There are a lot of members of Congress and it’s really difficult for everyone to know all of them. Rep. Clay Higgins is something I don’t think had come on my radar before.
The Louisiana Republican wouldn’t have, really. While he has some seniority in the House, there are a lot of others who have some, too.
Yet Higgins is getting some attention for making a comment that some find objectionable, but they shouldn’t.
You see, he takes issue with the term “gun violence.”
U.S. Representative Clay Higgins took a strong stance on gun violence and abortion in the Wednesday Committee on Oversight and Accountability hearing.
During the March 29 committee hearing, U.S. Representative Clay Higgins, a Republican, said he wanted to address a talking point used by his Democrat colleagues. He mentioned that people have referred to gun violence as the leading cause of death of children in America, which he then refuted.
“There’s no such thing as gun violence. There’s only human violence. It’s intellectually unsound to state otherwise,” he said.
Gary Kleck, an emeritus professor of criminology at Florida State University, told Newsweek that although violence is committed with guns, Higgins’ statement had a “kernel of truth in it”.
“There are factors that influence violence of all kinds, with or without guns, and it may be wise to shift our attention to those factors,” Kleck told Newsweek in an email statement on Wednesday. “Characterizing crimes as ‘gun violence’ can subtly narrow our focus to just one contributing factor, gun availability. In light of the poor track record of past gun control efforts (e.g. the federal assault weapons ban), shifting the focus to other contributing factors could improve our chances to reduce violence.”
I agree with Kleck completely.
See, while I may use the term “gun violence” as a subset of violent crime in general, I’m at least able to recognize that the problems don’t disappear if guns were to suddenly vanish off the face of the planet. Violent people will still be violent.
I can assure you that absolutely no one feel better about their loved one being beaten to death with a hammer rather than being shot.
It just doesn’t happen.
Higgins and his comment are right that the idea of “human violence” takes the focus off the gun and onto the violent acts themselves, which is where it should always be. If you reduce violence in general, you accomplish far more.
Further, this focus on “gun violence” has actually made people ignore other types of violent crime. As I noted on Wednesday, non-gun homicides are six times higher in the US than all-cause homicides in Japan, for example.
If we were to suddenly eliminate all guns in criminal hands, we’d still have a higher homicide rate than most other developed nations, and that’s even if we were to assume that absolutely none of the homicides carried out with a firearm wouldn’t be carried out with some other weapon.
That seems kind of delusional.
Higgins’s insistence on focusing on the human element, however, isn’t just sensible, it’s actually common sense.
While I normally get a little sick of the semantical nonsense about “gun violence” and so on, the truth is that a lot of people keep focusing on the word “gun” which is just an adjective describing the real problem, the violent crime itself.
Calling it out like this may not be popular. A lot of people will be upset at Higgins for his comment, but that just means they’re too vested in focusing on guns rather than the human element. He’s calling them out and they don’t like it.