William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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THE GREEN RIBBONS – QUOTE OF THE DAY – AT 9:24 A.M. ET:   For those of you who watched, you saw many people at the State of the Union wearing green ribbons.  That was in tribute to victims of gun violence.

I have no problems with the ribbons.  Nor do I have any problem, as I've stated before, with Constitutional, effective, measures that can reduce violence.  I have a big problem, illustrated by empty words last night, with politicians who pound the table on "gun control," making one useless proposal after another, while utterly refusing to discuss awkward issues that finally get to the heart of the matter.

The great African-American economist Walter Williams states some truths about the root causes of gun violence, and why gun violence is only a serious problem in certain communities.  Williams is courageous for saying these things, but, if we address the problems, we'll make a real contribution to reducing the number of tragedies we see each year: 

What explains a lot of what we see today, which politicians and their liberal allies would never condemn, is growing cultural deviancy. Twenty-nine percent of white children, 53 percent of Hispanics and 73 percent of black children are born to unmarried women. The absence of a husband and father from the home is a strong contributing factor to poverty, school failure, crime, drug abuse, emotional disturbance and a host of other social problems. By the way, the low marriage rate among blacks is relatively new. Census data show that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults from 1890 to 1940. In 2009, the poverty rate among married whites was 3.2 percent; for blacks, it was 7 percent, and for Hispanics, it was 13.2 percent. The higher poverty rates — 22 percent for whites, 35.6 percent for blacks and 37.9 percent for Hispanics — are among unmarried families.

Other forms of cultural deviancy are found in the kind of music accepted today that advocates killing and rape and other vile acts. Punishment for criminal behavior is lax. Today's Americans accept behavior that our parents and grandparents never would have accepted.

COMMENT:  Williams, of course, is correct.  A recent study of police precincts in New York showed huge spikes in violence in minority areas.   This isn't because banks lend money to gun manufacturers, as the mayor of Chicago seems to think, but because of social pathologies that have spun out of control. 

White liberals, and radical blacks, for years refused to deal seriously with crime in New York.  It took a Republican mayor, Rudy Giuliani, to take on the problem, and largely defeat it.  But crime will be reduced even further if we address the cultural failures that encourage violent behavior.  How, though, can we do that when leftist professors and journalists too often refuse to accept that there's a problem in the first place?   

February 13, 2013