An interactive piece was prominently featured on the Washington Post's homepage yesterday, and it's worth reviewing if you're a subscriber (the feature is behind the paper's paywall). It's impossibly sad, as it profiles the loved ones of recent homicide victims across nine American cities. Their anguish is palpable. The lives of people they cared about were snuffed out in an instant. The specific circumstances of the highlighted violent acts vary, but common threads bind them together: Pain and loss. Heavily-covered mass shootings make up only a tiny percentage of America's gun deaths, which, in turn, comprise just a fraction of the country's violent crime scourge.
But murders have become a glaring "crisis," the Post correctly asserts, describing the "surging" nationwide homicide rate as a "deadly spike" that has reached the "highest levels in decades":
WaPo front page on the nation’s “homicide crisis”: https://t.co/bxJzjXL7Vl— Josh Kraushaar (@JoshKraushaar) November 29, 2022
It's impossible to read these accounts and not feel profound sympathy and sadness for the people left behind in the wake of killings, laboring to put the pieces of their lives back together amid intense grief. Zooming out to the national political level, these vignettes underscore the reality that the US is experiencing a serious crime wave. Most Americans understand this intuitively, and New Yorkers, in particular, voted accordingly in November. But prior to the election, one Washington Post journalist – widely considered more of a Democratic functionary among center-right – suggested repeatedly that the overall story of crime was being overhyped, if not quasi-invented, by Fox News:
Interesting… pic.twitter.com/b7GJyfJWz2— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 7, 2022
He wrote an "analysis" entitled "Crime is surging (in Fox News coverage)," arguing that available data points were "sketchy" and "don't suggest" that crime was up "significantly since last year." Setting aside the point that a more useful baseline would be pre-pandemic crime statistics from 2019, the underlying point is that Fox was exaggerating an issue that entailed "clear political utility for the right" ahead of the midterms. I responded at the time with a short round-up of headlines from major American cities, one after another, citing dramatic crime spikes. This reporter's own newspaper has now powerfully illustrated part of the human toll of the problem. Indeed, the newspaper's home city – Washington, DC – has been especially plagued by crime over the last few years. As we noted earlier in the week, DC carjackings have tripled since 2019, to which the city council has responded by trying to reduce criminal penalties for carjacking. As of mid-summer, the city's high murder rate was on pace to increase for the sixth consecutive year.
Another popular and disingenuous talking point among lefties (including Democratic governors and advocacy groups) hoping to downplay the crime crisis ahead of an election in which they were expecting to lose badly (they generally did not, as it turned out) was that crime was really a red state problem. Republicans were pointing the finger at Democrats, building large polling leads on the question, but if you squinted hard enough, the story went, you'd realize that this was actually a Republican failure. This was always absurd. No societal ill can ever be cleanly or comprehensively laid at the feet of one "side" or the other, but to the extent that states are experiencing major increases in crime, the phenomenon is being heavily driven by urban centers – nearly all of which are run by Democrats:
Hitting back at the highly misleading claim that “red states have a murder problem,” The Heritage Foundation is out with a new report today that shows the opposite—U.S. counties and cities primarily run by Democrat officials have a murder problem. Heritage legal fellows Charles “Cully” Stimson and Zack Smith, along with Heritage chief statistician Kevin Dayaratna, dug into state murder rate data to find that even in states with Republican governors—or states that voted for President Donald Trump—a large portion of murders occurred in the state’s biggest cities or counties that were primarily run by Democrats. Of the top 30 cities with the highest murder rates, 27 have Democrat mayors. Within those 30 cities, there are at least 14 rogue prosecutors backed or inspired by radical leftist billionaire George Soros. Heritage’s analysis refutes a March report from Third Way misleadingly titled, “The Red State Murder Problem.”
And because many elected Democrats' knee-jerk response to crime surges is to blame guns, I'll leave you with another reminder that DC's city council has voted unanimously to lessen consequences for various gun crimes – as well as the White House cleaning up after President Biden's latest ignorant guns rant, which made it sound like he was advocating widespread bans on a large majority of firearms in America:
the president should at least use accurate terms when he’s talking about banning things https://t.co/YRoFalCLNO— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 28, 2022