Huffington Post calls increased crime rate "moral panic"

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In the 1980s, there were a number of what people now call “moral panics.” These included the so-called Satanic Panic where devil-worshippers were everywhere and were waiting to grab up your kids and sacrifice them to the devil.


Such panics are described as widespread feelings of fear but fear that is often irrational at its core. After all, Dungeons and Dragon players weren’t really interested in sorcery and witchcraft but were instead looking for something to kill an otherwise boring Thursday night.

However, the good folks over at the Huffington Post want you to know that any concerns you have about the out-of-control crime rate are pretty much the same thing.

The 1990s are back. Clothing stores are filled with acid-wash jeans and scrunchies and just like that, Carrie Bradshaw is once again sexing the city alongside a slew of ’90s TV reboots.But one thing that’s not back from the ’90s is the murder rate.

That is, unless you only read the headlines from your conservative uncle’s favorite news outlets. If not, you might not know that.

American Carnage Goes Endemic reads one headline from the National Review.

Yes, The Crime Wave is As Bad As You Think, says The Wall Street Journal.

Pelosi slams outrageous crime surge, won’t cop to its liberal cause the New York Post writes.

The right is in a ’90s throwback, full-fledged moral panic about crime.

It is true that the murder rate has increased. According to the Centers for Disease Control, between 2019 and 2020 murders rose 30%Seventy-seven percent of the murders recorded between 2019 and 2020 were gun killings, up from 73% the year before. So while plenty of pundits and politicians have blamed the protests that began after the murder of George Floyd and the Biden administration — and liberals in general — for the rise in murders, the truth is that the rise began before all of those factors. Namely, when Donald Trump was still president.

Yet, despite the panicky headlines, crime is still on the decline overall and is nowhere near 1990s levels, when violent crime last peaked in the United States. The real reasons crime rates increase or decline is complicated and due to multiple factors such as the economy, poverty and police-community relations.


In other words, everything’s really fine and liberals aren’t to blame for what’s going on.

Especially when you cherry-pick your statistics.

Homicides may have started going up under Trump, but the overall violent crime rate was still headed down in 2019. That went out the window in 2020.

Further, as none other than the New York Times illustrates, the jump in the murder rate in 2020 was unprecedented (and that’s hardly a right-wing media outlet, now is it?).

The United States in 2020 experienced the biggest rise in murder since the start of national record-keeping in 1960, according to data gathered by the F.B.I. for its annual report on crime.

The Uniform Crime Report will stand as the official word on an unusually grim year, detailing a rise in murder of around 29 percent. The previous largest one-year change was a 12.7 percent increase in 1968. The national rate — murders per 100,000 — still remains about one-third below the rate in the early 1990s.

While there was a slight uptick in 2019, it was after a sizeable dip in the rate the year before and a slight one in 2017. Plus, there were two more years with higher numbers, including the last year of the Obama presidency.


Now, is the author wrong that this didn’t just manifest out of the blue? Yes and no. Yes, there was an increase in homicides in 2019, but that wasn’t a particularly significant or worrying increase. Especially in light of the much bigger increase noted at the end of the Obama presidency. What we see in 2019 is a pale imitation of that jump, which is a shadow of what we saw in 2020.

However, the fact that you have an unprecedented rise in the homicide rate and an overall increase in violent crimes is a serious and legitimate issue.

What it’s not, though is a moral panic.

For it to actually be a moral panic, at least some degree of the fear would have to be completely off-base. So far, that case hasn’t really been made.

Instead, it’s just politically expedient to call this a moral panic in an effort to protect the president and his party from the failures of their policies.

And that doesn’t really even get into where those homicides are taking place. The vast majority are taking place in cities controlled by Democrats. Somehow, that doesn’t seem to make it into the talk of moral panics. Funny how that shakes out, isn’t it?

At the end of the day, claims of moral panics are really nothing more than an attempt to deflect from all the ways Democrats are failing us.


The gaslighting of the American people continues.


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