Gun violence, race and culture

A fascinating article at Medium examines the map of suicides and homicides in America involving guns, and comes to some conclusions that are sure to be controversial – but the author seems to make a good case.  Here’s a very brief excerpt from a long and detailed article, that you really should read in full (the maps are essential to understanding the author’s case).  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

We hear a lot of banter from the “anti-gun” media that these problems are gun problems, and they’ve concocted this “gun deaths” number in order to lump these into the same problem and gloss over the differences. But if the problem were “guns,” then the hot spots on the suicide map and the hot spots on the homicide map would coincide, and would be related to gun ownership rates. There are only a few places where they overlap. Most of the hot zones for suicide have low homicide rates, and most of the hot zones for homicide have low suicide rates. The difference is stark.

. . .

How on earth is any of this possible? It certainly doesn’t fit the “it’s the guns” narrative. If it were “the guns,” then these hot spots would mostly overlap. There are a few overlaps …  but most of the country exhibits the exact opposite behavior than we would expect from the “it’s the guns” hypothesis.

Let’s dig a bit. We pointed out over a year ago in our “solutions” article that the main problem with homicide, demographically speaking, was within the black community, and the rate numbers for this are outrageous … Black male firearm homicide victimization rates are 35 times that of white women. They’re the ones getting shot … Gun homicide in the United States is largely a poor black problem.

. . .

Put even more hastily and sloppily, gun homicide and gun suicide are behaviors, and behaviors are functions of culture … What I can say, from grinding on these maps for several days, is that “gun deaths” as defined are a deeply cultural problem, and only slightly (if at all) related to gun availability. Not just for homicide, but for suicide as well. Further, the cultural and genetic makeup of our country is so different than other countries, that comparisons between them and us are simply not viable.

Most importantly, in a country where firearms are never going to be magically evaporated, with a guns per capita rate far beyond the saturation point of easy availability, we must seek cultural solutions to cultural problems, and medical solutions to genetic ones.

There’s much more at the link.  Highly recommended reading.

The article is from an author who calls his Medium page “Handwaving Freakoutery“.  He looks to have some very interesting entries there, and I’m going to have to spend some time reading and noodling over them.  For example, another article looking at the firearms dilemma is titled “Newsweek‘s Bogus Gun Rhetoric Misses an Amazing Find“.  It looks intriguing.

Peter

20 comments

  1. Nothing new there at all. It’s been well known for generations.

    We don’t have a gun problem. We have a feral young black men problem.

  2. @McChuck: You miss the point. It’s not that it hasn’t been well known – it’s been taboo to discuss it. Now it’s being talked about, even though it may not be politically correct. That may make a difference.

  3. I can’t remember the name of the researcher or the reference, but David Yamane over at the Gun Culture 2.0 blog has spoken about the work published by another sociologist (I think) that mapped out the shootings in Chicago on a block by block basis. Not surprisingly, the “gun problem” in Chicago is limited to just a very small number of blocks. I’d like to see the above referenced county by county study broken down further geographically, if the data is there (which it may not be) – even by zip code would be useful and very telling, I imagine. And I wonder if the FBI data is any different from the CDC data…

    BTW, if you aren’t familiar with it, David’s blog is very interesting. He writes about guns as a cultural phenomenon, not a criminal justice perspective like most sociologists do. Certainly, the areas where “gun violence” is most prevalent have cultural differences from areas with lots of guns but little “gun violence”. Among other areas, Dr. William Aprill writes and talks about the cultural/moral values in the problematic areas.

  4. John Lott at the Crime Prevention Research Center has done lots of research on this, but nobody listens to him as I suspect no one will listen to this author.

    Murders in this country are very highly concentrated. In one of his recent papers he showed that in 54% of the counties in the US, holding 11% of the US population, there had not been one homicide. The worst 1% of counties had 19% of the population and 37% of the murders. The much talked about rise in violet crime in the US back in 2015-16 was concentrated in a handful of neighborhoods in Chicago and Baltimore.

    From 1977 to 2000, the average was 73% of counties had no murders.

    Nobody wants to deal with the cultural issues because it means facing very tough realities about the broken culture and the welfare state.

  5. In this era of racial politics it still wont be addressed honestly. I retired from the State of Michigans Foster Care program and worked my entire career in the Detroit area. The last few years one of the big issues was “ children of color are over represented in the child welfare system” the only answer to why was “racism”. There was a refusal to discuss any other factors. The refusal to look at reality made it a perfect political tool. In wayne county a black police officer might call child protective service about a neglected kid. We would send a black social service worker to investigate and she would file a petition to a black judge to remove the child. Somehow this was because of white racism. There were a higher percentage of black than white kids in the system, must be because we remove more. Actually when you factor for factors like poverty, drug addiction, minor single moms you find that black youth are under represented. Something that was significant was black children were slower to come out of the system. When the only answer is “racism” you never get anything done. I feel my blood pressure going up so I will stop now.

  6. You might want to look up homicide stats from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hell’s Kitchen was not inhabited by black people.

    The problem is, as always, feral young men.

  7. Homicide stats from the 19th and early 20th centuries anywhere were a church picnic compared to feral young men of color.

    Prior to 1900, L.A. was a scandalous cow-town where the murder rate was one a day.
    In the late 20th century, it was similarly a murder a day – with 3,000,000 more residents. No points for guessing where the problem neighborhoods were.

    Back when WFB was still alive, National Review published infographics noting that if the murders committed by Americans less black males were calculated, the rate was lower than for Switzerland.
    If they factored out murders by Hispanics, the rate was lower than that of Leichtenstein, and nearly as low as the murder rate inside Vatican City.

    And if they published that same truth today, they would be burned out of their corporate HQ, and arrested for hate speech.

    We don’t have a murder problem, as much as we have a psychosis about dealing with reality.

    QED

  8. On the other half, I’d bet that the lion’s share of the suicides are divorced white men. The destruction of the nuclear family is mostly complete at the blue collar level and well on the way for the middle class. As more wives decide they aren’t happy any more and pull the eject lever, more former husbands decide that living in poverty while working like slaves isn’t worth it and eat a bullet.

  9. Population of Los Angeles, 1900: 102,479
    Population of Los Angeles, 2010: 3.796 million

    And the rate is still only one murder per day? Dude, you are not proving the point you want to make.

  10. To really peeve people off, let’s look at gun suicides vs homicides.

    Gun suicides… if you just count suicides as suicides, the rate pretty much stays the same across all races and areas. Guns are just convenient. So is rope, high places, pills, car exhaust, blades, suicide by cop, walking in front of large vehicles and so forth. Suicide is suicide. Just some people use guns. Some stupidly try using tylenol, which is just a long, painful way to suicide.

    Homicides, on the other hand, tend to, like 95% or higher, only happen to people doing sketchy things, like, oh, say, committing crimes. Drugs, drugs, drugs, street prostitutes with drugs, street prostitutes who use drugs, drugs, and, oh, crimes associated with drugs, like fights over territory and home invasions, are the top reasons for homicides. Cheating, fights over other criminal enterprises and having sex with sketchy people account pretty much for all the other homicides. And then there’s the significant insignificant amount… just random killings of actual innocent people? Practially insignificant.

    Now go back and run racial stats of the killers… Well, it’s not looking good for blacks and Central/South American origin hispanics or portugalics.

    Now the really bad way to freak out people… Cross reference victim races of all these homicides. And what do we find? They eat… their own.

    To top off this poop cake…

    Look at the ratio of minorities whacking whites vs whites whacking minorities, either straight up in numbers, or even worse, as a percentage of populations of ‘racial’ makeup. And we find out that if Hate Crime legislation was used across the board, blacks commit far more murders of whites (straight numbers, percentages of populations) than whites committing murders of blacks.

    See, Gun Control Statisticians? We can play ‘Statistics’ better than you all, because we don’t have to massage the numbers. Just straight up first run of the numbers.

  11. @Tom:

    Reading comprehension: still an actual thing.

    Let me help you out with the salient point:
    “No points for guessing where the problem neighborhoods were.”

    Hint:
    Try looking at a US Census map of the black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Los Angeles, by percentage of population, for any time since 1970.
    Then search for the murder and crime maps.

    See if you can spot the obvious clue therein, without being hit over the head with it.

    Hint II:
    In 2018, a year in which murders in L.A. fell for the second year in a row, Watts, a very small subset of Los Angeles which is almost entirely populated by blacks and Hispanics, had 90 homicides: nearly 2 a week. All by itself.
    Beverly Hills, a separate non-L.A. city surrounded on all sides by Los Angeles, had exactly 0 homicides. For all 52 weeks.

    IOW, you could move another 3M people into L.A., and the murder rate would still be about 1/week.

    Or, you could move out the minority population (and probably only about 25% of them, at that), and the murder rate for all of Los Angeles would drop to about 1/decade.

    And if you say that obvious truth out loud, on the news, or in the papers, you’ll be branded a Klansman.

  12. Who then managed to eventually get over it. Weird how that works, isn’t it? It’s almost like concentrating large numbers of poor people in one place leads to high crime rates.

  13. Fascinating. You jump on apparent cultural markers that actually aren’t that good and then claim the status of a truth teller.

    Concentrated poverty and family dysfunction begets crime like nothing else, as has been proven time and again. The Great Society has a lot to answer for.

  14. What Tom misses is that we culled the f**k out of the Irish population–Back then, you screwed up, you pretty much got hammered by all around you.

    Took generations, but we eventually eliminated enough of the violence genes from the Irish population to see an effect. We now have a much more adapted Irish population, when it comes to being able to live in a civilized society. And, we did that with a holistic approach–Irish mothers wouldn’t let their daughters marry the miscreant Irish bastards, and so they didn’t wind up passing those genes on.

    The root problem today is that we’re no longer making the cull. If you were to have a holistic approach being taken, to where the average “young man of violence” was getting eliminated and finding his behavior effectively curbed by a lack of access to the females, you’d likely be seeing a lowered rate of violence. Instead, the left-wing do-gooder is perpetrating a situation to where there is no cull taking place, and they’re actively encouraging the chaos. A lot of it is simply self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The root of it all comes down to practical eugenics–While the rates of violence in 16th Century England may have been comparable to that of modern inner-city America, the fact is that we’re actively avoiding doing the things that “civilized” the English lower orders. Hell, if you read Dalrymple, you get the idea that England itself is devolving in this regard.

    Fact is, a lot of the behavioral problems are rooted in biology–Genetics, epigenetics, whatever it is. In some populations, we’ve selected better for adaptation to civilized life in the modern world. In others, we’ve actively discouraged those biological mechanisms from having any damn effect. I don’t think you really want to know just how bloody an affair it was, taming the wild Hibernian. Or, for that matter, the Scots bastards who were shipped out from the old country for being nothing but trouble. Most of them died off in the Civil War, and other such-like stupidities.

    And, since we hold back from culling these behaviors from the African-American population, and because they themselves don’t want to, well… You’re gonna keep getting it. Somebody said “feral” up above, and that’s pretty much what the problem is: We’re really not domesticating these populations, and just like pigs revert to boars in the wild and absence of reinforcement, guess what…?

    Humans aren’t any different than other animals, in a lot of ways. We’re just better at fooling ourselves, and the fact is, the domesticated human isn’t something that “just happens”. You have to work at it, and keep reinforcing it, or you’re gonna get the same problem you do with feral hogs turning into boars.

  15. Takirks – you called it. Irish violence got so bad that the Irish self-changed, in order to stop ‘regular America’ from just crushing all the Irish.

    Just like, oh, Italian and Sicilian violence. Yes, a lot of outside of the communities attention helped slow and stop the minority-group violence, but inner-minority forces also worked hard to fix the issues.

    Until the new minority groups start self-policing and self-correcting, the new minorities will always be outside mainstream American culture.

  16. “Until the new minority groups start self-policing and self-correcting, the new minorities will always be outside mainstream American culture.”

    Most of them are from groups that have too low an IQ to fix this themselves, and it tends to be impossible to apply it from outside in today’s political environment. The end result will be very sub-optimal for all concerned.

    More and more, it appears that Democrats are also too low in IQ to see the problems they have been importing for some decades now. Willfully blind is the functional equivalent of a low IQ.

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