Short Take: Victims Of The One-Trick Ponies

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, what else is worthy of our concern? How about the victims of crime, or in this particular instance, gunshots.

My pager goes off again: The police are en route to my hospital. They’re bringing a gunshot victim. E.T.A.? Right now.

People are still shooting people. I know, there are no outraged anecdotes by criminal reform activists about this, even though there is a non-strop stream of stories of how jails and prisons are incubators for disease and will result in mass havoc. And they are and they will. But in this time of playing the emotions of the intellectually puny, everybody seems to forget that there are still bad people out there doing bad things to other people.

The stories of the victims of those bad things are disfavored as they don’t push the reform agenda, and so the liars ignore them as if they never happen while extolling the virtues of prisoners as if they’re all Mother Teresa but for some non-violent weed bust.

Doctors like me are trying to keep the world safe from the coronavirus pandemic. But thousands of families in America are already caught in the country’s existing epidemic: gun violence.

Guns don’t shoot themselves, kids. Somebody pulls the trigger. But lest the next interest group, the anti-gun group, see this as a condemnation of gun violence rather than a condemnation of crimes of violence regardless of whether the harm is done by gunshot or a brick to the head, the mechanism of harm to the victim doesn’t alter the fact of harm to the victim.

We need I.C.U. beds, we need ventilators, we need personnel to care for the wave of Covid-19 patients. But gunshot victims are now fighting for space and resources inside America’s overcrowded I.C.U.s.

Does the knifed victim get left in the hallway? Does the run-over victim have to sit in the waiting room?

At this moment in time, hospitals are dealing with COVID-19 plus. The plus gets short shrift, and despite the mayor of Baltimore pleading with people to stop shooting other people (which is a generally good idea even if we weren’t in a pandemic), the unfortunate fact remains that crime happens, people harm other people, and the people who are harmed need medical treatment, whether the harm is caused by a Glock or a baseball bat.

We don’t yet know how the Covid-19 pandemic will affect gun violence. According to the Philadelphia Police Department, crime is down overall since social distancing mandates went into effect. But shootings have not slowed and even may be increasing.

Roaming the streets looking for people to roll may not be as much fun as it used to be before there was a decent chance of being infected and dying for it, but the extremes of advocacy tend to obscure the real problems we face and the real suffering it can cause. Pandemic aside, crime still happens and cherry picking (or outright fabricating) sad stories doesn’t make the person in whose body the bullets reside any less shot. Or beaten. Or knifed.

Much as the scarcest resource at the moment might be our attention, and it would be great if people stopped shooting other people while ICU beds are needed for COVID-19, the reality remains that bad things continue to happen, that the same anecdotes used to play our emotional heartstrings are told over and over, and that reality continues to bite us in the butt and reveal the lie of one-trick ponies who only want to pound on their cause.

The steadfast refusal to accept the premise that life isn’t simple, even during a pandemic, means that we’re stiil accomplishing little more than trading the heads on the corpses at a time when it would be really useful to face the harsh realities we’re facing rather than pretending any one cause matters to the exclusion of all the other harms that don’t stop just because we prefer to focus elsewhere.

12 thoughts on “Short Take: Victims Of The One-Trick Ponies

  1. B. McLeod

    Police departments across the land have asked that people not commit crimes during the pandemic, but the request has been largely ineffective.

  2. Jay

    Not sure what the point this rambling post was making. Are you calling anti gun advocates a problem, pro gun advocates, or defense lawyers emptying the jails? My office has halved our local jail population and the crime rate has plummeted. Maybe the real problem is the larger urban areas are run by old men who can’t think or speak clearly.

    1. Steve White

      This “We emptied the jails, and the crime rate plummeted:” thing is being repeated all over it seems.
      I do not know if the claim itself is true, or what crimes are down, but if you think about it, a lot of crime is not possible under current conditions.
      1. Shoplifting is kind of tough when stores are closed.
      2. Burglaries are difficult when the residents are home.
      3. Car burglaries are likely low when people are not traveling with valuables to be stolen.
      There are probably a lot fewer opportunities for crime.
      Also, having been told the jails will get them sick, and that the disease is a very big deal, there are probably many criminals not committing crimes, for now, because they fear jail in a way they generally do not- they are probably not in the high risk groups, quite unlikely to die, but a lot of them are not really great at math and do not know that.
      I am generally of the opinion that the bail system very often, and probably almost all the time, is a violation of the “no unreasonable bail” provision of the Constitution, and can be used to force plea bargains on innocent people, but I also believe, people who do crimes need immediate punishment. In other words I have no answers. Cases and people vary far too much to make a universal rule.

      1. BobF

        Your points make me wonder how crime stats will be affected by whether or not an area is CCW-friendly, or in-home-loaded-weapon-friendly, or not weapon-friendly at all. For instance, if on-street crime is down, how does that affect home invasions in those three categories? I’m in Florida, so a violent offender who can’t make it happen on the street because nobody is out there, well, he may shift to in-home crimes but would be a fool to do so. Maybe he would be better to try it in Maryland. The two states are almost on opposing ends to the legal spectrum when it comes to firearms.

        I wonder if anyone is or will be crunching the numbers to show any differences.

    2. Grant

      His point, as I understood it, was that commission of some serious crimes remains constant despite the quarantine (and despite other crime rates plummeting).

      So because all societal resources are being exhausted on COVID-19, we have stopped paying attention to other problems (like crime), and we consequently are trading the problem we are paying attention to for the problem we are not paying attention to without reducing fatalities.

  3. Jack

    Instead of letting the scum out, keep them in there…
    Let the infection GROW.
    Let it kill them.
    And do stories on how jails, holding cells and full blown prisons are a first class ride to the infection and Death.

    The police should be arresting all the dirtbags. Not lettig them walk for crime.

    IMHO….crime would then…Truely Drop!
    Go to jail, DIE!

  4. Scott

    I can see why you moderate all comments here. Someday I would love to see what does not through. HAHA.

    Stay safe!

    Scott

    1. SHG Post author

      Every once in a while, a post goes out into the wilds of a particularly odd group, like SovCits. The comments are . . . interesting.

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