My young friend who blogs at Rightsided took issue with one of my recent posts about gun violence, though he didn’t actually address the question I posed to him and others like him about the ineffectiveness of small arms against a professional military:
“More Americans have been killed in our country within in [sic] the last year by guns than all U.S. soldiers killed in all of the years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Richard Aborn writes in the New York Daily News.
I’d be interested to hear from some of the people who insisted to me yesterday that Iraq and Afghanistan are good examples of an insurgency with small arms standing up to a military that possesses overwhelming firepower.
From this statistic, it sure seems like the small arms you desperately believe are going to ward off governmental tyranny are really far more useful at killing (defenseless) civilians than soldiers.
You know what city alone has more homicides than troop killings in Afghanistan: Chicago.
You know what Chicago has: some of the strictest gun laws in the country.
So, shall we go the way of Chicago?
Instead, he noted that more civilians die in Chicago than troops in Afghanistan. This was, of course, my point. But his reasoning, apparently, is that there’s too much gun control in Chicago and that this accounts for the violence.
I guess I’ll begin by noting that Chicago doesn’t actually have the highest murder rate in the world.
My interlocutor links to the Steve Gill Show website to demonstrate that “Chicago has the highest murder rates [sic] in the world.” Gill’s piece (which is titled “‘CHICAGO HAS THE HIGHEST MURDER RATE’ IN THE WORLD”) centers around the fact that Chicago’s murder rate is 19.4/100,000. At the bottom of the piece, which is pretty much entirely a quote from another source, we learn that “We could be doing worse: Caracas, Venezuela has a murder rate of 130 per 100,000." Check out the numbers for Cape Town, South Africa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil or Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
This disregard for facts shouldn’t be too surprising. Steve Gill simply grabbed a couple of paragraphs from an NBC Chicago opinion piece … but only a couple of paragraphs. Because the rest of that piece completely disputes Gill’s point and that of my young friend.
So, here’s the rest of that piece so readers can really think about the issue for themselves:
Gun lovers are gleeful about Chicago’s deadly summer. They see it as a rebuke not just to gun control, but to the policies of Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel.
But Chicago’s murder rate is not proof that gun control doesn’t work. It’s proof that, in a country with one gun per citizen, local gun laws are meaningless.
Let’s look at Tokyo, one of the safest cities on that list, with a murder rate of 0.5 per 100,000 citizens. Japan’s constitution does not guarantee its citizens the right to bear arms. Handguns are prohibited. Semi-automatic weapons are prohibited. Automatic rifles are prohibited. The only exceptions are hunting shotguns and target-shooting pistols. The penalty for illegal possession of a gun is up to 15 years in prison. Japan has a population of 127 million. In 2006, two people were murdered with guns.
Japan starts with the principle that citizens have no right to a gun, and forces them to prove they need one. The United States starts with the principle that guns are an inalienable right, and forces the government to justify banning them.
The number-one factor in predicting crime is not guns — or lack of guns. It is concentrated urban poverty. Because of Chicago’s history as a segregated city, we have a lot of that.
There’s also this, from a much more recent piece that talks about Rahm Emanuel’s desire for tougher new gun laws:
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy agrees with Emanuel’s sense of urgency. Chicago’s top cop suggested the nation needs a better firearm tracking system.
"A national recognition that there has to be some sort of tracking, not even gun control accountability for gun owners," he said on Saturday. "It doesn’t mean you can’t have your gun, but there’s a requirement to report the lost, theft, or transfer of a firearm."
McCarthy explained most guns in Chicago are legally purchased, but illegally transferred into the city.
So, the Police Superintendant in Chicago disagrees with you about Chicago’s gun control laws and all of your facts are wrong.
But otherwise this is a bang-up response.
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