Today’s New York Times had an article titled “Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts“. The article describes how crime has fallen across the country at a time when the crime “experts” thought it would increase.
There was no immediate consensus to explain the drop. But some experts said the figures collided with theories about correlations between crime, unemployment and the number of people in prison. Take robbery: The nation has endured a devastating economic crisis, but robberies fell 9.5 percent last year, after dropping 8 percent the year before.
Interesting – you can see the key elements of the “expert” model:
2) number of persons in prison
Not mentioned above but likely another key variable in their model is the number of male individuals in the key age range for committing crimes – I don’t know exactly what that is but I would guess it is something like 18-25.
Throughout the article, as is the norm in the New York Times, there is no mention of ANOTHER key variable that has been added to the equation over the last few decades – gun owner rights. The only time guns come up in the paper is when 1) there is some sort of sensational murder of multiple individuals and they want to blame the type of weapon used 2) someone who clearly should not have a gun like someone who should have been committed to a mental institution uses one to hurt someone.
But while it is not even a variable to consider to these experts OBVIOUSLY gun owner rights deter criminals. The presence of armed civilians who are able to defend their homes and now their persons in most states (only Wisconsin and Illinois have no form of concealed carry) is a form of deterrence that criminals would be aware of, since it is a factor for THEM to consider on the types of crimes that they commit. For example anyone doing home invasions in Texas would have to be insane; you’d need to be armed to the teeth and willing to kill the home owner in cold blood and face a death sentence for the chance to walk away with some home electronics?
The saddest part for me is that either all of their journalists have been actively trained NEVER to mention guns as a source of positive outcomes or, more likely, the journalists are all selected from the same pool of people that actually THINK that way. Certainly if you went to a private school out east somewhere or were educated in England it would never occur to you that guns could impact crime favorably, because these sorts of stories never occur in print.
When I am overseas I have fun talking to people about Indiana, a state bordering Chicago which is actually part of the metropolitan area, where you should assume that many people have concealed carry and the background checks are reasonable and yet it isn’t the “wild west” at all. They really don’t believe me, and part of it is that those stories just aren’t told. Of course they don’t even know that they are in a concealed carry state unless someone tells them. And from their perspective, the most dangerous places to be are those that have the MOST RESTRICTIVE gun laws, which also seems counter-intuitive to them but since no one explains this in more depth they just drop it and assume Americans are “gun crazy”.
I don’t mind newspapers having an opinion, even an opinion that I disagree with. What irks me is the fact that I genuinely believe that they have ruled out guns having a positive impact in all scenarios without questioning that belief and frankly it is sad. Whether it is stated policy or just something that comes with hiring the staff it is a clear fact.
Cross posted at LITGM