Cultural Deviancy, Not Guns
Walter E. Williams
by Walter E. Williams: Women
There's a story
told about a Paris chief of police who was called to a department
store to stop a burglary in progress. Upon his arrival, he reconnoitered
the situation and ordered his men to surround the entrances of the
building next door. When questioned about his actions, he replied
that he didn't have enough men to cover the department store's many
entrances but he did have enough for the building next door. Let's
see whether there are similarities between his strategy and today's
gun control strategy.
Chicago had 512 homicides; Detroit had 411; Philadelphia had 331;
and Baltimore had 215. Those cities are joined by other dangerous
cities – such as St. Louis, Memphis, Tenn., Flint, Mich., and Camden,
N.J. – and they also lead the nation in shootings, assaults, rapes
and robberies. Both the populations of those cities and their crime
victims are predominantly black. Each year, more than 7,000 blacks
are murdered. Close to 100 percent of the time, the murderer is
another black person.
the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were
279,384 black murder victims. Though blacks are 13 percent of the
nation's population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide
victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six
times that of whites, and in some cities, it's 22 times that of
whites. Coupled with being most of the nation's homicide victims,
blacks are also most of the victims of violent personal crimes,
such as assault and robbery. The magnitude of this tragedy can be
seen in another light. According to a Tuskegee Normal and Industrial
Institute study, between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 blacks were lynched
at the hands of whites.
of murders, irrespective of race, are committed with what are being
called assault weapons? You'd be hard put to come up with an amount
greater than 1 or 2 percent. In fact, according to FBI data from
2011, there were 323 murders committed with a rifle of any kind
but 496 murders committed with a hammer or a club. But people who
want to weaken our Second Amendment guarantees employ a strategy
like that of the Paris chief of police. They can't do much about
hammers, clubs, fists or pistols, but by exploiting public ignorance,
they might have a bit of success getting an "assault weapon" ban
that will have little impact on violent crime.
There are other
measures these people employ in an attempt to end violence that
border on lunacy. Massachusetts' Hyannis West Elementary recently
warned a 5-year-old's parents that if their son made another gun
from a Legos set, he'd be suspended. Elementary-school children
have been suspended or otherwise disciplined for drawing a picture
of a gun or pointing a finger and saying, "Bang, bang." I shudder
to think about what would happen to kids in a schoolyard if they
played, as I played nearly 70 years ago, "cops 'n' robbers" or "cowboys
'n' Indians." Maybe today's politically correct educators would
cut the kids a bit of slack if they said they were playing "cowboys
'n' Native Americans."
explains a lot of what we see today, which politicians and their
liberal allies would never condemn, is growing cultural deviancy.
Twenty-nine percent of white children, 53 percent of Hispanics and
73 percent of black children are born to unmarried women. The absence
of a husband and father from the home is a strong contributing factor
to poverty, school failure, crime, drug abuse, emotional disturbance
and a host of other social problems. By the way, the low marriage
rate among blacks is relatively new. Census data show that a slightly
higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults
from 1890 to 1940. In 2009, the poverty rate among married whites
was 3.2 percent; for blacks, it was 7 percent, and for Hispanics,
it was 13.2 percent. The higher poverty rates – 22 percent for whites,
35.6 percent for blacks and 37.9 percent for Hispanics – are among
of cultural deviancy are found in the kind of music accepted today
that advocates killing and rape and other vile acts. Punishment
for criminal behavior is lax. Today's Americans accept behavior
that our parents and grandparents never would have accepted.
E. Williams is the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics
at George Mason University, and a nationally syndicated columnist.
To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other
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