Howard J. Fezell
In our kinder, gentler America, any suggestion of a correlation between race and crime upsets people. The Right Reverend Jesse Jackson caused quite a stir in 1993 when he admitted:
“There is nothing more painful to me than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then to look around and see someone white and feel relieved.”It’s a good thing for Jesse that he’s black. Any white politician who had said that would have been branded as “racist” by the establishment media and forced to repent – for being candid about the anxiety felt by millions of Americans of all races. (Disregarding his own personal experience, The Right Reverend Jackson has recently hopped on the bandwagon against “racial profiling.”)
The relevance of race to the gun debate
This web site has been on-line since November, 1996. In the spring of 2000, a new section was added with the heading Race & Crime. Contained therein is an article by Prof. Glayde Whitney entitled Control What? Not Guns!, and another link to The Color Of Crime, a study by the New Century Foundation which shows via statistics complied by the U.S. Department of Justice that, on average, blacks and Hispanics are far more likely to commit violent crimes than whites or Asians. How is this relevant to preserving the right to keep and bear arms? Our side has won the intellectual argument over what the Second Amendment means. No constitutional scholar worth his (or her) salt still contends that this Amendment guarantees only the right of States to maintain militias. Nowadays the principal excuse offered in support of gun prohibition (1) is that it is necessary to “reduce gun violence.” (2) Gun prohibitionists like columnist Charles Krauthammer compare the per capita homicide rate of the United States to lower rates in foreign countries with stricter gun laws and draw a false correlation between strict gun laws and low homicide rates. In a Washington Post op-ed piece entitled Disarm The Citizenry he wrote, “a civilized society must disarm its citizenry if it is to have a modicum of domestic tranquility of the kind enjoyed by sister democracies such as Canada and Britain.”(3) However, when racial demographics are taken into account, American communities that are overwhelmingly white and/or Asian are already quite safe, with per capita homicide rates on par with foreign countries touted as examples of domestic tranquility.
The accompanying Table 1.1 (best viewed with Netscape Navigator) from the British Home Office bulletin, International comparisons of criminal justice statistics 1998 (4) shows the United States as having a per capita homicide rate in 1998 of 6.26 (5) per 100,000 inhabitants, much higher than those of Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, or any of the countries in Western Europe. While those countries have much lower homicide rates than the United States, they also do not have populations that are 12 percent black or any large cities with majority black populations. If the per capita homicide rates of Western European countries listed in Table 1.1 were averaged with South Africa’s, the result would be similar to when rates for the District Of Columbia, Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, Atlanta, and Richmond are averaged with predominantly white jurisdictions. The homicide rate for the Unites States in Table 1.1 is a nationwide average for fifty states and the District of Columbia. According the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports for 1998 (6) the per capita homicide rates for North Dakota (1.1), South Dakota (1.4) and New Hampshire (1.5) were lower than those of Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and most Western European countries listed in the Home Office report. These are states where not only is gun ownership widespread, but whose populations are overwhelmingly of European stock. The District of Columbia is 62 percent African-American and had a per capita homicide rate in 1998 of 49.7, 793% higher than the national average, and not too much lower than South Africa’s 57.52. Major cities with majority black populations not only have per capita homicide rates that are many times the national average but also the average homicide rates of the states in which they are located. This distorts their statewide homicide rates upwards. At 3.5 per 100,000 New Jersey’s 1999 per capita homicide rate is below the 1999 nationwide average of 5.7, but the city of Newark’s is 25.7 (734% higher than the NJ average). Virginia’s rate of 5.7 equals the national average of 5.7; the city of Richmond’s is 36.5 (640% higher than the VA average). Michigan’s rate is 7.0; the city of Detroit’s is 42.5 (607% higher than the MI average). Georgia’s rate is 7.5; the city of Atlanta’s rate is 34.7 (462% higher than the GA average). Alabama’s rate is 7.9; the city of Birmingham’s, 30.5 (386% higher than the AL average). Louisiana’s rate is 10.7; the city of New Orleans’ is 33.9 (316% higher than the LA average). (7) Maryland’s rate in 1999 was 9.0; the latest available figure for the city of Baltimore is 47.1. (8)
This is not to suggest that all blacks are violence prone, which is certainly not the case. On average, however, communities and neighborhoods with significant black populations tend to have per capita rates of violent crime well in excess of the national average. Will blacks be offended by whites talking publicly about this? Undoubtedly. But when “gun violence” is the excuse given for infringing our right to keep and bear arms the effect of racial demographics on violent crime should not be glossed over because it will hurt somebody’s feelings.
Is poverty to blame?
To an egalitarian, nothing is ever the fault of non-whites. If they have a problem, whites did something to cause it. The most common response to the type of data given above is that poverty is to blame; poverty being the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and “institutional” racism. Scant attention is paid to countless sums spent over the last forty years to help non-whites advance themselves or the myriad of programs euphemistically referred to as “affirmative action.”
Robberies certainly have an economic motive. When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton (a white guy) answered, “Because that’s where the money is.” However, as Jared Taylor points out in The Color Of Crime, “of the 1,140,670 black-on-white acts of violence reported in 1994, only 173,374 were robberies. The remaining 84.8 percent were aggravated assaults, rapes, and simple assaults, which presumably were not motivated by profit.” (9) If poverty was the root cause of violent crime, one would expect West Virginia to resemble a battlefield. Yet that state had a per capita homicide rate in 1999 (4.4) well below the national average. Likewise, not every Western European country is prosperous, but average per capita homicide rates there are still very low.
While quite possibly the numbers can’t be denied – it’s “racist.”
The data I have cited is readily available to the general public, but gun rights advocates are loathe to mention the effect racial demographics has on violent crime rates. They will speak of it amongst themselves, but would never dream of telling legislators that violent crime is not a gun problem, but a race problem. Too many whites have been bullied into silence on a critical point in the gun debate for fear of being called the “r” word. This past September I received a polite e-mail from a visitor to my web page who believes that articles by whites which reflect poorly on non-whites are “racist” and, in order for other things I have to say about the gun rights to be better received, I should remove the “racially slanted” articles. In order that visitors to SecondAmendment.net may see what egalitarianism does to young minds his entire letter follows verbatim, with my response.
Re: Regarding the Racist Stuff and Other Points
Your web page could be an effective tool in the preservation of our 2nd amendment right to bear arms except for the racist articles (which I did take the time to read, and at this point am not yet ready to form an opinion on). While, quite possibly the numbers can't be denied, it is the nature of people to hear the only the stuff they don't want to accept, and upon that focus only on those words and miss what you're really trying to say (which I'm assuming is regarding the 2nd amendment). There is too much "white guilt" in today's society over slavery and being the successful majority for most people to even consider the possibility of those articles.
I think the issue is best approached from the standpoint that only after government has successfully and completely removed the need for individual citizens to ever need to defend themselves can they be expected to give up their only real means of doing so. To me this is the real issue, regardless of who (or what race) is the aggressor. I don't particularly care if it's a white businessman or a black guy off the streets that physically threatens me or my wife, in either case it is my right (and responsibility) to put a bullet between his eyes.
If there is no threat of violence against us, then we probably don't need arms. But anyone who would suggest there is no need for self-defense is living in a parallel universe. Realistically, even though the Constitution's framers probably did mean for the citizens to be able to defend against the government itself, in this day and age there is absolutely no hope of individuals winning a war against the government unless most of the military deserted. No army today is even a threat to the U.S. armed forces, making a militia pretty unnecessary. Therefore the right to self-defense is our last claim to this constitutional right in present-day modern society. It is a legitimate claim though. The courts have ruled that the police are not required to protect individuals, only society at large. So who is responsible for protecting individuals? I guess we are responsible for protecting ourselves, and should be able to do this by the most effective method, firearms.
Sorry if I'm preaching to the choir a bit here, it is slightly intentional to illustrate the point that there are far better arguments for arms than racial profiling. Race of an attacker is irrelevant, only the necessity of defending oneself against any attacker matters.
In any case, I think your excellent points on the 2nd amendment would be better received by moderates (who make up the majority of voters) if you removed the racially slanted articles.
Facts are not racist. Truth, however unpleasant for some, is not slanted. What is racist, and should make an intelligent young man like you mad as hell, are the hundreds of thousands of violent inter-racial crimes committed against white people every year but which are treated as nothing out of the ordinary. When a white person is robbed, raped, or killed by a non-white it’s just another story on the Eleven O’Clock news, often with no mention of the fact that the crime was interracial. Reverse the race of those involved, and everyone from the networks to the Attorney General expresses outrage and concern.
While not disputing the material found at Race & Crime you state, “There is too much ‘white guilt’ in today’s society over slavery and being the successful majority for most people to even consider the possibility of those articles.” I can’t do anything about irrational feelings of guilt except attempt to dispel them. Those responsible for the slave trade between African chieftains and Europeans are long since dead. No one currently alive has anything to apologize for. American blacks may resent the slave trade, but I don’t know any who would willingly leave the freest and most prosperous society in recorded history to take up permanent residence in sub-Saharan Africa. (Blacks, on average, have lower IQ’s than whites and Asians, but they aren’t crazy.) Whites also have no reason to feel guilty about creating societies in Europe, North America, and the Southern Pacific that are the envy of the world and to which millions of non whites strive to immigrate, sometimes at the risk of their lives. Nature has bestowed upon us average IQ’s almost as high as those of Northern Asians. That our ancestors made good use of their brains (and their guts) is no reason to feel guilty.
You wrote that if physically threatened you will defend yourself without any concern over whether “it’s a white businessman or a black guy off the streets.” By all means, do so. And if the threat is serious enough, don’t hesitate to “put a bullet between his eyes.” But have you considered who presents the greater threat to your physical safety? Plenty of white businessmen are in prison, but usually not for committing crimes of violence. Lots of black guys “from the street” are also behind bars, but not for securities fraud or tax evasion. Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice, when analyzed in conjunction with demographic data available from the Census Bureau, show that communities with significant black or Hispanic populations have far higher than average per capita rates of violent crime, much of which is perpetrated against whites. (Asian communities, incidentally, tend to have lower per capita rates of violent crime than white ones.) Although most white people have never seen a copy of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, those who fled from cities to the suburbs in the 1950's and 60's didn’t need to analyze government statistics to recognize the threat integration posed to the quality of life in their communities.
You state in your letter that, “anyone who would suggest there is no need for self-defense is living in a parallel universe”. Self-defense requires that one first identify threats to one’s safety. For example, when deciding where to live it makes perfect sense to determine who your neighbors will be. People with enough money to live elsewhere probably wouldn’t move next to a public (i.e., non-white) housing project. If one is slated for construction in their neighborhood they’ll probably think about moving. This is just acting in one’s own rational self-interest. Egalitarians, however, expect rational people to be “color-blind” and ignore race as a factor that can (and does) influence whether their communities will be fit places to live and raise their children. I make no apologies for acting rationally and talking about the effect that race has on rates of violent crime. I am thankful that gentlemen like Glayde Whitney, David Horowitz, and Jared Taylor (of the New Century Foundation) have the backbone to speak candidly about race and crime. If my web page helps in some small way to dispel egalitarian myths by directing people to their writings it’s worth the money I spend to stay on-line.
As to those “moderates” whom you fear I might offend, have you ever looked up the meaning of that word? The on-line edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “moderate,” when used as a noun as: “one who holds moderate views or who belongs to a group favoring a moderate course or program.” When used as an adjective it is defined as: “avoiding extremes of behavior or expression : observing reasonable limits.” There is nothing extreme about pointing out that whites are on the receiving end of what, for all practical purposes, is a low level race war that has resulted in millions of white casualties. The millions who were part of the “white flight” from our cities were not extremists. They were normal people who just wanted to live and raise their kids in a clean, safe environment. White moderates, while not vocal about the correlation between race and violent crime, realize that it exists.
You chose to use the adjective “racist” when describing the articles found at Race & Crime. That is a smear word used to intimidate whites who don’t enthusiastically embrace policies benefitting only non-whites. It has worked quite well for the past 35 years, but is now wearing a bit thin. After more than three decades of “affirmative action” and trillions spent on a myriad of government programs to help the “disadvantaged,” whites are fed up. They realize that most social pathologies afflicting black and Hispanic communities (e.g., drug abuse, violence, poor scholastic performance, out-of-wedlock birth) are self-inflicted.
While not racist, I am racially conscious, as is Jesse Jackson, Kwesi Mfume (President of the NAACP), the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the National Council of La Raza (Spanish for The Race), and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). Like them, I care about what happens to people of my own race and have no intention of ignoring things that adversely affect their well being. Race & Crime has been part of my web page since last April. It will remain (with additions) as long as 2nd Amendment Home Page (10) is on line.
Yours for the 2nd Amendment
Howard J. Fezell
Reclaiming Language - The Intellectual High Ground
My correspondent’s very first sentence exemplifies how seemingly intelligent people can become incapable of exercising any objectivity when the subject is race. The web page is fine, except for “racist articles (which I did take the time to read, and at this point am not yet ready to form an opinion on).” The young man who e-mailed me is not yet ready to form an opinion on what he’s read, but since the material discusses a correlation between race and crime, he thinks it’s racist. He is a casualty in a rhetorical war where the left has seized control of the language and stifles debate by calling people names. The “r” word is their biggest gun. Conservatives, who want so much to be loved, shudder at the very thought it might be used on them. Most would not dare draw a correlation between race and crime for fear of offending non-whites. (Never mind that non-whites who rob, rape, murder, and mug whites don’t care at all about their victims’ feelings.)
It’s time to turn the left’s guns around on them by learning to fight rhetorically. When you are called a racist for using statistical data to show that violent crime is not a gun problem the proper response is, “These are facts. Facts aren’t racist.” Go on the offensive and politely challenge your opponent to dispute your data. Most likely the smear will just be repeated. Your response should be, “People who don’t care about inter-racial crime are racist.” Follow up with a rhetorical question like, “Don’t you think people have a human right to live free from inter-racial crime?” Egalitarians are not accustomed to having any variation of the “r” word used on them, so don’t be surprised if your opponent, his mouth hanging open in disbelief, suddenly withdraws.
Why fight with one hand tied behind your back?
Gun prohibitionists want to trash part of the Bill of Rights. In Disarm The Citizenry columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote, “Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic - purely symbolic - move in that direction [a disarmed citizenry]. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation.”(11) (italics added) See also The TRUE Meaning Of Gun Control - In The Words Of Its Proponents which can be accessed at this website.
Gun prohibitionists lie, tell half-truths, and pander to people’s emotions to get what they want. Since the facts are not on their side, prohibitionists will try to scare middle-class whites into believing that guns put them (and their children) at risk. Gun rights activists should not be afraid of discussing the correlation between race and violent crime, especially since “gun violence” is offered as a justification for disarming ordinary people. Use all of the facts at your disposal, even if people call you names. If enough people have the backbone to speak candidly about the correlation between race and violent crime the “r” word will be seen for what it is -- just a smear.
1. I refuse to use the phrase “gun control” since it is so vague as to be virtually meaningless. What are euphemistically referred to as “common sense gun controls,” e.g., registration, and licensing of gun owners, are just the groundwork for future confiscation. See text accompanying notes 3 and 12, infra.
2. For example, the 2000 Democratic Party Platform on “Strong and Sensible Gun Laws” began with the phrase, “A shocking level of gun violence...” The platform called for the licensing of all new handgun buyers. Handgun Control, Inc. has an affiliate called the Center To Prevent Handgun Violence. The home page for Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse claims, “We are all the unwitting victims of handgun violence.” We must continually challenge gun prohibitionists on their use of the phrase “gun violence.” As noted in the text, violent crimes are committed with guns not by them. When a prohibitionist uses that phrase point out that the trigger did not pull itself.
3. “Disarm The Citizenry,” The Washington Post, April 5, 1996, page A19.
4. International comparisons of criminal justice statistics, Issue 04/00, 22 February 2000, Research Development & Statistics Directorate, British Home Office. This bulletin may be accessed on-line at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs/hosb400.pdf or ordered by contacting RDS Information And Publications Group, Home Office, Room 201, 50 Queen Anne’s Gate, LONDON SW1H9AT, Tel: 020 7273 2084.
5. According to the FBI, the per capita homicide rate for the United States in 1999 fell to 5.7 per 100,000 inhabitants. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States - Uniform Crime Reports, October 15, 2000, p. 13.
6. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States - Uniform Crime Reports, October 17, 1999. Statewide rates for various crimes, including homicide, are listed at pp.74-82.
7. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States - Uniform Crime Reports, October 15, 2000. Per capita violent crime rates for cities and towns with population over 10,000 are listed at pp. 111-150.
8. No data on the City of Baltimore was listed in the Uniform Crime Reports released October 15, 2000. This rate is from the UCR for the previous year when the statewide per capita homicide rate for Maryland was 10.0. In 1998 the homicide rate in Baltimore would have been 470% higher than in the State of Maryland as a whole.
9. The Color Of Crime, 1999, New Century Foundation, p. 3.
10. The name of this web site until February 1, 2001.
11. Note 3, supra