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In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Americans were treated to the usual round of breast-beating decrying what an incredibly violent country we are. The solution according to Democrats and the media? Gun control. The only problem with this is that hard numbers show that, as ordinary, law-abiding Americans have become more heavily armed, America has become a safer, not a more dangerous country.
In a March 3 story, the Washington Post reported that gun deaths and violent crimes are both down in America:
Back in the crack-infused 1980s, young men with guns and drugs ruled the single block of Hanover Place NW. People who lived in the two-story rowhouses one mile north of the Capitol fell asleep year round to the sounds of the Fourth of July, a pop-pop-pop that they hoped was firecrackers. It rarely was.
But after two decades of consistent and dramatic declines in homicides and gun violence in Washington and many other major cities, Hanover Place is mostly quiet these days. Complaints to the police tend to be more about kids shooting craps on the sidewalk than about drug dealers shooting at rival street crews. On a block where houses were unloaded for as little as $30,000 in the 1990s, the most recent sales have ranged from $278,000 to $425,000.
The post even has a really cool chart it made based upon FBI statistics. The abrupt drop in violent crime is staggering:
Marc Fisher, who wrote the above words, is delighted that violent crime is declining, but cannot, for the life of him, understand why this is so. In the same article, he tosses out a variety of possible reasons:
As welcome as such changes have been, explanations for the nation’s plummeting homicide rate remain elusive, stymieing economists, criminologists, police, politicians and demographers. Have new police strategies made a difference, or have demographic shifts and population migrations steered the change? Could the reasons be as simple as putting more bad guys behind bars, or does credit go to changes made a generation ago, such as taking the lead out of gasoline or legalizing abortion?