Murder by Death

There is none so blind, goes the old saw, as he who does not want to see. Witness the intellectual contortions inspired by the FBI’s recent release of crime data for 2020. Murders rose 30 percent over 2019’s figures, the largest single-year increase since the FBI began compiling the data 60 years ago. There were 21,570 people murdered in the United States last year, almost 5,000 more than the previous year.

Our sophisticated betters in the media are at pains to explain this, attributing this horrifying surge in bloodshed to the Covid pandemic, poverty, and, naturally, the ubiquity of guns in our culture. Summing up perfectly the attitudes of east-coats elites was James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University, who was cited in the Washington Post. The year 2020 was a “unique situation,” he said. He attributed the rise in homicides, as paraphrased by the Post, to “a confluence of factors, including the coronavirus pandemic, conflicts over politics and race and people just generally having too much free time.”

One assumes Mr. Fox’s views on the matter are more complex than reported. Or does he really believe people with too much free time are more disposed to homicide than others? “I don’t want to minimize what’s happened,” he told the Post. “I just don’t want people to believe that the sky is falling and that this is a permanent” trend. He added that even with 2020’s surge in killings, the situation is less dire than that experienced during the crack cocaine epidemic of the late 1980s and early ‘90s. This is akin to saying people who have experienced the disaster of a 6.5 earthquake should be comforted that it wasn’t as bad as the bigger one 30 years ago.

Who's afraid of the big bad gun?

And of course there were those who were quick to assign blame for the bloodshed to guns. John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, was quoted in the same Washington Post story. “This jump in murders,” he said, “is just the latest proof that we are experiencing a gun violence epidemic within the Covid pandemic. This death spiral will continue until we stem the flow of illegal guns and invest in proven intervention programs.”

Mr. Feinblatt ignores the fact that a gun is “violent” only when someone chooses to pick it up and put it to violent use. If the availability of guns is truly the key factor in homicides, perhaps Mr. Feinblatt can explain why the guns-per-capita data do not track with the murder rates in many states. The Hunting Mark website reports that Wyoming has more guns per capita than any other state, yet it’s near the bottom on a list of states and territories ranked by murder rate. What makes people in Wyoming so much less violent than those in the District of Columbia, which is second on the list of guns per capita but first in homicides? What about Louisiana, which has the highest murder rate yet is number 15 in gun ownership? And how would Mr. Feinblatt explain New Hampshire, which ranks fourth in gun ownership but 41st in homicides? Clearly there are other, far more significant factors at play here than the availability of guns.

What many in the media are loath to admit is that the rhetorical attacks on policing, which were well underway for years but reached a peak after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last year, have sapped the will of the street police officers charged with going out each day and arresting lawbreakers. In those neighborhoods most affected by crime, police officers tend to know who is responsible for it and devote most of their attention to these chronic offenders. But today, if an officer spots a gang member he suspects is carrying a gun, the officer knows if he attempts to stop the man it may result in a foot chase, a wrestling match, or even a shooting.

It's not the physical dangers inherent in these outcomes the officer finds daunting, it is the potential aftermath if things result in anything other than a textbook outcome, one free of injury or even offense to the suspect, especially if the racial calculus in the encounter tips a certain way. No cop wants to play the villain in the next viral YouTube video, a genuine risk if a stop goes awry. No matter how unblemished the officer's record or how lengthy the suspect’s rap sheet, people will stampede in judgment against the cop while lionizing the criminal.

His legacy lives on.

Criminals know this as well as the cops do and they respond accordingly. Absent any internal moral controls, they are restrained from their predations only by the risk of being arrested and imprisoned. When those risks are minimized as they have been in recent years, more crime will follow as night follows day.

It is the very people our educated elites purport to champion who suffer most from this. Blacks are just 13 percent of America’s population yet were 55 percent of 2020’s murder victims, a stable figure even as murder rates have risen and fallen over the years. This is acceptable to those who work themselves into a lather over every perceived instance of police abuse yet stand mute as the black bodies pile up in our country’s morgues.

It is politics that has led us here, the poisonous brand of racial politics to be precise, as our more craven politicos seek advantage in parroting the mantras of the professionally and perpetually aggrieved, and too many others refuse to oppose them for fear of the mob. Yes, things are not as bad as they were 30 years ago, but dare we be satisfied with this when the degree of success or failure is measured in human lives?

Feral Hogs Cause Global Warming!

The left had a lot of fun a few years back making fun of a man named Willie McNabb who commented on a tweet about gun control that he needed his AR-15 to protect his kids from the mass of wild hogs which traipsed across his property, near where his children played.

The tweet went viral, and a quick glance through the thousands of mocking replies and retweets will show you the standard response, which boiled down to disbelief that this could be a real problem, and lots of speculation that this yokel was going to eventually shoot his kids.

Well, here's some vindication for Mr. McNabb -- there has recently been more widespread acknowledgement of the fact that wild hogs are a horribly invasive species, and are now present in forty-eight states (up from twenty-seven since the turn of the century). They are potentially dangerous to humans, really dangerous to non-invasive species, and they cause between $1.5 and $2.5 billion worth of damage to crops in the United States every year.

Moreover -- and here's where lefties might really start to pay attention -- they have also been accused of contributing to rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere and having a negative impact on the climate.

According to a new study published Monday in Global Change Biology, wild pigs around the world are releasing the equivalent of 1.1 million cars’ worth of carbon dioxide each year—just from digging around in the dirt.

This, the study explains, is because dirt stores a great deal of carbon, but wild hogs search for food by rooting around in the dirt, using their snouts and tusks as little shovels to disturb often-untouched patches of soil.

According to the models O’Bryan and his colleagues developed, wild pigs are uprooting anywhere between almost 14,000 square miles (36,214 square kilometers) to 47,690 square miles (123,517 square kilometers) in their non-native habitats. And all this digging has serious consequences for the carbon dioxide stored in soil. Around 5.37 million tons of carbon dioxide each year are released due to wild pig activities....

Scientists have called wild pigs, or Sus scrofa, “one of the most prolific invasive mammals on Earth.” ... their population ranges between 6 to 7 million in the U.S., and experts say managing this big group of pigs might mean a mass killing of between 60 percent to 80 percent of them... The new findings show their impact on the climate is one more reason to end feral hogs’ reign of terror.

Reign of terror is right! To save our crops, the climate, and our children, I hereby propose to you, dear leftists, a truce. If you guys ease up on your anti-legal gun ownership furor, we'll round up a few hundred thousand gun nuts to thin out the wild hog menace by the expert recommended "60 percent to 80 percent." We will even divvy up the bacon so that you all don't have to worry about hog bodies laying about.

Then, once we've bought us all some climatic wiggle room, you can stop bellyaching about gas guzzlers and electric vehicle mandates at least until there are a million more cars on the road than their are today.

Deal's on the table, take it or leave it.