At The Risk of Being Pedantic

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Imprecise use of language leads to imprecise thinking and subsequently, faulty measures.  This seems to be particularly the case in our country right now on the issue of crime and guns.  The Left has control of our language so we can have discussions only on their terms.  Often, it is not helpful in understanding the cause of crime.

Opening the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal over breakfast, my eyes went to a tragic story, “Violent Crime Upends Life for D.C. Residents”.  The story goes on to tell how normal life is being upended by the surge in violent crime.  Many elderly are afraid to even go outside and some try to live elsewhere. Children are being killed at random in the streets.   There is little law and even less order.

The author explains steps that must be taken “when gunfire erupts.” Gunfire does not “erupt”.  This is not like Old Faithful at Yellowstone Park.  What you have is increased use of guns by criminals, that harm others when the criminal is in the mood to do so.  Somebody is pulling the trigger to cause the guns to go off.  That is not an eruption of gunfire, but a cluster of criminals pulling triggers, which is causing the gunfire.

He should be asking why there are so many criminals and why so many are willing to use violence and life-taking measures.

The author then attempts various explanations of why this is happening. In the author’s order:  the flow of guns, depleted police, and lingering effects of the pandemic.

Apparently among the many possible causes that are felt most important, the author uses a secondary headline for emphasis: “Flow of guns is partly to blame for the 38% increase in homicides in 2023.”

Let’s be clear.  Guns don’t “flow.”Guns can’t flow like water or lava.  They are inert pieces of metal and cannot move by themselves or form groups. If they did “flow”, then building a dam (gun control like confiscation, registration, and deliberately difficult permitting) might make some sense.  But the concept and the use of words like this are nonsensical.  At least the author admits guns are only “partly” to blame.  Apparently lost on the author is that the nation’s capital already has some of the strictest “gun control.”

Beyond the gun control laws specific to Washington, D. C., guns are moved or transferred by people and it is done so for reasons.  To say guns “flow” obfuscates the problem. Except in the instance of a dad gifting a gun to his son, guns can only be transferred using a Federal form 4473 and the transfer must occur with and by a FFL or Federal Firearms Licensed dealer intimately involved in the process.

A gun cannot be legally transferred to the District of Columbia from say, Maryland, except between two highly regulated FFLs, who then see that form 4473 is filled out by the person receiving the firearm.

The author might want to say criminals, ignoring laws already on the books and ineffectually enforced, are bringing guns from elsewhere into Washington, D.C.  They move them illegally and they obtain them illegally. The guns did not flow.  Criminals were involved in bringing them in.  People, not objects, are to blame for bringing them in, and more importantly, using them in crimes.  It is more than conceivable that most guns coming into a jurisdiction will never be used in criminal activities so the number of guns is not relevant.  In fact, jurisdictions with more guns generally have less crime.

Criminals use guns for criminal purposes.

Liberal public policy has been for years, coddle the criminal but make it as honorous and expensive as possible for innocent people to use guns for their own self-defense.

Still, cause and effect seem inverted.  There has been no increased “flow” of guns into North Dakota because of the pandemic.  Why Washington? There likely is a simple explanation.  Increased criminal activity causes increased illegal transfers because criminals need the weapons to battle with each other and want the means to prey on the innocent.  In the author’s terminology, increased crime leads to increased flows rather than increased flows leading to increased crime.

It is not the guns.  Guns can be used to defend the innocent or attack the innocent.  Guns can be used in a crime or sit in a drawer inert for decades. It is the operator that will determine how and when a gun might be used.

Here is an insight worth considering: Stop the flow of criminals by putting them in jail, regardless of their color.

The whole focus of gun control is to take the argument down an illogical rabbit hole.  The focus should be on criminal behavior, not inanimate objects.

The other more important focus should be on who allowed criminals to be so numerous, bold, and empowered.

Who made the policies that have destroyed the black family and led to 75% fatherless households?  Who degraded the role of fathers?  Who allows schools to be unruly and for educational achievement to be destroyed leading to a lack of marketable skills?

Who is it that has argued that criminals are formed by their environment and therefore, not at fault for their actions? It seems some people lack any kind of free will and are unavoidably shaped by societal conditions.  If that were true, how can one account for the fact that most disadvantaged blacks, and whites for that matter, do not commit violent crimes with guns? Who is it that excuses violent behavior because of unequal income levels with other groups of people? You know the answer: liberal or progressive Democrats.  They also lead the way to destroy cash bail, not to prosecute, not to incarcerate,  to defund the police, to hog tie the police, and then to blame everything on “white privilege” or “white supremacy”, whatever that means.

The blame lies with  Kendi and  Soros, not Smith and Wesson.

Why is the black community given a pass on its responsibilities?  Most crime is committed by young black males.  Roughly speaking, just over 50% of violent crimes are committed by young black males who comprise about 3% of the total population.  Incidentally, most of that crime is inflicted on other blacks.

The article we cite here is certainly not the worst rendition we have seen.  It seems meant to convey a sympathetic feeling about the plight of the unfortunate residents of Washington, D.C.  But the constant use of imprecise language, metaphors, and slogans,  shifts the blame from where it belongs and confuses us all about cause and effect.  As such, it does not really advance policies that will correct the problems so agonizingly described.

Instead of attempting to stop “the flow” of guns, might it be far more efficient to center one’s attention on the criminals who use guns for illegal purposes?


Image credit: Wikimedia Commons



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