Monday, February 18, 2008

HOW WE DO. The Ole Perfesser has been working the angle that the Northern Illinois massacre occurred in a "gun-free" zone. The idea seems to be that if NIU, and other gun-free zones where similar massacres took place, had been instead flush with firearms, the victims would be alive today.

He has done this before, but never mentions the counterexample of New York City. We have been short on mass murders -- and, given our population, short on murders of all kinds -- for quite some time now. And legally we are as close to a gun-free zone as it gets. "Finding somewhere to buy a gun legally in Manhattan is not much less challenging than looking for a liquor store in Saudi Arabia," reported Andrew Stuttaford of National Review in 2000. And it hasn't gotten any easier in the age of Bloomberg.

Give some credit -- or damnation, if you are of a glibertarian frame of mind -- to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, whose crimefighting approach included many implements beloved of the Right, but who near the end of his tenure bragged at length on his confiscation of guns:
"The Police Department's dramatic success in reducing crime is due in large part to its corresponding success in removing guns from City streets," the Mayor said. "More than 90,000 guns have been seized since 1994, and shootings have plummeted more than 74 percent. The NYPD's gun seizure success is also reflected in the murder rate, which has plummeted 65 percent since 1994, and is down another 11 percent this year over last year. The NYPD has also ensured that thousands of guns can never be used to commit a crime by destroying them and putting the metal to good use. Now, another 3,000 guns have been taken out of circulation -- permanently."
It is one of the more delicious ironies of the 2008 campaign season that Giuliani lost credibility with the Republican base because he couldn't escape the anti-gun history that gave him a law-and-order record on which to run in the first place.

Unlike the Perfesser, we are less inclined to find delicious ironies in the death of innocents, so we offer instead -- anticipating the objection that New York is a very different place from, say, Virginia Tech -- practical suggestions to constituencies that wish to achieve our low levels of violence:
  • Crowd lots of people together. It sharpens the social skills.
  • Import large numbers of immigrants. Our mix is roughly one in three, but your mileage may vary. We find that it doesn't matter much whether they are legal or illegal.
  • Have also plenty of out gay, lesbian, trans and questioning folks on hand. This seems to have a calming effect on the polity.
  • Encourage safe sex, with the accent on the sex.
  • Union! (It seems to work for Las Vegas, too.)
  • Have plenty of street demonstrations, screaming matches, loud music, obscene and intemperate language, and rude gestures, with the tacit understanding that in most cases this will not result in gunplay.
  • Treat any suggestion that the answer to your problem is greater dissemination of deadly weapons with the derision it deserves.

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