Tag: guns

The Paranoia Cha Cha

Recently, I wrote about the fear and loathing that many Americans have for immigrants in general and for Latino immigrants in particular.


Hispanic immigrants are, to hear some people talk, hell-bent on bringing death and destruction across the border. Well, as we all know (or should know), immigration — both legal and undocumented — is way down over the past few years. So that surge at the border is greatly exaggerated.

Furthermore, numerous studies have found that “immigrants—regardless of nationality or legal status—are less likely than the native population to commit violent crimes or to be incarcerated.”

The nativist ignores that part about “regardless of nationality or legal status,” and says, “Well, sure. Those good immigrants from Europe and maybe India aren’t committing crimes. It’s the illegals!”

Sorry, but the data shows that while the undocumented population more than tripled between 1990 and 2013, the violent crime rate declined 48 percent. And violent crime continues to go down across America.

In addition, a separate paper explains that it’s not “well-behaved, high-skilled immigrants from India and China offsetting misdeeds of Latin American newcomers.” The study shows that “for every ethnic group without exception, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants.” And in a stat sure to annoy conservative alarmists, this “holds true especially for the Mexicans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans who make up the bulk of the undocumented population.”

Digging deeper into the data, we find that immigrant adolescents — often portrayed in the media as a swarm of Latin King gangbangers — are in fact, “statistically less likely to engage in delinquent behaviors, such as fighting, selling drugs, binge drinking, carrying guns, or using marijuana and other illegal drugs” than their peers.

So if immigrants — even the undocumented Hispanic ones — aren’t committing all these crimes, who is? Or to paraphrase a not-so-wise man, “Who is doing all the raping?”

The answer seems to be, “Americans.” The immigrant boogeyman is no match for born-and-bred craziness.

Now, if we eliminate the immigrant subcategory and look at crime rates among Hispanics, we get a more nuanced picture.

A study shows that Latinos made up about 16.6 percent of all arrests, comparable to our percentage of the US population. We are sadly overrepresented in some categories (e.g., motor vehicle theft) and underrepresented in others (e.g., there are few Latino embezzlers). One stat I found interesting is that Hispanics have a very low rate of offenses against family members and children (6.2 percent of all arrests). Clearly, the legendary emphasis that Latinos place on family isn’t just talk.

In any case, one of the more disturbing aspects of the study is the following: For all the fears that white people have about being victims of crime (often at the hands of some swarthy minority), it is Hispanics who should be concerned.

For example, the homicide rate for Latinos is double the rate for white people.

And Latinos experience a higher rate of hate crime than whites or blacks. The data shows that the rate of hate crime incidents against Latinos is slightly higher than the rate for blacks. And the Hispanic rate is more than triple that of whites.

So perhaps it is we Latinos who should be saying, “Crime is out of control” and locking ourselves up in gated communities.

Hey, don’t rule it out.



Yeah, Right

So the United States has resumed its wild, impetuous stab at having a functioning government. After this latest farce, internet sites are alive with comments along the lines of the following:

“We need to kick out every member of Congress and start fresh.”

I know we live in a country where nearly half the citizens people can’t name the vice president, but I find it hard to believe anybody is so ignorant of the political process that he or she thinks voting out all 535 members of Congress is a realistic option.


We’ll start with the fact that elections are staggered (hence the term “midterm election”). As such, I doubt anybody’s rage is going to last another five years or so, which is how long it would take to excise all the offending congressmen and women. And we’ll add on the stat that while most people hate Congress, they tend to like their own reps, so we will likely see most of these supposedly toxic incumbents return.

This idea is even less practical and more insane than the delusional belief, which I’ve written about before, that we can easily deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.

In the interest of saving time, here are some other political ideas I’ve heard recently that appear just as likely to happen.

“We need to separate into two different countries. Red states and blue states.” (I’m pretty sure we fought a war about this, and the outcome was rather conclusive. We appear to be stuck with one another for the foreseeable future.)

“We need a task force of really smart leaders who will come up with bipartisan solutions to our problems.” (That’s what Congress is supposed to be.)

“We need to mandate IQ tests to make sure people are smart enough to vote.” (Anyone who thinks an IQ test accurately measures political acumen probably doesn’t have a very high IQ.)

“We need to confiscate every gun in America that’s not in the hands of the police or military.” (It amazes me how liberals think that Second Amendment advocates—many of whom are paranoid and all of whom are armed—will somehow go along with this idea.)

“We need to use Jurassic Park-type technology to reanimate the Founding Fathers so they can tell us their original intent regarding the Constitution.” (OK, I made this one up, but wouldn’t that be cool?)

A Cynic’s Dream

I must admit that I thought, ok, surely this man will be found guilty of something. Maybe not first-degree murder, but certainly a guy who defies police orders, grabs a gun, leaves the safety of his surroundings, and accosts a total stranger who is minding his own business — ultimately gunning that stranger down — well, he clearly did something wrong.

But not in Florida.


I’m not saying the jurors were morons, or the prosecution botched the case, or the law is messed up. It might be all or none of those things. I’m saying that somewhere along society’s sutures, there is a fundamental flaw that allows things like this to happen.

As for Zimmerman supporters, well, it’s one thing to say that legally the guy should not have been convicted. Perhaps you can make a case.

It’s another to smugly prance around with a sign saying, “Self-defense is a basic human right,” while completely (and shockingly) ignoring the fact that this principle should apply to Trayvon Martin just as much, if not more so, than to the adult packing heat who goes out of his way to provoke confrontation.

It’s worth remembering that Zimmerman’s family intentionally played down his Hispanic roots. That’s ok. I doubt many Latinos were insulted, as few of us really want to be associated with him.

Of course, Zimmerman will get his gun back. And now he’s learned he can use it on whomever he wants (especially unarmed teenagers) without fear of legal consequences. It’s apparently his right as an American.


Another Round

So there I was, blasting away at the bull’s-eye with a .22 rifle. When I was done, I handed the gun back to its owner and wondered if I should feel exhilarated or manly or something. But I just felt indifferent.

I was fourteen, and that’s the only time I’ve ever fired a gun. In the decades since, I’ve had no desire to repeat the experience.

I don’t own a gun, a fact that aligns with a larger statistic. We Latinos are the ethnic group least likely to own a firearm. Just 18 percent of us are packing heat. In contrast, more than one-third of white people (and a sky-high 61 percent of Southern white men) are armed.

To continue reading this post, please click here.


Bang and Blame

I’ve written before about the fact that people who own guns are more likely to use them on themselves or a loved one than for self-defense.

And I’ve also written before about the tendency of Americans to make up imaginary assailants to cover up their real crimes. Invariably, the fictitious thug is black or Hispanic.

Well, these disparate elements combined this week in Texas, when “police in San Antonio say a group of friends panicked after one of them accidentally shot another in the back, and tried to pin the whole thing on a Hispanic male who never existed.”

Apparently, a 19-year-old kid, who had no problem getting a handgun (this is America, after all), was “handling the weapon in a reckless manner when it suddenly went off.” One of the ace marksman’s friends was hit, and although nobody died, they had to come up with a story when they hit the emergency room.

Naturally, they said a Latino tried to carjack them. The cops, to their credit, didn’t buy it, and the teen hotshot has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest.

So what have we learned from this fiasco? Well, for starters, it shows that many Americans still believe nothing is more plausible than a Latino or black man popping up out of nowhere to rob and shoot you. But it also shows that this particular racist trope is pretty much played out.

So as service to you readers who trying to cover up your own botched shootings and/or self-inflicted stupidity, let me offer some advice.

You’re going to have to get creative when you talk to the cops. That means no more “a big scary Latino guy did it!”

To fool the cops, you need to describe your imaginary assailant as such:

“He was half Chinese, half Finnish, with some black Irish on his mother’s side and a smattering of Chilean blood. He was left-handed with a limp, and he had a dueling scar in the shape of a mermaid across his chin. He carried the discrete sadness of enduring multiple heartbreaks, combined with the air of a former military man. His lower-class status belied his bourgouis ambitions, and his racial and ethnic makeup are the perfect encapsulation of America’s changing demographics.”

Then add, “Oh yeah. And he had a gun. Yup.”

Let’s see how that one works.


The Tyranny of…Well, Something or Other

Recently, I wrote about America’s love affair with guns. One argument that Second Amendment proponents use, to great effect, is that an armed citizenry prevents government tyranny.

Indeed, there are many Americans who believe that a “disarmed society is an obedient society…in which, at the extreme, people obey their own government’s orders to follow the line into the gas chambers.”

Well, that certainly is an unpleasant image.

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A few weeks ago, the head of the NYPD criticized Latinos and blacks for tolerating gun violence. Commissioner Ray Kelly’s timing could not have been more exquisite, for as we all know, some nut in Colorado has decided to take part in that most American of activities: the mass shooting of strangers.

Although it’s true that “America’s Hispanic population suffers from firearm violence at rates far greater than the U.S. population overall,” the idea that Latinos are more accepting of violence is darkly hilarious. After all, most of the mass shootings that grab headlines have taken place in predominately white small towns and suburbs.

To continue reading this post, please click here. 



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