Sometimes the headline just writes itself.
So it is with the announcement that President Barack “Empty Chair” Obama will leave an empty chair in the First Lady’s box at the State of the Union Address. The empty chair is help vacant for the victims of gun violence (sic).
A Vacant Seat for the Victims of Gun Violence
Last week, the President took a series of commonsense steps to help reduce gun violence in America and make our communities safer.
We leave one seat empty in the First Lady’s State of the Union Guest Box for the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice – because they need the rest of us to speak for them. To tell their stories. To honor their memory. To support the Americans whose lives have been forever changed by the terrible ripple effect of gun violence – survivors who’ve had to learn to live with a disability, or without the love of their life. To remind every single one of our representatives that it’s their responsibility to do something about this.
To see what an empty gesture that this is, let’s drill down through the numbers. The gun prohibitionists at Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors tell us that 88 people die daily due to “gun violence” (sic). Using their own numbers, this includes a daily average of 55 people who commit suicide using a firearm. This is disingenuous as it blames the instrument for their deaths. We don’t talk about intentional overdose violence or Golden Gate Bridge violence or subway violence but all are a means by which people have killed themselves. Realistically we should be more concerned with the why of suicide than the how but then that wouldn’t fit the narrative.
After you take out the 55 people a day who commit suicide using a gun, you are left with 33 deaths per day. Of these, still using Everytown’s averages, about 2 daily are due to unintentional injuries and undetermined circumstances. That leaves 31 homicides per day and here is where it gets interesting.
During 2013, according to the CDC, there were 11,208 homicides that involved a firearm. Breaking it down by race and ethnicity, you find that non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 56.8% of homicide victims, non-Hispanic whites for 25% of homicide victims, and those of Hispanic ethnicity for 15.6% of homicide victims. Asians, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and “other” only were victims in 2.6% of homicides.
Current census statistics show that non-Hispanic blacks are only 12.4% of the total US population with those of Hispanic ethnicity making up another 17.1%. Non-Hispanic whites account for 62.6% of the population. So while Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks make up only 29.5% of the US population, they account for 72.4% of homicide victims.
Given that non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics make up the great majority of homicide victims, I had to speculate about the age distribution. The CDC 2013 aggregate statistics didn’t give this info but their WONDER database did allow for searches by race and age groups.
Whites showed a fairly even distribution with tails for the young and elderly. The 25-29 age group was the peak age group for homicides among whites at 12% of white homicides. Murder victims between the ages of 15 and 34 account for 38.8% of all white murder victims. Keep that number in mind.
Hispanics and non-Hispanic black murder numbers were skewed younger and less evenly distributed by age. Hispanic murder victims between the ages of 15 and 34 accounted for 68.6% of all Hispanics murdered. The peak age group was between 20 and 24 with 24.1% of all Hispanic murder victims. Non-Hispanic blacks showed similar results. 71.9% of black murder victims were between the ages of 15 and 34 with the peak age group being the same 20 to 24 years of age as Hispanics. That age group accounted for 25.9% of black murder victims.
I am not a criminologist but even common sense (a word beloved by President Obama) would indicate that gang and drug-related crime is behind the significant concentration of deaths among younger blacks and Hispanics. Efforts concentrated on suppressing gangs combined with a more realistic policy on drugs would have a greater impact on reducing so-called gun violence (sic) than any of the gun control efforts that President Obama is seeking. However, given the unholy alliance in cities like Chicago between gangs and the Democrat machine, I doubt anything will be done to suppress the gangs. It is far easier to demonize guns and legal gun owners than it is to attack the root causes of either suicide or homicides.