The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

What Joe Biden Wants

Posted on | April 2, 2023 | 1 Comment

Don’t know who deserves credit for that meme, but it is accurate in its description of the rhetoric of gun-control advocates, including President Joe Biden, who invoke “assault weapons” to incite an emotional reaction from ignorant people — which is no different, really, than Democrats’ rhetoric about “corporate greed” or “climate change” or “Russian interference in our elections.” Not to digress, but let me quote something Freddie deBoer wrote about the Trump indictment:

The example of Trump is interesting. I’m not sure who first said it, but it’s been observed that Trump’s fundamental political proposition is not really populism, or foreign policy isolationism, or economic protectionism. Trump’s political pitch is, simply, “I will destroy your enemies.” Which is part of what makes him a monster, his zeal for attacking his targets and the targets he picks. But when I see people who favor police and prison abolition exactly up until the police and prisons become useful tools to them, it convinces me even more that “I will destroy your enemies” is all that politics is. When you scrape the surface even a little bit, that’s all that you find, the will to destroy the other side.

DeBoer believes that applies to his “progressive” allies as well, and having spent the past 30-plus years watching Democrats crusade against a series of bogeymen — remember the “Patriot militia” scare of the mid-1990s? remember the overblown rhetoric about the danger of “the Religious Right”? — I think the Left is actually much more addicted to this destroy-your-enemies approach to politics, and their demonization of firearms ownership is typical of this. If you’ve read Thomas Sowell’s The Vision of the Anointed, you’re familiar with his analysis of how liberals think in categories of “mascots” (e.g., the homeless) and “targets,” those perceived as villains in the political melodrama. When you hear Joe Scarborough ranting about Republicans being “whipped into a paranoid frenzy by the NRA,” you understand how this selection of “targets” functions to direct liberals’ response to any controversy. If the National Rifle Association didn’t exist, liberals would have to invent it, in order to have an object of hate whenever gun violence makes national headlines.

Here is something Biden and his media allies never mention: Most shootings don’t involve “assault weapons,” or rifles of any kind, for that matter. The vast majority of shootings are committed with pistols, with 9mm and .40-caliber semiautomatics being the most common weapons used in shootings. So-called “mass shootings” are rare incidents, accounting for only a tiny fraction of the roughly 26,000 homicides in the United States in 2021. Most homicides are either domestic disputes or associated with inner-city gangs engaged in drug trafficking. Moreover, homicide is geographically concentrated:

When it comes to murder, there are three types of counties in the United States. Most counties experience no murders, a smaller set where there are a few murders, and then a tiny set of counties where murders are very common. In 2020, 52% of counties (with 10% of the population) had no murders. 68% of counties have no more than one murder, and about 18% of the population. These counties account for only 2.6% of all murders in the country. The worst 1% of counties (the worst 31 counties) have 21% of the population and 42% of the murders. The worst 2% of counties (62 counties) contain 31% of the population and 56% of the murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 73% of murders. But even within those counties, the murders are very heavily concentrated in small areas.

Did you catch that? There are more than 3,000 counties in the United States, of which 62 account for more than half of the nation’s murders. About 70% of Americans live in places where murders are quite rare. And, it is important to note, the rates of firearm ownership are not predictive of homicide rates. That is to say, Americans living in rural areas are far more likely to own guns than residents of urban areas, and yet murder rates are highest in those urban areas where gun ownership rates are comparatively low. The rhetoric around “assault weapons” obscures all of these relevant facts about violent crime, and most of the Democrats you see opining on the subject (especially Joe Biden) either don’t know what the hell they are talking about, or simply don’t care about the facts. Consider this recent news item:

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas affirmed he supports an “assault weapons” ban, but would not define the term “assault weapon” when asked by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday. . . .
Mayorkas make clear his support for an “assault weapons” ban.
Kennedy then asked, “What is an ‘assault weapon’”?
“It is for example, an AK-47,” Mayorkas responded.
Kennedy then pressed him. “Can you give me a definition other than just pointing to a specific weapon? Would there be other weapons besides an AK-47 you would ban?”
Instead of defining the term, Mayorkas recounted his work as a federal prosecutor and said, “The vast majority of law enforcement officers, leaders with whom I worked, were greatly in support of the assault weapons ban.”
Kennedy then said, “You know why we get so frustrated with you? Because you won’t give us straight answers.”

It is estimated that Americans own about 20 million AR-15s, which is the most popular type of rifle in the country. Yet how many AR-15s have ever been used in the commission of a crime? In an average year, how many times do police arrest someone for a crime in which an AR-15 was used? And what is the ratio between (a) crimes committed with pistols and (b) crimes committed with AR-15s (or any other “assault weapon”)? These are questions that Senator Kennedy and other Republicans should be asking Biden administration officials. And speaking of pistols, police in Chicago say they are seeing more “switches” used to convert 9mm pistols to fully automatic fire. If you add a “switch” to a 9mm pistol and have a large-capacity drum magazine, you’ve got yourself a miniature machine gun — which is a federal felony, by the way. Let us ask, who is being arrested with these illegal weapons in Chicago? Are they right-wingers? NRA members? Trump voters? I don’t think so.

Maybe Senator Kennedy should ask about that issue, too.




One Response to “What Joe Biden Wants”

  1. Now that is a damned good question.........What does President Mumbles really want - The DaleyGator
    April 2nd, 2023 @ 11:50 am

    […] Other McCain asks, and answers this morning. Simply put, he seeks your […]