Crime: The Inner-City Crisis


One of the central strategies of the gun prohibition advocates has been to tell Americans that they are all in immediate peril of gun violence. The strategy may involve exaggerating the rate of gun accidents, or announcing an epidemic of suicide among mentally healthy teenagers-caused by gun availability. Or the strategy may attempt to place Americans in fear of gun crime.

For example, Fortune magazine touts handgun prohibition while warning its wealthy readership that the recent rise in youth homicide puts all Americans at imminent risk, for "this onslaught of childhood violence knows no boundaries of race, geography, or class." The Journal of the American Medical Ass'n insists "It's not limited to the inner city."2

To the contrary, the problem of youth homicide is very heavily concentrated in black males aged 15-19.3 In order to respond effectively to the crisis, we must attempt to understand its nature, and must not be misled by the efforts of some gun prohibition advocates to distract attention from the most important factor in any homicide: the motivations of the person perpetrating the crime.

For inner-city black teenagers, the homicide rate is astronomical.4 The huge rise in gun crime perpetrated by older urban teenagers has not been replicated in other areas. In the suburbs, where legal restrictions on guns are generally less severe, the mortality rate has stayed about the same.5

Gun control advocates sometimes convey the impression that current murder rates are dramatically higher than ever before. And if one looks at statistics for particular age groups, one finds a substantial rise in murder arrests. From 1985 to 1991, arrests of adults for murder declined, but arrests for murder of 17-year-old males rose 121%; arrests of 16-year-old males rose 158%; arrests of 15-year-old males rose 217%; and arrests of boys 12 and under rose 100%.6

But it is important to note that the American homicide rate is still reasonably stable. The homicide rate has stayed at about nine or 10 homicides per 100,000 population for the last three decades. And happily, preliminary major city figures indicate that most cities saw a leveling off of homicide rates in 1992.7 Analysis of homicide figures should also keep in mind that roughly 7-13% of American firearms homicides involve legitimate defense against criminal attack.8

While homicide overall is stable, homicides among youths have definitely risen. To look simply at the category "youth," however, is to miss the real story. The white youth homicide arrest rate has remained stable, while the black rate has skyrocketed. The murder arrest rate of whites aged 10 to 11 was the same in 1989 as in 1980 (having dipped in the middle of the decade, and then risen to its former level). But whereas in 1980 the black arrest rate was four times the white rate, by 1989 the black rate was eight times the white rate.9

The conflation of black and white crime statistics is, incidentally, a common tactic of gun control advocates. The conflation produces the erroneous impression of a widespread serious problem with gun crime, rather than of a disastrous problem with gun crime among racial minorities. For example, Dr. Katherine Christoffel, of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told Congress, "A resident of Seattle is five times likelier to be murdered with a handgun than is a resident of Vancouver, just 140 miles to the north."10 Actually, a white resident of Seattle is at no greater risk of gun violence than a white resident of Vancouver, despite Vancouver's more restrictive gun laws. A black or Hispanic resident of Seattle, however, faces a much higher risk of gun violence.11 (There are few blacks or Hispanics in Vancouver.)

All this is not to say that America does not have a serious homicide problem. But America cannot begin addressing the murder problem without a realistic understanding of the issue. The crisis of America's rising teenage murder rate is directly linked to the crisis of America's inner-city black youth. Unless the problems of the inner city are addressed, the murder crisis will continue.

Some public officials argue that the problem of teenage homicide is directly related to the availability of firearms. In a narrow sense the argument is accurate, because the majority of murders are committed with guns.

Yet it is not accurate to claim that there is a correlation between the availability of guns and the frequency of homicide. If there is any relationship between gun density and homicide in the U.S., it is an inverse one. In other words, the regions with the most guns are the regions with the lowest homicide rates.12 And while whites have a higher rate of gun ownership than blacks, they have a much lower homicide rate.13 Time periods in which gun ownership increases heavily are not necessarily periods when homicide rates increase; conversely, periods of increasing homicide are not necessarily periods of increasing gun ownership. For example, while homicide rates were rising in the late 1980s, firearms sales were stagnant.14

The fact that American homicide rates are often lowest among regions and population groups where gun ownership is highest should at least give pause to theorists who insist that gun prohibition is the only rational response to rising murder rates. Professor Hans Toch, of the State University of New York's School of Criminology served, in the late 1960s, on the Eisenhower Commission, whose purpose was to investigate the causes and cures of American violence. Professor Toch fully endorsed the Commission's conclusion that "reducing the availability of the handgun will reduce firearms violence." (emphasis in original). But based on modern research, Professor Toch has found: when used for protection, firearms can seriously inhibit aggression and can provide a psychological buffer against the fear of crime. Furthermore, the fact that national patterns show little violent crime where guns are most dense implies that guns do not elicit aggression in any meaningful way. Quite the contrary, these findings suggest that high saturations of guns in places, or something correlated with that condition, inhibit illegal aggression.15

One way in which high density of guns can, as Professor Toch concludes, be associated with lower levels of violence is that armed citizens provide a substantial deterrent to criminals.

Another, perhaps more important factor in the association of high gun ownership rates with low crime rates is that American areas with the highest rate of gun ownership tend to be rural and small-town. In rural and small-town America, family structures are relatively strong, and communities are often more stable and unified. Thus, the problem of violence in American inner cities may have less to do with the fact that guns are available there (as they are everywhere else) than with the fact that so many families are dysfunctional, and that so little sense of community can be found.

Whatever may be said about rates of gun ownership in America, it is obvious that America has more guns--and more gun murders--than other industrial democracies. As a widely-reported study by Centers for Disease Control researchers noted, the American murder rate for teenagers is much higher than the rate in most industrial countries, where gun control laws are generally stricter. The researchers concluded that the U.S. needs tougher gun laws.16

While the authors of the study did an excellent job of compiling data (as they have done on other studies), their conclusion that the international data proved that America's gun laws were the cause of its high teenage homicide rate was perhaps overstated.

For example, England has harsh gun laws and a low homicide rate, but the historical evidence seems to show no cause and effect between the former and the latter. The lowest rates of violent crime and homicide in England did not occur in the period with the strongest gun laws (the late 1980s and 1990s), but in the era with the weakest gun laws.

At the turn of the 20th century, there was virtually no violent crime in England, and virtually no gun control. Anyone (children included) could buy any type of gun, no questions asked. There were no background checks, no forms to fill out, and no safety training. All that was needed was ready cash.

Yet gun homicide and other crime was only a small percentage of the current British rates. At the turn of the century, Victorian social morality was strong; it was a more effective check on British criminal impulses than are the rigid gun laws of today.17

Overall, comparative data shows little relation between the severity of gun laws and the homicide rate. Scotland has rigorous gun laws, and its murder rate for males aged 15-24 is over three times as high as the rate in Switzerland.18 In Switzerland, the government issues every adult male a fully-automatic SIG-Sauer assault rifle to keep at home, and trains him to use it.19

The American states that impose waiting periods on gun buyers suffer killings at the same rate as the states that do not.

By looking only at firearms, the Centers for Disease Control study did not consider other factors which might explain why American males aged 15 to 24 are so much more likely to kill each other than their counterparts in other nations. America is the only country studied that has a three-and-a-half-century history of enslaving and degrading a major part of its population. And America is the only country studied where demand for drugs is sky-high, and the only country with an all-out drug war.

After declining for several years, the black teenage homicide rate began soaring upward in 1987. That year was not marked by any sudden increase in the availability of guns (sales were flat). What did happen in 1987 was that the drug war suddenly intensified, at the same time that drugs themselves became more dangerous.

The 1987 cocaine overdose death of college basketball star Len Bias and the popularization of crack cocaine produced an unprecedented media and political determination to fight a "drug war" in the U.S. Some drug policy scholars trace the sudden upsurge in violence to the pharmacological effects of crack/cocaine. They note that crack (like PCP and alcohol, but unlike hemp and heroin), often reduces inhibitions against violence and stimulates aggressive behavior.

Without denying the destructive effect of crack, other scholars trace the roots of the violence to governmental drug policy. They note that the "war on drugs" has lived up to its name by producing a genuine war in inner-city America. Economist Sam Staley argues that the war on drugs and the criminalization of the drug trade generate levels of violence that make the inner city unlivable, with levels of violence far higher than would occur in a world where drugs were controlled by means other than the criminal law.20 Since drug dealers are likely to be carrying large sums of money, they are at serious risk of robbery. Since they cannot rely on the police for protection, they must, to survive, protect themselves.

When drug dealers engage in commercial transactions with each other, there is no Uniform Commercial Code and state district court for resolving disputes about the quality of goods sold. Disgruntled buyers, having no other means of redress, may resort to violence. Similarly, the addicts who sell drugs often end up consuming the drugs which should have been sold; because higher-level dealers have no legal means of handling salespersons who stole the merchandise with which they were entrusted, violence often results. Other drug users buy goods on credit, but fail to pay their debt. Since the seller has no lawful means of debt collection, violence again may result.21 In addition, when disputes are settled violently, they are often settled in the most vicious manner possible, for acquiring a reputation for being willing to "exert maximum force" may assist the resolution of future disputes.22

The tendency of current drug laws to promote violence can be seen in a study of cocaine-related homicides in New York. Eighty-seven percent of the homicides were related to territorial disputes, debt collection, or cocaine deals gone bad. Only 7.5% of the homicides were related to the pharmacological effects of drugs.23

While there are many reasons that teenagers join gangs, the lure of income from the drug trade is certainly an important factor. If currently-illegal drugs were sold in liquor stores, gangs would no longer be able to profit from selling substances at the artificially high prices created by prohibition laws.

Despite the youth violence engendered by drug prohibition, it may be that the prohibition strategy yields benefits that outweigh its negative effects. Any realistic analysis of American drug policy should, however, acknowledge the substantial toll of violence that is a, perhaps necessary, price that America is paying for current laws.

Almost anytime a child is murdered with a gun, or dies in a gun accident, the event is at least a statewide news story--as such a tragedy should be. But it is not accurate to conclude on the basis of news coverage that gun-related deaths of children are among the major killers of children; it is not correct to assume that the amount of press coverage devoted to any event correlates with the frequency of the event. Coverage of professional football games saturates many cities' media, but in an average year in most cities, there are fewer than a dozen professional football games.

Homicides account for about 5% of the deaths of children 1-4, and 4% of children aged 5-14. The number is about the same as the children in those age groups who die of heart disease.24 The relatively small fraction of homicides perpetrated against children is not likely to be solved through gun control. The most common form of homicide against younger children is child abuse murder by a relative or caretaker.25 The availability of firearms has little to do with such crimes, since the murderer will generally have limitless opportunity, and vastly superior strength. (Reduced availability of firearms might, however, reduce the not insignificant number of younger teenagers who lawfully shoot abusive relatives in self-defense.)

For older teenagers (15 and up), the number of firearms murders is higher, especially for urban minority teenagers. Under what circumstances do those teenage murders take place? The American Academy of Pediatrics writes:

"A common misperception is that teen homicides are largely related to crime, gang activity, or premeditated assault. The most common event precipitating a shooting is an argument, often over something later seen as trivial. Such shootings are usually impulsive, unplanned, and instantly regretted."26

The American Academy of Pediatrics' assertion about the non-criminal nature of teenage homicide cited only one study as support for its conclusions. That study, however, did not claim that teenage homicides did not involve "crime, gang activity, or premeditated assault." Nor did the cited study claim that teenage shootings were "impulsive, unplanned, and instantly regretted." The cited study only discussed the relationship between murderer and victim, and showed (not surprisingly) that murderers generally target people who have offended them, rather than total strangers.27

A Philadelphia Inquirer investigation of teenage murderers in Philadelphia casts some doubt on the proposition that homicides are "instantly regretted." Of the 57 teenage murders studied, "With few exceptions, the teenagers felt little remorse or regret."28

It is not implausible that the older teenagers who commit murder share many characteristics with persons over 18 who commit murder. The studies of adult murderers have shown that murderers are not "nice" people who happened to get too emotional in the presence of a handgun. Rather, murders are generally people with long records of criminal violence.

The pattern for teenage homicides is similar. The persons who are most likely to be killed by a teenager with a gun are gang members, gang hangers-on, and other teenage criminals.29 In many killings of inner-city high school-age persons, the victim is a person who engaged in risky behaviors, such as selling drugs.30

Studies of trauma center patients with penetrating (bullet or knife) wounds have found that over a third of such patients are repeat users of trauma centers.31 A Baltimore journalist, who investigated his city's emergency rooms concludes, "it is safe to estimate that seven of every 10 assault victims who arrive at a Baltimore hospital are in some way culpable in the violence that has incapacitated them."32

Yet while one teenage gang member killing another teenage gang member may account for an important fraction of teenage homicides, there are many other victims of these criminals who have done nothing to put themselves at risk, except being born in a dangerous neighborhood. While there are a great many innocent victims, there are not many innocent murderers. The authors of the most extensive study of the gun-carrying habits of modern juvenile felons found them to be:

better armed, more criminally active, and more violent than were the adult felons of a decade ago. Even at that, one is struck less by the armament than by the evident willingness to pull the trigger.

From the viewpoint of public policy, it matters less, perhaps, where these juveniles get their guns than where they get the idea that it is acceptable to kill. It may be convenient to think that the problems of juvenile violence could be magically solved by cracking down or getting tough, but this is unlikely. The problem before us is not so much getting guns out of the hands of juveniles as it is reducing the motivations for juveniles to arm themselves in the first place. Convincing inner-city juveniles, or adults, not to own, carry, and use guns requires convincing them that they can survive in their neighborhoods without being armed . . . that the customary agents of social control can be relied upon to provide for personal security. So long as this is not believed to be the case, gun ownership and carrying in the city will remain widespread.33

To the enormous crisis of the inner city, many liberals and conservatives offer the same, seemingly easy solution: use government coercion to remove the evil item that is the cause of violence. Many liberals look to guns as the cause of the inner-city's social pathologies, and fail to recognize that the willingness of many criminals to use guns, and the necessity for law-abiding residents of the inner city to carry guns for protection, are symptoms of deeper afflictions. No set of criminal justice approaches focused on "gun control" are likely to reduce the inner-city problems regarding guns. Solutions must be found in dealing with the more complex pathologies of the lack of hope and economic opportunity, and the decay of cultural values.

At the same time, some conservatives make the same mistake with gangs and drugs that liberals make with guns. Some inner-city youth are attracted to gangs because the gangs "give estranged youth something meaningful to which they can belong, an identity otherwise lacking. Gangs express the pathology of inner-city life and the new urban culture of violence, but are the consequences of these developments, not the cause."34 The criminal justice system can continue to incarcerate gang members, but gangs will remain attractive until better alternatives for identity appear. The many youthful lives wasted through illegal drug abuse are tragic. But if there were no narcotics, these lives would be wasted through alcohol abuse, or some other method of numbing the mind to the bleakness of ordinary life. A century of sternly enforced drug prohibition has resulted in drugs being more available than ever to inner-city youth. The fact should offer a caution to liberals who imagine that gun laws can succeed where drug laws have failed, and somehow keep a commodity away from a market that demands it. And the fact should suggest to conservatives that a better strategy to reducing drug abuse should be to offer inner-city youth a future brighter than the false and numbing consciousness offered by drug pushers.

As long as the debate over the decay of inner-city America focuses only on symptoms-guns, gangs, and drugs-there will never be a solution. As Professors Wright and Sheley put it:

[U]ntil we rectify the conditions that breed hostility, estrangement, futility and hopelessness, whatever else we do will come to little or nothing.... Widespread joblessness and few opportunities for upward mobility are the heart of the problem. Stricter gun control laws, more aggressive enforcement of existing laws, a crack-down on drug traffic, police task forces aimed at juvenile gangs, metal detectors at the doors of schools, periodic searches of lockers and shake-downs of students, and other similar measures are inconsequential compared to the true need: the economic, social and moral resurrection of the inner city. Just how this might be accomplished and at what cost can be debated; the urgent need to do so cannot.35

Or as Yephet Copeland, a former member of the Hoover Street Crips in Los Angeles, put it, "We need better schools and jobs. That's the way you stop the killing. You have to offer hope. If there's no hope, the killing will go on-gun ban or not.36

How to resurrect the inner city? Do we need a massive government jobs programs, or urban enterprise zones? Should we increase funding for public schools, or should we end-run the failed public school bureaucracy through charter schools and education vouchers? Are welfare payments insufficiently generous, or is welfare itself a cause of learned helplessness? All of these difficult questions must begin to come to the center of the public debate on the inner city, and the disastrous condition of so many inner-city youth.

Every day that the public allows legislatures to waste their collective breath with symbolic laws that merely address the symptoms of social pathology--laws such as those forbidding the wearing of Los Angeles Raiders clothing, or gun waiting periods which will supposedly disarm teenagers who are already forbidden to buy guns--is another day wasted, another day in which the problem grows worse.

Gun control is not merely a phony solution to inner-city youth violence. It is a formidable political obstacle to genuine solutions, because gun control offers political officials a high-profile (but empty) way to tell the public that the legislature is "doing something." Every gun control bill that is introduced, and every editorial demanding that we "do something about guns," makes it that much harder to force the political system to do something real about the desperate conditions of the inner city, to address the fundamental social pathologies of modern America.

Criminologist Gary Kleck summarizes:

Fixating on guns seems to be, for many people, a fetish which allows them to ignore the more intransigent causes of American violence, including its dying cities, inequality, deteriorating family structure, and the all-pervasive economic and social consequences of a history of slavery and racism. . . . All parties to the crime debate would do well to give more concentrated attention to more difficult, but far more relevant, issues like how to generate more good-paying jobs for the underclass, an issue which is at the heart of the violence problem.37

There are 210 million guns in the U.S.-more than enough to supply a blackmarket gun to anyone who wants one, no matter how severely prohibition and confiscation were enforced. As William Fox, a former member of the Brawling Street Rolling Crips observed,

"How are you going to get the guns off the street that are already there? No. It ain't going to change. It's not the guns that have to change. It's the people that have to change."38

It is long past time for us to stop fixating on the gun supply, and to start dealing with the persons who misuse guns, and the social conditions under which innocent babies grow in less than two decades into callous murderers.

Improving the juvenile justice system is a first step toward reducing teenage criminal violence. Taking violent teenagers off the streets is a more effective approach than leaving them on the street and enacting gun control palliatives. After all, teenagers have ready access to drugs, despite the severe prohibition of drugs for nearly a century. It is foolish to pretend that gun control will somehow succeed where drug control has failed.

In the long term, the most effective solutions will be found in addressing the social conditions that have caused so many inner-city youth to value their own lives and the lives of others so cheaply. As one author put it, "The solution is in the playpen, not in the state pen."39 Every day hundreds of children are born to women with inadequate pre-natal care, and hundreds more are physically and sexually abused. Many more children, while not directly abused, suffer from "father hunger," growing up in a family where the father has left, or was never present to begin with. And today, 18% of American children live in poverty. Does it make sense to start spending more money on children today, knowing that a child who can lead a healthy childhood is much less likely to need to be incarcerated (at great taxpayer expense) when he becomes a teenager?

There are no simple solutions to today's social pathologies; if there were, the solutions would already have been implemented. Yet the sooner it is recognized that political discussion about violence must start debating the ways to remedy urban decay, and must abandon the focus on useless gestures such as gun control, the sooner America will begin making forward progress.

Social programs, unlike gun control, typically involve heavy tax revenue expenditures. That is one reason why New York City Mayor David Dinkins makes a ban on semi-automatic "assault weapons" (used in about 1% of New York City gun crime40) the focus of his anti-crime effort, and why he ignores the shambles at the City's child welfare agencies, where barely literate city employees do nothing to save children from being murdered by their parents, even when the children arrive at city hospitals time and again with broken bones, scars, and bruises symptomatic of child abuse.41

True, hiring child abuse workers who can write coherent English is more expensive than New York City's current policy of hiring those who cannot. And skimping on early childhood programs also produces short-term savings. In the long run, though, these savings are dwarfed by the costs of imprisoning children who could have been helped, but who have grown into criminals.

One promising approach to preventing crime is Hawaii's Healthy Start program. The state identifies at-risk parents (alcoholics and victims of child or spouse abuse) and offers them free in-home counseling. The program helps parents learn non-abusive approaches to child care, and also assists the parents' application for Medicaid assistance and job training programs. While at-risk parents who are not contacted by the program have a 20% risk of perpetrating child abuse, the abuse rate in homes covered by Healthy Start is only 2%. Since child abuse is linked to crime (84% of first-time juvenile offenders in Denver reported having been abused before age 6), the funds expended in Healthy Start result in savings many times over in reduced criminal justice and victim treatment costs.42

Another innovative approach is the Positive Adolescent Choices Training (PACT) program, which uses role-playing to help teenagers deal with anger through talking problems out, rather than "getting even" through a physical attack. PACT and similar programs aim to help teenagers develop empathy for other persons.43

There are many other ways that American government can work to remediate the social ills that lie at the heart of America's problem of inner-city teenage violence. Fixing the present government schools system would certainly be a start. While Americans must insist that the government begin confronting the real causes of crimes, the problem is ultimately not within the government's sole power to solve. The problem can only be solved one child at a time, as America's more affluent population reaches out to its neighbors through Big Brother programs, literacy tutoring, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, church programs, and the great range of private endeavors that have worked for America in previous decades.44

As the African saying puts it, "It takes a whole village to raise a child." Such an approach requires far more effort on the part of every citizen than simply watching the evening news and nodding in agreement as President Clinton promises that enacting the Brady Bill will reduce teenage gun violence. Perhaps that is why President Clinton, and so many other politicians, are so eager to offer voters the placebo of gun control, rather than to challenge voters with the moral obligation to lead the moral and social reconstruction of urban America.


1. Ronald Henkoff, "Kids are Killing, Dying, Bleeding," Fortune, Aug. 10, 1992.

2. Paul Cotton, "Gun-Associated Violence Increasingly Viewed as Public Health Challenge," JAMA 267 (1992): 1171-74.

3. U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Teenage Victims: A National Crime Survey Report," NCJ128129 (May 1991), p. 11.

4. Blackman, Children and Firearms: Lies the CDC Loves, p. 3.

5. Leland Ropp, Paul Visintainer, Jame Uman, & David Treloar, "Death in the City: An American Childhood Tragedy," JAMA 267 (June 3, 1992): 2905-10.

6. Fox Butterfield, "Seeds of Murder Epidemic: Teen-Age Boys with Guns," New York Times, Oct. 19, 1992, (Reporting study by James A Fox, dean of Northeastern University's College of Criminal Justice, by National Crime Analysis Project at Northeastern).

7. Criminal Justice Prof. William Wilbanks, quoted in "Homicide Down, Leveling Off in Many Major Cities," Crime Control Digest, Dec. 14, 1992, pp. 9-10.

8. Kleck, Point Blank.

9. Howard N. Snyder, "Arrests of Youth 1990," OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs, Dept. of Justice) Update on Statistics, Jan. 1992, pp. 9-11; Marcella Hammett, Kenneth E. Powell, Patrick W. O'Carroll, and Sharon T. Clanton, "Homicide Surveillance_United States 1979-1988," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 41 (S-3): 1-33; Lois Fingerhut, Joel Kleinman, Elizabeth Godfrey, & Harry Rosenberg. "Firearm Mortality Among Children, Youth, and Young Adults 1-34 Years of Age, Trends and Current Status: United States 1979-1988," Monthly Vital Statistics Report 39 (11 Sup.) (March 14, 1991, CDC National Center for Health Statistics), pp. 7-8.

10. Christoffel, June 15, 1989, supra note 4.

11. J.H. Sloan, A.L. Kellerman, D.I. Reay, J.A. Fenis, T. Koepsell, F.P. Rivara, C. Rice, L. Gray, & J. Logerfo, "Handgun Regulations, Crime, Assaults, and Homicide: A Tale of Two Cities," New England Journal of Medicine 319 (Nov. 10, 1988): 1256-1262.

12. Kleck, Point Blank.

13. Kleck, Point Blank.

14. Walter J. Howe, "Firearm Production, Imports, and Exports," Shooting Industry (Jan. 1992): 91-118.

15. Toch & Lizotte, "Research & Policy: The Case of Gun Control," in eds. P. Suedfeld & P. Tetlock, Psychology and Social Advocacy (New York: Hemisphere Press, 1990).

16. Lois A. Fingerhut & Joel C. Kleinman, "International and Interstate Comparisons of Homicide Among Young Males," JAMA, 263 June 27, 1990): 3292-95.

17. David B. Kopel, The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy: Should America Adopt the Gun Controls of Other Democracies? (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1992).

18. Fingerhut & Kleinman, p. 3923 (the rates were 1.4 in Switzerland and 5.0 in Scotland for 1987).

19. Kopel, Samurai, pp. 282-84.

20. Sam Staley, Drug Policy and the Decline of American Cities (Transaction: 1992).

21. Eric Sterling, "Outline of Some Issues Involving Drug Trafficking," address to Nat'l Conference on Schools & Communities, Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 1992.

22. L. Dash, "A Dealer's Creed: Be Willing to Die," Washington Post, April 3, 1989.

23. Discussed in Ira Glasser, "Taking Liberties: Taboo No More," Civil Liberties (Fall/Winter 1989).

24. Select Comm. on Children, Youth, and Families, U.S. Children and Their Families: Current Conditions and Recent Trends, 1989, 101st Cong., 1st sess., Sept. 1989 (Wash.: Govt. Print. Off.) (1986 data).

25. J.A. Jason, "Childhood Homicide Spectrum," American Journal of Diseases of Children (AJDC)137 (1983): 578-581.

26. AAP, "Firearms and Adolescents."

27. Blackman, Lies the CDC Loves, p. 28.

28. Dianna Marder, "A New Generation of Killers: Feeling No Blame and No Shame," Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 6, 1992, p. 1. It is disturbing to consider how frequently the comments of the killers, blaming the victims for resisting, echo the insistent advice of gun control organizations and some law enforcement administrators that victims of a criminal attack should never do anything but passively submit. Could the advice, repeated frequently and unquestioningly by the media, have provided the killers with a perceived social legitimation of the killing?

29. Joseph F. Sheley, Zina T. McGee, James D. Wright, "Gun-related Violence in and Around Inner-City Schools," AJDC, 146 (June 1992): 677-82; Janet L. Lauritsen, Robert J. Sampson, & John H. Laub, "The Link between Offending and Victimization among Adolescents," Criminology 29 (1991): 265-92.

30. Joseph F. Sheley, Zina T. McGee, James D. Wright, "Gun-Related Violence in and Around Inner-City Schools," AJDC, 146 (June 1992): 677-82. 31. M.C. Morrisey, R.C. Byrd, E.A. Deitch, "The Incidence of Recurrent Penetrating Trauma in an Urban Trauma Center," Journal of Trauma 31 (1991): 1536-38; D.W. Sims, B.A. Bivins, F.N. Obeid, et al., "Urban Trauma: A Chronic Recurrent Disease," Journal of Trauma 29 (1989): 940.

32. David Simon, "A Journalist's Eye View of the Trauma Physician's Dilemma," Archives of Otolaryngology 118 (June 1992) 577, 578.

33. Wright, et al., Society, supra note 113, pp. 88-89.

34. James D. Wright & Joseph Sheley, "Teenage Violence and the Underclass," Peace Review (Fall 1992), p. 32, 34.

35. Wright & Sheley, supra note 170, p. 35.

36. "Platform:" The Right to Bear Arms is Outdated,'" Los Angeles Times, Jan. 18, 1993.

37. Gary Kleck, "Guns and Violence: A Summary of the Field," paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Ass'n, Aug. 29, 1991, p. 18.

38. "Platform: 'The Right to Bear Arms is Outdated,'" Los Angeles Times, Jan. 18, 1993.

39. Carole A. McKelvy, "Children Who Kill," School Safety, Spring 1988. p. 12.

40. Of 16,000 guns seized by New York City police in 1988, only 80 were "assault-type" rifles. Lt. Moran of the New York City Police Ballistics Unit, in White Plains Reporter-Dispatch, March 27, 1989 (Associated Press report).

41. Mitchell Powell & Rita Giordano, "Parents Who Kill: Crime But Little Punishment," New York Newsday, Jan. 8, 1992, p. 1. (In one case, "untrained and inexperienced caseworkers ignored blisters and bruises on the boy, failed to talk with his three siblings or his father and failed even to have sufficient command of the English language to write intelligible reports.")

42. Ronald Henkoff, "Kids are Killing, Dying, Bleeding," Fortune, Aug. 10, 1992, p. 68. It is possible that some of the prisoners who reported abuse were not in fact abused.

43. Henkoff, p. 68.

44. For a description of how scouting programs have helped inner-city teenagers, see Mark Parenti, "Scouts 'n the Hood," Policy Review (Spring 1993): 62-66.

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