Chicago, Rahm, and Gun
I read this article, “Emanuel Puts Positive Spin On Chicago’s Violent Crime Problem”, a few weeks ago from the Daily Caller. It showed up in my twitter feed and I clicked on the link and read it not knowing the source of the article. As I read it, it seemed like a slightly reasonable, partisan argument against Rahm Emanuel and crime in Chicago. Then I got to the end of the article and it absolutely comes off the rails. The statistical squirming that takes place to cram the numbers into their ideology is bafflingly impressive.
The author basically argues that Emanuel’s record on violent crime, especially murder is not a very good one. They say:
Emanuel notes that murders in Chicago have declined thus far in 2014, as compared to 2010 and 2013. However, Emanuel was elected in May 2011, and from 2011 to 2012, Chicago’s murder rate increased 16 percent. Meanwhile, the aggregate murder rate of other cities of one million or greater population decreased three percent.
Fine, if you want to blame the rise in crime on Emanuel, that’s fine. Organizations with political agendas do this all the time. I hate it, but I understand that it’s more or less just politics.
But then they go on to say this:
Chicago’s crime problem may take a turn for the better, however. Recent court decisions have eliminated some of the most egregious violations of, and obstacles to, city residents’ exercise of their right to keep and bear arms.
In 2010, the Supreme Court struck down the city’s 32-year-old handgun ban in McDonald v. Chicago. In 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit struck down Chicago’s ban on shooting ranges in Ezell v. Chicago, saying “The right to possess firearms for protection implies a corresponding right to acquire and maintain proficiency in their use.” In 2012, the same court declared Illinois’ total ban on carrying firearms for protection unconstitutional, resulting in the state adopting a “shall issue” carry permit law the following year. And this year, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois struck down Chicago’s ban on firearm transfers.
Wait what? It was after reading these paragraphs that I went to check who the author was. It turned out to be some anonymous writer representing the NRA ILA. In that context, this makes sense.
So, let me lay out, in all its absurd glory, the argument in this article.
- Emanuel was elected in May 2011, and from 2011 to 2012, Chicago’s murder rate increased 16 percent. So blame Emanuel for the rise in violent crime.
- In 2010, the Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s hand gun ban. In 2011, the same court struck down a ban on firing ranges. But don’t blame guns for the rise in crime?
In the first case, X happened and then crime increased at a later date; Blame X for increase in crime. Then in the second case, X happened and then crime increased at a later date; BUT DON’T blame X for increase in crime. I guess when you’ve already made your mind up about what is right, the numbers don’t really matter.
Finally, let me be clear, I’m not anti-gun, but I am pro-not making stupid arguments. The causes of crime are an incredibly complex array of variables and factors and X happening and crime increasing at a later date is an incredibly naive way to see the world. The world just isn’t this simple. Complex problems often have complex causes. Does Rahm Emanuel deserve some blame for the rise in crime? Maybe. Do handguns deserve some blame? Maybe.
My point is that making up your mind about something before you’ve seen any evidence is a pretty terrible way to live (And this goes for you too “libs”.)