegal-gun tip line. As mayor, Booker wasn’t waiting for either George W. Bush or Barack Obama to enact national gun-control measures. Booker took responsibility. Unfortunately, the positive changes didn’t last. After 2010, the Newark police budget was cut and targeted community programs started to lose funding. Newark’s homicide rate went back up to previous levels, further underscoring how local policies can make a meaningful difference. It would be nice to hear Booker talk more about this, rather than generic Democrat talking points.

The Democrats like to suggest that the problem of gun crime can’t ever be fully tackled until their party controls the White House and both houses of Congress, at which point they might pass aggressive gun-control legislation at the national level. But the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab has identified a meaningful role for city government initiatives in improving community safety. A 2014 empirical study of a summer-job program found that even part-time, minimum wage jobs can help reduce violent crime among youth in high-crime areas of Chicago by more than 40 percent. The study’s authors speculate that the program’s success is less attributable to poverty alleviation than to the social, psychological and cultural benefits of having a job. The City of Chicago has since implemented the findings by introducing summer job programs in local communities. And this might well be a factor in the decline in Chicago’s homicide rate since 2016.

More than 14,000 Americans died in firearm homicides in 2017, with most of the victims dying in cities. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, just over half of Americans consider gun violence, and violent crime more generally, to be “very big” problems. When you disaggregate the Pew survey responses by race, it’s clear that Democratic politicians have ample motivation to talk about these problems in a meaningful way. Among black respondents—a target group for any Democratic presidential candidate—82 percent identified gun violence as a “very big” problem. And twice as many black American respondents identified crime as a “major” problem in their local community, as compared to white Americans.

The small subset of killings that involve police officers is, of course, an important issue—especially since distrust of the police can make it harder for police to secure public co-operation in their investigations. Still, the Democrats’ disproportionate focus on this subset also seems influenced by political convenience. When white police are involved in the killing of a black man, it naturally invokes America’s horrific history of lynchings, Jim Crow segregation, slavery and other forms of state violence against black men and women—familiar territory for any Democrat on the hustings. Or, to use Buttigieg’s language, a significant part of progressive concern can be rooted in “what’s happened in the past.” The day-to-day violence within American cities, much of it involving young men as both victim and perpetrator, makes for a more awkward conversation—though it is a conversation that many black communities are willing to have.

The Democratic primary debates further spotlighted the party’s backward-looking disposition on race issues, through a particularly acute exchange in which Senator Kamala Harris attacked former Vice President Joe Biden’s decades-old opposition to federally-enforced school desegregation, or “busing.” But perhaps the best recent example of this larger trend within progressive circles emerged from last month’s U.S. congressional hearing on slavery reparations, which featured testimony from The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates and Quillette’s Coleman Hughes. As Hughes emphasized in a subsequent Quillette interview, there is literally “nothing” that can make up for the horror of slavery (not to mention convict leasing, vagrancy laws, debt peonage, redlining, racist GI bills and poll taxes). Those days are gone, as are its primary victims. And so it makes far more sense to work hard to address modern-day inequalities through improved public education, criminal justice reform and affordable healthcare. Unfortunately, this policy-oriented approach does not carry the same emotional (and political) resonance of a broad, dramatic call to remedy the ills of the past in one fell swoop.

Progressives, who have long branded themselves as forward-looking policy innovators challenging the hidebound dogmas of conservatism, would benefit from challenging their own fixation on history’s rearview mirror. A good start would come from engaging in an honest discussion of the daily criminal carnage playing out in the cities controlled by their own party. Preventing the deaths of today’s black youth would do a lot more good than dwelling on a racist past whose evils can never be undone.


Jamil Jivani is the author of Why Young Men: The Dangerous Allure of Violent Movements and What We Can Do About It (All Points Books, 2019). Follow him on Twitter @jamiljivani.

Featured image: Taurus Model 85 .38 Calibre Revolver.


  1. Photondancer says

    Articles like this make me glad I live in Australia. We may be circling the drain but at least there’s some issues we don’t have to worry about.

    • Lance says

      “…but at least there’s some issues we don’t have to worry about.”
      Perhaps because you live in a largely homogeneous society? What a stupid and condescending remark.

        • Lance says

          @Barry: It’s >80% anglo. That’s pretty bloody homogeneous. Not to mention its geographical isolation and the concomitant barriers to immigration.

          • Barry says

            Okay, it may not be as diverse as the US but it’s still very diverse and becoming ever more so by the year. Plus, despite the fact that it is quite strict on illegal immigration, it still has a very high immigration rate. My point is: diverse populations don’t always result in violence.

          • And to Barry’s reply – SO FAR. Don’t get me wrong, I wish you luck, but come on. Earth isn’t exactly flush with success stories. I’d proceed with an abundance of caution.

          • Kira says

            That’s true in rural Australia, but not in urban Australia. Sydney’s population has doubled in the last 10 years and it’s not because Anglo Australians having kids. Most of the 200,000 ish immigrants arriving every month are not from Anglo-Saxon populations.

            Also, I would advise against discounting the significant Irish population that was part of the initial influx of Europeans arriving in 1788. They would be deeply offended by being classed as ‘anglo’.

          • Photondancer says


            ‘Less diverse ‘ seems to be code for ‘ no blacks’ in most of the contexts I’ve seen it used.

            I live in Sydney which really isn’t that homogeneous. Nearly half the population was born overseas and around 40% speak a language other than English at home.

      • Photondancer says


        It is a statement of fact. How did you get ‘stupid and condescending ‘ from it?

      • Peter from Oz says

        Methinks you are the condesending git here. Sorry, but why should you get up on your high horse and wank on about diversity. All Photondancer said was that it is great that Australia doesn’t have the same level of gun crime as the US does. That is a fact, matey. Photondancer was not making an attack on the US.
        There seems to be this new rtendency in the world that evry time someone makes a positive statement about something, someone immediately has to ”read” into that praise adverse criticism of something else.

        • Lance says

          @Peter – Not on a high horse, nor am I “wanking on” about anything (I’m not prone to spanking at the alter of diversity porn). My point was that Photondancer’s remark was an obvious comparison of apples to, I dunno, crayons, perhaps? Plus, the remark (“at least there’s some issues we don’t have to worry about”) only comes off as sanctimonious. Photondancer can take all the shots at the U.S. that pleases the heart – no country is above criticism. All I was driving at was that the original comment was smugly phrased (consider, “I’m not in the best of shape, but, hey – at least I don’t have that guy’s cancer.”)

          • Photondancer says


            I made 2 statements of fact. One on my attitude and one on the state of Australia. All of the emotional content you’re reading into my post is coming from you. Obviously I poked a sore spot but the solution to that is to do something about it, not to get on your high horse.

      • J M Parnet says

        Stupid? Generally that is the one who accuses someone else of stupidity who is stupid!

    • Andrew Vanbarner says

      In Australia, part of the supply of banned firearms comes from defiance of the original prohibition. The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia estimates compliance with the “buyback” at 19 percent.

      Other researchers agree. In a white paper on the results of gun control efforts around the world, Franz Csaszar, a professor of criminology at the University of Vienna, Austria, gives examples of large-scale non-compliance with the ban. He points out, “In Australia it is estimated that only about 20% of all banned self-loading rifles have been given up to the authorities.”

      • David of Sydney says

        @Andrew Vanbarner
        The article you linked seems to think that a homicide rate 300 to 400% more than Australia’s is no big deal. I note that the article you link provides no references to the assertion that there is a violent surge in organised crime in Australia. If there is, such a violent surge, where are all the dead bodies? Shouldn’t there be a significant uptick in our homicide rate?

        You might also pay attention to the language used in the article – it seems to think that the terms homicide, murder and manslaughter are interchangeable. This is a mistake when comparing crime rates across different legislations.

        In Australia for 2016 there were 42 homicides utilising firearms. This is not a rate but a total count of all homicides using guns.

        42 for a country with 26,000,000 people.

        This means the homicide rates utilising firearms is 0.18 per 100,000. In the US for 2017 the rate is 4.46 per 100,000 people.

        The change in Australia’s gun laws also included changes in other areas – background checks, gun register, gun storage, etc.

        There are still plenty of firearms in Australia, yet this is something we do not need to worry about.

        As the original comment was stating Australia does not need to be concerned with firearms, legal or otherwise.

    • @Photondancer, what is difficult to see afar is that the violence is very localized and the US is huge. If you live or work in one of the high crime areas (I do) it’s pretty awful; you inevitably know someone who is shot and killed. But if you live in the majority of America, it is very safe to the point that it’s shocking if there is even a minor crime. The violence in the high crime areas is a huge problem, don’t get me wrong. But it paints a misleading picture. Media focus exacerbates the problem, as it lurches from hyper-focus of a single issue (eg “if we get rid of all guns none of this would happen”) to ignoring the existence of the deaths (eg black on black violence is virtually ignored in the larger media, unless it can be framed in terms of racism. Though the author doesn’t explicitly say so, this is why the Democat candidates won’t talk about their solutions for the violence except in very generic terms).

      • Photondancer says


        I am aware of the localisation of much of the gun crime, though I think this point may get exaggerated somewhat. I wouldn’t hear so much about alleged defensive gun use against armed criminals else. I say ‘alleged ‘ because I haven’t seen statistics either for or against this, not because I am claiming they’re all lying. Also I’ve read that the US South has high gun usage regardless of race.

        My main problem is that such a wealthy and powerful country has allowed such hotspots of crime to not only come into existence but persist for decades. The article is very pertinent given the politics of most of these locations. Lest you feel picked on, like Lance, I am equally unimpressed by similar problems in the UK and France.

        • Gary Dingle says

          You are right on money. I am sick of excuses. Babies, children, men, women, are injured and killed by guns everyday in the USA. The idea of localized gun violence is a cop out and a no solution. So, if people are shot to death with an assault rifle in a Black neighborhood it should not be counted because, it is a Black problem? We are all citizens of this country, but, as you see some people don’t believe that.

          We are the only country in the world not involved in constant civil war that does nothing to prevent gun massacres. All we get is more excuses and discussions about the probability of individuals being a victim in a massacre. The gun violence the US experience is predictable.

          When racial homogeneity is used to explain why other countries have less gun violence and gun related homicide, that is a bigoted way of viewing the world and especially the US with arguably the greatest diversity.

          We have the resources and the knowledge to fix the social problems that promotes crime and gun violence. We are the only country that passed laws that allow easy killing with a gun. Gun homicides increased when stand your ground laws were passed.

          In many states people walk around with guns concealed or open carry. Everybody thinks they are Dirty Harry, armed and ready to kill. And that is exactly what occurs daily in the gun nation.

          • Gringo says

            Gary Dingle

            We are the only country in the world not involved in constant civil war that does nothing to prevent gun massacres

            Shooter could have faced charges before massacre — had cops done their job, experts say.

            Nikolas Cruz threatened classmates, posted photos of himself holding guns, made violent statements online and was repeatedly described to authorities as a potential “school shooter.”

            His troubling behavior gave law enforcement plenty of opportunities to investigate and arrest him — and even take away his guns — long before he shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last week, according to interviews with former South Florida prosecutors and legal experts.

            In recent years, South Florida police detectives have arrested a slew of young men in unrelated cases who exhibited similar, troubling behavior on a variety of charges. Cops took them seriously.

            It never happened with Cruz.

            “There’s no doubt there was a failure,” former Miami-Dade prosecutor Marshall Dore Louis said of how law enforcement handled tips about Cruz. “The idea that they were aware of it and could do nothing is absurd. … We can’t let this happen again.”

            In the days since Florida’s worst school shooting, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has repeatedly insisted that his deputies were legally “handcuffed” from arresting Cruz — and he is calling for more powers for police to deal with similar cases.

            It wasn’t just BSO that failed to stop Cruz.

            The FBI did not act on two strong tips, one of which involved Cruz posting on the internet that he planned to become a “professional school shooter.” The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office was told Cruz had “put [a] gun to others’ heads in the past.” The Florida Department of Children and Families ruled him stable despite clear evidence of self-harm. And officials at Stoneman Douglas High, where Cruz killed 17 people on Valentine’s Day, knew that he was cutting himself, threatening students and taking pictures with guns and that he may have “ingested gasoline … in an attempt to commit suicide.”

            Those who could have stopped Cruz made “one mistake after another,” said Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, 18, was killed in the rampage.

            This in a Democrat-run county. Also recall that school authorities didn’t want to saddle Cruz with a record, so they refrained from getting him arrested.

    • ga gamba says

      … there’s some issues we don’t have to worry about.

      OK, yet I wonder why you hold such a negative view of your fellow citizens. Does gun ownership equal frequent mass shootings found in the US? Because it’s true there it true everywhere? Why can’t you think the Aussies may act like the well-behaved Swiss? reports Switzerland has the fourth highest per capita gun rate in the world with 45.7 guns per 100 residents; the US is 80 per 100. Presently Australia is thought to be 20th in the world at 13.7 (legal and illicit), and prior to the Port Arthur shooting it was 17.59. The number of registered firearms per capita in 2016 was 3.55.

      When Australia had its Port Arthur mass shooting it over reacted, with gun opponents exploiting the opportunity to infringe rights. After Switzerland’s mass shooting in 2001, it implemented rules to better screen owners and removed weapons from substance abusers, domestic abusers, and those who express violent intent.

      Both Switzerland and Australia have not experienced mass shootings since 2001 and 1996, respectively. One country removed guns from the people’s hands (though incompletely), and the other didn’t. Who was right? Seems to me if a country can be relatively peaceful and law abiding whilst maximising its people’s freedoms, it’s doing the better job.

      The Swiss are gun enthusiasts. Each year it holds a national shooting contest using Swiss army service rifles for teens aged 13 to 17. It instills a culture of respect for firearms rather than fear of them.

      Though the Swiss cantons keep a log of everyone who owns a gun in their region, hunting rifles and semiautomatic long arms are exempt from the permit requirement. Cantons report this data to a central registry, one that was demanded by the EU, however firearms purchased before 2008 don’t have to be reported. Where tighter regulations have been imposed, they’ve often come at the behest of the EU. In May of this year Swiss approved a referendum to accept EU demands. That a customs / economic union imposes gun control of a country that has little gun violence is a rather cynical over reach by Brussels. An acquisition licence is required only if a weapon is acquired from a dealer; no licence is required for transactions between private individuals. Gun owners who want to carry their weapon for self defence have to prove they can properly load, unload, and shoot their weapon and must pass a test to get a licence.

      Members of the Swiss militia (military service is compulsory for all able-bodied men) are allowed to keep their government-issued firearms at home. Even the US military has its service members store these in armouries. Further, when the Swiss militiaman retires, he may buy and keep the weapon, provided it has been properly maintained by the qualified technicians of his military unit. Foreigners with citizenship to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Algeria, and Albania are excluded from the right to possess weapons in Switzerland – “That’s racist!”

      • Photondancer says


        There’s no right to bear arms in Australia so the law didn’t infringe on anything. ‘Overreaction’ is your judgement, not Australians’. Surveys have repeatedly shown we are well satisfied with the law, despite the distress this causes in missionaries such as yourself.

        • ga gamba says

          And you’re confused. There are natural rights and legal rights. The right to bear arms is not a natural right, but the right to self defence is (because it’s within the natural right to life). Note: I’ll put aside the claims by some that weapon ownership is a natural right because to secure one’s natural right to life and self-defence, one must also possess the right to a reasonable means of that self defence.

          Australians had the legal right to purchase, own, and use firearms, provided they conformed to the stipulations for that right, be it age, registration, training, whatever. After one tragic incident this legal right was eroded, which is an infringement. Australians now must have a “genuine reason”, which excludes self-defence, to own a weapon. To me, this is an overreaction. Would the legal right to own and drive a vehicle be withdrawn if one madman or madwoman deliberately drove over dozens in the attempt to kill and maim them? No, of course not. If a very large number of motorists did so, then a legal curtailment may be justified, but I doubt such action would happen without implementing many other intermediate steps to thwart mass attacks on pedestrians by drivers.

          Legal rights may be withdrawn, and I don’t dispute this is within the remit of the people’s elected representatives to so. My objection is there ought to be compelling reasons to do so. Prohibitions are to be handled with care because very rarely do people regain what was taken. When faced with the same dilemma, the Swiss and Aussies took different paths. One decided to maintain the legal right to firearms with increased safeguards, and the other decide to infringe what had been the legal right. Further, this was orchestrated by the Australian federal government which have no constitutional authority over the regulation of the use, possession and sale of firearms. Canberra strong armed the states and territories, which erodes the checks and balances of the federal system. I think the Swiss made the wise decision because curtailing legal rights are extraordinary acts, and to do so requires extraordinary events and justification.

          That the majority likes something (as measured by the same Aussie pollsters that botched the polling of the recent federal election) is in and of itself not a sufficient reason to erode rights. Rights, especially natural rights, are secured to prevent the majority’s suppression of the minority/individual. The Australian system is majority rule with minority/individual rights. If the coalition, which are the majority, decided the curtail the speech, employment, or even driving rights of Labour Party members, they may not do so simply because “we’re the majority and we’re satisfied with the legislation’s goal.”

          The security of one’s rights is best demonstrated by the protection of the unpopular ones.

          In closing, I offer one correction to my original comment. In 2018 Australia suffered another mass shooting where seven people were shot dead. Switzerland has not experienced another mass shooting incident since 2001. This is not to say it won’t, but it appears to me the Swiss path is a valid one worthy of consideration. Yet, when I read the US and UK press mentioning the suitability of the Aussie model for the US, rarely, if ever, is the Swiss model mentioned as an alternative. Why is this omitted?

    • No sharia says

      That’s because your ancestors were smart enough to not import black slaves who then bred like rats.

    • Gary Dingle says

      The past predicts the future. We are all products of the past. No matter how you choose to cut it, racism and discrimination continues today as it did yesterday, and unfortunately tomorrow. Gun violence and violent crime has no political affiliation. Your entire approach is inaccurate. Also, gun violence is a product of our country’s obsession with guns. Crime is the result of many factors including poverty and lack of hope for adequate future employment. We armed our country like we are in a war. The results are predictable. The US had 40 thousand gun related deaths in 2018. Another result of massive proliferation of guns is how police now feel they have to react to objects that barely look like guns including children with toy guns. They shoot first because they know that survival increases for the fastest shot. Police and racial bias in a first shoot environment makes living difficult for Black people.

  2. ROBERT SYKES says

    A majority of gun crimes and all violent crime in America is committed by young black males in the urban underclass. Any reduction in violent crime requires that that population be brought under control. There are fewer than 2 million young black males, and not all of them are violent criminals. A policy of mass incarceration (until age 40) would reduce crime in American to levels similar to Switzerland.

    The political impossibility of even admitting the gun problem is really a black problem means that nothing will be done.

    • Monte Martinez says


      This begs the question about the correlation between gun ownership restrictions in the West and a surge in African and Middle East immigration into these same countries. I am not a conspiracy theory advocate but if we all want more peaceful and verdant countries why are we inviting in the barbarians and disarming ourselves simultaneously?

      • ALAN WHITE says

        Inner city blacks must begin to understand the source of their black on black crime problem and take responsibility for it. This is not a problem people or politicians outside the inner city can do much about.

    • Jesse Jackson made a very interesting speech a few years (decades?) back when LA gang violence was at a particularly bloody apex. He observed that among the black community, black gang-banging and it’s associated omerta regarding police involvement was still somehow seen as “sticking it to the Man” – an act of defiance, a “fight the power” type of thing. Jesse pointed out that “the Man” didn’t give a fuck about the high rate of black on black crime and if the black community wouldn’t deal with the problem themselves or accept the rule of (police) law, “the Man” would just take his police force and go and do something else more productive.

      • Peter from Oz says

        Peter Smyth

        That’s a good point. I remember reading a City Journal article a few years ago that claimed that the people most in favour of proactive policing in black areas of New York were the blacks themselves, particularly the women and the old people. Yet, some liberal judge was then in the process of emasculating the police, because raaaacism. The black people on the ground therefore had to suffer because of the idiocy of liberal do-gooders.

        • ALAN WHITE says

          The problem is well known among people who have to deal with it. But the papers are very good at shifting the blame to “white racism”, which has very little to do with the black crime problem

      • Peter Kriens says

        @Peter from Oz I also was assuming it was not serious but it does lack any hint that it is not serious. If it is serious it is quite bizarre, the author does not seem to notice the paradox to call for removing the freedom of people on a site about free speech? Or a troll that just hopes on some bad reactions so they can point at the comment and say how white supremacist Quillette is?

      • No sharia says

        Jackson also said black young ones scared him more than whites.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Rather than add more violence and putting them “under control,” you might spend tax dollars to improve their lot as mentioned to clearly work, like jobs programs that build real self-esteem, not just the pandering type. If you lock them up, they’ll continue to hate the police, and that cannot lead to a better community in the future.

      • Stephanie says

        Thorwing jobs at them is the pandering type. Government as Daddy paying you to mow the lawn even though someone else would do a better job.

        Nothing will really change until the root of the issue is addressed: the breakdown of the black family. Unless you want the government to force people to get married and continue to live together, this is a social problem the black community needs to fix on its own.

      • Robin Dreeke says

        Yea we tried that. More welfare for blacks got us here.

        FYI. It ain’t my job to make Ta’Quannnn and Shamiracle lives better

      • Sean Michael Bearly says

        Why do you think we should treat black people as less than white people? Liberals constantly want to “help” or “take care” of black people as though they are children. Have you actually met adult black people who are like children? Do you have black friends that you think of as child-like, unable to make responsible choices like white people do? Every black person I’ve met or worked with has seemed like an adult, competent to discuss problems, think about them, etc. Black people do not need to be taken care of. They should be treated like anybody else. As competent adults.

    • @robert sykes.

      Suggesting blanket incarceration of all black males under the age of 40 is something an actual nazi would say.

      There are many ideas for lowering the crime rate. Condemning an entire race of people to imprisonment for their sex and skin color is not among them.

      It’s actually one of the most anti American ideas possible. It’s conviction without due process to begin with. It flies in the face of the core liberal values that are enshrined in our constitution and espoused in our Declaration of Independence.

      All men (and women) in our country are created equal. Not “some men are created equal and all the black ones go to prison til they’re 40”, ya fucking nazi tool.

      Idk. Maybe you were just spitballing ideas and that’s the one that came out of your keyboard, but FYI, it’s a nazi idea and it sucks.

      • Peter from Oz says

        Have you ever read, Jonathan Swift’s ”Modest Proposal”. I think Robert Sykes’s comment was along the lines of Swift’s famous satire: i.e. propose something outrageous and immoral to highlight the real problem.

        • @PFO

          Could be my perception. I went back and read the comment again and it came across the same as I when read it the first time. I could be wrong, but my sarcasm detector is pretty finely tuned and I don’t think so.

          Other people are responding in a somber manner to the comment too. I just saw a really fucked up suggestion for policy decision and challenged it.

          • Peter from Oz says

            You may be right. I only took the comment as being satirical because no sane person would offer that solution seriously.

        • Jonny Sclerotic says

          @ Peter from Oz

          That’s an incredibly generous reading of the comment. Nice one!

      • Robin Dreeke says

        Considering that according to the census black males make up 6% of the population and according to the most recent crime statistics the article references they commit 52.6% of all murders in the US along with a majority of all other violent crimes what should we do with these animals that can’t seem to behave themselves?

        Would you like us to move them into your neighborhood?

        • They’re people, Robin. Not animals.

          I live next to several back families and they are fine neighbors. I also employ several African Americans in my small business and they are as hard working and beneficial to my company as any other different colored employee.

          That 6% you reference equals 20 million people. The percentage of that 20 million that are criminally convicted is high in comparison to other races in the US, but it is still less that 5% overall.

        • Dan Flehmen says

          Black men make up 6% of the population, but only perhaps a third of them are in the age range which commits most violent crime; young kids and old men don’t. Thus, over 50% of the crime is committed by some subset of 2% of the population.

    • No sharia says

      That’s a great idea, but unfeasible.A more practical deterrent would be to encourage more abortions among blacks, but the republicans are to pious for that.

  3. Daniel says

    I very important topic. For all the progressive gun posture most are murdered in Democrat run cities. Oakland, Baltimore, Chicago, DC….. There is a fascinating disconnect between the huge numbers killed in the care of the progressives. Even more hypocritical when we consider progressive abolishment of the Second Amendment. Look at Chicago, it is a slaughterhouse. Yet even grand Mufti Obama failed to take on his very own city. Failed to offer help in eight years with all federal resources at the ready. In Oakland the mayor works publically against ICE. Respect for LE is tending towards zero. In Mass a judge was caught helping an illegal escape from ICE via her back door. As in Europe we can not have more safety without police on the beat. Where ever progressives underfund their police crime goes up. Urban voters in the USA can no longer vote Democrat.

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ Daniel

      Whatever the Left may think, pro-active policing or ‘broken windows’ really does work. The real argument should be do you want it to be punitive, in which case it can push young men into further acts of criminality and ultimately incarceration, or as a method of developing partnerships with community resources, that fixes problem, usually with diversions programs and the police offering a firm ‘or else’, to motivate the offender into taking the offer of mentoring which and often changing their life’s course. The problem is that the Left believes that ‘broken windows’ can only ever be a means to mass incarceration. In Scotland, Glasgow went from being the knife crime capital of Europe, to Scotland having the lowest level of violent crime in Europe, through the successful pairing of pro-active policing with the Gary Slutkin approach to community resourcing- all without significantly increasing the structural costs of the prison service.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Which of the big cities with large minority populations are run by republicans so we can compare them against all those large cities run by democrats?
      That you think violence in the streets is because of the left-right divide is nonsense.

      • Jonny Sclerotic says

        Thank you David of Kirkland for saving me the bother of pointing out this incredibly obvious point.

      • Farris says

        @David of Kirkland

        For comparison purposes;
        New York City under Mayor David Dinkins v. NewYork City under Mayor Rudolph Guiliani.

        According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, in 1993, the year before Giuliani took office, the violent crime rate in New York City was 2089.8 per 100,000 population. This was down by 12.3% from its peak in 1990. The murder rate was 26.5 per 100,000 population down by 13.6% from its peak in 1990.

        In 2001, the violent crime rate in New York City was 927.5 per 100,000 population (official FBI statistics, more on this below) and the murder rate was 8.9. These represented decreases of 55.6% and 66.4%, respectively. Rudy Giuliani, the 107th mayor of New York City, served from January 1, 1994 through December 31, 2001

        • itsherlocknosh says

          Rudy was responsible for saving NYC. This can’t be overstated. I lived in Manhattan at the time. Subsequent mayor’s have lived off Rudy’s hard work.

      • itsherlocknosh says

        You might think it’s nonsense but unfortunately it’s the truth.

  4. Canadian Moxie says

    I’d be curious what your opinion is on gun violence in Toronto and how it can be addressed. Tory (the mayor) is pushing for gun bans, while many of us believe this will not affect the recent spate of gun violence since the incidents are likely (if not certainly) perpetrated with illegal weapons. We need real solutions, not platitudes.

    • Closed Range says

      Canadian Moxie

      Good point – I’m always surprised that people fail to recognise the obvious. Banning guns would have little to no effect on inner city violence, because the people doing the shooting aren’t exactly law abiding citizens to start with. It seems to me that giving the police all the tools to do their job, such as taking people off the streets for offences tied to guns, eg selling drugs, and keeping them off the streets until they’re wise enough to avoid criminality. But what is happening among progressive circles is that they want to push for legalisation of drugs, which is beyond insane.

      I also think that cutting off the drugs at the source, ie US / Mexico border is also vital. That does involve building a wall, and stopping illegal immigration, which are ideas that give democrats fits of hysteria. It also means college kids need to be punished for snorting cocaine.

      I could go on, but it seems to me the democrat program is conveniently will harm just about everyone in the US except Big Cocaine. Should there be more inspection of who funds them?

  5. Monte Martinez says

    It is illegal to purchase a firearm in America ( known as a straw purchase) for transfer to a convicted felon. People who buy firearms must state in an affidavit known as A Firearms Transaction Record, or Form 4473 that they are buying the firearm for their own use. The most commonly committed violation of American firearms law is the purchase of guns by people who have not been convicted of a crime for the re-sale or transfer to convicted felons.

    This is a very serious crime that carries a stiff fine and Federal prison time. It is almost never prosecuted. Why ? Because the people who most often commit this crime are poor women of color who buy these guns from legal dealers and then transfer them to male family members or sexual partners.

    The situation is not intractable but big city politicians would have to really want the carnage to stop. They don’t want it to stop until such time the issue becomes a rational for national gun control policies like those enacted in the rest of the Anglosphere.

    The world is awash in weapons. When handguns are not readily available miscreants will use Hand Grenades and Semtex as the do in Sweden. ( As an American I am proud to say I have never known of a Hand Grenade ever being used in the commission of a crime here. )

    France has very strict gun control laws but that doesn’t seem to stop it’s restive Muslim population from procuring Kalashnikovs by the van load. In response to Photodancer I would ask if Gun Confiscation in Australia has made life safer for the average citizen of that country?

    The literature suggests not.

    All gun control measures planned or enacted in America are designed to get firearms, especially military style firearms, out of the hands of rural and suburban “whites.” Until we follow Britain, Canada, Australia and now New Zealand into a confiscation regimen our cities will be slaughter pens because this too is a crisis too good for a Democrat/Marxist politician to waste.

    • David of Kirkland says

      If gun control reduced gun violence, then surely drug controls reduced drug activity. That’s demonstrably false. Mass shootings are a modern invention, created by reducing our liberty, adding inequality under the law rather than improving it, failing public schools, highest total taxes paid than ever, etc.
      Just like having a job gives people self-esteem and less interest in violence, liberty and equal protection actually work to promote good people to live in a good society without pretending that more authority, more coercion, more suspicion, more policing, more cameras, more body searches, more metal detectors, is the answer.

      • Peter from Oz says

        Drug controls do reduce drug activity. Murder controls reduce murder.

      • Inigo Montoya says

        @David of Kirkland You can’t be serious. Do you really need me to spell out why there were no mass shootings two centuries ago???

        • ga gamba says

          There could have been. The first multi-bullet revolver was developed in late 16th-century Germany. That said, a cursory search for mass shootings of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries doesn’t find anything. I reckon one would have to dig into court records. Of course, the cost of firearms in the olden days limited ownership.

          The world’s first mass shooting (by one person) is believed to have occurred in India in 1878. An Indian sepoy (soldier in the British-Indian Army) murdered his mistress and then went on a rampage in Hyderabad. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn of a mass shooting that pre-dates this.

          Looking back at history, the homicide rate was sky high even without the public possessing large numbers of firearms. In mid 15th-century in what is known today as Italy it was 73 per 100,000. In Scandinavia and the Netherlands it was 46 and 45 per 100,000, respectively. Today it’s about 1 per 100,000 for the three.

          • Inigo Montoya says

            Thanks for writing this in-depth reply. I (more or less) stand by what I wrote. Repeating firearms were little more than a curiosity for the very wealthy before Samuel Colt. Even a single shot, muzzle-loading firearm (a musket) was pretty expensive for most people. 1878 for the first mass shooting is about the date I would have guessed if you had asked me. It’s 12 years after the British Army adopted breech-loading rifles. And of course you’re absolutely right to point out people in the past were more than capable of slaughtering one another without firearms. That’s still true to some degree today: look at Xinjiang, or some British cities. Knifes do the trick just fine!

          • ga gamba says

            @ Inago,

            You’re welcome. Appears searching for “mass shooting” was the less effective one. It’s “rampage killing” that turns up results, though the numerical requirement of 6 deaths is more than mass killing’s 4, so incidents may be omitted.

            1878 seemed too late for me. Implausible. Roughly 300 years passing since the invention of multiple shot firearms without a mass killing by firearm seemed very unlikely and out of character by humans.

            In 1835 Corsican Giuseppe Marco Fieschi actually developed and built his own 25-barrel gun which fired its barrels simultaneously. Fieschi used the weapon on King Louis-Phillipe’s royal procession in Paris. Each barrel allowed the loading of multiple bullets and buckshot together, so more than 400 projectiles were fired into the procession, killing 18 and wounding 22. Several of the barrels misfired, exploding and wounding Fieschi severely as well.

            I’ve found earlier violent incidents, some in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, though they are a combination of firearms and cutting weapons and firearms and grenades, or it was more than one assailant. The number killed by each kind of weapon is not made in the reports that I’ve found.

    • E. Olson says

      Good comment Monte. I think the major problem with gun control in Democrat run cities is that enforcing existing gun laws would result in mostly black and Hispanic arrests, which would immediately be deemed racist and lead to police chiefs, DAs, and mayors losing their jobs, and the number one priority of any public “servant” is to not lose their job (until retirement with juicy pension at age 50). The question that never gets asked of gun control advocates, is how more laws will reduce gun violence when existing gun laws are so seldom enforced?

    • David of Sydney says

      @Monte Martinez
      In 2016 there were 42 homicides due to firearms in Australia (26 million people).
      I’d say it is safe to posit a correlation between our firearms reforms and the safety of Australian citizens.

      Oh… and I don’t see any evidence of a rise in hand grenade or semtex related crime in Australia either.

      • TarsTarkas says

        David of Sydney:

        I think the low level of homicides in Aus is the result of most of the country being part of a ‘civil’ society, where laws and persons are generally respected and justice is administered by the state, not individuals. Gun control has nothing to do with it. Switzerland is very heavily armed, and has low crime. The huge swathes of what I call Hunting country in the USA is heavily armed, and has a low crime rate. The common element? A civil society.
        Inner cities and tribal zones are honor societies, where honor is more important than life, limb, or property. Hence high levels of violence. London has strict gun controls, and as a result has a high level of knife and acid attacks. Why? Because a large proportion of the inhabitants come from honor-based societies.

        • Photondancer says

          A pertinent comment. The fact that Australia has allowed in a lot of people from such cultures and is bringing in even more causes me considerable disquiet.

    • Photondancer says


      I don’t click on NY Times links. You’ll have to summarise it for me. What I do know is that I can walk down any street, any neighbourhood in any Australian city and not worry about being shot.

  6. The epidemic of young black male violence was unknown prior to the Johnson “Great Society.” Black illegitimacy rates were similar to those of whites. We are dealing with a failed social policy and those who still think more of the same is desirable are contributing. There is a black middle class but their sons are drawn to the gangster culture, which is also supported by the white entertainment industry. It will be a long way back.

    • David of Kirkland says

      It is one the unintended consequences of going from government coerced segregation by law, to government coerced integration by law. There was a time when blacks bought from black owned stores, banks, hotels, theaters, buses, etc.
      Forced segregation is clearly evil. Forced integration is less clearly so, but it is equally bad and created this problem. Once those black businesses were no longer being frequented by other blacks, their community fell apart. This is why other immigrant groups tend to do well over time, because they do huddle in ghettos, but they trade among themselves and improve their lot on their own, not by government force.

    • D.B. Cooper says


      The epidemic of young black male violence was unknown prior to the Johnson ‘Great Society.’

      In point of fact, the epidemic of young black male violence has been known since at least the late 1800s. These findings are corroborated by a number of sources, including Jill Leovy’s ‘Ghettoside’. No doubt, Johnson’s ‘Great Society’ was as inherently repressive and malevolent as you suggest. Further, I do not deny that pernicious social policies can and have manifested degenerative social norms to some degree. This fact is uncontested. What is contested, however, is the timeless attempt to arrest the moral agency of blacks via the near canonical belief that racist whites and/or their coercive social projects have – either by omission or commission – been the proximate cause lurking behind every invidious disparity to have ever occurred in Western civilization.

      • Peter from Oz says

        D.B. Cooper
        What I think is interesting is that the fact that after mid 60s government inspired racism against blacks faded away would have meant that things would have improved for blacks. But the Great Society made sure that improvement didn’t happen to as great a degree as it should have done.
        The cause of young black males’ intransigence changed.That intransigence should have evapourated with civil rights and the fact that society has in fact bent over backwards to give blacks a fair go.
        I think a lot of the problem stems from the fact that blacks (by that I mean the activists) don’t seem to see general American culture as anything but ”white”. They don’t want to integrate so much as mount a hotile take-over bid on the culture. It seems that a lot white liberals are also keen on that too.

        • D.B. Cooper says

          @Peter from Oz

          Here’s the issue, you’ve got a pattern of behavior that’s found within a multitude of environments across space and time. To then assign blame to some external cause strains credulity.

  7. Morgan Foster says

    In cities governed by the Democratic Party where most of the gun violence is committed by young black men shooting other young black men, the best remedy is “stop-and-frisk”.

    That is, police officers, stopping young black men at random because they are black, and frisking them for guns.

    Of course, if one doesn’t actually care if young black men are killing other young black men, then, by all means, don’t let the police do that.

    • Mike says

      “That is, police officers, stopping young black men at random because they are black, and frisking them for guns.”

      I don’t believe that was ever the actual policy carried out by city police forces, even if that’s how civil liberties advocates characterized “stop and frisk” policies.

      • David of Kirkland says

        It was mostly to find small amounts of drugs, to show their authority over the population rather than a government of, by and for the people. Tyrants always fail, and sadly, America no longer wants to progress down the increasing liberty and increasing equal protection under the law, the values that created the wealth and security of this nation. We are just a debtor nation of cowards who want more authority over others.

    • Scroop Moth says

      @Morgan Foster: If one cares about the Fourth Amendment as well as one cares about the safety of young black men, racially targeted stop-and-frisk should be well-defined as a safety measure only. Every young man who doesn’t carry a gun gets an apology and $100 bill on the spot. Weed or other contraband are excluded. In order to get paid, subjects must refuse permission for the search and only tell their name and what they are doing “right here right now.” (This condition on payment has an educational purpose.)

      • Morgan Foster says

        @Scroop and David

        It’s like this: you’ve got liberty on the one hand and safety on the other.

        Everybody loves liberty. I’m inordinately fond of it myself. But without some measure of safety, you won’t survive to enjoy your liberty.

        It is a constant struggle to discover how much liberty you’re willing to give up to gain just enough safety to be able to live long enough to enjoy that portion of liberty you’ve retained.

        I won’t tell you it’s easy.

        In the meantime, stay out of the bad neighborhoods of Chicago.

  8. Rob Schläpfer says

    The author seems ignorant of the fact that any aggressive national policy to restrict gun ownership in the USA is bound to be found unconstitutional.

    • David of Kirkland says

      That’s unclear to me. He seemed to prefer not worrying about such federal laws, and wanted instead better community services and local solutions to improve people’s lives. Solutions for illness is rarely to blame the sick, treat them poorly as if they don’t matter and are the problem.

  9. Robert Franklin says

    “Among black respondents—a target group for any Democratic presidential candidate—82 percent identified gun violence as a “very big” problem. And twice as many black American respondents identified crime as a “major” problem in their local community, as compared to white Americans.”

    Bill Clinton understood this perfectly.

  10. markbul says

    “distrust of the police can make it harder for police to secure public co-operation in their investigations …”

    Stop telling this lie. Black people don’t keep their mouths shut about crime because they don’t trust the police. Black people keep their mouths shut about crime because they don’t want to be killed – BY BLACK MALES.

    • David of Kirkland says

      No doubt that’s partly true, like ratting on the mob. But do the police really report anonymous tips to black gang leaders? There is a lot of fear when police have so much power over you, like the hateful commenter who approves of stop and frisk over our constitutional right to be considered safe in our person without probably cause.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      Jesus, markbul. Have you ever spoken with a black person in your life? They don’t trust the police, and why would they?

  11. Brett says

    As many have stated above. In the U.S. the data show that the majority of violent gun crime is committed by black men in urban areas against other black men. This really is a hard fact for many to face. Even hard fact to face that government “assistance” to the same demographic has lead to much of it.

    “Common sense” gun laws, confiscation, or out right prohibition will not work. There are too many guns out there, people will just ignore, etc. Also, the vast majority of gun owners are not committing crimes with their guns. Those that are, will keep at it no matter what.

    I don’t know what the answer is to stop the violence but I do know that the answer is to not keep doing what we’ve been doing. Or at lest what the democrat city leaders (and gov) has been doing.

    The first step has to be an acknowledgement that their (the progressives) policies have failed the people they say they wanted to help.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Or perhaps adopt the progressive polices that Booker implemented that seemed to work, and once they were dropped, the problems returned.

    • Eddie Marcia says

      The solution to the inner-city gun violence problem is simple, yet dauntingly difficult to implement. The progressive rejection of family and marriage is the cause of black violence in America. The most common shared characteristic of imprisoned felons in America? Coming from a single-mother household. The violence will never stop as long as leftists are permitted to suppress greatest of human institutions: the nuclear family. Guns per se have absolutely nothing to do with it.

      • Brett says

        Eddie, Exactly! The fall of the family. I think this leads to several other key issues:

        A complete lack of faith. Not talking about just faith in God, but faith in a general sense.
        2, Loss of accountability – over the last 20 (50?) years there is a trend to blame everyone else for your actions
        Lack of respect for anyone else other than yourself (this one is epidemic in the U.S.).

      • Doug F says

        Eddie – exactly correct. And not just the rejection of family and marriage, but the active financial encouragement through the LBJ welfare system.

        Although some still exists, racism is the least of the root-cause problems facing the American black community. And, like any individual, if you decide that your problems are all externally caused, you have no chance of moving forward.

  12. Chookidy says

    The urban areas already vote Democrat by a huge majority. Elected democrat politicians therefore have little reason to actually do anything about urban violence beyond platitudes and grandstanding.

    Why would you do anything for a population that will vote 85-95% for you regardless of whether you do anything for them.

    • Morgan Foster says


      In fact, putting their sons and nephews into prison for killing other people will just about guarantee that they stay home on election day.

    • AJ Fav says

      BOOM, there is zero political incentive for Democrats to do ANYTHING about this problem. There is only risk of angering voters when more young men start going to jail.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      What democrats are you talking about? Seriously. Clinton signed the hardcore crime act of 1994. Biden (and most democrats – including Bernie Sanders) signed the bill. Obama certainly didn’t do anything to relax incarceration rates. California has so many people in prison we have to let them out early to make room. The entire country is crazy for imprisoning people. So what the fuck are you talking about?

      More right-wing talking points based on nonsense, it seems. You’re perpetrating the fantasy the the right is “tough on crime,” which has long ceased to be true.

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ Nakatomi

        The answer isn’t more incarceration. It’s more effective ‘broken windows’ policing, partnered with community resources, funnelling ‘at risk’ teenage boys and young men, into Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion. Wherever it’s been tried, it’s worked- without significantly adding to the prison population.

        • Morgan Foster says

          @Geary Johansen

          You present a false choice. We can do both; broken windows policing and the construction of more prisons so that violent offenders remain locked up, instead of being released to prey upon more victims.

          • Geary Johansen says

            @ Morgan Foster

            I see your your point. But my point would be that pro-active policing can prevent ‘at risk’ teenage boys and young men from ever escalating to violent crime. In Scotland, its use combined with the Gary Slutkin methodology of treating violent crime as an infectious disease, took Glasgow from being the knife crime capital of Europe, to the whole of Scotland having the lowest violent crime rate in Europe, as the policy was rolled out nationally. Pretty amazing stuff!

  13. Kauf Buch says

    Democrats/Radical Leftist Ideologues aren’t “passing the buck”!

    They’re merely doing what Democrats/Leftist do best:VIRTUE SIGNAL (i.e. do something that APPEARS to “address” the problem without fixing the problem).

    This occurs mainly because
    1) their cronies benefit financially from the actual results of the Cosmetic Solution, and
    2) their voters are stupid/gullible enough to believe their lives will be better/safer/more virtuous with the proposed garbage legislation.

    In reality, a good guy with a gun is the best remedy for a bad guy with a gun.

    But Radical Leftists don’t benefit from this, as America’s Constitution wasn’t set up for them
    (PRO TIP: if anyone, their ideal setup was more like the English King’s, against whom we revolted…in case any Leftists need to be reminded…)

  14. E. Olson says

    So jobs for young people reduces gun violence and violent crime? And what do Democrat led major cities do to encourage job growth? Well it seems they tend to favor policies such as tax Increases, increased regulations, increased minimum wages, increased cost of energy (renewable mandates and energy taxes), and forcing employers to buy expensive health insurance for employees, which are all almost certain to reduce private sector employment. Throw in expensive, but mediocre public schools that do a poor job of training young people to be productive employees, and support for public sector unions that greatly increase the costs of public sector employees, and it becomes even more difficult to see why why employers would want to expand their businesses and hire people in such places where the young people can’t read, do basic math, probably have a criminal record, and a sense of entitlement to not show up or show up on time (a legacy of slavery).

    • Peter from Oz says


      It’s a vicious circle isn’t it? Those who are caught up in the slough of laziness and violence don’t see the benefit of regular work. Those in government can’t see that pandering to the underclass just ensures you have more people entering the underclass.
      Personally, I think the Americans could take a leaf out of Australia’s approach to governance. Let the State government take over the provision of health, welfare, transport, policing and education, and split local government into smaller units which look after garbage collection, building codes, libraries, etc.
      This prevents dimwit lefties taking over important areas of governance through the apathy of voters (eg De Blasio) It also means that the city can never go bankrupt, because it is merely part of the State. But most of all it includes the suburbs in the city. No-one in Sydney, for example, thinks that he doesn’t live in SYdney if he doesn’t reside inside the the tiny area of the Sydney City Council. ”Sydney” is not a term defined by government, but by those of us who live here. The metropolitan area is always regarded as part of the city.

  15. BrainFireBob says

    Issue is the doctrine of disparate impact.

    It’s a foolish but well-intended idea; that the litmus test for whether any policy is implicitly bias or reflective of systemically biased power structures is whether it disproportionately affects any minority.

    This is implicitly based, to work, on an idea of homogeneous distribution of minority-economic combinations. But that takes more brain cells to realize.

    So, a disproportionate number of violent criminals are poor young men. A disproportionate number of poor are African American. Therefore, it should be expected that a disproportionate amount of violent crimes are committed by young African American men, a trend that should follow their percentage of the poor and does so. However, a shallow poseur’s analysis will fail it on disparate impact.

    • chookity says

      Do you have a source for that? As I understand it, in absolute numbers, just over 1/5 of US citizens living in poverty are African American, yet over 1/2 of violent criminals are African American.

    • Photondancer says


      I think you have it backwards. The stats show a black crime rate way out of proportion to their population. However, proposals to deal with this are invariably shouted down by progressives on the grounds of disparate impact. Or profiling.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Too many Progressives do not want to apply Disparate Impact Theory to the effect taxpayer-paid (which is basically what they are) abortions have and have had on the Black community.

      Nor do they desire to apply Disparate Impact Theory on murders of blacks

      Among others. Too many ignorantly or willfully see statistics and assume that bias or race is the sole reason that they are skewed and blame society for it while simultaneously promising that they have the answer. And the answer is of course more power, control, and money for the supposed problem solvers.

      They aren’t interested in solutions. That would put them out of a job. They are interested in perpetuating and accentuating the problem.

  16. Dick Y says

    Another cause of inaction – most Democratic politicians know that blaming the NRA gets them off the hook. The NRA is a convenient scapegoat. They would be lost without it. “Look how courageous I am to take on the all-powerful NRA”.

  17. Nakatomi Plaza says

    The moment Chicago (or any big city) moves to implement serious gun control the NRA will stamp it out ASAP, and the courts (obviously the SCOTUS) won’t do anything about it. You don’t get to pretend like the left is happy with gun violence because they aren’t doing anything. That’s a lie.

    And the first paragraph of this essay is total horseshit. How many self-serving generalities can be packed into a single paragraph?

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Nakatomi Plaza

      “You don’t get to pretend like the left is happy with gun violence because they aren’t doing anything.”

      You don’t get to pretend that anyone is pretending that.

  18. Farris says

    “You don’t get to pretend like the left is happy with gun violence because they aren’t doing anything.”

    “Gun violence “ nice euphemism.
    I’ve been very fortunate that none of the guns I’ve owned have ever been violent or reckless.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Be careful, you never know when you’ll be the victim of a rogue gun on the prowl. Funny how they always seem to glom onto the hand of hapless perpetrators before they fire.

  19. Joe says

    My eyes glaze over every time I read about America’s gun problem. It’s not a left or right problem, that’s only for political point scoring and “gotcha” moments. Guns are a societal issue and can only be changed by society as a whole.

    The problem is the widespread acceptance and easy availability of guns, and this goes back to a constitution drafted in another time for a different world which gives ordinary citizens the right to bear arms. The world has changed since then – so has gun technology – but the right to bear arms remains.

    Unless and until this right is removed and guns are de-normalized (including by Hollywood), then nothing will change. I can’t see any other solution. And deep down, I suspect that most Americans know this too but aren’t prepared to admit they’ve been wrong all these years.

    • @Joe
      You are right that a shift in american socieities attitude to guns changes the murder rate in the US will continue to be much highe rthan comparable countries. However there are other changes in deeply entranched attitudes with society which woudl have similar beneficial effects.

      A change in attitude towards single mother families and a reduction in the number of single parent households would have a massive effect. All of the evidence is that boys brought up without fathers are much more likely to be involved in drugs and crime and have far worse educational outcomes.

      A change from a helpless victim culture to a hard work/self improvement culture amongst the generationally poor and ill-educated communities woudl within a generation completely change the situation.

      Legalisation and regulation of all drugs would remove a major source of income and violence inducing conflict. This would undercut much of the gang violence problem.

      The problem is that I see no way of achieving any of these changes in the US and in the UK where we suffer from silimilar problems but without the gun issue and where the issue with a bad sub-cultural attitude to work and education is not nearly as racially segragted and in fact the worst groups is poor white boys I also see no prospect of addressing any of the underlying issues.

    • Truthseeker says


      The cities with the worst murder rates are Democrat run cities that have been run by Democrats for many years and have the most restrictive gun laws. Those cities of similar size that are Republican run and have followed the 2nd Amendment have the lowest murder rates. It turns out if you let law abiding people have guns, gun violence is reduced. It is when only the criminals have guns, because they do not care about gun laws, that you have high gun violence. Go figure.

    • Farris says


      “It’s not a left or right problem, that’s only for political point scoring and “gotcha” moments. Guns are a societal issue and can only be changed by society as a whole.”

      The crime issue is where the Left’s racism is on full display:
      The Left advocates locking up the guns but bemoans locking up the criminals.
      The Left pursued Open Borders devoid of background checks.
      The Left abhors ICE enforcement of illegal aliens apprehended for crimes.
      The Left blames the gun but not the criminal which is just another branch off the lack of personal responsibility tree.
      When a black man is killed by another black man, there is nothing but crickets from the Left. However when a black man is murdered by a white man, Leftist politicians flock to the funeral and make speeches. Only the lives of blacks killed by whites have any value, because only those snuffed out lives are valuable to the Left.

      Whenever a failure of the Left is highlighted, the mantra is always, “it is not a Left/Right issue.” Of course expecting the party of lack of personal responsibility to take personal responsibility for their own mistakes, is probably somewhat unrealistic. My eyes don’t glaze over when the Left insists on continuing policies that have wrought such carnage, but they almost tear up.

    • Justyne Thyme says

      “The world has changed since then – so has gun technology – but the right to bear arms remains.”

      Gun tech has indeed changed. But not nearly so much as communications technology. The Founders could never have foreseen instantaneous, 24/7 communications like we have with our smartphones, internet, cable television, social media.

      Everyone has a platform to speak, unfettered, so perhaps that pesky “freedom of the press” thing is obsolete.

      Maybe it’s time we stopped using an 18th Century law to regulate 21st Century communications, too?

      (Disclaimer – not a gun owner)

    • Doug F says

      Joe – it may be a different time and a different world, but the threats to our liberties by central authority – the reason for the amendment – is greater now than at any time in my life.

    • Uiop says

      The 2nd Amendment is never going away. The right needs guns to protect themselves from the left’s criminals. The people committing the vast majority of homicides are Democrat voters – blacks and hispanics. The states that have the lowest homicide rates are very white states like NH and ME with very permissive gun laws. Coincidence? Nope.

      Mother Jones did an article on mass shootings. Blacks and asians are overrepresented.

  20. Curly4 says

    I also have noticed that the most violent cities are generally in democrat/progressive controlled cities. I have also noticed that they had laws until struck down by the Supreme Court that all but outlawed private ownership of a firearm. I also noticed that if a person just wanted a weapon for self protection but did not register it nor was licensed to have that person if and when caught was punished very sever even when he had not committed a crime with the weapon. At the same time when a person used the weapon to committee a an armed robbery even with injury or death the gun charge is bargained away and the criminal who used the weapon to committee a crime is punished less that a person that has no criminal record but is found with an unlicensed and/or unregistered weapon.
    I have also noticed that when a charge of police excessive use of force when the police have a shootout with a criminal under arrest that almost every one of these cases the criminal victim is a person of color. I don’t remember a case where a person not of color has ever had a claim of police brutality or excessive force brought them, there may have but I don’t remember it hitting the news. Now is this because the people of color have learned that they can often get a lesser criminal charge if the community back them or is it that police even the police of color are racists or is it some other reason. Or is it that the police know that they can treat an non-person of color any way that want and there will be no repercussions, or is it the non-person of color don’t have the community backing to get away with his resisting arrest?

  21. RAM says

    Switzerland and Israel come to mind as places where citizens are well-armed. Likewise, rural America. If their citizens aren’t shooting each other all the time, it’s because they basically lack the degenerate culture that festers in many American cities. Far from improving that urban culture, influential Democrats often glorify it. How else could the wicked Al Sharpton become a political and TV star?

    • Asenath Waite says


      That’s an interesting point. Is there a positive correlation between prevalence of legal gun ownership and murder rate between different regions of the US?

  22. MMS says

    I completely agree that the powers that me must stop bucking the issue and making it all about the sins of the past vs. making actual progress.

    However, on this one, gun control is a enormous part of the puzzle and the R’s won’t allow any reasonable controls.

    Note that I am Libertarian Leaning (apart from guns), Classically Liberal, free speech absolutest saying this…

    • Gringo says

      However, on this one, gun control is a enormous part of the puzzle and the R’s won’t allow any reasonable controls.
      The black murder rate is about 8 times greater than the white murder rate, while whites are more likely than blacks to own guns. In the light of the above, your claim that gun control “is a enormous part of the puzzle” is a claim that defies logic.

      CDC: QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Homicide Rates,*,† by Race/Ethnicity — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2015–2016.

      During 2015–2016, the age-adjusted homicide rate for the total population increased from 5.7 to 6.2 per 100,000 standard population (an 8.8% increase). The rate increased from 2.6 to 2.9 (11.5%) for non-Hispanic whites, from 20.9 to 22.8 (9.1%) for non-Hispanic blacks, and from 4.9 to 5.3 (8.2%) for Hispanics. In both years, the homicide rate for non-Hispanic blacks was approximately eight times the rate for non-Hispanic whites and four times the rate for Hispanics.

      Pew: America’s Complex Relationship With Gun2: 1. The demographics of gun ownership reports the following for net guns in household: 49% for whites, 32% for blacks. (Versus 36 % of whites who report they are gun owners, versus 24% of blacks.)

  23. Charlie says

    Gang violence tends to occur in cities not the countryside. The lack of emotional maturity is the problem.

    A hundred years ago 80% of people went to work by the age of 14 years of age and paid money to their parents. Also puberty was later, today many girls entered it at 15-16 years of age. A combination of earlier puberty, living with Mum, poor irrelevant education and idleness supported by welfare means youths have time on their hands. There have been many widows over the ages, but mature male relatives stepped in and provided Fatherly guidance for the sons: this does not happen any more.

    Someone who digs trenches and then trains in boxing or rugby/football in the evening tends not to cause trouble; they have a sense of well being and are too exhausted

    I would divide the education into 3 to 4 types for children at the age of 14 years; those with low academic ability would go to trade schools as happens in Germany/Switzerland where they would enter the World of work and return to school to study relevant subjects, 1- 2 days per week.

    It is easier to make money from drugs then work as they have minimal education and training.

    As Orwell pointed out , one could buy a gun from a hardware store before WW1; this changed due to fear of the IRA ad communist revolution. Many people had worked overseas in construction , mining, tea plantations, oil , etc and had served in the armed forces so owned pistols and every type of rifle; they did not go round shooting people. Since WW2 hundreds of thousands have gone through Commando training where they have been trained to kill and done so; they have the emotional maturity not to kill someone who “Disses them “.

    Low self respect, inadequate self control, idleness, lack of education and skills, an acceptance of using guns and knives rather using fists to sort out disagreements, veneration of violent gang culture, contempt for education and scholarship, lack of guidance from physically tough responsible emotionally mature males and early puberty all contribute to the problem.

    The answer: 3-4 years of back breaking dangerous toil in logging camps from the age of 14 years with facilities for boxing and rigorous training in maths, English, science relevant to craft training. Those who complete may be in the position of worth training to become a craftsman.

    Democrats/labour politicians dare not criticise their supporters who enable them to have comfortable careers. If one looks at Obama, Clintons and many politicians, politics provided a good income. Neither Obama or the Clintons had the ability to be top commercial lawyers, where the highest pay is to be found.

    Prisons are soft touches. Hard manual labour out of doors in cold wet muddy conditions in winter,living in cold rooms with only cold showers, may be a deterrent. Make them live a pioneer life of the 1620s. Make prisoners cut down so many tree per day with axes and haul the logs out of the forests and cook their own food. If the Pilgrims all similar pioneers did not work, they did not eat.

    • Photondancer says

      I’d like to think that clean living would fix these people but the high crime rate of a couple of centuries ago isn’t very encouraging.

  24. Dan Flehmen says

    “But we still lose dozens of young lives each year to guns”. A more accurate statement would be: “Dozens of young men, mostly black, are killed every year by other young men, mostly black”.

    Blaming the slaughter on ‘gun violence’ very effectively distracts attention and discussion from the behavior of human beings, which is apparently only relevant when a white cop shoots a black man.

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  26. pbw says

    I would like to see the term “gun buyback” banished for the false marketing it is (except for those few firearms that were actually originally owned by government entities and then sold as used to the public).

    What it really means is confiscation with some level of reimbursement. But to apply the term to most firearms, which were never in the possession of any government agency, is to imply that the government owns everything we have from the moment it is made, and that citizens merely rent the items from the Government. That’s deceptive.

  27. cfkane1941 says

    Simple answer to the author’s question: because they’d rather have the problem than the solution.

  28. Lucius Severus Pertinax says

    The solution is NOT to go after the guns; but to go after the Individuals that deliberately misuse them. Make EXAMPLES of them!
    But that is NOT going to happen in the Democrat Dominated States and Cities; because THAT would be, you know, RAAAACIST!

  29. zoehr says

    There’s something ironic about seeing things like “it is now progressives who tend to embrace a more rigid, backward-looking approach” and “Unlike conservatives, progressives aren’t looking to revive a better, sometimes idealized version of their country” in a Quillette article. You completely ignore the vast amount of liberals who despise politically correct nonsense, and don’t even mention the increasing number of conservatives who refuse to even speak about gun violence. I know this is deflecting from your main point, but I think a little more nuance in your first paragraph would have been helpful.

    • Gringo says


      You completely ignore the vast amount of liberals who despise politically correct nonsense,

      If there were a “vast amount of liberals” who openly spoke about against “politically correct nonsense,” you would have a point. As far as I can tell, the response from liberals about “politically correct nonsense” has been, for the most part, crickets. Not many are willing to confront the mob. Perhaps there are a lot of liberals against “politically correct nonsense,” but apparently they don’t want to take the heat for speaking out against it. Just as I decline to wear a MAGA cap.

      don’t even mention the increasing number of conservatives who refuse to even speak about gun violence.

      I don’t know if you would consider me a “conservative” or not. I prefer the term Post Liberal, as I once considered myself liberal. I look at some facts that you apparently ignore. First fact: absent guns, some people will choose other weapons, such as knives. Look at the clown show in Great Britain regarding knives. As such, it is more appropriate to talk about overall violence instead of merely gun violence. I choose the most appropriate one: murder rate. Second fact: in the past two decades, gun ownership per capita has gone up in the US, while the murder rate has gone down. From 1996 to 2015, the murder rate in the United States 7.41 to 4.9 per 100,000. In 1991, the U.S. murder rate was 9.8.

      WaPo: There are more guns than people in the United States, according to a new study of global firearm ownership. From the graph “Number of civilian firearms in the US versus total U.S. population,” it is apparent that the number of civilian firearms per capita has increased from 1996 to 2015. Reading from points off the graph, I estimate the following figures

      1996: 270 million inhabitants & 245 million guns
      2015: 320 million inhabitants & 370 million guns
      2017 (number not estimated) 326 million people & 393 million guns

      That is an estimated increase of 27% in guns per capita from 1996 to 2015,with a reduction in the murder rate of 34%. Messy facts which “progressives”and “liberals” apparently refuse to acknowledge.

      • Photondancer says

        Murder rate is not actually a good choice. Firstly, in order to have a murder one has to have a dead body and thanks to modern medicine more shooting victims are surviving. Secondly, the definition of ‘murder’ varies and you don’t specify which one you’re using or control for this when comparing figures.

  30. Gringo says

    Belated proofreading correction

    From 1996 to 2015, the murder rate in the United States 7.41 to 4.9 per 100,000.

    Correct to

    From 1996 to 2015, the murder rate in the United States fell from 7.41 to 4.9 per 100,000.

  31. Michael says

    Since the opening paragraph proferred such a ludicrous thesis, I didn’t waste my time reading the rest of the piece.

  32. Rikard says

    Gun control only works in that it make it easier for government to seize autocratic powers for itself. It does nothing at all to reduce violent crime. Illegal weapons have a positive correlation with violent crime but legal weapons have a negative correlation. Any sensible policy should focus illegal weapons and leave the legal ones in the hands of lawful citizens.

  33. Gary Foster says

    Oh great, a Canadian tells the USA how backward we are with all our guns. Gun control is not the problem. Persistent poverty, inept human beings, greed, lust, hate are part of it. Meanwhile, you Aussies and Canadians mind your own business. The Aussies actually did not turn in the majority of firearms that were declared illegal. Same for New Zealand. There would be even greater disobedience in the states plus, wait for it..Civil war. guaranteed.

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