February 10, 2010

Anti-gun racism revival at the VPC?

Violence Policy Center: Black Homicide Victimization in the United States

This is the January 2010 report by the Violence Policy Center on handgun violence among young black men in America. This report is basically a compilation of statistics readily avaiable at the FBI and CDC websites. For this particular report they relied exclusively on the FBI data.

Although this report paints a very grim picture, and indeed, the situation is grim, it does not address two fundamental issues: why is this trend isolated to black communities and why do so many personal confrontations between young black men result in shootings?

As a rebuttal to this report, I would like to point out Oakland, California (which for some reason is not included except in passing). Oakland, California has several different neighborhoods, one of which is predominately black. Oakland is a beneficiary of the draconian California state gun regulations, and has a large number of city ordinances on top of those. Despite this "gun-free" utopian approach to limiting deaths, shootings among young black men in Oakland occur almost daily. If all of those gun laws truly worked, then none of these young men would be dying.

Pennsylvania, Missouri, Indiana, Nevada, and Wisconsin are all singled out for special attention in the appendix. Yet, there is no mention of the crushing unemployment all of these states are currently experiencing as well as the draconian State-level gun regulations already in place in Nevada and Indiana. Nor does the report mention that the vast majority of these deaths are taking place in cities such as Indianapolis, Pittsburg, and St. Louis where major industrial companies have closed factories and moved their production facilities to Mexico or Canada to take advantage of lower taxes, lenient or non-existent labor regulations, and (in the case of Mexico) lax pollution requirements.

A worker cannot "move to the job" when the job moves out of the country in order to avoid burdensome tax regulations and entrenched government bureaucracies dedicated to enacting and enforcing draconian regulations for pollution controls and workplace safety. The difference in raw labor cost is also important to highlight.

Tax revenues have fallen in all of these states as a result of this massive shift in industrial production from the United States to Mexico, Canada, and China. Without these tax revenues the local communities cannot afford law enforcement and better schools, as well as more mundane items such as road maintenance.

And yet, the VPC report insists that the only solution to this death toll is even more stringent gun controls than those already in place. Instead of encouraging better fiscal management by the local governments, reductions in taxes and relaxing of workplace regulations for trivial items (such as the Indiana law regulating how many rolls of toilet paper must be maintained in each toilet stall in a workplace), they cry the same racist demands the Fourteenth Amendment was specifically designed to overturn: "Blacks are more violent than whites! We have to take away their guns!"

I must be honest here, the report does not specifically mention taking away guns from blacks. However, after focusing exclusively on black deaths the report concludes, "Successful efforts to reduce America’s black homicide toll must put a focus on reducing access to firearms."

I dunno. Maybe I'm biased against the VPC. I cannot help but notice that the NRA has millions of black members who own guns and don't use them to settle disputes.