Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Homicide

I’m Ready to Give Up On Gun Control–But Let’s Close the TSA

I know, right? Depressing headline. But it’s true. After some years of writing about gun control, I can’t do it anymore. As a society, we’ve made our choice–we’ve decided that it’s worth it to have a much more dangerous society in the name of freedom. But if that’s the principle, I want to abolish the TSA and go back to 90s airport security. Remember the 90s? You could just walk into the airport and go straight to the gate. No lines. No fuss. Sure, 2,996 people died on 9/11. But guns were used in 13,286 homicides in 2015 alone. There were zero terrorist attacks involving passenger planes in the 17 years before 9/11. But guns kill another 13 or 14 thousand people every year. Gun rights advocates might think the right to travel unmolested by the TSA is worth only a fraction of what the right to own a gun is worth. But we sacrificed our travel rights over only a tiny fraction of the number of lives guns take from us. I’m giving up on taking people’s guns, but I want them to give me back my airports.

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Chicago Protesters Had Good Reasons to Be Upset Long Before Laquan McDonald

In Chicago, people are taking to the streets in response to the shooting of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by officer Jason Van Dyke, apparently for brandishing a knife and refusing to put it down when asked to do so:

Van Dyke has been charged with first degree murder. So far, the demonstrations have been peaceful and riots have not broken out. In the wake of a horrible incident like this, it’s important for us to remember that racism goes well beyond individual killings–there has long been statistical data documenting systemic racial inequalities in Chicago. These statistics don’t get as much attention from the media and from protesters because they’re not as emotionally gripping as a killing, but the suffering they demonstrate is every bit as real and much greater in scope.

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4 Charts that Prove the Mental Illness Argument Against Gun Control is Bunk

Another week, another mass shooting in the United States. Barack Obama is furious at congress for its continual unwillingness to pass comprehensive gun control. Jeb Bush says “stuff happens”:

Once again the right is coming out with the same tired arguments, claiming that guns have nothing to do with gun violence, that mental illness is the culprit. This argument is facile and demonstrably wrong. I can show you why in four charts.

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4 Questions about the Charleston Shooting and the Confederate Flag

Last week, 21-year old Dylann Roof murdered nine people with a handgun in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Over the course of the last week, much has been said about this in the American press, and I want to discuss some of the moral and political questions at stake here. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Don’t Kill People. Guns Do.

I’ve been doing some more thinking about the recent cases in which American police officers shoot and kill people (e.g. Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, etc.). It has occurred to me that there are two important angles to the national debate we’re having, but I’ve only really talked about one of those angles on this blog. They are:

  1. The Race Angle–why do American police officers disproportionately shoot more black people than white people, even when you adjust for poverty and crime rates?
  2. The Civil Liberty Angle–why do American police officers shoot more people per capita than police officers in other developed countries?

In late November, I offered a view on the race angle, but what about the civil liberty angle? What is it about America that causes American police officers to behave differently from police officers from other similarly developed societies? Let’s investigate.

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