Black Homicide Rates Are Back at ’90s Levels. The Problem Isn’t the Guns.

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A rapidly growing number of black men have been victims of homicide since the summer of 2020, according to a new study.

The Left loves to talk about “disparate impact”—until it interferes with its narratives.

A recently released study found that homicide rates for black men have shot back up to the extremely high levels of the early 1990s. If black lives truly matter, stemming the sudden explosion in violent crime where black men are primarily the victims should be a priority.

It doesn’t help to avoid acknowledging the reasons for the sudden surge.

Of course, many on the Left deny that there is any crime wave at all. It’s all a conspiracy theory, concocted by Fox News and Republicans, they say.

Some crimes did go down during the COVID-19 pandemic. But violent crime in the United States shot up dramatically, and it stayed up. In many places, it reached levels not seen in decades.

A study by the JAMA Network Open journal concluded that gun homicide rates among black men have exploded. The study concluded that about 55 black men were killed by firearms per 100,000, far beyond any other demographic group in America.

These numbers match those seen in the early 1990s, when violent crime was generally much higher. Nearly two decades of declining violent crime rates were wiped out in just a few years.

From The Wall Street Journal, on the JAMA report:

Since 1990, rates of gun-related homicide have been highest among black men aged 20 to 24, the analysis said, with 142 fatalities per 100,000 people in this group in 2021—a 74% increase since 2014. 

Homicide rates are as much as 23 times higher among black men and as much as nearly four times higher among Hispanic men than among white men, the analysis said.

Of course, many media outlets portrayed this violent crime surge as a gun problem or they focused on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chris Rees, a co-author of the JAMA study, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that for stemming violence in groups that have high homicide rates, “there are certain programs like violence prevention, firearm-buyback programs, and safe storage.”

This hardly seems like a gun storage problem. The idea that this unprecedented spike in violent crime can be blamed on guns stretches all common sense. After all, the cities that experienced the highest violent crime spikes are almost all run by Democrats and have some of the strictest gun laws in the country. It’s not like there has been some dramatic increase in firearm purchases to match the increases in homicides we are seeing.

Clearly, something else is going on.

Isn’t it interesting that the start of this historic gun homicide surge coincided exactly with the rise of Black Lives Matter, “defund the police” protests, and urban riots? CNN got through an entire long news pieceon this study and never once mentioned that inconvenient little fact.

Maybe that’s because it was the elite media, alongside woke activists, who relentlessly pushed the “racial reckoning” narrative while cheerleading the “defund the police” movement and making excuses for the “mostly peaceful” riots.

The pandemic has long since receded, but the violent crime has not. There’s every indication that this year has been as violent or more violent than the past two. City police departments, already on their back feet politically and/or suffering abysmal morale due to poor leadership, have often struggled to keep up with the problem.

As I’ve noted repeatedly, the retreat from aggressive policing alongside the defunding of police and other anti-law enforcement actions have fueled a kind of national Ferguson/Minneapolis Effect.

It’s no surprise that Minneapolis is one of the cities hit hardest by theviolent crime spike.

It doesn’t help that radical district attorneys, such as New York’s Alvin Bragg, have drastically reduced punishments for criminals. It’s a perfect storm.

Some people in these cities aren’t too happy with the situation, but woke activists in places of power keep trying to create lawless, anti-law enforcement policies anyway.

As Zachary Faria wrote in The Washington Examiner:

The city of Minneapolis, which started the summer of Black Lives Matter protests and riots, attempted to abolish its police department, even though a plurality of 47% of black voters opposed the replacement Department of Public Safety and 75% of black voters thought the city should not cut down the size of its police force.

Perhaps these cities are simply getting what they voted for. Still, it’s clear that even in the bluest of cities, there are many people who have grown tired of the lawlessness that has been the cause of death of so many. 

It’s now looking like it’s going to take an enormous effort, like the changes made in New York City in the late 1990s, to get this problem under control. As philosopher George Santayana observed, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. 

By Jarrett Stepman, a columnist for The Daily Signal. Reproduced with permission. Original here.