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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Fact vs. Fiction

"Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure." — Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, 1823

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

In Jefferson’s words the Second Amendment has been construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Yet it has constantly been interpreted by metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.

The Second Amendment has most recently been interpreted to grant the right of gun ownership to individuals for purposes that include self-defense. At first it was thought to apply only to the Federal government, but through the mechanism of the Fourteenth Amendment, it has been applied to the states as well. (See District of Columbia et al. v. Heller 2008). The Supreme Court has revitalized the Second Amendment. The Court continued to strengthen the Second Amendment through the 2010 decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago (08-1521). The plaintiff in McDonald challenged the constitutionally of the Chicago handgun ban, which prohibited handgun possession by almost all private citizens. In a 5-4 decisions, the Court, citing the intentions of the framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment, held that the Second Amendment applies to the states through the incorporation doctrine.

So much for the legal interpretations of the Second Amendment. As of today it is pretty much set that the Second Amendment grants the rights of personal protection to all citizens of the United States. This right can be modified by the states to exclude convicted felons and the mentally ill. Each state has a different interpretation of these exclusions that people of common sense find reasonable, including for most part the NRA.

Recently I posted a Blog where I claimed that guns save lives. I suggest you scroll down through this list to see the various examples of how legally owned guns and Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permits have saved the lives of the owner or other innocents.

One case that sticks in my mind, as a person who will be traveling with my family and dog is a recent case in Albuquerque, New Mexico.Lynne Russell (a former CNN anchor) and her husband Chuck de Caro (a former CNN reporter)By0d6TWIQAEmoeO2-400x316 were traveling with their two Weinheimer dogs. Due to traveling with the dogs they had to stay in a dog-friendly Motel 6. On June 30, 2015 armed with a .40 caliber handgun convicted felon Tomorio Walton attempted broke into their room to rob the couple. Fortunately Russell and her husband were armed with Rugger .380 handguns and both had legal CCW permits. A shoot out ensued with de Caro wounded three times and Walton killed. No charges were filed against Russell or de Caro. Both Russell and de Caro were well trained in the use of firearms. Lately a second person has been charged with murder in the Russell case. He is Skyy Durrell Barrs, 30, whom Albuquerque police say put the armed intruder up to the attack.

Then we have county sheriffs and city police chiefs across the nation asking responsible citizens to legally arm themselves to help fight off crime in urban areas where the police are overwhelmed.

With the latest shooting of two reporters in Moneta, Virginia the media’s talking heads, left-wing politicians, and people without a clue on firearm regulations in the United States have climbed once again on the gun-grabbing band wagon. I guess the anti-gun news media’s propaganda campaign of calling every criminal with a firearm, regardless of the crime he commits, a “gunman,” has succeeded when pro-gun media does the same thing! He’s not a “gunman” he’s a murderer! If he used a knife, would you call him a “knifeman”?

This example is shown by a case in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (a suburb of Tulsa) where 18 year-old Robert Bever stabbed to death 5 members of his family included his 5 year-old sister. Of course not much attention was given to this by the national media. Why? Because no gun was used and the media can’t push its anti-gun narrative. So this story gets ignored.

With this in mind let’s look at the murder rates in the United States. Since 1991 when the national murder rate was 9.8 per 1,000 people the rate has been dropping to 4.7 in 2011. That’s a drop of 52%. This rate may be climbing with recent events in Baltimore and the increase in assignations of law enforcement officers since Ferguson’s “hands up, don’t shoot” and “black lives matter.”


According to USA Today:

“After years of declining violent crime, several major American cities experienced a dramatic surge in homicides during the first half of this year.

Milwaukee, which last year had one of its lowest annual homicide totals in city history, recorded 84 murders so far this year, more than double the 41 it tallied at the same point last year.

Milwaukee is not alone.

The number of murders in 2015 jumped by 33% or more in Baltimore, New Orleans and St. Louis. Meanwhile, in Chicago, the nation's third-largest city, the homicide toll climbed 19% and the number of shooting incidents increased by 21% during the first half of the year.

In all the cities, the increased violence is disproportionately impacting poor and predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods. In parts of Milwaukee, the sound of gunfire is so commonplace that about 80% of gunshots detected by ShotSpotter sensors aren't even called into police by residents, Flynn said.

"We've got folks out there living in neighborhoods, where . . . it's just part of the background noise," Flynn told USA TODAY. "That's what we're up against."

Criminologists note that the surge in murders in many big American cities came after years of declines in violent crime in major metros throughout the United States. Big cities saw homicides peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s as crack-cocaine wreaked havoc on many urban areas

Baltimore and Ferguson effect

So far this year, Baltimore recorded 155 homicides, including three people who were killed late Tuesday evening near the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. The 2015 homicide toll is 50 people higher than it was at the same point last year.

On Wednesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, citing the spike in murders in the city.

The firing also came as the police union was set to release a report hammering the department's response to the unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, who died one week after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury while in Baltimore police custody. Gray's treatment was held up by protesters as an example of the endemic problem of police brutality in the city and beyond.

"We cannot grow Baltimore without making our city a safer place to live," Rawlings-Blake said. "We need a change. This was not an easy decision, but it is one that is in the best interest of the people of Baltimore. The people of Baltimore deserve better."

The Charm City, which is seeing some of the worst violence since the 1990s when it routinely tallied 300 murders annually, recorded 42 killings in May alone.”

According to FBI 2013 report on crime in the United States:

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines murder and non-negligent manslaughter as the willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another.

“The classification of this offense is based solely on police investigation as opposed to the determination of a court, medical examiner, coroner, jury, or other judicial body. The UCR Program does not include the following situations in this offense classification: deaths caused by negligence, suicide, or accident; justifiable homicides; and attempts to murder or assaults to murder, which are classified as aggravated assaults.”

“Supplementary Homicide Data—The UCR Program’s supplementary homicide data provide information regarding the age, sex, and race of the murder victim and the offender; the type of weapon used; the relationship of the victim to the offender; and the circumstance surrounding the incident. Law enforcement agencies are asked—but not required—to provide complete supplementary homicide data for each murder they report to the UCR Program. Information gleaned from these supplementary homicide data can be viewed in the Expanded Homicide Data section.

Justifiable homicide—Certain willful killings must be reported as justifiable or excusable. In the UCR Program, justifiable homicide is defined as and limited to:

· The killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty.

· The killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.

Because these killings are determined through law enforcement investigation to be justifiable, they are tabulated separately from murder and non-negligent manslaughter.”


 “In 2013, the estimated number of murders in the nation was 14,196. This was a 4.4 percent decrease from the 2012 estimate, a 7.8 percent decrease from the 2009 figure, and a 12.1 percent drop from the number in 2004.

· There were 4.5 murders per 100,000 people. The murder rate fell 5.1 percent in 2013 compared with the 2012 rate. The murder rate was down from the rates in 2009 (10.5 percent) and 2004 (18.3 percent).

· Of the estimated number of murders in the United States, 43.8 percent were reported in the South, 21.4 percent were reported in the Midwest, 21.0 percent were reported in the West, and 13.8 percent were reported in the Northeast. “

This FBI site is loaded with statistics and tables that are far too numerous to post on this blog. I suggest you visit the site and peruse some of the tables for a clearer understanding of what the FBI is reporting.

So what the top five murder capitals of America? According to Neighborhood Scout, a national data base for home buyers and renters:

“That murder rates in major U.S. cities are on the decline is popular knowledge. New York City is often held up as the example: in 1990, NYC had more than two thousand homicides, by 2014 that number was down to just over 300. It’s a common trend of many cities, including Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Dallas, among others. Even cities with especially high murder rates have seen a relative decline: New Orleans ranks 9 on this year’s list, down from 4 last year, and St. Louis improved from 10 to 12.

On our ranking of America’s murder capitals, some cities show up that you might expect: Detroit ranks number 7, St. Louis 12, and Baltimore 13. Until recently large cities dominated murder-capital conversations; now this list is populated mostly by middle-sized cities as well as smaller cities in close proximity to larger ones. The smaller cities either serve or once did serve as industrial satellites to their larger neighbors. These smaller satellites show up on the list, while nearby larger cities sometimes don’t register. Camden ranks at number 2 but nearby Philadelphia does not make the list, Compton ranks 14 and San Bernardino 28, but Los Angeles doesn’t make the list, East Chicago ranks 15 and Harvey 11, but not Chicago proper. Perhaps these inner-ring suburbs and industrial satellites have contributed to the perception of their larger counterparts’ lingering reputations. Misinformed reporting may be to blame as well — using murder counts instead of murder rates, the later which normalize for population size and provide a better indication of your chance of becoming a victim compared to simple counts, which are generally just higher in bigger cities.

As with NeighborhoodScout’s ranking of the 100 most dangerous cities in the U.S., the Pacific-northwest, and the Great Plains don’t have any cities ranked at all. Also, there are no murder capitals in New England. All of the cities on the list, save for those in California, are either on or to the east of the Mississippi River. On the west coast, Oakland is the farthest north.

Big cities can have more murders than small cities, but not as a rate per population. This NeighborhoodScout report factors in population size to determine the number of murders in each city per 1,000 people, thereby normalizing for population and more clearly representing the risk to residents of a city.

While its population is tiny, East St. Louis ranks at #1 with the highest murder rate: 0.86 murders per thousand residents, approximately twenty one times the national average - while Baton Rouge ranks 30th on the list with 0.21 murders per thousand residents, just over four times the national average. We use the FBI’s definition for murder {homicide}, which is “the willful, non-negligent killing of one person by another,” and all cities included on this list are required to have a population of 25,000 or more.” [emphasis added]

So here is the list of the 30 top murder cities in the U.S.




Baton Rouge, LA


Youngstown, OH


San Bernardino, CA


Oakland, CA


Barberton, OH


Poughkeepsie, NY


Cincinnati, OH


Petersburg, VA


Wilmington, DE


York, PA


East Palo Alto, CA


Jackson, MS


Wilkes-Barre, PA


Birmingham, AL


East Point, GA


East Chicago, IN


Compton, CA


Baltimore, MD


St. Louis, MO


Harvey, IL


Newark, NJ


New Orleans, LA


Trenton, NJ


Detroit, MI


Flint, MI


Saginaw, MI


Chester, PA


Gary, IN


Camden, NJ


East St. Louis, IL

Click on the city’s link to see the neighborhoods that are the most dangerous.

NeighborhoodScout’s research reveals the 100 most dangerous cities in America with 25,000 or more people, based on the number of violent crimes per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes include murder, rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. Data used for this research are 1) the number of violent crimes reported to the FBI to have occurred in each city, and 2) the population of each city. To view a list of the 100 most dangerous click here. You will be surprised by the facts.

So isn’t it time for the media to begin to present the facts rather than constantly reporting on the emotions of the day.

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