Reporting for The Daily Wire October 21, 2022, Charlotte Pence Bond quotes Justin Trudeau at a press conference in Surrey, British Columbia:
“We have frozen the market for handguns in this country.”
“Canadians have the right to feel safe in their homes, in their schools, and in their places of worship. With handgun violence increasing across Canada, it is our duty to take urgent action to remove these deadly weapons from our communities. Today, we’re keeping more guns out of our communities, and keeping our kids safe.”
It’s an odd look indeed that Canadians have a right to feeling safe in their homes, in Justin Trudeau’s view, but not to actually safeguard their homes with firearms.
The Curious Case of Jair Bolsonaro and Brazil’s Crime Rate
Meanwhile, Ben Shapiro interviewed Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, in the most recent episode of his weekly Sunday Special show. And one thing Bolsonaro mentioned, which I found particularly fascinating, was his crediting a decrease in violent crime in Brazil, during his time in office, to having worked to change the laws so that Brazilians were lawfully permitted to use their firearms in self-defense anywhere on their property.
One gets the distinct impression that Brazil’s corrupt legal system, previous to Bolsonaro, did not respect the God-given rights of Brazilians to use deadly force in self-defense, except inside their own home. Were they vulnerable the moment they stepped outside their homes before, open to attack or predation from criminals while touring their grounds and acreage?
Curious, I did a bit of digging, and I found some interesting stats.
Jair Bolsonaro ran for president in 2018, and took office in 2019. Yet, according to Statista, Between 2006 and 2017, the homicide rate in Brazil rose from 26.61 to 31.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. However, in 2018, the homicide rate dropped from 31.6 the year before to 27.8. And then it dropped further to 21.65 in 2019. That is, the year Bolsonaro ran for office the murder rate dropped 4.2 points; and the year he took office, it dropped a further 6.15 points.
Could a total of 10.35 points in two years, down from 31.6 per 100,000 inhabitants the year before Bolsonaro ran, be due to a fearful expectation on the part of criminals that Brazil was about to get a president who was tough on crime? Possibly.
Could this also be due to law-abiding citizens across the country being more assertive and feeling more empowered by Bolsonaro’s example? I think so.
The California Gubernatorial Debate and Deadly Republican States
Lauren and I watched the gubernatorial debate between current Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom and Republican State Senator Brian Dahle on Epoch TV Sunday night. Again, something that really stood out to me was a claim Newsom made, in answer to his Republican opponent criticizing the increase in criminal activity in California under Democrats, that most of the states with the highest homicide rate in the U.S. voted for Donald Trump in 2020.
Looking it up at CDC.gov confirmed the claim. Seven of the ten states with the highest homicide rate in 2020 were indeed in the Deep South, and the majority of their populations did vote for Donald Trump in 2020.
Along with their homicide rates, these states were:
- Mississippi – 20.5
- Louisiana – 19.9
- Alabama – 14.2
- Missouri – 14.0
- Arkansas – 13.0
- South Carolina – 12.70
- Tennessee – 11.50
- Maryland – 11.40
- Illinois – 11.20
- New Mexico – 9.10
Yet I had a hunch this correlation had something to do with the largest cities in each state. And, again, as it turns out, there does seem to be a correlation – specifically with regards to where Democrat mayors hold sway.
With still more digging, I discovered that the largest cities in each state, along with some interesting facts, were as follows:
- Jackson, Mississippi is led by Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Democrat mayor since 2017. Mayor Chokwe is the seventh consecutive African American to hold the position, by the way, according to Wikipedia. Per WLBT, the local NBC News affiliate in Jackson, that city had a homicide rate per capita of 99.5 in 2021, the highest of any city that year.
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with Sharon Weston Broome, Democrat mayor since 2017, per CBS News, going off the FBI’s 2019 Crime in the United States data, had the sixth highest murder rate of any major American city at 31.72 per 100,000 residents.
- New Orleans, Louisiana, with LaToya Cantrell, Democrat mayor since 2018, had the seventh highest murder rate of any major American city at 30.67.
- Birmingham, Alabama, with Randall Woodfin, Democrat mayor since 2017, had the third highest murder rate of any major American city at 50.62.
- Kansas City, Missouri, with Quinton Lucas, Democrat mayor since 2019, had the eighth highest murder rate of any major American city at 29.88.
- St. Louis, Missouri, with Lyda Krewson, Democrat mayor from 2017-2021, had the highest murder rate of any major American city at 64.54.
- Little Rock, Arkansas, with Frank Scott Jr., Democrat mayor since 2019, had the twenty-fourth highest murder rate of any major American city at 19.15.
- Charleston, South Carolina, with John Tecklenburg, Democrat mayor since 2016, had the fourteenth highest murder rate of any major American city at 22.55.
- Columbia, South Carolina, with Stephen K. Benjamin, Democrat mayor since 2010, had the seventeenth highest murder rate of any major American city at 21.68.
- Knoxville, Tennessee, with Indya Kincannon, Democrat mayor since 2019, had the sixty-second highest murder rate of any major American city at 11.66.
- Nashville, Tennessee, with John Cooper, Democrat mayor since 2019, had the fifty-ninth highest murder rate of any major American city at 12.08.
- Chattanooga, Tennessee, with Andy Berke, Democrat mayor from 2013-2021, had the twenty-ninth highest murder rate of any major American city at 18.15.
- Memphis, Tennessee, with Jim Strickland, Democrat mayor since 2016, had the ninth highest murder rate of any major American city at 29.21.
- Baltimore, Maryland, with Brandon Scott, Democrat mayor since 2020, had the second highest murder rate of any major American city at 58.27.
- Chicago, Illinois, with Lori Lightfoot, Democrat mayor since 2019, had the eighteenth highest murder rate of any major American city at 18.26.
- Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Tim Keller, Democrat mayor since 2017, had the forty-first highest murder rate of any major American city at 14.95.
In conclusion, there is no doubt in my mind that the crime stats in these major American cities which vote Democrat skew the overall homicide rates for the otherwise largely Republican-voting states in which they reside.
Moreover, the fact that most of these are islands of blue in seas of red likely contributes all the more to agitation and rancor within them, thus contributing all the more to increased homicide rates emanating outward like ripples in a pond after you drop a rock in it.
Margy Mayfield and Stephen Morin and Self Defense
On a related note, my friend Alex Casetta sent me a link to a segment from 1994 that was aired on Dr. James Dobson’s program, Focus on the Family. In this segment, a woman named Margy Mayfield talks about having been abducted by serial murderer and rapist Stephen Morin in San Antonio, Texas back in 1981, and how she miraculously escaped becoming the last of Morin’s four dozen victims in 12 years – not by defending herself with a firearm, but by quoting Scripture, praying, and evangelizing fearlessly.
Two main features stand out about her story – one being that she repeatedly gives credit to the Spirit of God and to the Scriptures for both guiding her and emboldening her during the 10 hours she was a hostage of Stephen Morin.
My friend Alex having asked what I make of this, I will say first that I agree with Dr. Dobson’s remarks introducing the audio of Mrs. Mayfield’s testimony. It is an incredible story.
Second, the whole business reminds me of a conversation I had with my Grandma Mullet a little over a decade ago. Over a card game, or after dinner one night, we got to talking about self-defense. Both my Mullet grandparents having been raised Mennonite, Grandma was saying she didn’t like guns at all, and didn’t need one.
In response to that, I asked what she would do if someone broke into the house in the middle of the night. And Grandma Mullet’s answer was that she would tell the burglar about Jesus and quote the Bible.
Whatever I may personally believe about whether its necessary to consign ourselves to such a narrow range of options, or be pacifistic and committed to non-violence in even that circumstance, I harbor a genuine respect that my Grandma had thought about the scenario I was describing and was at peace with however her plan might go.
It seemed to me from her resolution that she had considered how a burglar in such a case might either flee, or come to faith in Christ, or kill her. And she seemed to be genuinely at peace with any of those three outcomes being the potential result, if that was the Lord’s will.
Turning The Other Cheek While Governing Authorities Bear Swords
In sum, considering Luke 6 and Romans 13, should Christians argue that more or fewer guns will make society safer?
As Christians, we must heed the teaching of our Lord to turn the other cheek when someone strikes us on the one. Yet we must also recognize that this is not a blanket condemnation of self-defense, or the use of deadly force against lawless men and violent criminals.
Were it otherwise, we should be very confused to find Paul writing what he does in Romans 13 about subjection to governing authorities. But he says they are a minister of God, which bears the sword for something. And, again, the task for which the governing authorities bear arms is rewarding the doers of good deeds, and also punishing the evildoers.
Thus the pre-eminent question for God’s people in relation to arms ought to be how the increase or decrease of them relates to the doing of both good and evil in society. Yet to answer this question, we must consider whose capacity for employing deadly force is being diminished, and whose is being increased.
These two relative one another make up a great share of what is upstream of criminal activity more generally, and homicide rates especially, in cities, states, and nations. Just so, where there is no deterring fear of punishment for evil actions, sinful men will go on committing more crime with impunity.
Yet two things can be, and are, true at the same time: First, that it is good that Margy Mayfield evangelized to Stephen Morin when he took her captive back in 1981; Second, that she alerted law enforcement to his last known whereabouts so they could go in force to take him into custody.
In other words, it is good that we should both do justice and love mercy, all while walking humbly with our God.
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