The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 June 2003

Post-adolescent children

Eric Scheie looks at this Philadelphia Inquirer story about the horror of children being shot to death, and discovers that most of them aren't children at all. He quotes this statement by the group Philadelphia Safe and Sound:

Guns and youth homicide in Philadelphia are closely linked. Between 1995 and 1999, more than 85 percent of all homicide victims ages 7 to 24 were killed by guns. Within the broader community efforts to combat crime and violence, intervention must be targeted and focused on youth-related crime. For example, increased efforts to reduce the number of guns available to youth would cut the number of juvenile homicides.

Note the use of the term "youth", and the age range quoted: 7 to 24. You'd think that people on the high end of that scale wouldn't qualify as children. And a graph published by the group, helpfully reproduced by Scheie, reveals that the 18-to-24 crowd — legally adults — makes up 75 to 90 percent of those "youth" deaths. If you read the Inquirer story in a hurry over morning coffee, you might think that hundreds of Philadelphia grade-schoolers are being mowed down in a hail of gunfire on a routine basis, and it simply isn't true.

All this number-juggling, as you might surmise, is being done to justify tighter gun controls. What they really want, of course, is a button on the Mayor's desk which, once pushed, will make every firearm in southeastern Pennsylvania disappear into thin air. Needless to say, if this actually worked, it would incapacitate gangsters and thugs only long enough to head across the river and pick up fresh heat in Jersey, while leaving J. Upstanding Citizen royally screwed.

For the purpose of argument, let's not mention anything about the Second Amendment here. Let's just assume that the city of Philadelphia is actually able to ban guns, and every law-abiding citizen from the Main Line inward turns in his/her weapons. Are all the guns gone? Of course not. The criminals aren't giving up their guns. What happens to the crime rate? Nothing good. And you know what? I bet Philadelphia grade-schoolers can probably understand this better than the hysterical adults screaming about gun control.

Posted at 10:15 AM to Political Science Fiction


Just have a look at gun control here in Britain - after banning all handguns, armed crime has risen by approx. 40%. Not a resounding success......

Posted by: Woody at 11:35 AM on 20 June 2003

That the definition of "children" gets ... shall we say, molested? ... in the cause of gun control is nothing new. It's been going on since before the Brady Law was the Brady Bill.

Posted by: McGehee at 1:53 PM on 21 June 2003

Thanks for citing my post! A gun control guy at another site ridiculed me for doing this -- with sarcastic remark about how "that makes it better then!" (As if I am saying it's OK for adults to be killed.) These folks do not care if you catch them on their bullshit, as they are ideological fanatics. There is no better way to infuriate a fanatic than an appeal to logic, and thus there is no way to really win an argument with them. The most that can be done is to show others how they operate.

Posted by: Eric Scheie at 4:36 PM on 26 June 2003