Black-on-black crime is a real issue

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Graphic copyright © 2020 Bill Cawthon.

The longer we try to deny it or sweep it under the rug, the more black people will be lost.

An opinion piece by Washington Post columnist Theresa Vargas caught my eye today.

In the usual emotional appeal to the tragedy of young people dying, and in obeisance to the dictums that thou shalt not speak of black-on-black crime and thou shalt never miss an opportunity to demonize guns and their owners, Ms. Vargas painted the picture of young blacks killed by gun violence.

Sorry, Ms. Vargas, those children weren’t killed by gun violence. They were killed by jackals that don’t give a damn about who they hit or whose lives they destroy by stealing their children. And all too often, they are the same race as their victims.

Davon McNeal, the 11-year-old boy killed on the Fourth of July, was the focus of Ms. Vargas’ piece. Here are the police mug shots of three of the four people accused of killing him.

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Three of the suspects live in southeast D.C. The fourth, Christian Wingfield, is a resident of Hillcrest Heights, Maryland, a community a few miles southeast of the District. He was captured in Alexandria, Virginia.

Washington D.C. has some of the strictest gun control laws in America. In fact, at one time their restrictions were so severe, the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional. You might remember the 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. Yet, for all those laws, the District has a homicide rate 4.6 times higher than the rate for the entire United States. The rate of all violent crime is 2.6 times higher.

Congress should feel right at home in the District of Columbia. I wonder if they have any concept at all of what’s going on within a couple of miles of the Capitol Building.

Yes, the guns in Washington D.C. come from outside the District. Even the off-duty handguns carried by police officers come from outside the state (because it’s a government agency, the Metropolitan Police Department can have the guns it issues to officers delivered directly from the manufacturer). That’s because there are no gun dealers in Washington, D.C. For the moment, the MPD is handling all legal gun sales in the District. Until recently, there was a licensed dealer but that dealer didn’t have a showroom; didn’t have an inventory. All the dealer did was handle legal firearm transfers from out of state sellers to residents of the District.

But to assert that the homicide rate in the District is all because of guns, you run into a problem. Unless the murderers themselves are whites coming into the District from Maryland or Virginia to hunt down blacks, which has never been reported as a significant issue, then the problem lies at home.

Blacks make up 47.1% of the District’s population. In 2018, they made up 94.4% of all homicide victims and 96.6% of the victims of gun-related homicides. In 2012, 98.8% of all homicide victims and 100% of the gun-related homicide victims in the District were black. This isn’t propaganda; these are real numbers reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers are similar for Chicago. Blacks are the victims in 77% of firearm-related murders. Latinos make up another 16%. So blacks and Latinos make up 93% of the city’s homicide victims. Any law enforcement professional knows that the problem isn’t guns; it’s gangs.

Gun control laws have no effect on gangs, criminal violence or the underground trade in firearms. If they did, they would have shown some results by this time. Before anyone says anything, they haven’t. If you actually look at the uncooked, un-massaged data, there isn’t a single measure to which anyone can point and say that a gun law has ever been a definitive factor in the rate of violent crime.

Why? Because criminals don’t get their guns in ways that gun laws can control and, besides, criminals don’t obey the law in the first place.

The U.S. Department of Justice has a vested interest in learning the real sources of crime guns. In 2016, DOJ researchers interviewed more than a quarter-million inmates in state and federal prisons. The chart below shows the results.

So what do we do? Write blacks off as a lost cause? Accuse Black Lives Matter of being a subversive front and ignore it?

Hell, no! While it may be damning with faint praise, there is nothing to indicate that blacks are inherently more violent than whites. And it doesn’t matter who formed the BLM movement, they have a legitimate concern: In the District of Columbia, the 2018 firearm-related homicide rate for blacks was more than 32 times the combined rate for all other racial groups. It was nearly 27% higher for all homicides, regardless of method or weapon.

And the Thought Police say black-on-black crime isn’t a permissible topic? If you can’t even mention it, how are you going to going to reduce it?

If anyone cared to do some actual, unbiased research, they would find that black-on-black crime is primarily an urban issue. Toxic urban environments are far deadlier to blacks than guns.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covering the 20-year period from 1999 to 2018, the average difference between the metropolitan and non-metropolitan rates of gun-related homicides with black victims was more than 48%. One might say that was statistically significant.

The problem can be solved but two very unpleasant facts must be confronted: A lot of people are going to be offended or upset and a solution will probably take a generation or more to produce meaningful results. The only people who will be singing “Kumbaya” anytime soon are youth groups on camping trips.

We all have a stake in this; we all either helped create it or allowed it to fester. It is not one issue; it’s many. Racial issues are part of the problem but they are not all of the problem and that’s going to be a bitter pill for some to have to swallow.

Professional writer. Passionately interested in facts. Founder of

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