Tag Archives: Crime

Two black economists explain how to end poverty in America

Economist Walter Williams
Economist Walter Williams

Walter Wiliams is one of my two favorite economists, the other being Thomas Sowell.

Here is his article on wealth and poverty on Creators written by Dr. Williams.

First, real poverty is not common in America:

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.

Regarding those last two points, here is Thomas Sowell:

Economist Thomas Sowell blames welfare for killing the black family
Economist Thomas Sowell blames welfare for killing the black family

To illustrate this point, here’s a graph with some helpful data taken from the U. S. Census.

Black women were more likely to be married before welfare programs
Black women were more likely to be married before welfare programs

In fact, there is a whole video featuring Thomas Sowell to go with this graph:

And an article to go with it:

If we wanted to be serious about evidence, we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state. In other words, we could compare hard evidence on “the legacy of slavery” with hard evidence on the legacy of liberals.

Despite the grand myth that black economic progress began or accelerated with the passage of the civil rights laws and “war on poverty” programs of the 1960s, the cold fact is that the poverty rate among blacks fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960. This was before any of those programs began.

Over the next 20 years, the poverty rate among blacks fell another 18 percentage points, compared to the 40-point drop in the previous 20 years. This was the continuation of a previous economic trend, at a slower rate of progress, not the economic grand deliverance proclaimed by liberals and self-serving black “leaders.”

Ending the Jim Crow laws was a landmark achievement. But, despite the great proliferation of black political and other “leaders” that resulted from the laws and policies of the 1960s, nothing comparable happened economically. And there were serious retrogressions socially.

Nearly a hundred years of the supposed “legacy of slavery” found most black children being raised in two-parent families in 1960. But thirty years after the liberal welfare state found the great majority of black children being raised by a single parent.

The rest of the article points out how even crime rates among blacks were caused by the implementation of soft law enforcement policies by progressives. Just look at the big cities if you want to know what it is like for blacks to be ruled by Democrats. It sucks!

If everybody started to read more Thomas Sowell books, we would be much better off as a country! Only good things happen when people stop watching TV and listening to music and watching movies, and instead settle down in a chair with a Thomas Sowell book. I recommended a bunch of them in a previous post.

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.

I think that peer-reviewed studies should be useful for assessing gun control vs gun rights policy. 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, which shows that the 1997 UK gun ban caused violent crime rates to MORE THAN DOUBLE in the four years following the ban. But both studies affirm the same conclusion – more legal firearm ownership means less crime.

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 hand 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 (about two thirds) of gun related deaths, even in a country like America that has a massive inner-city gun violence problem caused 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.

My discussion with a woman whose husband was killed by a drunk-driving illegal immigrant

Net annual cost of illegal immigration
Net annual cost of illegal immigration

Before we get to my conversation with my friend whose husband was killed in a car accident when an illegal immigrant with NO driver’s license, NO auto insurance, who was intoxicated from alcohol, I wanted to show you a news story that shows how things like this are not so unusual.

Here’s the story from the Daily Caller:

A multi-vehicle crash last week that claimed the life of the son of a Knoxville, Tennessee fire department captain was the result of a “chain reaction” begun by an illegal immigrant driving in the wrong lane, investigators said.

Pierce Kennedy Corcoran, 22, the son of Knoxville Fire Department spokesperson Captain D.J. Corcoran, was driving a Honda Civic south on Knoxville’s Chapman Highway the evening of December 29 when a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Franco Cambrany Francisco-Eduardo reportedly veered into their lane and struck the vehicle.

[…]44-year-old Franco Cambrany Francisco-Eduardo, an illegal immigrant, was arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide as well as having no driver’s license or proof of financial responsibility, according to the News Sentinel, and was jailed without bond pending ICE action.

Since Tennessee is NOT a sanctuary state, the criminal will not be released to re-enter the United States illegally, and then commit another crime, and another, and another. This is what would happen in sanctuary states where Democrats govern. Instead, Tennessee handed the killer over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

People like to say that most illegal immigrants don’t commit violent crimes, but the real conclusion to draw here is that if this illegal immigrant had NOT been in the country, then that 22-year-old son would still be alive for his parents. He shouldn’t have been here. We can’t control the violent crimes of people who are supposed to be here, but that doesn’t mean that we should make things WORSE by letting in people who should not be here.

You can read the statement from the victim’s mother here.

It happened to someone I know

A friend of the blog had her husband killed by an illegal immigrant who was driving drunk, without a driver’s license. I had a call with her on Wednesday night to find out what happened. The illegal immigrant was driving in the wrong direction in their lane at full speed. Her husband was killed, she went into a coma, and her young child was injured. The illegal immigrant was drunk. He had no driver’s license. He had no auto insurance. When they caught him, he was packing his bags to go back to Mexico. And after serving his sentence, he was released without any kind of civil suit against him.

She was not able to get any restitution from the ranch that illegally employed him. She was not able to get any restitution from the strip bar where he became intoxicated before the accident. She was not able to get any restitution from the car dealer who sold him a car without requiring a driver’s license and proof of insurance.

After his release, it would be easy for him to re-enter the country illegally, and commit another crime. This happens all the time, for example, in the case of the illegal immigrant who just murdered a legal immigrant policy officer in California. That criminal had been deported FIVE TIMES, but he just kept walking through our border again and again.

I think it is very important to focus on the stories of the law-abiding victims of illegal immigrants who commit crimes. Not all illegal immigrants commit crimes. But all the crimes committed by illegal immigrants could have been deterred by tougher border security.

Whenever I hear Democrat politicians talking about illegal immigration, they are always silent about the law-abiding taxpayers who are impacted by illegal immigration. But those same Democrat politicians who like to spend YOUR money and risk YOUR lives are not liable for restitution if their lax immigration policies cost you your money or your life.

The cost of unskilled immigrants to taxpayers

Even if illegal immigrants don’t commit violent crimes, there is still a cost to taxpayers.

The Washington Times reports on the latest numbers from the Census Bureau.

Excerpt:

The latest Census Bureau numbers find that more than seven of 10 households headed by immigrants in California, and nearly the same amount in Texas, are on the taxpayer dole.

[…]According to the latest numbers from 2014, fully 63 percent of non-citizens are living off at least one welfare program. That translates into 4.68 million households.

[…]What’s most troublesome about the Census findings is the fact that the 63 percent of non-citizens on welfare actually grows to 70 percent for those who stay in-country 10 years or longer — meaning the entitlement mind only solidifies.

Meaning non-citizens on welfare don’t tend to get off welfare.

If we want to let in more people from other countries, then we should loosen up our process for admitting skilled immigrants who 1) have a job offer and are continuously employed and 2) pay taxes and 3) follow the law, 4) cannot collect one dime of welfare money, and 5) cannot bring in any relatives through chain migration. We should speed up the process for skilled immigrants to get their permanent residency. At the same time, we should build the wall, implement e-verify, prosecute businesses that hire illegal immigrants to the full extent of the law, and we should cut off all federal money for states that contain sanctuary cities.

Mainstream media and Democrat politicians silent after illegal immigrant murders police officer

California Police Officer Ronil Singh
California Police Officer Ronil Singh

Did you hear about the news story of a California police officer being murdered by an illegal immigrant during a traffic stop? Well, if you get your news from left-wing media sources, then you probably didn’t. The North American news media had almost nothing to say about it. I only found the story on a British newspaper’s web site, the UK Telegraph.

They wrote:

A manhunt has been launched after an illegal immigrant gunman shot dead a California police officer during a traffic stop.

The suspect had been stopped for possible drink driving when he shot the officer, Ronil Singh.

[…]Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson in California said authorities have identified, but won’t yet name the illegal immigrant suspect.

They believed he was still in the area, around 100 miles southeast of San Francisco, and was armed and dangerous.

Sheriff Christianson said: “This suspect is in our country illegally. He doesn’t belong here. He is a criminal.

“The sheriff’s office will spare no expense in hunting down this criminal.”

Fighting back tears the local police chief Randy Richardson said Mr Singh, 33, originally from Fiji, had a newborn son, and was an “American patriot”.

The police chief said: “He came to America with one purpose, and that was to serve this country.

[…]”Please remember the man. Yes, he was a police officer, but he was a human being. His five-month old he will never hear talk, he will never see his son walk because a coward took his life.”

I just want to remind everyone that it’s not just police officers who get murdered in open border / sanctuary city states like California. It’s unarmed civilians, too.

Remember the story of Kate Steinle? She was just walking with her family on a pier in San Francisco when an illegal immigrant – who had been deported many times – used an illegal firearm to murder her for no reason at all.

The Miami Herald reported at the time:

It was July 1, 2015, and Kate Steinle was walking with her father on Pier 14 in San Francisco.

But seemingly out of nowhere, a bullet ricocheted off the concrete and struck the unsuspecting 32-year-old in the back, according to NBC News. She died two hours later in a nearby hospital.

On Thursday, a jury found Kate’s accused killer, 45-year-old Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, not guilty on charges of murder, assault with a deadly weapon and involuntary manslaughter, The Washington Post reported. Garcia Zarate, a Mexican citizen who has been deported from the United States five times, was found guilty of possessing a weapon as a felon.

The defense argued that Garcia Zarate, a seven-time felon, found the gun, a Sig Sauer P239, on the pier and accidentally fired it when he picked it up, according to KTVU. That same weapon had been stolen four days earlier from an off-duty Bureau of Land Management Ranger’s car.

Zarate was acquitted of murder and assault charges against Kate Steinle. That’s right. He was ACQUITTED of murder and assault charges. He had been deported FIVE TIMES before this, and convicted of felonies SEVEN TIMES. In my view, every single California leftist should be tried and convicted of murder and assault, for allowing things like this to happen.

Republicans tried to introduce a law to stop killings like this from happening. They called it “Kate’s Law”. It was supposed to give tougher penalties to illegal immigrants who are deported and then re-enter the country to commit MORE crimes. The bill went up for a vote in the California house, and 166 Democrats voted against “Kate’s Law”. Only 24 Democrats voted for the law.

DID YOU GET THAT???? 166 DEMOCRATS OUT OF 190 DEMOCRATS VOTED AGAINST A LAW GIVING STRONGER PENALTIES TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WHO ARE DEPORTED, THEN RETURN TO AMERICA, COMMIT MORE CRIMES, AND ARE CAUGHT AND SENTENCED AGAIN.

My purpose in writing about this

I just want to make sure that people understand that when I report on these issues, I am not concerned with the race of the person who does the killing. I am not white myself. I am concerned with the politicians and the news media who do not want to protect law-abiding taxpayers in this country from criminals. If you cross the border illegally, then you are a criminal.

We have ways that allow people to come into the country legally. I am in favor of making it easier for skilled, law-abiding people of all races come into the country legally. I am not in favor of illegal immigrants entering out country and then breaking more laws, while imposing costs on law-abiding taxpayers for welfare, schools, health care, policing, and so on. We need skilled immigrants of every race who want to follow the law, pay taxes, and never collect welfare. But we don’t need unskilled illegal immigrants who commit crimes, increase government spending, and collect welfare.

Build. The. Wall.

Facts vs feelings in the debate on gun control vs self-defense

I found a splendid at the Daily Signal article that ought to be read by everyone who has an opinion about the conflict between gun confiscation vs self-defense.

Here are the 8 points made in the article, then I’ll comment on my favorite one:

  1. Violent crime is down and has been on the decline for decades.

  2. The principal public safety concerns with respect to guns are suicides and illegally owned handguns, not mass shootings.

  3. A small number of factors significantly increase the likelihood that a person will be a victim of a gun-related homicide.

  4. Gun-related murders are carried out by a predictable pool of people.

  5. Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.

  6. There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.

  7. Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.

  8. Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.

Whenever we discuss gun violence, it’s very important to exclude suicides using a gun from the overall rate of gun deaths. Once you do that, you will find that the rate of violent crime has been declining as more and more law-abiding Americans have gone through the process to purchase a firearm for self-defense.

Let’s talk about the gun homicide rate and how the steady increase in firearm ownership has affected that. When you look at the graph below, keep in mind that two thirds of the homicide are suicides committed with a firearm.

Here is a graph:

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

The question I want to address is this: why would someone want to own a gun in the first place?

Here are the points from the list of eight points that are relevant to that question:

Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.

  • Switzerland and Israel have much higher gun ownership rates than the United States but experience far fewer homicides and have much lower violent crime rates than many European nations with strict gun control laws.
  • Higher rates of concealed carry permit holders are even more strongly associated with reduction in violent crime than are “right-to-carry” states. The probable reason for this is that “right-to-carry” studies often include “open carry” states, which have not been shown to correlate with more people actually carrying or even owning firearms. Rates of concealed carry permit holders are better indicators of the number of people who actually possess and carry firearms within a given population.

There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.

  • Homicide and firearm homicide rates in Great Britain spiked in the years immediately following the imposition of severe gun control measures, despite the fact that most developed countries continued to experience a downward trend in these rates. This is also pointed out by noted criminologist John Lott in his book “The War on Guns.”
  • Similarly, Ireland’s homicide rates spiked in the years immediately following the country’s 1972 gun confiscation legislation.
  • Australia’s National Firearms Act appears to have had little effect on suicide and homicide rates, which were falling before the law was enacted and continued to decline at a statistically unremarkable rate compared to worldwide trends.
  • According to research compiled by John Lott and highlighted in his book “The War on Guns,” Australia’s armed and unarmed robbery rates both increased markedly in the five years immediately following the National Firearms Act, despite the general downward trend experienced by other developed countries.
  • Great Britain has some of the strictest gun control laws in the developed world, but the violent crime rate for homicide, rape, burglary, and aggravated assault is much higher than that in the U.S. Further, approximately 60 percent of burglaries in Great Britain occur while residents are home, compared to just 13 percent in the U.S., and British burglars admit to targeting occupied residences because they are more likely to find wallets and purses.
  • It is difficult to compare homicide and firearm-related murder rates across international borders because countries use different methods to determine which deaths “count” for purposes of violent crime. For example, since 1967, Great Britain has excluded from its homicide counts any case that does not result in a conviction, that was the result of dangerous driving, or in which the person was determined to have acted in self-defense. All of these factors are counted as “homicides” in the United States.

Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.

  • In 2013, President Barack Obama ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assess existing research on gun violence. The report, compiled by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, found (among other things) that firearms are used defensively hundreds of thousands of times every year.
  • According to the CDC, “self-defense can be an important crime deterrent.” Recent CDC reports acknowledge that studies directly assessing the effect of actual defensive uses of guns have found “consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”
  • Semi-automatic rifles (such as the AR-15) are commonly used as self-defense weapons in the homes of law-abiding citizens because they are easier to control than handguns, are more versatile than handguns, and offer the advantage of up to 30 rounds of protection. Even Vox has published stories defending the use of the AR-15.
  • AR-15s have been used to save lives on many occasions [list omitted by WK]

Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.

  • Noted criminologist John Lott found that, as a group, concealed carry permit holders are some of the most law-abiding people in the United States. The rate at which they commit crimes generally and firearm crimes specifically is between one-sixth and one-tenth of that recorded for police officers, who are themselves committing crimes at a fraction of the rate of the general population.
  • Between 2007 and 2015, murder rates dropped 16 percent and violent crime rates dropped 18 percent, even though the percentage of adults with concealed carry permits rose by 190 percent.
  • Regression estimates show a significant association between increased permit ownership and a drop in murder and violent crime rates. Each percentage point increase in rates of permit-holding is associated with a roughly 2.5 percent drop in the murder rate.
  • Concealed carry permit holders are often “the good guy with a gun,” even though they rarely receive the attention of the national media. Concealed carry permit holders were credited with saving multiple lives [list omitted by WK]

So, I think that those points provide a very necessary balance for the “ban guns” crowd. Gun ownership is a vital part of a free citizen’s right to self-defense. People who want to discuss gun confiscation vs self-defense need to be aware of the way guns are really used by law-abiding people to protect themselves and their families.