Tag Archives: Crime

What is the root cause of multiple-victim public shootings?

A family praying and reading the Bible
A family praying and reading the Bible

Let’s take a closer look at some recent active shooters, and see if we can find out what they have in common. And then we can decide whether the people who complain the most about gun violence are willing to do anything about the root cause of gun violence.

Let’s start with this article from The Stream, which looks at 3 mass murderers:

Dylann Roof: The killer of nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina church grew up in painful circumstances. His parents divorced when he was small. His father divorced his first wife after a few years of marriage. And he reportedly was abusive of his second wife, Dylann’s step-mother.

According to the Associated Press, “Court documents and nearly two dozen interviews show Roof’s early childhood was troubled and confused as well, as he grew up in an unstable, broken home amid allegations of marital abuse and infidelity.”

Stephen Paddock: The man who slaughtered 58 concert-goers in Las Vegas was the son of a top criminal.

Paddock’s father was named Benjamin. He “was on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list in the 1970s for robbing banks and was described as psychopathic in an arrest warrant. According to the warrant, the suspect’s father carried a firearm and was considered ‘armed and dangerous.’”

Benjamin Paddock was arrested and put in prison. But “six months after his sentencing, he escaped and robbed a bank in San Francisco before being recaptured in Oregon.”

[…]Adam Lanza: The son of divorce, the Sandy Hook Elementary School killer struggled with mental health issues for years.

Lanza’s parents divorced in 2009 after 28 years of marriage. Adam, then 17, was experiencing severe mental and emotional illnesses.

Three case studies are fine, but is this the general rule among active shooters?

The Federalist takes a look:

As University of Virginia Professor Brad Wilcox pointed out back in 2013: “From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s ‘list of U.S. school attacks’ involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.” His observation is largely ignored.

In contrast, conversations about black-on-black violence often raise the link between broken households (or fatherless homes) and juvenile delinquency. But when the conversation turns to mass shootings, we seem to forget that link altogether.

[…]On CNN’s list of the “27 Deadliest Mass Shootings In U.S. History,” seven of those shootings were committed by young (under 30) males since 2005. Of the seven, only one—Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho (who had been mentally unstable since childhood)—was raised by his biological father throughout childhood.

So what are some of the factors that lead to young men who have mental illness, anger issues, etc.?

Daycare

For one thing, young children’s brains don’t develop if they don’t have their mothers at home for the first 2 years at least, and the study I linked to said 3 years. Mothers are essential, during this time, for developing the parts of the brain that allow empathy and self-control. Unfortunately, keeping the mom home during the crucial early years is rare, because feminism requires that she work in order to be like a man.

No-fault divorce

I also recently blogged about how easy it is to initiate divorce just because you are unhappy. Well, when parents divorce for no good reason, (after having chosen a spouse poorly), that has a very bad effect on the children. Although the divorce rate is dropping, that’s because fewer people are marrying – they’re cohabitating instead. The alternative to marriage, cohabitation, is far more unstable than marriage. Either way, children lose out from the decreased stability of their parent’s union. The notion of lifelong commitment regardless of happiness is gone. Now we treat relationships as entertainment instead of enterprise.

So what should we do?

Well, to fix the daycare, we could give tax breaks to promote stay at home mothers. In the two countries where that was tried (UK and Canada), it was opposed by the political left. The UK wanted to give tax breaks ONLY to working mothers, not to stay at home mothers. And Canada did not want to extend income splitting to cover stay at home moms. Why not? Because when women work, the state gets more money, and the children adopt the values of the state in the government-run public schools. So, there is a solution to daycare’s bad influence on children, but the left opposes it.

And, to fix no-fault divorce, we could repeal no-fault divorce laws. Unfortunately no-fault divorce laws are strongly supported by powerful left-wing groups: trial lawyers and radical feminists. But they are also supported by women who don’t want to think too hard about who they are “in love” with. I was once told by a divorced mother of four whose husband cheated on her that she would never dream of marrying without no-fault divorce. Another childless divorced woman whose ex-husband cheated on her (she suspects) told me that it is impossible to tell whether a man is faithful or not through courtship and interviews. So long as women see marriage as something to be entered into on feelings, and exited lightly, children will be raised fatherless. It doesn’t help that we are subsidizing single motherhood with welfare and divorce courts that typically reward the the partner who initiates divorce (usually the woman). We could repeal no-fault divorce and single mother welfare, but again, the left opposes both of these things.

Leftist policies create the gun violence problem

As I’ve discussed before, the common denominator in all violent crime is that the violent criminal is male, and grew up without a father. The left pretends to be concerned with this, but they are not willing to address the root causes of the problem. They want more daycare, and they want it taxpayer-funded. They want universal pre-K, and they want it taxpayer-funded. They want to keep no-fault divorce, because it’s just too much work for women to make wise choices in how they make sexual choices and who they marry. And they want more and more welfare for single mothers, because women who have babies before they have husbands should be rewarded by taxpayers who made better decisions. People on the left want to subsidize fatherlessness, in short. And whatever you subsidize, you get more of.

Fatherlessness is the root cause of crime and mass murders, and the left doesn’t care about solving the real problem. It’s ironic that the left looks to government to solve the problem that government has actually created, by destroying marriage and the family unit.

Did Australia’s ban on guns lower violent crime rates and lower suicide rates?

Gun ownership up, gun violence down
Gun ownership up, gun violence down

Someone asked me about what I thought of Australia’s experience banning the use of handguns for self-defense against criminals, and so I thought I would link to an article from The Federalist, then explain what peer-reviewed studies say about the issue.

Let’s start with The Federalist.

It says:

The argument, as Vox’s headline puts it, is “Australia confiscated 650,000 guns. Murders and suicides plummeted.”

The piece, along with many gun control advocates, cites a Harvard University study whose conclusion begins with this line: “It does not appear that the Australian experience with gun buybacks is fully replicable in the United States.” Not a great start for Vox’s angle, but I digress.

The study doesn’t conclude that “murders and suicides plummeted” in Australia after the 1996 gun ban, as Vox claims in its headline. Instead, it focuses solely on firearm-related murders and suicides.

After the gun ban, violent crime rates were up:

Yes, as with the gun-happy United States, the murder rate is down in Australia. It’s dropped 31 percent from a rate of 1.6 per 100,000 people in 1994 to 1.1 per 100,000 in 2012.But it’s the only serious crime that saw a consistent decline post-ban.

In fact, according to the Australian government’s own statistics, a number of serious crimes peaked in the years after the ban. Manslaughter, sexual assault, kidnapping, armed robbery, and unarmed robbery all saw peaks in the years following the ban, and most remain near or above pre-ban rates. The effects of the 1996 ban on violent crime are, frankly, unimpressive at best.

It’s even less impressive when again compared to America’s decrease in violent crime over the same period. According to data from the U.S. Justice Department, violent crime fell nearly 72 percent between 1993 and 2011. Again, this happened as guns were being manufactured and purchased at an ever-increasing rate.

So although you have fewer firearm-related deaths when you disarm law-abiding civilians, violent crime increases, because there is now NO deterrence to criminals. Even a criminal with a knife can rob, rape and murder someone who is unarmed.

What about suicide rates?

Look:

The Australian gun ban’s effect on suicide in the country isn’t any better. While Vox repeats the Harvard study’s claim that firearm-related suicides are down 57 percent in the aftermath of the ban, Lifeline Australia reports that overall suicides are at a ten-year high. The Australian suicide prevention organization claims suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians 15 to 44 years old. So, while Australians kill themselves with firearms less often, it seems they don’t actually take their own lives any less often than before the ban.

So, overall suicides are not down, people simply found other ways to kill themselves. So the gun ban had no effect on the overall suicide rate. But it did raise the violent crime rate. Should we be surprised by this? Actually, this is consistent with peer-reviewed research.

Gun crime also skyrocketed after the 1996 gun ban. The Washington Free Beacon reports.

Excerpt:

Australia has seen a rise in gun crime over the past decade despite imposing an outright ban on many firearms in the late 1990s.

Charges for crimes involving firearms have increased dramatically across the island nation’s localities in the past decade according to an analysis of government statistics conducted by The New Daily. It found that gun crimes have spiked dramatically in the Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania. In Victoria, pistol-related offenses doubled over the last decade. In New South Wales, they tripled. The other states saw smaller but still significant increases.

Experts said that the country’s 1996 ban on most semi-automatic firearms has actually driven criminals to those guns. “The ban on semi-automatics created demand by criminals for other types of guns,” professor Philip Alpers of the University of Sydney told The New Daily. “The criminal’s gun of choice today is the semi-automatic pistol.”

[…]Regardless of the reasons for the jump in gun crime, the numbers reveal the true size of Australia’s illegal gun market. “Taken together, the data suggests that despite our tough anti-gun laws, thousands of weapons are either being stolen or entering the country illegally,” The New Daily said. “The fourfold rise in handgun-related charges in NSW in the past decade points to the existence of a big illegal market for concealable firearms that seems to have been underestimated in the past.”

If you take guns away from law-abiding people (which is what Australia did), then only criminals will have guns. And that means that the criminals will become bolder in the face of their disarmed victims.

The peer-reviewed research

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

One of the common mistakes I see anti-gun advocates making is to use the metric of all “gun-related deaths”. First of all, this completely ignores the effects of hang gun ownership on violent crime, as we’ve seen. Take away the guns from law-abiding people and violent crime skyrockets. But using the “gun-related deaths” number is especially wrong, because it includes suicides committed with guns. This is the majority of gun related deaths, even in a country like America that has a massive inner-city gun violence problem cause by the epidemic of single motherhood by choice. If you take out the gun-related SUICIDES, then the actual number of gun homicides has decreased as gun ownership has grown.

For a couple of useful graphs related to this point, check out this post over at the American Enterprise Institute.

Anti-gun statistician takes a look at the effects of UK and Australia gun bans

Gun ownership up, gun violence down
Gun ownership up, gun violence down

I found this op-ed in the radically-leftist Washington Post, of all places. The author took a look at the evidence on gun violence for Five Thirty Eight, and decided that gun control policies would not help the problems that we are actually facing.

Excerpt:

Leah Libresco is a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site. She is the author of “Arriving at Amen.”

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

I’ve written before about how banning handguns in the UK doubled the violent crime rate in the next four years. That’s not ambiguous in my book! But this is 538 and Washington Post, so we can’t expect them to agree with the evidence all the way, or they’d be conservatives. Regarding Australia’s gun ban, violent crime rates rose after they confiscated guns as well. It’s very important to look at the data on these issues, because on liberal web sites, they basically run headlines claiming the exact opposite of what studies show, and this is eaten up by their anti-intellectual leftist readers.

More:

When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.

As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.

As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference. Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them. 

[…]However, the next-largest set of gun deaths — 1 in 5 — were young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides. These men were most likely to die at the hands of other young men, often related to gang loyalties or other street violence. And the last notable group of similar deaths was the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence. Far more people were killed in these ways than in mass-shooting incidents, but few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.

This excerpt is basically correct, and I’ve explained in the past that inner-city gun violence is caused by fatherlessness, which is caused by the decisions that women make about men and when to have sex with them. Unless we are willing to tell women not to have sex with thuggish bad boys, then we aren’t going to get rid of inner-city gun violence. We certainly shouldn’t be paying women welfare money to have more fatherless children, if we want to stop gun violence. We’re not serious about gun violence, or we would ban single mother welfare, and give tax incentives for children who are raised in a home where the child’s biological is present and committed to the child’s mother for life. No one on the left who complains about gun violence is serious about solving the root cause of gun violence. Because they don’t want to be guided by facts.

The peer-reviewed research

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

Here is a paper by Dr. Malcolm that summarizes one of the key points of her book.

Excerpt:

Tracing the history of gun control in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century, this article details how the government has arrogated to itself a monopoly on the right to use force. The consequence has been a tremendous increase in violent crime, and harsh punishment for crime victims who dare to fight back. The article is based on the author’s most recent book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Harvard University Press, 2002). Joyce Malcom is professor of history at Bentley College, in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is also author of To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an AngloAmerican Right (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Upon the passage of The Firearms Act (No. 2) in 1997, British Deputy Home Secretary Alun Michael boasted: “Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.” The Act was second handgun control measure passed that year, imposed a near-complete ban on private ownership of handguns, capping nearly eighty years of increasing firearms restrictions. Driven by an intense public campaign in the wake of the shooting of schoolchildren in Dunblane, Scotland, Parliament had been so zealous to outlaw all privately owned handguns that it rejected proposals to exempt Britain’s Olympic target-shooting team and handicapped target-shooters from the ban.

And the result of the 1997 gun ban:

The result of the ban has been costly. Thousands of weapons were confiscated at great financial cost to the public. Hundreds of thousands of police hours were devoted to the task. But in the six years since the 1997 handgun ban, crimes with the very weapons banned have more than doubled, and firearm crime has increased markedly. In 2002, for the fourth consecutive year, gun crime in England and Wales rose—by 35 percent for all firearms, and by a whopping 46 percent for the banned handguns. Nearly 10,000 firearms offences were committed.

[…]According to Scotland Yard, in the four years from 1991 to 1995 crimes against the person in England‟s inner cities increased by 91 percent. In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century.

I think that peer-reviewed studies – from Harvard University, no less – should be useful to those of us who believe in the right of self-defense for law-abiding people. The book by economist John Lott, linked above,compares the crime rates of all U.S. states that have enacted concealed carry laws, and concludes that violent crime rates dropped after law-abiding citizens were allowed to carry legally-owned firearms. That’s the mirror image of Dr. Malcolm’s Harvard study, but both studies affirm the same conclusion – more legal firearm ownership means less crime.

Economist Walter Williams explains how to not be poor

Economist Walter Williams
Economist Walter Williams

Here is his article on wealth and poverty on Creators.

First, there is no real poverty in the United States:

There is no material poverty in the U.S. Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor”, report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.

Second, the “poverty” is not caused by racism, but by poor choices:

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35 percent and among whites at 13 percent. The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent, and among whites it’s 30 percent. A statistic that one doesn’t hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8 percent. For married white families, it’s 5 percent. Now the politically incorrect questions: Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?

There may be some pinhead sociologists who blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination. But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data “going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery … showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940”? Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?

Third, avoiding poverty is the result of good choices:

No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault.

If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior. It turns out that a married couple, each earning the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000. The Census Bureau poverty line for a family of two is $15,500, and for a family of four, it’s $23,000. By the way, no adult who starts out earning the minimum wage does so for very long.

Fourth, what stops people from making good choices is big government:

Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the “need” to deal with some aspect of poverty. In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, “you could purchase every U.S. factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building. With what’s left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet. If you’re still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation”. Today’s total of $18 trillion spent on poverty means you could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some.

Walter Williams is one of my two favorite economists, the other being Thomas Sowell. By sheer coincidence, they both happen to have grown up poor, and they both happen to be black. They understand what causes poverty very well. I recommend their books to you if you want to understand economics.

Trump administration ends 6-week law enforcement sweep with 1,378 arrests

Under new management, the police are back to law enforcement
Under new management, the police are back to law enforcement

This was reported by Fox News.

Excerpt:

The Trump administration has concluded a six-week nationwide sweep of suspected gang members with 1,378 arrests — the largest such gang sweep conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to date.

The operation, which ran from March 26 through May 6, targeted gang members and associates involved in transnational criminal activity, including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling, sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.

[…]According to ICE, of the 1,378 total arrested, 933 were U.S. citizens, and 1,095 were confirmed as gang members or affiliates. Also, 104 of those arrested were affiliated with the dreaded MS-13 gang, eight of whom illegally crossed the border as unaccompanied minors.

[…]During the operation, HSI partnered with other law enforcement agencies to seize more than 200 firearms, narcotics like cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana and $491,763 in U.S. currency.

Enforcement actions occurred across the nation, but the greatest activity took place in the Houston, New York City, Atlanta and Newark, N.J., areas.

Fox News also reports that illegal immigration is way down under Trump, even before construction of the new wall.

Excerpt:

After years of surging immigration from Central America, law enforcement in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley are finally seeing some relief, thanks in part to President Trump’s strong rhetoric.

[…]“Since January, we have seen a significant decrease in traffic to the point we’re averaging about 150 alien apprehensions a day,” down from as many as 1,000 a day, according to Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz of the Rio Grande Border Patrol Sector. “A big part of the decrease, I think, has to do with a lot of the discussion about the buildup of infrastructure on the southwest border, more agents along the border and some of the message making its way down to those host countries.”

[…]Previously, Central American immigrants turned themselves in, claimed asylum and were released. 

In most cases, the Obama Administration accommodated the claim by placing the applicant on a court docket with a two- to three-year waiting list. In the meantime, most illegal immigrants were free to work while living with relatives. Some set down roots by getting married or having American-born children.

President Trump promised to end that ’catch and release’ policy, saying “anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country.”

Apparently that message got through thousands of miles away. 

Traditionally, the Republican party has been the party of law and order, whereas Democrats are the party of leniency and permissiveness. Republicans like self-defense, Democrats don’t. Republicans support victim’s rights, but Democrats want to shorten sentences and release criminals. Republicans think that punishing criminals deters future crime, and Democrats think that criminals are just not responsible for their criminal acts.

Here is a story from February 2013, when Obama was still President.

Fox News reports.

Excerpt:

The Department of Homeland Security has started releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants held in local jails in anticipation of automatic budget cuts, in a move one Arizona sheriff called politically motivated — and dangerous.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said Tuesday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement released more than 500 detainees in his county alone over the weekend. A spokesman for Babeu told FoxNews.com that ICE officials have said they plan to release a total of nearly 10,000 illegal immigrants.

The numbers, though, are in dispute. ICE officials said that it’s unclear how many ultimately might be released and that only 303 have been released from four Arizona facilities so far, though all those are in Pinal County. According to ICE, 2,280 detainees are still in custody in those facilities.

Babeu described the move as a “mass budget pardon” and suggested the administration was going to unnecessary lengths to demonstrate the impact of the so-called sequester.

“President Obama would never release 500 criminal illegals to the streets of his hometown, yet he has no problem with releasing them in Arizona. The safety of the public is threatened and the rule of law discarded as a political tactic in this sequester battle,” he said.

An ICE spokeswoman confirmed the plans without specifying how many illegal immigrants might be released.

[…]In Arizona, Babeu slammed the move, painting his community as a victim of gridlock in Washington.

“Clearly, serious criminals are being released to the streets of our local communities by this mass budget pardon. These are illegals that even President Obama wants to deport. This is insane that public safety is sacrificed when it should be the budget priority that’s safeguarded,” he said.

Did any of those criminals who were released go on to commit crimes? Sure. But what do Democrats care about protecting taxpayers from criminals? They always blame the victims of crime, and stand against law-abiding taxpayers.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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