Who’s Pulling the Trigger?

Here’s yesterday’s headline in the Chicago Tribune, the day after Fourth of July: “Three Children Among at least 64 Shot over Holiday Weekend.” At least 64. Of those, only four died. Chicagoans have terrible aim.

It’s well known that in Chicago people like to spend long weekends blazing away at each other so there were thousands–yes thousands–of extra cops on the beat, but they couldn’t stop the bloodshed.

The story in the Tribune included a handy map showing where the shootings happened. The big dots are multiple victims, and the red dots are fatalities. There are five rather than four red dots, because someone was knifed to death. The article also told us about some of the nice people–including a 14-year-old girl–who were killed.

What it didn’t tell us was who did the shooting. Not one word. Police superintendent Eddie Johnson was sure about one thing, though. He said the weekend was “another example of too many guns on the street.” Too many guns.

The Tribune did manage to find one pattern, though, and I quote:

“Nearly all the shootings were in the West and South”–those guns seem to congregate in these places. The Tribune added that these very neighborhoods “bore the brunt of shootings during the Memorial Day weekend as well.” “Bore the brunt.” It sounds like a natural disaster, like a tornado maybe.

I looked up the Tribune article about the Memorial Day mayhem and learned that there were 69 shootings and six dead. But again not one word on who, if anyone, is firing those guns.

If you go all the way back to January 2 of this year, the Tribune tried to explain the violence in a long piece called, “Chicago Violence, Homicides, and Shootings up in 2015.” There was lots of information: historical trends in crime rates, comparisons of Chicago with other big cities, a list of neighborhoods that are getting more dangerous, a sad story about a teacher shot in his own driveway, and even a policeman who says some people will shoot you if you insult them on Twitter.

There was also more talk about neighborhoods where guns congregate. The Tribune said: “for generations [they] have struggled through racial segregation, poverty, and deprivation of improvements to their infrastructure.” Hmm. Could these be black neighborhoods, by any chance? The Tribune didn’t actually say. The article mentioned race only once, and that was to say that according to police records, <quote> “African-Americans were stopped at a disproportionately higher rate than Hispanics and whites.”

Maybe so. But who’s pulling the triggers on these guns of which there are too many. Not one word. The Tribune tells us where the guns show up. It tells us people are being shot. But for all we know the KKK or drunken frat boys are driving in to shoot up the town. Or maybe the guns just go off by themselves every holiday weekend.

If you want to stop something, isn’t it worth knowing who’s doing it? Of course, everyone knows who’s doing it, but the Tribune can’t bring itself to say so: black people are doing the shooting.

Actually, we don’t know who’s doing the shooting. We used to. Until 2010, the Chicago police told us what race the perps were. That year, a black person was 24 times more likely than a white person to be arrested for murder, and 27 times more likely to be arrested for robbery. The figures for Hispanics were seven and four times more likely. If, in 2010, Chicago had been all-white, murder and robbery would have dropped 90 percent. Rape would have dropped by 80 percent.

Well, 2010 is the year Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor, and maybe it’s just a coincidence, but the next year, the Chicago PD stopped saying who the perps were. A different report, about murder only, continued to come out until 2011, but then it got snuffed out, too. Here’s a graph from that last, lonely report. That line at the top is the percentage of murders committed by blacks. It’s drifting down slightly as the percentage of murders by Hispanics, the green line, drifts up. The percentage of murders committed by whites is that line that stays right at the bottom.

Do you think the Chicago Tribune complained when the city stopped publishing this information? I bet they didn’t even notice. They never reported it.

And this, of course, is why Chicago will never understand, much less solve its so-called gun problem. It can’t bear to look too closely into the behavior of blacks. Now, if white frat boys were 24 times more likely than anyone else to be arrested for, oh say, bicycle theft, the white frat boy phenomenon would be analyzed, critiqued, studied and dissected to within an inch of its life.

But when blacks commit murder at 24 times the white rate, Chicago hushes it up. The papers don’t breathe a word. Somewhere, out there, where their readers never go, it’s the wild wild West, but race? You mean that meaningless social construct? Instead, the police chief, the newspapers, and everyone else jabbers about guns and gun violence when the problem is blacks and black violence–and Hispanic violence. If Hillary gets her way, she will disarm everyone–except for her own security detail, of course–thus punishing us all for the violence committed by blacks.

This is where we end up when the country remains deliberately ignorant about race. And deliberate ignorance about race makes us blind to lots of other things because understanding race means understanding something about genetics.

Just last week, there was a report on National Public Radio about Barbara Wulf at the University of Wisconsin and her research. Like so many social scientists, she seems to think that whether you grow up to be pimp or a neurosurgeon depends on how much money your parents have – and how much money your parents have is either a freak accident or depends on how much money their parents had.

Her research found that children from homes with more money are better at concentrating in school, more eager to learn, more cooperative, and better at dealing with conflict. She thinks it’s because poor parents are busy working two jobs and don’t have time to teach their children how to be eager to learn. Of course, really poor people don’t have jobs at all, and have plenty of time. And a lot of well-off families are well off because Mom and Dad both have busy careers. How much time did Bill and Hillary spend teaching little Chelsea how to be eager to learn?

But these abilities Prof. Wulf thinks are a miraculous result of household wealth are all heritable, just like intelligence, and we have known forever that, on average, children with rich parents are smarter than children with poor parents. Adoption studies, kinship studies, twin studies–mountains of research show that, for the most part, the parents have money because they are smart, eager to learn, can concentrate, and they pass on favorable traits–genetically–to their children. This has been so convincingly demonstrated that for Professor Wulf and NPR to act as if Gregor Mendel never planted a pea is just plain embarrassing.

How long will our country keep churning out educated ignoramuses? I suspect for about as long as the Chicago Tribune keeps pretending that Chicago’s problem is too many guns.