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This is why the United States has Such Unusually Low Homicide Rates

[ 159 ] December 9, 2012 |

Shorter Ann Althouse: clearly, more handguns are the solution to domestic violence, and if you’re skeptical that having guns would have saved Kasandra Perkins it’s because you deny the agency of women. The fact that Perkins did in fact have access to several guns is central to my point.

Comments (159)

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  1. DrDick says:

    Tipping over Althouses again, Scott? Always good for a chuckle and remarkably easy given what lies at their foundations.

    • Tehanu says:

      Dr Dick, I adore you! That is the greatest pun I have EVER seen!

      • Snarki, child of Loki says:

        DrDick is demonstrating his grandmotherly kindness.

        The other approach is to lift up the Althouse, and move it about 2 feet back.

        After that, those who go to the Althouse to do some serious ponderin’ will get more than they expect, all sudden-like.

  2. NonyNony says:

    I was wondering when the “if only the victim owned a gun and knew how to use it” reflexive response would end up coming out in a case where the victim did own a gun, did know how to use it, and it didn’t help at all.

    If only this would actually reveal the lie for what it is, but I doubt that will happen. We ‘mericans love our guns more than anything, I think.

    • Uncle Kvetch says:

      I was wondering when the “if only the victim owned a gun and knew how to use it” reflexive response would end up coming out in a case where the victim did own a gun, did know how to use it, and it didn’t help at all.

      Follow the link to Wonkette and you’ll get a glimpse of where they’re going next: “If only the victim owned a gun, knew how to use it, and had the since to carry it on her person at all times, even around the house.”

      Guns cannot fail. They can only be failed.

      • Uncle Kvetch says:

        Had the sense, dammit.

      • Warren Terra says:

        Obviously the Second Amendment doesn’t go far enough. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right requirement that at all times all of the people must to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

        • somethingblue says:

          “The fortress was entered by tunnels in the rock, and, over the entrance to each tunnel, there was a notice which said: EVERYTHING NOT FORBIDDEN IS COMPULSORY.”

        • Eric says:

          My wingnut dad sent me an e-mail this morning that claimed the Second Amendment actually means that.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

            Well why the heck not? Since the dominant reading of the Second Amendment simply ignores its opening clause, we might as well just ignore the plain meaning of the rest of it as well.

            • rea says:

              Well, as Justice Scalia teaches us, you’ve got to look at what the drafters of the amendment thought the language meant. Note that the language is explicit in referring to a pre-existing right: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

              As with many issues, the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 establishes the Founders’ intent. The 1689 nEnglish Bill of Rights establishes the right to bear arms:

              Whereas the late King James the Second, by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges and ministers employed by him, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws and liberties of this kingdom . . . by causing several good subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when papists were both armed and employed contrary to law . . . the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being now assembled in a full and free representative of this nation, taking into their most serious consideration the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid, do in the first place (as their ancestors in like case have usually done) for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties declare . . . that the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law.

              So there you have it–the Founders meant only that white male middle- and upper-class protestants had the right to bear arms (“as allowed by law”), Obviously, Kasandra did not qualify.

        • Jeremy says:

          I don’t think the gun nuts really want all of the people to be carrying guns. I wonder how much overlap there is between NRA members and people who supported the “Panther Bill” back in the day. Black Panthers carrying rifles at a political protest at the state capitol building is totally different than middle-aged white tea partiers carrying handguns to Starbucks to prove whatever point they’re trying to prove.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

            I don’t think the gun nuts really want all of the people to be carrying guns.

            They do for certain values of “people.”

          • It really is a shame what’s happened to that organization.

            Once upon a time, former Union generals used to be appointed President of the NRA, and they fought to protect the rights of freed black people in former Confederate states to own and carry firearms.

            Now…yeah.

            • timb says:

              I read over in the Althouse comment section — well, besides the racism and Jew-bashing — that the black, former slaves in Reconstruction were unarmed.

              Ain’t a lack of understanding entertaining?

          • dave says:

            If the black panthers resumed openly carrying weapons we would see the return of sensible gun control very quickly.

            If the black panthers started openly carrying in the suburbs, we would have a repeal of the second amendment within a few years.

      • NonyNony says:

        “If only the victim owned a gun, knew how to use it, and had the since to carry it on her person at all times, even around the house.”

        Jeebus. Words fail.

        Who are these people who think carrying a loaded firearm around the house at all times is “normal”? Do they actually own guns? Have they ever met an actual responsible gun owner? Or are they all participating in some kind of Massively Multiplayer Online Game where they get to pretend to be gun owners online for fun?

        • BigHank53 says:

          Aren’t you familiar with the dogma of the Church of the Second Amendment? Don’t you watch any TV?

        • RepubAnon says:

          Yeah, and if only this 7-year old kid in Pennsylvania had been armed, his father wouldn’t have accidentally shot him outside the gun store.

          On a side note: here’s the training NYC Police get for firearms use. If the police aren’t trained well enough to use their weapons in high-stress situations, it seems unlikely that civilians would do as well.

          • STH says:

            But they never seem to get to that level of thought about it. It’s just “good guys” (me) versus “bad guys with guns” and all the good guys must be armed to protect against all the bad guys. They never think about accidents, people who get angry when they’ve had a little too much to drink, having to assess the danger when you’re woken up in the middle of the night by a noise, kids wanting to show Dad’s cool thing to their friends–none of that. It’s just “bad guys with guns are coming to get me, so I need a gun.” This frustrates me to no end. It’s like arguing fucking religion–there’s no rational thought involved.

          • Lee says:

            This to your second link. I never understood why so many people think they would have the calm and the skill necessary to play hero in a hectic situation. Reality tells us that most people would panic.

    • R. Porrofatto says:

      The comments to the Althouse post devolved into the usual racist crap. It seems that even if Kasandra Perkins had a gun in the house, she should have been strapped at all times and ready to shoot on a hair trigger because:
      - Belcher is black and Perkins should have known that blacks are more violent than anyone else (someone actually wrote: “If you’re white, your chances of being affected by gun violence are just about zero.” Unless you happen to be at one of those countless mass murder sites in the Heartland, then the odds go up a bit I guess). This is a result of the destruction of the underclass which was caused by progressive policies, starting with LBJ’s War on Poverty.
      - She knew that Belcher was into drugs and alcohol, as are all blacks.
      - She had an “illegitimate” child with a black man and should have known better.
      - Since Perkins was also black, Belcher couldn’t be sure he was the father of his own child so that made him deservedly mad.

      As always, I wish I were making this up.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        I’m very glad that Althouse’s army of rats is leaving us alone now.

      • Jeremy says:

        In any sort of decent world, shouldn’t a law professor running a blog whose comment section is regularly a cesspool of bigotry be sort of an issue?

        • Snarki, child of Loki says:

          Sorry, lost your train of argument, daydreaming in the “In any sort of
          decent world..” part.

          What was your point again?

        • Joseph Slater says:

          I had that thought too the few times I’ve made the mistake of going there. I can usually hang at the Volokh Conspiracy, but Althouse’s commenters are . . . something else.

        • Tybalt says:

          I am continually amazed that Alhouse’s colleagues seem to be totally unconcerned that she eagerly publishes the most virulently racist nonsense imaginable.

        • Thers says:

          It did become an issue last year, when she asked her “community” to remark upon a candidate for the dean of her law school. They responded predictably.

          I forget all the details and can’t be arsed to look it up now, but it ended up causing a stink of some sort with her misfortunate colleagues.

        • timb says:

          One would hope, especially a blog requiring the registration of accounts by using blogspot. If one had the will, one could find a way

    • Hogan says:

      I’m also not really following the argument that thinking she didn’t own any guns and/or didn’t know how to use them makes her less of a victim. But if that’s the dumbest argument Althouse makes this week, she’ll be having a great week.

    • cpinva says:

      hogwash:

      would end up coming out in a case where the victim did own a gun, did know how to use it, and it didn’t help at all.

      knowing how to shoot a weapon, and being able to use that weapon to successfully defend yourself, in a high tension situation, are not mutually inclusive. had ms. perkins been able to get ahold of a gun, more likely than not she’d have shot herself, the baby, her mother or a wall, or just had the gun taken from her.

      i truly get tired of the numbnuts who insist, because someone’s had a two week training course, and therefore knows (generally) which direction to point the barrel, that suddenly they’re highly skilled navy seals, ready to take on anyone crossing their path.

      what combination of cheap wine and prescription medication is althouse on, because she must be a cheap (and stupid) date.

  3. somethingblue says:

    Thoughtful, serious, never such detail, care.

    Newsletter?

  4. tonycpsu says:

    Assume arguendo that Perkins didn’t have access to any guns in the house:

    (1) how many of those being attacked by a gun-wielding spouse/significant other are going to be the first one to pull the trigger and kill their partner?

    (2) how many of the crazed gun-wielding attackers who weren’t mentally prepared to pull the trigger going into the situation will be suddenly driven to do so when they see that their partner is aiming a gun right back at them?

    There are many, many domestic disputes involving one partner with a gun and one partner without that we never hear about because the gun is never fired. The idea that somehow handing a second gun to the other partner is going to produce better outcomes is one that could only be found at the bottom of a Costco-sized box of Franzia.

    • DocAmazing says:

      Also, if you have a gun in the bedroom. and you’re in the front room when your head-injured husband comes to kill you, it’s not very useful. The only solution is to have a loaded piece in every room of the house (two in the bathroom–one by the can, one in the shower).

      Contact your local firearms merchant for details.

      • tonycpsu says:

        Yeah, Digby’s all over the “home carry” concept.

        I wonder if the NRA recommends carrying during sexytime, or if the risk of premature discharge outweighs the benefits of being “safe” at all times.

        • c u n d gulag says:

          Maybe every man should be packin’ a pistol by his pecker, and every woman should have a small Derringer transvaginally implanted for her own protection – and a larger one up her butt, and another one in her hand, in case her man wants a “Monica-job.”

          Of course, having “Mexican Stand-off’s” in every bedroom will make Douthat haz a saaaaad, because then there’ll be even less white babies.

          Or something…

        • Anonymous says:

          i am considering having my penis replaced by a gun just for this purpose. and to comply with new regulations about metaphor correctness

      • DrDick says:

        There is also the fact that the presence of a hand gun in the house dramatically increases your chances of being killed or injured by one. Carrying a gun has the same effect.

        • Johnny Sack says:

          But re the home argument-why should that be an argument against? I take a risk every day when I step into my car and drive on the freeway, etc. Even if having a gun at home makes a home invasion (or whatever) more likely to go wrong, who am I to say that that is a risk someone can’t take?

          • Hob says:

            Maybe that comment would be more useful in a conversation where anyone at all had proposed forbidding the taking of unhelpful risks, rather than just pointing out that they are unhelpful.

            • Johnny Sack says:

              I guess I’m used to seeing it as an argument against. Sorry. Used to lesser debate and bad faith on, say, Gawker.

            • DrDick says:

              True and I in fact own a hand gun. It lives unloaded, broken down, with a trigger lock in the closet (separate from the ammunition) to minimize those risks. I only have it for when I go camping in the mountains in grizzly country. Bear spray is better for hiking, but not real practical inside a tent.

              • Major Kong says:

                Wouldn’t a handgun just piss off a grizzly?

                • DocAmazing says:

                  That’s what monster calibers like 10mm and .44 Magnum are for. Super-monsters like .454 Casull would also probably work, but are difficult to use due to beastly recoil.

                • DrDick says:

                  I have a .41 magnum, which is the smallest handgun that is effective against them. Again, I only have it for use at close quarters when I am in a tent. Out in the open, you are much better off with bear spray.

                • herr doktor bimler says:

                  beastly recoil.

                  Something something “right to arm bears” something punchline.

                • DrDick says:

                  “right to arm bears”

                  Here in Montana, our bears are already armed.

        • Mary Rosh says:

          John Lott has already proven more guns mean less crime many times

    • cpinva says:

      so that’s the cheap wine althouse is slugging down by the gallon?

      The idea that somehow handing a second gun to the other partner is going to produce better outcomes is one that could only be found at the bottom of a Costco-sized box of Franzia.

      really, it’s beyond even this. statistically (the FBI actually keeps statistics), you have a better chance of shooting yourself, or having the gun taken from you and used against you, than you have of somehow, under extreme duress, with zero specialized training, calmly popping a couple of rounds into your attacker.

      but then, althouse wouldn’t know this, because she’s a moron masquerading as a human being, with a fully functioning temporal lobe, synapses all firing. are she and maureen dowd twins, separated at birth?

  5. calling all toasters says:

    When LGM becomes a TV show, all segments on Outhouse will be introduced by Albert Collins.

  6. LosGatosCA says:

    Not entirely off topic – Jets fans will get the connection:

    “JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The New York Jets decided to activate only two quarterbacks Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but in a surprise, the backup is Tim Tebow, not Greg McElroy.”

    I’m wondering if the firearm situation hasn’t influenced how this played out to this point and what will happen next.

    If McElroy owned a gun, would he be active for this game? After winning last week?
    Does Tebow own a bigger gun than McElroy?
    Does Ryan have an undisclosed brain injury from a hunting accident with Dick Cheney?
    Will there be mass suicides in gun owning Jet fan households if they lose in Jacksonville today?

    • LosGatosCA says:

      3-0 Jacksonville at the half. The sound you hear are chambers being loaded all over Northern New Jersey, NYC, and Long Island.

      Jets just scored. 7-3

      Sanchez is rising to the occasion – on pace for 100 yard passing game. 67 yards after 40 minutes of play against the 2-10 Jags.

    • Anonymous says:

      According to Andy Schlafly at Conservapedia, Tebow is being benched under orders from the Christian-hating New York Liberal Media.

      My theory is that Schlafly is Gene Ray with rich right-wing parents.

  7. greylocks says:

    Also worth mentioning (tried to find alink but couldn’t) there’s a long list of cases where women have killed their significant others with a firearm in self defense, and wound up going to prison anyway. In the eyes of too many police, prosecutors, judges and jurors, any woman who claims self defense is just a lying hysterical bitch, a view of women that, not coincidentally, dovetails with other right-wing views of women.

    • catclub says:

      I would have guessed a ‘lying, unemotional, manhater’.

      They always say that men who kill their spouses are not very dangerous because their range of targets does not include random (male) acquaintances, just intimate partners. Funny how that does not seem to apply as often to women who do that.

  8. Deggjr says:

    You would think the Fox News commenters in this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9TKvge11QQ, including Dana Perino, would have known Kasandra Perkins had access to guns.

    After all, Fox News is a news gathering organization.

  9. Johnny Sack says:

    On a much more general level than the facts in this article-if the police do not have the duty to protect you, why shouldn’t you be allowed to have a gun in your home? I’m against concealed carry, but the knee jerk against all gun ownership makes me cringe.

    Again-not trying to build a strawman, this article just reminded me of an ancillary point

    • John Protevi says:

      Concern troll is concerned, despite not providing any evidence that LGM commenters are against *all gun ownership.*

      • timb says:

        well, I am against owning handguns, but I’m a bit of a minority

      • bradP says:

        I do wonder what level of gun control is both supported by LGM commentors and relevant to this case.

        As I understand it, Belcher was an avid gun collector without a criminal record, who was apparently in a unusually distressed emotional state.

        The level of gun control that would have kept firearms out of Belcher’s hands would have to be extremely restrictive it seems.

    • Murc says:

      I don’t think anyone here objects to having a gun in your own home. Many of us probably do have guns in our homes.

      However, the idea that you should walk around strapped all the time in your home is batshit insane and irresponsible.

      Also, the police don’t have the duty protect you? When did that happen?

      • somethingblue says:

        Well, June 27, 2005, actually.

        • Murc says:

          … holy shit, I didn’t even know about this.

          That’s AWFUL.

          I always, you know, kind of figured cops had an affirmative duty to protect my family and I. Apparently I was mistaken.

          • Snarki, child of Loki says:

            And the US armed forces don’t have an affirmative duty to protect, either.

            Better load up on nuclear weapons, just in case.

            Why if Kasandra Perkins had a nuke at home, she wouldn’t have been shot! Vaporized, yes, but not shot!

          • ema says:

            From somethingblue’s link:

            Although the protective order did mandate an arrest, or an arrest warrant, in so many words, Justice Scalia said, “a well-established tradition of police discretion has long coexisted with apparently mandatory arrest statutes.”

      • I have a gun in my neighbor’s home. That way, I get all the penis enhancement of gun ownership, but all the accidental death is on him.

      • Ed says:

        I don’t think anyone here objects to having a gun in your own home. Many of us probably do have guns in our homes.

        Interesting that liberals are so cowed on the subject of gun control that they feel the need to reassure everyone that they approve of having guns in the house and lots of liberals have guns in the house even as part of the topic under discussion is how dangerous having guns in the house is. Bob Costas was bolder.

        • mpowell says:

          Yeah, it’s kind of pathetic. I have no trouble recognizing that our society would probably be a better one if all forms of firearms were extremely highly regulated or simply just banned. Yeah, some people lose out on the fun of shooting a gun. Why the f*ck do I care? There are plenty of potentially fun things you can’t do because it’s better that way. And there’s no decent argument for gun ownership based on the evidence we have available.

          Commenters on blogs should not be afraid to make the blindingly obvious points that liberal politicians have to avoid because they have an electorate to please. And even given that I would have no problem with a highly restrictive gun control regime, I don’t object to people owning guns because, hey, it is actually legal and as long as it is, do what makes you happy.

    • DrDick says:

      There is the small fact that you are more likely to injure a family member than an intruder with that gun, but I do not oppose gun ownership. I do oppose gun fetishism and macho vigilante fantasies, which are more likely to get innocent people killed or injured. If you want a weapon to defend your home with, buy a 12 gauge pump and load it with #8 shot. Don’t have to really aim and it will not blow holes in the walls and kill whoever is on the other side. A pro tip courtesy of the Chicago PD.

      • cpinva says:

        your police provided information is decidedly incorrect.

        Don’t have to really aim and it will not blow holes in the walls and kill whoever is on the other side. A pro tip courtesy of the Chicago PD.

        clearly, they have little or no experience with the the wonder that is a shotgun, and birdshot, at close range. not only will it blow a hole through 3/4″ wallboard, anyone having the misfortune to be standing on the other side will be spending quality time in the local hospital, recovering from their injuries.

        they are right about one thing, accurate aim isn’t required, at close range. and a shotgun is a better weapon for self-defense

        that said, gun manufacturers have come out with a special shell, specifically for self-defense. for both 12 & 20 gauge. i think the difference is in the spread, but that’s just a guess. bass pro shops advertizes them in their catalogues.

        • liberal says:

          IIRC, there is a much lower chance of them zipping around outside the house and killing neighbors, though.

          • DrDick says:

            That is the case and I think that my cop friends may have said less chance, rather than “no chance”. Bear in mind that many (maybe most) walls in Chicago proper are (or were at that time) lath and plaster, rather than wallboard.

    • thebewilderness says:

      Blaming the victim of gun violence for not shooting first is absurd. That is the basis for the discussion, not “…knee jerk against all gun ownership…”
      I would respectfully remind you that there is a woman doing twenty years for firing a warning shot into the ceiling to drive off her attacker.

    • catclub says:

      Why is referring to facts on gun ownership, such as higher incidence of family and self-inflicted injury in homes with guns, knee-jerk opposition? Seems like, without even trying, a strawman was built.

    • bradP says:

      On a much more general level than the facts in this article-if the police do not have the duty to protect you, why shouldn’t you be allowed to have a gun in your home? I’m against concealed carry, but the knee jerk against all gun ownership makes me cringe.

      Again-not trying to build a strawman, this article just reminded me of an ancillary point

      Not taking any side with this response because it is such a complex issue, and I’m not too sold on my own opinions, but one can easily make the argument that any and all gun ownership carries a social cost above and beyond what gun owners and producers pay.

  10. Manju says:

    The homicide rate was at 10.2 when Reagan took office. Now its at 4.7, early 1960s level.

    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

    The drop in the total violent crime rate looks even more dramatic:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Violent_Crime_Rates_in_the_United_States.svg

    This all correlates with a dramatic rise in income inequality, bucking previous correlations. Even the Great Recession couldn’t stop the trend, last I checked. Somethings happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.

    • Sharon says:

      Lead paint abatement.

      Look it up. Works wonders.

    • The Dark Avenger says:

      Some of it can be traced to getting lead out of gasoline, as excess environmental lead, gas or house paint, will lower human intelligence.

      Furthermore, long term trends in population exposure to gasoline lead were
      found to be remarkably consistent with subsequent changes in violent crime and unwed
      pregnancy. Long term trends in paint and gasoline lead exposure are also strongly
      associated with subsequent trends in murder rates going back to 1900. The findings on
      violent crime and unwed pregnancy are consistent with published data describing the
      relationship between IQ and social behavior. The findings with respect to violent crime
      are also consistent with studies indicating that children with higher bone lead tend to
      display more aggressive and delinquent behavior.

    • The homicide rate was at 10.2 when Reagan took office. Now its at 4.7, early 1960s level.

      Why would you start “when Reagan took office,” when that rate rose during his term, peaked under George HW Bush, and then started to go down?

      • Manju says:

        I think you’re describing what’s in the Violent Crime graph. 10.2 refers to just homicide. That rate never went beyond 10.2

        But nevertheless, I did indeed mistake 1990 for 1980 when I read the graph. Must be the Reagan beer goggles.

        The US Gini rose dramatically under Reagan, so we lose those years in the income-inequality / crime counter correlation.

        But it kept going up under Clinton, Bush II. And then the Great Recession failed to spark a crime wave. So, that is still something.

    • To figure out why crime rates turned around and dropped back to early-sixties levels, we need to ask why they rose in the first place.

      I put most of the blame on urban renewal and urban highways projects. A few years after we began turning urban neighborhoods into wastelands, the crime rate started rising, and a few years after we stopped, it started declining.

    • timb says:

      someday some one will explain the difference between causation and correlation to you. I will NOT be that person

  11. shelby says:

    shouldn’t the title read homicide?? not homcide?

    just saying. use spell check.

  12. Roger Ailes says:

    The real question is, “Is Meade packing?”

  13. Speak Truth says:

    Amazing.

    With all of these wise people here that seem to know all about guns…especially the Brits, who aren’t trusted by their own government to be competent enough to even own a handgun in their own home….you’d think someone would have been able to debunk the myth that the police carry handguns because they’re portable and effective self-defense.

    Those stupid police

  14. David says:

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    • Malaclypse says:

      political opportunism following a tragedy.

      You are right, of course. We should only discuss gun violence during periods where no well-publicized gun-related violence has occurred for at least several months. I figure this will be around the time of Arthur’s Return, although I’m also holding out hope for the 12th Imam.

      • bradP says:

        The “following a tragedy” describes the timing of the political opportunism, not the timing of the discussion.

        Althouse’s argument does not support gun ownership. Destroying Althouse’s argument does not support gun control.

    • Hogan says:

      Yoiu’re talking about LaPierre, right?

    • Hogan says:

      Re: the article, there’s nothing that keeps guns sold in Virginia from leaving the state. In fact, there’s a long, well documented history of guns sold in Virginia being used to shoot and kill people in DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. So I guess flooding other people’s streets with guns doesn’t necessarily cause an increase in gun crime on YOUR street. Good to know.

      • bradP says:

        So I guess flooding other people’s streets with guns doesn’t necessarily cause an increase in gun crime on YOUR street.

        Are you saying that Virginia isn’t seeing a rise in gun ownership and possession even as they are seeing a rise in purchases?

      • Njorl says:

        I suggested Virginia’s license plates be emblazoned with the motto, “The Straw Purchase State”

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