Not As Bad As Many American Cities!
There is a story on Huffington Post about the 2,720 dead since late April. That’s a pace of roughly 11 dead per day. Or, if you carry that number out over a full year and look at per capita murder rates for a country of 32.58 Million people, you get about 12.32 deaths per 100,000 people. That is truly horrifying and there is no doubt the US played a major role in this as we were directly responsible for the destabilization of Iraq. But I’m not going to talk about whether Iraqis are better or worse off than before we invaded. Instead, I’m going to look in the mirror. I’m going to look at how the US compares to Iraq.
So far this year, there are have been 9,900 gun deaths in America. That exceeds the number of deaths in Iraq and is also truly a horrifying number. However, crime is usually measured per capita and with 10 times the population of Iraq, clearly the US is well behind. But we are NOT an unstable country being ravaged by terrorism and sectarian violence. We are a stable nation that enjoys the rule of law. And it is precisely that rule of law, and the law of easy and unchallenged gun ownership that is a major cause of that statistic.
And before anyone feels too good about the per capita murder rate in the US, know that there are 23 cities in the United States of America that exceeded a per capita murder rate of 12.32 in 2012. These cities include New Orleans, Detroit, Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Kansas City, St. Louis, and many more. The total population of these cities is over 14 Million. Put in other terms, we have an equivalent of almost half the population of Iraq living in places MORE dangerous than Iraq!
Many say the answer is tougher enforcement and sentences. But since the “get tough on crime” era started in 1980, our prison population has quadrupled. Roughly 2.4 Million people in America are in prison. And yet, in 2009 there were roughly the same number of violent crimes as committed in 1980. These statistics should be an eye opener for Americans.
At what point do we look in the mirror and come to the conclusion that tougher enforcement and sentences have not been effective at reducing violent crime? At what point do we look in the mirror and come to the conclusion that maybe it’s poverty, hopelessness, mental health care, and easy gun ownership that are key factors in this equation?