Ask yourself: What is the one element that is present in most shootings by another person?
I'm not talking suicides by gun (which typically are three times more common than gun homicides and usually make up just over half of all suicides.) I'm talking about being killed or wounded by a firearm in the hands of another person. Or, hell, even shot at.
Before I go on let me point something out. Something that has a major influence on why there's an elephant in the room. An elephant that not only the government isn't talking about; the cops know it, but don't make official statements or talk about it in court; and gun control advocates are mum about too. The idea is found in what's called a "bill of attainder." The U.S. Constitution prohibits them as do the constitutions of all 50 states.
So what is a bill of, writ of, act of attainder? From the dictionary: Under English common law, the state of having lost one's legal and civil personhood, as through losing the legal capacity to own or pass on property.
In plain English it's when you're condemned by the state as a criminal (or traitor) without trial or specific charge. You're -- literally -- declared an outlaw. Not in the romantic bad ass sense of the word, but meaning you're outside the protection of the law. Civil rights? You don't have any.
Protection by the law? Nope. Sure they can shoot you down like a rabid dog on sight. But more than that they can put you in prison without trial and throw away the key. The cashier's check about this, however, is anything you own can be seized by the powers that be -- again without trial or chance to defend yourself. Taking this a step further, it's not necessarily a specific crime, it's just that you are... you know... a criminal and therefore deserve all this happening to you.
"No bills of attainder allowed" doesn't sound like a big thing, but quite frankly you don't want the government to have the ability to write them up. It's been abused way too often in the past by the rich and powerful. They tell someone in the court, "This guy pissed me off" and 'viola!' you're a state certified outlaw. You're on the run, everything you own is seized, your family is destitute, and helping you isn't just a crime, but giving you a hand will get those folks the same treatment.
As an individual in the U.S. you can only be charged with a specific crime. This nix on bills of attainder is why -- if you listen very carefully -- you'll not hear cops, lawyers, lawmakers, or others refer to someone as 'a criminal' (on the record), but more commonly refer to the person as "involved in criminal activity." While you might hear someone referred to as a career criminal that's both dancing close to the line and still the person can only be charged for specific crimes. While 'career criminal' acknowledge the individual is making his livelihood through criminal activities, it's not branding the individual as an outlaw for just breathing. It does, however, have a lot to do with sentencing. (Habitual is another common term.)
Now to the average person this 'you can't label someone a criminal' sounds stupid. Because we all know there are criminals. We know the cops and courts know there are criminals. If you've dealt with them, you know it's not just a career it's a way of life and mindset. But if you're in the government, a cop, a psychiatrist, or associated with the legal system there are the folks called, 'lawyers.' Lawyers can make a mountain out of a molehill and cause all kinds of problems if an official pronounces someone 'a criminal' and tries to punish them for that general condition. Now this whole 'the government can't call someone a criminal' may sound silly to you, but it's kind of like political correctness. And like PC, it has fangs because of the rules and lawyers.
So guess what is not tracked on a national level when it comes to shootings?
You got it, criminal records and behavior. It is tracked on a local level because it has a lot to do with the investigation into the shooting. Oh and by the way, no matter what you've heard or think: The cops can't blow off a homicide investigation just because the guy was a criminal. Nope, death of a citizen must be investigated. They may do a sloppy, half-assed job because they know he's a douche, but they can't officially ignore it. It has to be investigated especially if it results in a corpse.
In case you didn't get it, the answer to the 'what element is present' question is criminal behavior.
When it comes to gun deaths and shootings, crime is more important than race. It is more important than age. It is more important than income. It is more important than sex. And it definitely has a lot to do with who is pulling the trigger and why. That's why it's 'absence' in official numbers is a serious, "Hold the phone." As in how the hell can you have a rational conversation about guns without it?
The answer is you can't.
This is more suggestive of an agenda than actually looking at the subject of guns, shootings, and deaths. The bottom line is in the U.S. we have a professional, armed criminal class who shoot each other with distressing regularity. They in fact make up most of (nonsuicide) gunshot 'victims.'
Now while I say, "When it comes to crime there are no statistics that are worth wiping your ass with," I'm going to have to use them to demonstrate a point. It varies from year to year, city to city, but -- in places where homicides are common -- the rate of homicide victims who have criminal records typically range between 90 percent to 100 percent. Oh and guess what?
The same majority applies to the shooters themselves. As one cop from a mid-sized city once told me, "In the twenty years I have been on the force, we've never had a homicide where the victim was not known to the police."
So yeah crime and shootings? Big connection.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!?!?!
Let's talk about some ugly realities here. First, if you keep on using that phrase what do you mean by 'children?' Do you mean anybody under the age of eighteen? Because where I'm from we call anyone past the age of twelve a "teen."
Those ages ten years between two and twelve are "children." And under two babies, infants, or toddlers. The term children typically implies that two to twelve period. (Although legal standards usually go to fourteen and anyone above that is a minor.) Under twelve, however, are not the majority of people under eighteen being shot.\
In fact, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report the by age break down of all homicides of minors in 2015 was:
Additionally (and for comparison)
Now that's homicides by all means, not just guns. (While very few infants or toddlers are shot, most are killed by abuse and neglect.) Notice the rise in numbers starting with the teens.
Once again we are facing something that is deliberately not tracked on a national level, but is one of those 'criminal thaings.' And that is gang affiliation.
But let's talk about gang affiliation. Not just membership. Gang members make up a majority of teens who are shot and killed. But also on that list are people who know, are related to, and -- often -- are in physical proximity to a gang member (who is the actual target). This especially means other minors. Oh and do you want to know the fastest way for a teenage girl to get shot? Try screwing or partying with a gang member. It's all fun and games until the other side shows up, and bullets start flying.
When you talk about these issues, the common anti-gun and gun control advocate will try to zig and start talking about all the five- and six-year-olds who are shot. After all those children couldn't be in a gang at that age. Nor are they willingly affiliating with them.
Well this will make you want to scream. First, yes, a four-year-old isn't likely to be a gang member, but that child is often in proximity to his or her Baby Daddy -- who is in a gang. Oh and *is* the target. The same goes for younger siblings of gang members. Turns out other gangs aren't really concerned about who gets caught in the crossfire.
Then comes the real disgusting element of how many gangs and criminal organization use children -- actual seven-, eight-, nine- and ten-year-old children-- as part of their criminal enterprises. Talk to older gang members and try to find some who didn't grow up as a hangers on or were being used as mules and look-outs. And yes if a drive-by shooting or assassination happens there's a good chance these children will be caught in the cross fire between warring criminal groups.
So even legitimately innocent children are swept up in criminal gun violence. Not as many as gang member minors, but innocent children. Wanna try and take them away? Oh great, if your try now you're involving child protective services, family court, and parental rights. Welcome to a whole new can of worms.
Now I want to address how a small percentage of children are deliberately killed by firearms. That is in mass shootings, commonly in the form of familial murders and suicides. This isn't 'crime related' nearly as much as it's a family member going off the deep end. Usually the father who kills his family then himself. But often enough not to be uncommon, it's a sibling who also kills parents. (I should say I was once woken up by the sound of gunfire as a father -- who'd killed his two children -- committed suicide by cop by opening up on the local police station. I also have a friend who survived a familial murder/suicide incident so I'm not talking in the abstract about this.) I'm going to redirect your attention to 2015 homicide numbers by age. Then I will point out that of the tens of thousands of gun deaths these are -- if not under 100 -- in the low hundred plus. It happens and it is a horrible tragedy.
Criminal activity ranks in the hundreds of thousands when it comes to homicides and shootings, especially when we factor in robberies using firearms. One source put the 2015 firearm robberies at 123,358.
(Look at the third footnote. Odds are those numbers are extremely low. You also have to factor in the numbers of 'shots fired' reports when the police showed everyone was gone because nobody got hit.)
Oh and BTW, a University of Chicago/Duke study found criminals are armed because they fear each other more than the police. It also found that most firearms in the hands of criminals are acquired by illegal means (i.e., criminal networks).
So yeah in case you missed it: In the U.S. we have a professional criminal class. Criminals who are both heavily armed and who have a bad habit of shooting each other. And they aren't too persnickity about 'civilian casualties.' Now while the average citizen might return the lack of concern and say, "Good, let them kill each other" that isn't how the government works.
Nor should you want a government that takes that line.
Something that does concern Joe and Jane Civilian, however, is when criminals stop shooting each other and aim their guns at... well... Joe and Jane. This is of particular importance to people who work behind the counters of establishments likely to be robbed. In other words, civilians tend to get cranky about criminals pointing guns at them. And face it, it happens -- especially in high crime areas.
Now what you may not know is that high crime areas are not exclusive to poor neighborhoods. Nope. Have you ever heard the term "Robbery Corridor?" It's the one-half to a mile 'corridor' on either side of a freeway and nearby on/off ramps. Businesses located here-- especially cash heavy ones -- are more likely to be robbed than businesses farther away from the freeways. Why? Simple, easier escapes. Jump on the freeway and you're gone. There are various 'crime tracker' sights that show both the types of crime and locations.
You'll also see personal robberies go way up in popular social and night time locations with multiple exit routes. In other words, you're more likely to be mugged while out for dinner and a movie than you are stopping off to pick up your dry cleaning after work.
The fact is very few people who are not involved in criminal lifestyles are ever going to get shot, get shot at, or -- as there are a huge number of unreported robberies and rip offs in the criminal world -- get robbed by a criminal. But that doesn't mean you aren't at risk.
The fact of the matter is you -- whether you know it or not -- probably travel in and out of high crime areas every day and its your lifestyle choices that have a lot to do with your chances of running into a criminal. High crime areas are often safe to go into during the day, but not so much at night. For example in Denver, one of the higher crime areas is downtown where during the day, it's business. At night, it's leisure and entertainment... and robberies and theft.
You've got a good chance of being the victim of a violent crime if you live in a city. This is especially true if you use the same 'accounting' as the alarmist agenda people and include your entire lifetime. (Although for bragging rights, I do have to admit it's been more than 20 years since I was last shot at -- I've never gone that long in my entire life.)
Also, if you live long enough there's a good chance of being on the ground when something bad happens. (Another example, I spent the LA Riots in '92, sitting on my porch, reading, and smoking my pipe with a shotgun next to me as the riots came within two miles of my house.) Seeing mobs run up and down the streets burning and looting forever answered the question of 'why would anyone need a high capacity magazine?' I saw the rioters turned back on live TV. Oh and in case you're wondering, 2000-2010 was the first decade of my life when I wasn't caught in a riot or just down the road from one. I'm going for two consecutive decades in 2020. It makes up for the multiples I dealt with in the '90s. What can I say? Fun times... not.
So let's get real. When people argue for gun control don't let them distract you from the issue of crime. But especially don't let them get away with using statistics that ignore criminal activity. Because while politicians, academics, and gun control proponents can ignore the connection of gun violence and criminals, you can't.
But now you can point out that yes, there's a deliberate attempt to ignore the fact that criminals have guns. Your right to self-defense and gun ownership is strongly tied to this fact.
1) Although interestingly enough while there are commonly three-million-two-hundred- thousand-plus suicide attempts in the U.S. Attempted suicides by firearms typically only numbers in the low hundreds. Yes you read that right, firearms are-- technically speaking -- the leading means of suicide, but are statistically meaningless in suicide attempts. Drug and booze overdoses are the second most common means of suicide, but -- again talking the majority -- also are the most common attempted suicide methods. (Source: Centers for Disease Control
2) The work-around for that is using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), but that is when you're part of an organization that is deemed criminal and arising from specific charges.
3) Yes, it's a big statement. Let's start with any solid number that is given as 'proof' is incorrect. I don't care who it's from.
Issue number one - If it's from 'official sources' (Federal Bureau of Investigation , Bureau of Justice Statistics, Center for Disease Control) it is based on reported crimes. A lot of shit goes down that isn't reported. Mainly because it's between criminals. Which remember, no bills of attainder, so it's still a crime.
Issue number two - What definitions and standards are used? Really, really important. For example, the FBI defines mass shootings as four or more people killed excluding the shooter. (Understandable given murder/suicides and rampage shootings.) Whereas other organizations include both wounded and the shooter in their definition of 'mass shootings.' So how many mass shootings happened in a particular year? It depends on the definition. Official numbers tend to be low because of this.
Issue number three - Are the numbers provided accurate? Seriously, we're talking business and politics having a vested interests in not accurately reporting how much crime occurs.
Issue number four - Remember lies, damned lies and statistics? (Go read "How to Lie with Statistics" by Daryl Huff.) I'll give you a hint. An area with zero homicides for ten years will demonstrate a 100 percent increase for the year if someone is killed.
Issue number five - Estimated numbers. Yeeeeeeah, some lie low, some lie high-- especially when your funding is based on the size of the crisis you are reporting on. Basically, the idea is to take the known low numbers and make up huge numbers to warrant your funding.
Issue number six - Redefinition of crime. Basically the exact reverse of number two with a heap of the motive for number five included. Instead of narrowing the definition, expanding them. For example, rape is no longer defined only as forced penetration. Add in drunk sex, throw in "sexual assault" (up to including a boob bump) and 'attempted' rapes and estimates and the numbers explode.
Number seven is yearly variances. Let's say there are ten shooting victims per year in a city over five years. For the last two years, all shooting 'victims' were criminals. The year before that there was a murder of a non-criminal (so the rate of criminals as victims dropped to 90 percent) before that it was 100 percent criminal. This year, there was a familial murder suicide where ex lost it, shot his former wife and two kids, then himself. (Excluding the shooter only 70 percent of the people shot and killed were criminals for that year.) Those are going to change the percentages. In tracking homicide averages for the last five years do you use the mean, the median, or the mode? Because each will give you different numbers. All statistically sound.
The best I can do to accurately convey understanding is to provide actual numbers when ever possible and when using statistics say they typically range between ___ and ___ .