Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Is The War On Terror Contributing To Murder?

After 9/11, everyone was given a stark reminder about why we need to prevent future acts of terrorism committed by foreigners who hate America. However, the danger in focusing tightly on preventing one type of disaster is that other disasters are either forgotten or neglected.

With domestic violent crime we don't have one or two images that can be broadcast to remind us of all of the lives lost or changed forever.

Reuters

In a shift from trends of the past decade, violent crime is on the rise, fueling criticism of Bush administration policies as a wave of murders and shootings hits smaller cities and states with little experience with serious urban violence.

and

After dramatic declines in murder rates in the 1990s, some cities dropped programs that emphasized prevention and controls on the spread of guns, often citing budget cuts.

and

From the expiration of a federal ban on assault rifles to tougher restrictions on databases that identify gun owners, gun laws have weakened in the past five years, said Daniel Vice, an attorney with the Brady Center to Prevent Handgun Violence.

Part of the problem is that we want clearly defined heroes and we want clearly defined villains. Yet murders committed thoughout America rarely gives us what we want in a tidy little package.

Which brings me to a key difference between fighting terrorism and preventing violent crimes like murder.

Perception.

Some very effective prevention programs could be seen as soft on crime and soft on criminals. Helping those at risk of offending may seem counter-intuitive, especially if you believe crime is biological. As I discussed in my post, The Iron Fist Fallacy using brute force to fight crime can backfire.

We have to respect the humanity of potential murderers to reduce the number of real murders.

Revenge alone gives only shallow satisfaction.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:01 AM   0 comments links to this post

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