Gun-control talk is a distraction from real causes of crime

Our friend Wikipedia describes the concept of “Disinformation” as false or inaccurate information spread with the intent to turn genuine information useless. Often some truth or real events are mixed in with false or misleading conclusions to distract the reader or listener from a genuine issue.

Such are some politicians’ techniques to use the violence in Tucson as both a technique to advance their gun-control agenda and distract us from broader issues.

With little more than a day having passed from the shooting in Arizona, gun-control advocates were readying legislation to try and energize their cause. As part of this effort, a number of the usual arguments made by the usual suspects were put forth, seemingly with the conviction that by repeating claims often and loudly enough, many will believe them to be true.

One example of such rhetoric is that the United States is among the most violent countries in the world. Not true. In murders per capita the United States falls at No. 24, behind even some countries where firearm ownership is not so easy, such as Venezuela at No. 4 or Mexico at No. 6 or even Poland showing up at No. 20.

What about the access to high-volume or paramilitary-type firearms that is cited as a reason for gun-related crime? We can shed some light on that by looking at Israel and Switzerland, where military-type weaponry is or has been in most of the households for years and yet these countries have low homicide rates.

Consider another talking point linking increased availability of firearms as a cause of violence? Well, the figures don’t track. Firearm ownership has shot up over the last 40 years, but the homicide rate does not correlate and often falls as gun ownership spikes.

Guns don’t deter crime? According to, a 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the United States found: 34 percent had been “scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim,” 40 percent had decided not to commit a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun” and 69 percent personally knew other criminals who had been “scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim.”

These arguments are demonstrations of a continuing effort by the progressive left to misdirect responsibility for much crime and violence in the nation from an uncomfortable origin — failed social and economic policies and the havoc they have wrought on society.

To be clear, the lunatic in Tucson had little to do with anyone’s policies or political rhetoric, including those on gun ownership. Should he have had a firearm? The answer is clearly, “No.” But if he didn’t have a firearm, would that have stopped him from killing? Unlikely. Would he have taken so many lives? Perhaps not, but experience has sadly demonstrated the capacity of maniacs for destruction through other means.

Rather than be led to distraction by a debate on one madman with a gun, let us instead focus on the real and overwhelming issues that drive crime and suffering each day. Fifty years of “Great Society” and “War on Poverty” programs have created cities and soon, entire states that have rendered themselves incapable of providing an environment suitable to produce jobs or even public safety. Social welfare programs have often simply helped to produce more of the prime movers of violent crime — unsocialized, unemployed and fatherless young men.

Over-taxation and regulation in these places have created an environment that drives away producers and the social structure and the stability they establish.

Consider the slow-motion riot that is the city of Detroit, where the mayor has proposed abandoning 20 percent of the city through the elimination of police patrols and garbage pickup, most likely creating a post-apocalyptic zone controlled by gangs preying on those unable to move. Moreover, the city’s 25 percent graduation rate creates an ill-prepared workforce for any employer foolish enough to stay, so workers with marketable skills, and the ability to leave, continue to flee, leaving those that cannot to drift into crime in a misguided attempt to survive.

Obscuring political failure by binding together tragedy and disinformation will amount to little beyond postponing the political demise of a few, and it will certainly not save places like Detroit or, soon perhaps, California.

Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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