Inner city violence the issue, not guns

Inner city violence the issue, not guns
Police Line / Police Tape

We’ve sometimes argued that America’s inner cities are akin to warzones. After all, based on what the media reports, it sure looks like it. There’s a reason some refer to Chicago as Chiraq.


And a story at Voice of America suggests that there’s some truth to that.

America’s urban youth may not live in war zones, but some face staggering death rates from gun violence that exceed the mortality rates of U.S. troops in recent wars, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers focused on gun-related deaths among young men in four major U.S. cities: Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles. The death rates for men ages 18 to 29 in two inner-city postal zones were higher than those faced by U.S. military personnel while serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“These results are an urgent wake-up call for understanding, appreciating and responding to the risks and attendant traumas faced by this demographic of young men,” said Brandon del Pozo, an assistant professor at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, who was one of the researchers.

Now, right now, this looks like a report on just the data, which is fine. We need that data so we can understand the issues we face.

Unsurprisingly, it ends up getting into gun control.

However, let’s note that only one of those four cities is in a preemption state. All of the others have local-level gun control and reside in heavily gun-controlled states. They have literally every law one could dream of on the books there.

It doesn’t seem to help.

Rather than this constant look at guns as a method for reducing violence, we need to look at what’s unique about the inner cities and what we can do to minimize the damage.


If you remove our largest cities from the equation, the United States plummets in the ranking of homicides per capita. That tells you where the problem lies. That’s where we need to focus our attention.

Instead, though, we get people trying to remove the guns.

The problem with that is our knife homicide rate is higher than most developed nations’ total homicide rate. That makes it pretty clear that guns aren’t the issue, violence itself is the issue.

Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to see anyone willing to address it as such in these cities. We’re also unlikely to see the media actually address anything of the sort. They’d much rather infringe on your ability to protect yourself than admit that maybe our cities aren’t the bees’ knees.

That’s a shame, too, because I believe we really could figure out the problem if we got a decent debate on the topic going, one that didn’t focus on guns and instead looked at the fact that violence is an issue that transcends the weapons used to inflict it.

Then again, it’s really hard to believe anyone’s interested in solving the problem at this point in time since all anyone can think about is gun control.

Such a shame.

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