In a recent CNN article, the subjects of homicides and gun violence was explored (again). Ever since the 2020 FBI Uniform Crime Report came out, everyone under the sun has been reporting on how violent and murderous the country has been since the pandemic. The latest retrospectives involve how bloody 2021’s shaping up to be. When trying to dissect some of the causal factors in the continued rise in 2021 they make some assertions.
The rise in violent crime is an epidemic that is happening “all across the country,” said Thomas Abt, a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice, and a result of three major factors: the impact of Covid-19 on communities and first responders, the fallout of the social unrest after the murder of George Floyd, and the surge in gun sales since the start of the pandemic.
At least nine major cities have broken their previous annual homicide records with about three weeks left to go in 2021. There have been 513 homicides this year in Philadelphia, higher than the previous total of 503 in 1990. There have been 230 homicides in Indianapolis, breaking the previous record of 215 set just last year.
Let’s all focus on the the “surge in gun sales” being listed as a potential factor here for a moment. The correlation between those that lawfully purchase firearms and how they use them has been studied more than once. In general terms, those that buy their guns at gun stores – that is, can be tracked by noting such “surge in gun sales”, don’t commit crime. Your regular law abiding Mr. and Mrs. America are not heading the gun stores to legally buy guns, then go out and get their murder on. The number of legal firearm purchases that end up being used in crimes is insignificant.
The piece starts by talking about the uptick in murders in Austin, TX, but continues to list off several other locations:
These increases are not isolated to any particular region of the country. Other cities with record homicide totals include Louisville, Kentucky; Columbus, Ohio; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Tucson, Arizona; Rochester, New York; and Portland, Oregon. Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Nashville are also on pace to reach record homicide numbers by the end of the year.
Los Angeles recorded 352 homicides so far this year, and Chicago has seen 756, with year-to-date increases of 12% and 4% respectively. In Houston, homicides are up 18% from 2020.
The statement of “fact” about an uptick in gun sales leaves me flummoxed. Again, when CNN talks about “gun sales” they’re describing retail transactions. You know, the kind that can’t be completed without a background check? Yet CNN and their talking heads are insistent that the increase in gun sales must be partly responsible for the increase in violent crime.
According to the 2020 Uniform Crime Report from the FBI, homicides rose 30% from 2019 to 2020, the largest single-year increase the agency has recorded since it began tracking these crimes in the 1960s.
There were more than 21,500 murders last year, a total not seen since the mid 1990s. But the murder rate in 2020 was about 6.5 per 100,000 people, about 40% below what it was in the 1980s and 1990s, when homicides peaked in the United States.
“The pandemic, like community gun violence, concentrates among the poorest and most disenfranchised people,” Abt said. “So those communities are doubly impacted, not only by Covid-19, but by gun violence.”
At the same time, the institutions that are responsible for responding to violence, including police and community organizations, were also placed under stress and pressure, Abt added, referring to the phenomenon as a “perfect storm.”
The final factor experts say is causing violent crime to go up is a “huge surge in gun sales that began at the beginning of the pandemic and has not slowed down,” he said.
A small but significant number of these guns are “ending up in the wrong hands and being used in gun crimes,” Abt added.
What’s a small but significant number? I mean really. So it’s a small number of firearms, but that’s significant? By most accounts, a small number of anything is the opposite, is it not? If you’re moving a bushel of corn and a small number of ears fall out, is that small number a significant number? I’m getting really hung up on how this is being explained to me. Is it the guns? The wrong hands? The “significant number” of guns in the wrong hands? The insignificant number of guns in the right hands?
Trying to make heads or tails of the reporting, I looked at all the cities mentioned in the article. The ones that have had this uptick in gun violence, murder, and mayhem. Instead of looking at the surge in gun sales that occurred nationwide, I looked at something else.
Using the following tool, I looked up how each county voted in the presidential election for the corresponding city: Map: See How Your Town Or City Voted In The 2020 Election | WBUR News. The results are below. I’ve noted what the prevailing percentage of votes went to which candidate in the 2020 election. To make it easier to quickly read/see who garnered the most votes in the counties housing the cities in question, I’ve made this key showing:
Cities that voted for Biden the color blue and the cities that voted for Trump the color red.
Austin, TX Travis County – 71.7% for Biden
Houston, TX Harris County – 56.0% for Biden
Philadelphia, PA Philadelphia County – 81.4% for Biden
Indianapolis, IN Marion County – 63.7% for Biden
Chicago, IL Cook County – 74.4% for Biden
Louisville, KY Jefferson County – 59.1% for Biden
Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles County -71.0% for Biden
Columbus, OH Franklin County – 64.9% for Biden
Albuquerque, NM Bernalillo County – 61.0% for Biden
Tucson, AZ Pima County – 58.6% for Biden
Rochester, NY Monroe County – 59.5% for Biden
Portland, OR Multnomah County – 79.8% for Biden
Milwaukee, WI Milwaukee County – 69.4% for Biden
Minneapolis, MN Hennepin County – 70.7% for Biden
Nashville, TN Davidson county – 64.5% for Biden
Fayetteville, NC Cumberland County – 57.5% for Biden
Before diving into those statistics, there’s this other fun quote is here for our digestion:
Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon called the increase in violent crime “disappointing,” especially for a historically safe community.
“When you see the numbers spike like this and we’re trying to figure out exactly why that’s happening,” Chacon said, “there’s no clear-cut answer. We haven’t found that one trend that we can really pin this on.”
I beg to differ with the chief here. Note all the cities mentioned have been typed in blue font. Looking at the key supplied prior to listing the cities, I looked up what “blue” means. Blue is designated to be cities that are in counties that overwhelmingly voted for Joe Biden. Surprise, surprise, surprise. The policymakers, representatives, executives, et.al. want something that links all these cities together? Every single one of them voted for Joe Biden in the last election. This can lead us to believe one of two things – maybe more – maybe both.
Those that support the “Big Guy” Joe Biden, aka Hunter’s “Chairman”, are more violent and murderous than those that support Donald Trump.
More likely, Democratic polices foster an environment of crime and violence. Whatever “things” the lawmakers and executives are doing in these cities are clearly not working. They’re all Democratic strong-holds. There are your dots to connect.
If the people that run these cities had a genuine interest in solving these problems, they’d simply swallow their pride and ask for help. Lay down your scepters and fold. Do an experiment. Take Chicago for example. Let the entire leadership of Chicago be taken over by anyone but progressive socialists and have someone else run the city for a decade. It’d be a good experiment. The currently seated representatives and executives can keep their posts, but take advice from someone else on how to run the city. Have the leadership do exactly the opposite of what their impulses are, because what they’re wired to do is clearly not working. Honestly, can it really go that wrong? How badly would another group of people screw up Chicago? If a whole other political party stepped in to run things, can they mess it up that badly? At this juncture a bunch of preschoolers could come together and build commonsense policies based on the morals they’ve already learned in life that would be more effective than what we’ve got going on in these crime ridden utopias. Like the way Democrats rule, things like free ice cream might be a thing, but there’d be more order.
With violent crime on the rise, it’s time to regroup. This is not all to say that it is the left, or it is the Biden voters. This is just to say the cities in question supported a Biden-Harris presidency. Take from that what you will and govern accordingly.