SayUncle linked to a post by Aunt B about the recent addition of two Tennessee cities to Forbes' list of the top 15 Most Dangerous Cities. Her take on it was unexpected, and refreshingly she comes out against gun control. It is good to see a self-described liberal looking at the issue rationally. Of course, I am no stranger to this phenomenon, as famously liberal Austin is full of liberals (and even a self-described socialist friend of mine) who see the sense in firearms used for self-defense. Here is one personally-observed example I've noted in the past.
I posted a reply to her post and some of the commentary, but it seems to have gotten caught in a spam filter or is awaiting approval - I'm not sure which. I'm going to post it here in the meantime for your reading enjoyment, and hopefully it will show up there.
Aunt B: If the comments are moderated for approval, sorry for the double-comment post. I thought perhaps that it had not gone through. Not seeing any notation that comments were moderated, I attempted to post again.
Jim made the statement that the democratic-leaning counties are the ones where violence is worst, and said he may look it up later.
I took it upon myself to research the entire Forbes list you linked, and compared it against the recent 2008 election results by county. Red represented a majority of Republican votes, Blue represents Democrat votes. Want to guess what I found? Every single one of them went to Obama. Here's the list. I used the NY Times map as my source, and you're welcome to go look it up.
1. Detroit, MI Blue
2. Memphis, TN Blue
3. Miami, FL Blue
4. Las Vegas, NV Blue
5. Stockton, CA (San Joaquin County) Blue
6. Orlando, FL Blue
7. Little Rock, AR Blue
8. Charleston, SC Blue
9. Nashville, TN Blue
10. Baltimore, MD Blue
11. New Orleans, LA Blue
12. Baton Rouge, LA Blue
13. West Palm Beach, FL Blue
14. Charlotte, NC Blue
15. Philadelphia, PA Blue
Now, far be it for me to make a partisan argument out of this. I don't identify myself with either the Republicans or the Democrats. I consider the pros and cons of each candidate in each election. It is nearly always an issue of who is the least despicable of the candidates. Both parties enjoy the lion's share of corruption and self-servitude. Gun control has been, however, a pet issue of our President and the current Democratic leadership in Congress, so for the purposes of this discussion, the data is corollary. After all, the only point Jim made was that the violent places are all Democrat-majority.
And please do not lump California in with the South. That is an insult to southerners. Also, Las Vegas would be considered "West", not South.
In response to dolphin's comment, why are there no Texas cities on this list. Last I checked, Houston is the 6th largest city in the U.S., but somehow it didn't make the cut. While it does have its share of crime, especially post-Katrina, it still pales in comparison to the other much smaller cities on the list. I agree that crime does tend to increase with population, but it's not directly corollary.
An interesting side note, Houston is another blue city in an otherwise red state, comparable to Philadelphia. Texas has preemption laws governing the the regulation of firearms, where Pennsylvania allows its cities to create local ordinances banning possession and carry of arms. Somehow Philadelphia with its strict gun laws beats out Houston in this most dangerous places list.
Beyond the gun issue, I believe this reaches much further into the perceived role of government in the daily lives of citizens.
If the issue were proliferation of gun ownership, then it would seem logical that the most dangerous places to live would be more rural areas where gun ownership is highest. On the contrary, people living in rural areas are inherently more independent and self-sustaining - less likely to be dependent on government assistance in their everyday lives. Rather than turning to the police as a talisman against crime, these people have a personal interest in self-preservation against criminal acts, knowing full well that they are responsible for their own safety.
By contrast, city-dwellers have been lulled into the notion that crime against one's person is to only be dealt with by the police, and are largely mentally powerless against a criminal. This is only pushed further when conditioned by laws that prohibit citizens from possessing the most efficient tools for self-defense, making not only self-preservation difficult and often times illegal, but actions of self-defense themselves socially taboo as well. How many times have we heard public officials claim that if we just "give the person what he wants, no one will get hurt"? In practice, that doesn't work out so well, and we're slowly becoming a nation of victims with social convention running counter to our inherent instincts for self-preservation.
Aunt B, I appreciate your willingness to look at facts on this issue. Your post was quite refreshing.
[UPDATE]: My comment was indeed caught in the spam filters, and Aunt B. has graciously fished it out for me. Hats off to her for the quick response!