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It’s the Policing, Stupid

The gun debate in today’s MSM isn’t a debate at all, as the so called discussion is only one-sided. The media confuses its ratings-driven shouting contests between one side that wants to ban guns and the other that does not as an actual debate. Lost in the shouting is that we’re not talking about what might actually reduce gun violence while not infringing on the Second Amendment:. To put it in terms that Democrats can understand, “it’s the policing, stupid.”

Consider New York City and Chicago. Similar gun laws, but totally different results in terms of fighting crime. Why aren’t we debating this? What is gun-control New York doing that gun-control Chicago is not? That’s the key.

The answer lies over 20 years ago when Ray Kelly became commissioner of the NYPD under then mayor David Dinkins, and then continued after Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor of New York City and named William Bratton as the new head of the department. Out with the old liberal ideas on crime, and in with new, conservative ideas. In case you missed it, there was a great interview with former NYPD commissioner William Bratton in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal where he discussed how he helped make New York City safe. As the MSM discusses guns, sorely lacking from the debate is the voice of William Bratton, and other police professionals, who didn’t just talk about reducing gun violence, they did it. Here’s an excerpt:

But the gun reform that truly gets Mr. Bratton fired up is one you don’t hear much about these days. It is what he calls “certainty of punishment,” or stricter gun-crime sentences.

“People are out on the streets who should be in jail. Jail is appropriate for anyone who uses a gun in the commission of an act of violence. Some cities have a deplorable lack of attention to this issue,” he says, citing Philadelphia.

In Chicago, where the murder rate rose 16% last year, “to try to put someone in jail for gun-related activity you really have to go the extra mile,” he says. “If there’s one crime for which there has to be a certainty of punishment, it is gun violence.” He ticks off other places where help is needed: “Oakland, Chicago, D.C., Baltimore—all have gangs whose members have no capacity for caring about life and respect for life. Someone like that? Put ‘em in jail. Get ‘em off the streets. Keep people safe.”

Have we heard anything about building more prisons to combat gun deaths? Not even a, “if it will safe one child” as an excuse?

More from Bratton:

Another part of the anti-violence solution was the 1968 Supreme Court ruling Terry v. Ohio, which held that a police officer is allowed to stop, question and frisk a person on the street if the officer has “reasonable suspicion” that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. “Stop-and-frisk” became a central feature of policing—and now, in a transformed New York two decades later, it has become a matter of controversy. Liberals want it banned.

Critics of stop-and-frisk argue that it discriminates against blacks and Hispanics, who are the subjects of a majority of stops. Proponents say this simply reflects the demographic realities of crime. Although blacks make up only 23% of New York’s population, for example, they accounted for more than 60% of all murder victims in 2011 and committed some 80% of all shootings. The issue is now in the federal courts, where for the first time a judge last week ruled a part of the program unconstitutional.

“Stop-and-frisk is not something that you can stop. It is an absolutely basic tool of American policing,” Mr. Bratton says. “It would be like asking a doctor to give an examination to you without using his stethoscope.” Critics, he complains, “always leave out the middle term—stop, question and frisk. About 60 to 70 percent of the stops don’t result in a frisk in New York.” As for Judge Shira Scheindlin’s recent ruling, he predicts a reversal “when it goes to the Supreme Court.”

NYC has nearly identical laws to Chicago, DC, Baltimore, etc., yet those cities suffer from gun violence at levels not seen in NYC in years. A major component of the solution to the majority of gun violence is better policing, as the WSJ interview with former NYPD commissioner William Bratton I posted the other day commented on. As we remember MLK Jr. today, do remember there was a time that he applied for and was denied a permit for a concealed weapon. And to be honest, the NRA, Gov. Reagan, etc. all were in favor of gun control when it applied to groups like the Black Panthers. I know we read a lot from the pro-gun side about how guns protect us from the tyranny of government and the Left like to say this is a myth, but it’s not. The tryanny of the state is what kept MLK Jr. from having the ability to defend his family using the same means as those who wished to do him arm.

The police matter. City government matters. Corruption matters. Keeping people in jail that should be in jail matters. Stop-question-and-frisk matters. Embracing conservative ideas over failed liberal ones matters. (Of note, Ray Kelly, who did get his start with Dinkins, is the current NYPD commissioner under Mayor Bloomberg and a major proponent of stop-and-frisk, to the chagrin of liberals everywhere.)

But what to do when the police don’t do their job?

Since we honor Martin Luther King Jr. this week, I think it’s appropriate to mention his contribution to our current gun debate and the role of guns used for self defense. Adam Winkler, author of, Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, had a  piece in The Atlantic on the history of both gun rights and gun control in America. He wrote this on MLK Jr.:

Civil-rights activists, even those committed to nonviolent resistance, had long appreciated the value of guns for self-protection. Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a permit to carry a concealed firearm in 1956, after his house was bombed. His application was denied, but from then on, armed supporters guarded his home. One adviser, Glenn Smiley, described the King home as “an arsenal.” William Worthy, a black reporter who covered the civil-rights movement, almost sat on a loaded gun in a living-room armchair during a visit to King’s parsonage.

The Second Amendment is often referred to by us on the right as a defense against the tyranny of the state. The Left likes to tell us that this is an outdated concept, but it’s not. King wanted to carry a gun to protect himself and his family. The racist state then denied him — tyrannically — that right of self defense.

The self-defense argument for owning a gun to protect yourself because the state can’t or won’t is as strong today as it was for Dr. King in 1956.

Today’s threats to blacks are different than 1956, however, but they are just as deadly. Rather than racist whites as the perpetrator, it’s black-on-black crime. As recently reported in the Philadelphia Tribune:

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between the thirty-five year period of 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims in the United States. Almost all of those murder victims were killed by other African Americans.

But the MSM doesn’t really pay attention to this. Instead we have Piers Morgan and his ilk blasting the airwaves with the moronic idea that banning some guns because of cosmetic features will magically solve the problem of guns and violence.

So, if banning the AR-15 and limiting a magazine to seven rounds won’t stop the killings, what will? Again, William Bratton provides some thoughts in this 2012 piece on Chicago’s gang problems:

Even compared to last year, Chicago has seen a 10% reduction in its overall crime index, including not just murders but also burglary, theft, assault and more. Still, the reality is that if shootings and murders are increasing, it’s hard to convince the public that other statistics really matter. In a democracy, the first obligation of government is public safety. Without it, all the other pillars of our free society—schools, health care, economic viability, the sense of security and optimism—will suffer. Chicago’s summer has created an image of a great American city held hostage to violence.

According to a study completed in May by Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Chicago boasts 59 gangs that divide into 625 factions (and include, according to Chicago magazine, some 70,000-125,000 members and associates). This in a city of 2.5 million residents. The gangs have largely dispensed with any pretense of “protecting” a neighborhood or ethnicity. This is not the Sharks and the Jets. Some are corporate entities that control drug-dealing enterprises. Turf means protecting lucrative corners for dealing drugs, and competitors or interlopers are dealt with violently.

And. . .

Add to this that in Illinois’s Cook County, being arrested for a serious crime—even with a gun—often doesn’t mean going to prison. In an April study, the Police Executive Research Forum found a simple truth when it examined violent crime in six cities (Chicago was not one): Where criminals caught in a violent crime with a gun can expect to serve significant time in state prison (as in San Diego), rates of gun violence are lower. Cities where many gun arrests do not result in any prison time, including Philadelphia and Chicago, have higher rates of violence. This is a no-brainer.

I have yet to hear “build more jails” as a solution. Maybe if the new prisons were powered with “green” solar panels and created union construction jobs, Dems would vote for it? [insert if it only saves one child]

If the “first obligation of government is public safety” and if a city like Chicago is not meeting those obligations, what are the citizens to do? Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, wants more gun control but we can’t get him to put people in prison who use guns in crimes? This makes no sense. To have the media ignore the problem of gangs in Chicago — which make up an estimated 4% of the city’s — is complete insanity.

The MSM likes to frame the gun argument as one about gun safety and gun deaths pitted against extremists who defend an outdated 2nd Amendment, but it’s much more than that. [Insert stat on crimes prevented] Review these crime statistics from around the country. Pay particular attention to New York City and Los Angeles, where William Bratton was commissioner of police and Chicago where Garry McCarthy is the top cop and Newark, McCarthy’s previous job before Chicago:

It’s not just homicides that are down in Bratton-led cities, it’s all crime. And the idea that crime is so high in the backyard of our politicians is disgraceful. This is numerical proof that gun control isn’t what affects gun violence, it’s the application of the conservative policing principles that Bratton proved can work.

And let’s forget about gun homicides which get all of the attention for just a second and look at rape. The numbers reported in Newark, DC and Baltimore are disgusting. As a matter of fact, rape in our nation’s capital is so bad that Human Rights Watch has taken notice:

Police in Washington DC frequently fail to investigate reports of rape, and treat victims so dismissively at times, that they experience fresh trauma while the chances of the perpetrator being caught are undermined, according to a comprehensive report due out next week.

Campaign group Human Rights Watch is expected to uncover “disturbing evidence of police failure” in a 200-plus page report after a two-year investigation into law enforcement practices in the US capital.

But although shocking, the situation in Washington is far from isolated. There are widespread examples across the US of the police routinely neglecting crimes of sexual violence and refusing to believe victims.

“This is a national crisis requiring federal action. We need a paradigm shift in police culture, because rapes and sexual assaults are being swept under the rug, and too many victims are being bullied,” said Carol Tracy of the Women’s Law Project, a legal advocacy group that specialises in sexual violence cases.

Human Rights Watch began looking into the situation in Washington after discovering evidence that the city’s Metropolitan police department (MPD) were refusing even to document a significant number of reports of sexual assaults coming in from the central hospital where victims are treated.

Every woman in DC should carry a handgun. Or two.

Crime isn’t just a problem in Chicago or DC. The list of the 100 most dangerous cities in America does not discriminate by region. Holyoke, Massachusetts is No. 85. Orlando, Florida is No. 67. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is No. 27. Crime is national. It’s everywhere. And it’s not the NRA using “scare tactics” as Dems would have you believe that’s prompting a record number of gun purchases. It’s the local news delivered daily that fuels this legitimate fear.

Tyranny comes in many forms, but it’s the tyrannical liberal ideology that the state has a monopoly on the use of force to defend our individual liberty, be that protecting our lives or our property, that the 2nd Amendment protects us from today. We will not give up the right to defend ourselves, bet that from a tyrannical king in 1776 or a thug who has no other way to support himself than through the use of violence against others.

 But if they continue to ignore the real problems of poor policing in America and our citiznery’s genuine fear of and desire to protect itself from violent crime, then citizens will continue to embrace their 2nd Amendment rights, as they should.

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