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Activism Political Commentary

Seizing the Narrative on Violent Crime

Replied to Yes, We Have a Violent Crime Problem by Jill Filipovic (Jill Filipovic)

Right now, there is a vacuum, and conservatives are filling it. Off of Twitter and off of social media, a whole lot of Americans are concerned about rising violent crime rates. Yes, Americans do routinely over-estimate how common crime really is. But crime in America is also really, appallingly common, and that really is a problem. People see that. But their concerns aren’t being heard, let alone adequately addressed, by the left. And in the meantime, the right is taking full advantage: telling Americans that crime is an even bigger problem than they imagine, that it’s concentrated in Democratic-run cities, that it’s the result of defunding the police, that liberals don’t care, that the only way to fix it is to reject the Black Lives Matter movement and the socialist left and reinvest in public order and aggressive policing. They offer a choice: live in a crime-ridden socialist Antifa hellhole, or get on the law and order train.

Make Republicans own gun violence the way Democrats have tried to make them own mass shootings: By emphasizing that far fewer of these homicides would have been as deadly, and certainly not as randomly deadly, without easy access to guns… Guns are problem #1, and if Republicans aren’t willing to address gun violence, it’s worth asking why they’re so soft on crime — why they don’t care if your neighborhood is turned into a shooting gallery.

I like this approach.

And, Republicans aren’t even about law and order. They want to be vigilantes and carry concealed weapons wherever they want: the opposite of lawfulness. And as fun as it is to read comics about vigilantes or watch movies about the lone man standing up for “what’s right” and killing who needs to be killed, in the real world that’s toxic individuality and lawlessness. In the real world, white people shoot brown people for non capital offenses. For imagined crimes. They murder people who don’t deserve to die to “protect property” and feel like they are heroes. No one should die over stolen goods. This isn’t olde time England where stealing a horse gets you hanged. Except it often is. In America, jogging through a white neighborhood gets you chased down and shot by racist vigilantes. In America, locking your keys in your car gets you shot in the back by an off-duty police officer as you try to flee to safety. There’s no defense against a random with a gun who’s decided you deserve to die.

Getting guns out of vigilantes’ hands would make us all safer. You don’t have to worry about some bozo with a gun taking justice into his own hands (especially since he’s usually wrong). As a society we claim that people are considered innocent until proven guilty, yet both armed civilians and cops act as executioners for non-violent crimes and innocents.

Guns escalate situations, they don’t diffuse them. Guns make violence much more likely. You can’t discuss or debate anything rationally when your life is threatened. Guns come out, and walking away is taken off the table.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at tracy.durnell@gmail.com. She/her.

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