This Washington Post headline says the reasons are "elusive," but there's no question that, when it comes to violent crime, we can forever rule out a couple of left-wing myths: Though gun ownership has spiked along with the poverty rate, gun deaths and the violent crime rate have plummeted:
The drop in deaths from firearms and in slayings overall — over the past two decades, homicide declined by 80 percent in the District and overall crime fell by 75 percent in New York City — has come even as the economy has tanked, the number of guns owned by Americans has soared and the number of young people in the prime crime demographic has peaked. …
Since Solberg became a police officer 25 years ago, the prison population has tripled nationally, the result of anti-drug and anti-gun enforcement efforts, mandatory minimum sentencing, and the widespread elimination of parole. Most studies agree that increases in incarceration explain part of the decline in violent crime, though Solberg and many criminologists say the warehousing of young men convicted of nonviolent crimes causes as many social problems as it solves.
Police and residents also credit community policing, in which officers meet with local activists and keep close tabs on known bad guys.
Let's see … more people are armed and therefore able to defend themselves, policing is more aggressive, and more bad guys are being thrown in jail.
And the violent crime rate is going down?
I'm so confused!
Personally, I have always resented the left-wing hustle about poverty causing crime. This stereotype not only smeared the poor, but it was used as a way to increase dependency on Democrats and their welfare state. While this lie lived, instead of locking up bad guys, we social worked them. And who are disproportionately the VICTIMS of violent crime? The poor.
When we were just starting out, my wife and I lived through the madness of this philosophy first-hand. It was during the mid-eighties in what was known as the "core" of Milwaukee. Crime was everywhere. We never felt safe, and we were the ones living behind (window) bars. Vandalism, violence, and theft were a daily fact of life. It was like we were living in a vampire movie -- when the sun went down, the monsters came out.
Trust me, no one in our neighborhood wanted more social workers; we wanted more cops and bigger prisons.
Though the Washington Post is reluctant to admit it, the left long ago lost the crime debate. But before that could happen, their misguided soft-on-crime nonsense left a devastating path of destruction in the families and neighborhoods of our nation's poorest and most vulnerable.
Now that people are armed and the tolerance for crime and criminals is almost universally conservative, things are improving.
There's nothing "elusive" about that, Washington Post.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC