Horrific, well-known incidents of violent crime often cause us to stop and think - or at least react emotionally. That's probably a good thing because it shows we haven't gotten too numb - yet - to the ugly. But we just as frequently grasp at straws to explain what happened and why because there are no simple answers and no simple solutions. Given my family's history with violent crime, boy do I wish that wasn't true. But I know from painful, personal experience that it is.
In response to this weekend's murder-suicide by a Kansas City Chiefs player, a sports columnist has written and uttered pretty damning words about the country's lack of gun control:
Jason Whitlock's Sunday column: In Kansas City, it's no time for a game
On the flip side:
From the piece:
And while falling violent crime is associated with a variety of different policies in different places, there's no one prescription you could point to. In fact, it's not clear how much of the decline is due to consciously pursued anti-crime policies at all. Nobody planned to cut the murder rate in New York, Boston or Washington by pushing real-estate prices up to the point where the socioeconomic groups more likely to commit murders could no longer afford to live there. Convincing arguments have been made that falling crime rates were caused by the legalisation of abortion and resulting decline in unwanted children. Others argue that reduced quantities of lead in the atmosphere due to the banning of leaded gasoline have played a major role, since lead stunts the parts of the brain responsible for judgment and impulse inhibition; studies have found the association between environmental lead and crime to be strong and statistically significant.