Rising murder rates and the distribution of violent crime

GunrightsCriminalsAgreeAfter several decades of decline in our homicide rate nationwide, large cities in the United States are seeing increases in the number of murders, as reported in The New York Times last August.  It’s unclear whether this is merely a statistical fluctuation or a change in the trend, but New York City, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, and the nation’s capital have all experienced increases in killings over last year.

Garry McCarthy, Chicago’s police superintendent, predictably attributes this to the presence of guns, while others speculate about a Ferguson effect, a possible reluctance on the part of police to pursue criminals aggressively in the wake of protests over incidents of white officers shooting black men, though it’s too early to tell if this latter explanation is supported by the data.

There is one possibility that is suggestive, however.  Take Milwaukee, which occupies much of the aforementioned Times article.  The city’s chief of police, Edward A. Flynn, is quoted as saying about young men in poor communities that, “maintaining one’s status and credibility and honor, if you will, within that peer community is literally a matter of life and death.”

Why is this?  Look at the performance of the city’s high school students.  Consistently in this decade, the four-year graduation rate has hovered around sixty percent.  That rises to around seventy-two percent after six years.  Similar dismal numbers can be found in New York City.

The relationship between high school graduation rates and rates of violent crime can be illustrated nationwide in two charts, one from the U.S. Census Bureau, the other from the FBI.  The correlation isn’t perfect, but the two maps show a linkage.

And this is not merely demonstrated geographically.  Graduation rates by race also bear out what I’m saying here.  Blacks make up 12.3% of the U.S. population, according to the 2010 census, while whites represent three quarters.  The percentages of total arrests for each group are 28.3% and 68.9% respectively, with 52.2% of arrests for murder or non-negligent manslaughter being of African Americans.  Eighty-five percent of white high school students graduate, while sixty-eight percent of blacks students earn a diploma.

Given the data, I have to say to Chicago’s McCarthy and others who agree with him that no, it’s not the number of guns on the street that is driving the homicide rate.  Violence has many causes, but the presence of weapons in a community is at most a symptom.  As those of us who collect guns either out of interest or to use for specific purposes—hunting rifles designed with particular game in mind, for example—know, it’s not the gun by itself that is the problem.

Source: Rising murder rates and the distribution of violent crime

HuffPo writer claims only way to defeat ISIS is to elect socialist Bernie Sanders

What’s so funny is that anyone with half a brain knows with Bernie as president, we’d be too broke to do anything anyway. The terrorists who want to destroy our country via our economy would win by default… Bernie would be handling that for them!

The left suddenly loves old white men.

In an article published Monday at the Huffington Post, H.A. Goodman, a columnist whose work is published in a variety of liberal outlets including published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Baltimore Sun, The Hill and the far-left Salon, argued that the only way to defeat ISIS is to elect socialist Bernie Sanders.

“Bernie Sanders says ‘I’ll be damned’ if the U.S. leads the fight against ISIS and Americans are sent back to never-ending quagmires. I explain in this YouTube segment that only Bernie Sanders, not Clinton or Trump, will refrain from sending more Americans back to failed counterinsurgency wars in the Middle East,” he wrote in an article headlined, “The Only Way to Destroy ISIS Is With a Bernie Sanders Presidency.”

He continued: “Because of his work as chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee, Sanders witnessed how the perpetual wars espoused by Bush, and Democrats like Clinton, continue to affect American soldier and their families. For this reason, he recently won the Congressional Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.”

He added:

In addition, Sanders understands how ISIS and other groups wage war. The primary goal of groups like ISIS is to lure America into asymmetric wars that mitigate our military advantages; submarines and nuclear weapons can’t defeat IEDs or insurgents hiding in apartment buildings. The willingness of Bernie Sanders to move beyond the traditional American paradigm of continual war, in the hopes of ending continual terror, is why Sanders has the right formula to defeat ISIS.

 After the horrific attacks in Paris, Sanders explained that “the fight against ISIS is a struggle for the soul of Islam, and countering violent extremism and destroying ISIS must be done primarily by Muslim nations.” While Hillary Clinton echoed the same talking points (in a slightly less bellicose tone) as Trump, Carson, and Republicans, Sanders focused on long term strategy.

Translation: Sanders won’t do a damn thing against ISIS.  Instead, he’d tax us all to death to pay for free stuff and expect Saudi Arabia to defend us from the very people he would probably let in the country anyway.

This is beyond delusional, but it’s to be expected from the low-information left.

Source: HuffPo writer claims only way to defeat ISIS is to elect socialist Bernie Sanders ⋆ Conservative Firing Line

Demanding transparency from the ‘most transparent administration in history’

President Obama famously pledged on the 2008 campaign trail to have the “most transparent administration in history.” Seven years in, that commitment has led to little more than flowery language on whitehouse.gov.

The Obama administration has an abysmal record on openness to the press and the American people. Nowhere is it worse than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

DHS currently boasts the largest backlog of any federal agency and, since the Obama administration took over, there has been a 182 percent increase in the number of FOIA requests at DHS. A November 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found DHS had over 50,000 backlogged FOIA requests due to mismanagement and duplicative efforts among the different departments at the agency.

The number of backlogged requests continues to rise each year and many requests are either ignored or improperly closed. In 2012, a Customs and Border Patrol manager found stacks of boxes of more than 12,000 FOIA requests that were snubbed and had never been processed. The Department was even rightfully given a D+ for its handling of FOIA requests by an independent watchdog, the Center for Effective Government.

Source: Demanding transparency from the ‘most transparent administration in history’ | Washington Examiner

VA spends millions promoting Obamacare, little cutting wait times

Officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs spent millions of taxpayer dollars promoting the Affordable Care Act to veterans who didn’t even need the coverage, but have dedicated relatively few resources to helping veterans on the agency’s long waiting list get access to their benefits, internal documents show.

The VA spent $6.125 million on brochures, letters and posters in an outreach campaign for Obamacare that ended last year, according to internal reports obtained by the Washington Examiner.

Scott Davis, a program specialist at the Atlanta VA enrollment center, said the VA likely spent much more than that on the Obamacare promotion campaign, given that the Atlanta enrollment center hired at least 40 additional staffers to push the health care legislation.

Records indicate the VA also spent money on Google advertisements, Spanish-language promotional materials and videos in an effort to spread the word about Obamacare.

However, veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system are not subject to penalties imposed on the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act and thus didn’t need to change anything about their coverage to comply with the legislation.

“If a veteran is already enrolled, what else do you need to tell them?” Davis said, noting the VA “used every form of communication” to contact veterans about Obamacare between 2013 and 2014.

Source: VA spends millions promoting Obamacare, little cutting wait times | Washington Examiner

Michigan Democrats seek to repeal ‘stand your ground’ laws

Claiming individuals are using the law as a reason to take someone’s life, a group of senate Democrats want to make a major change to the state’s self-defense statutes.

The measure would scrap the 2006 Self Defense Act that passed with significant bipartisan support and was signed by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat who had before served as the state’s attorney general. It extended legal protections to those who use deadly force when threatened by death or severe injury without having an obligation to retreat if possible.

This facet, commonly termed stand your ground, now contend lawmakers, is dangerous.

“Emergency room physicians and folks are just honestly worried about the prevalence of gun violence in our communities and frankly pretty nervous about the fact that there is no duty to retreat and substantial immunity from both criminal and civil liability under these statutes,” argues state Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, sponsor of the proposal to repeal the law.

Three other Democrats, including Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich, have signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation, for which Warren cites high profile court cases such as that of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin in Florida, as an example of why Michigan needs to rethink stand your ground. WTF Note: Stand your ground was not used as part of the defense in this case. The only ones who made it part of the case were the media.

“People are using this lack of duty to retreat as a reason to inflict harm and are sometimes not held liable for taking someone’s life. And I want to set that right in Michigan,” she said.

Source: Michigan Democrats seek to repeal ‘stand your ground’ laws

Thanksgiving, a time for …. politics?

Originally posted on Confederacy of Drones:

ThanksgivingOur fearless leader suggested we spend a little quality time this Thanksgiving mixing politics in with our turkey and fixin’s.  Nothing says love, togetherness, and holidays more than a heated discussion over gun control.  Isn’t he satisfied enough with tearing the country apart that he doesn’t need to have families fighting as well?

View original

Obama Administration Announces 144 Big Regulations Right Before Thanksgiving

Over 2,000 regulations are now being written. Of these, 144 are deemed “economically significant” – that is, expected to cost Americans $100 million or more each.

A look at the agenda shows why the White House didn’t want it publicized. Over 2,000 regulations are now being written. Of these, 144 are deemed “economically significant”—that is, expected to cost Americans $100 million or more each.

This is a new record, beating the previous high of 136 set by President Obama this spring. The regulations span the full scope of American life, ranging from labeling requirements for pet food, new test procedures for battery chargers, mandated paid sick leave for contractors, and automatic speed limiters for trucks to a dozen new rules limiting energy use (and increasing the price) of everything from furnaces and dishwashers to dehumidifiers.

One of these new rules may be of special interest to Americans sitting down to their Thanksgiving dinner: mandated labeling of serving sizes for food that “can reasonably be consumed at one eating occasion.”

Although none of the rules have been adopted yet, the intent is clear. The agenda is a list of what’s on the drawing board, and with barely a year left in office, the Obama administration is planning to add even more to the already unprecedented burdens it has placed on the America’s economy and society.

Source: Obama Administration Announces 144 Big Regulations Right Before Thanksgiving