Anti-gun groups are having a ball these days. Not only does their preferred party control the House, the Senate, and the White House, but a surge in violent crime is making people very, very nervous. The fact that there’s also been a gun-buying surge has only made them giddier.
However, a recent op-ed over at the New York Daily News about the surge in violence brought up an interesting point.
The recent spike in gun violence has brought New York City to a genuine inflection point in criminal justice policy. It’s not yet an existential crisis. While the statistics are bad, they do not point to an all-out loss of control of our streets like the 1980s and early ’90s. But the decisions made by policymakers and voters over the next weeks will determine whether we risk losing control again.
Despite claims to the contrary out of City Hall, the social anxiety of the pandemic is not primarily responsible for the rise in gun violence. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers faced desperate economic hardship and unprecedented disruption. Very few of them shot their neighbor or robbed a bodega at gunpoint. For every young man who has chosen to engage in gun violence, thousands of his peers are looking for work and going to school.
Gun violence is not about poverty. Poor people are not criminals. This current wave of violence is about score-settling. It’s about criminal actors taking advantage of fewer witnesses on the street and the concealing of identities behind masks. It’s about removing the disincentives to criminal behavior, including pretrial detention for violent crime. It’s about the ill-conceived reduction of the NYPD’s gun suppression capabilities with the elimination of anti-crime teams.
Progressive reformers and law enforcement officials agree on almost nothing, except that a very small number of offenders commit the vast majority of crime. Identify and contain these offenders, and crime drops. They also agree that gun crime spreads as quickly as COVID. Each shooting carries the near-certain risk of retaliation. If not contained, this contagion spreads throughout entire neighborhoods, disproportionately impacting communities of color. At-risk groups of young men are uniquely susceptible to the luring excitement of gang life. Call them gangs or crews, they travel together to adjacent neighborhoods or housing developments, shoot at other young men, and flee home. The rival group then retaliates. In some neighborhoods, this back-and-forth continues for generations.
Note the bolded line.
It’s interesting to me that progressive reformers and law enforcement officials can agree on almost nothing except that the number of actual offenders is small. It’s interesting because another thing they agree on, at least in large urban centers, is that gun control is needed.
In other words, the anti-gun jihadists know that the total number of bad actors is minute, yet they still want to enact restrictions on the population as a whole because of the acts of a small handful of people. They know this is the case. They know that law-abiding citizens are law-abiding. They know that the vast majority are law-abiding.
And still, these anti-gun zealots want to infringe on our rights.
Honestly, this doesn’t surprise me, but it does infuriate me. It would be different if they believed there were more criminals than there actually are. That’s not the case, though.
They know it’s not all of us. They know it’s just a tiny handful and I suspect they also know they get their guns through illicit means. They know all of this and still they push their anti-gun agenda.
They know. They just don’t care.
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