January 24, 2024
I have good news and bad news.
Murders and fatal car crashes fell last year to the lowest point of the Bloody 2020s.
You’ll be hearing a lot about the homicide decline because it’s thought to be in Joe Biden’s interest. For example, last week The Atlantic trumpeted:
Last year, the crime and inflation crises largely evaporated. So did the leading theories about what had caused them.
(In connection with Biden’s campaign, you won’t be hearing that traffic accidents in the first nine months of 2023 were down 4.5 percent compared with the same period in 2022 because nobody except my readers knows that trends in shootings and traffic fatalities have become closely correlated during the Black Lives Matter decade. That’s because when the cops are, in effect, advised by the mainstream media and their subscribers to retreat to the doughnut shop if they know what’s best for them, lots of civilians, now less in fear of being pulled over, drive more recklessly and some of them bring their illegal handguns with them, which has been known to lead to unfortunate incidents.)
But 2023 was still much worse for both types of Deaths of Depolicing than as recently as 2019, back before the media declared their ill-fated “racial reckoning”:
The 18,854 deaths by gun homicide reported for 2023 by Gun Violence Archive are down 7.5 percent from 2022, but still up 21.3 percent versus 2019, the year before George Floyd died on May 25, 2020, launching this decade’s ideological frenzy.
And gun homicides in 2023 were 52.6 percent higher than in 2014, the year in which Michael Brown’s death at Ferguson shot Black Lives Matter into the media stratosphere, with catastrophic consequences for black lives. (The U.S. population has gone up about 5 percent since 2014.)
Gun Violence Archive is a crowd-sourced website that tracks only homicides committed with guns (which are the great majority of killings these days). It’s not as official as the CDC’s homicide count (but that has a six-month lag) or the FBI’s murder count (which has a nine-month lag). Still, it’s not bad and it’s fast. Unlike the slower-moving federal sources, GVA does not track the race of victims or perpetrators, but its total figures strike me as reasonable.
Motor vehicle accident deaths have not been tabulated for the entire year of 2023 (unlike in Japan, where the official 2023 death toll was announced two weeks ago). But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that road deaths were down 4.5 percent during the first nine months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.
Tragically, traffic fatalities are still up 12.6 percent from 2019 and 27.7 percent versus the good old days of 2014. In contrast, other countries are getting safer (for instance, Japan had 35 percent fewer auto accident deaths in 2023 than in 2014). But other nations’ policy-makers and influencers aren’t as snarled-up in racial taboos as we are.
Why are more Americans, especially blacks, dying violently in the 2020s than we were a decade ago? On average, we’re getting older and fatter, so why are we dying more deaths of exuberance?
Could it be that our respectable voices have been simply wrong about what’s in our best interest?
Why…yes. Yes, they have been hideously wrong.
As I may have mentioned once or twice before in this column, America’s Establishment media went insane in late May 2020 over the putative racism menace:
For example, The New York Times, which is hugely influential over the rest of the media, published the word “racism” in 3,364 different articles in the year 2020, almost nine times its 380 articles on racism in the pre–Great Awokening year of 2011.
It’s not as if the Times was ignoring racism back during the first Obama term: It was alerting us to its horrors over seven times per week. But in 2020, the NYT published an average of 65 articles per week touching on racism, in accordance with its Plan B to take down Donald Trump by focusing on racism. This stratagem was announced by executive editor Dean Baquet to staffers in August 2019 after the embarrassing collapse of its Plan A to dump Trump: Russiagate.
Now, perhaps 2020 was a fluke caused by the shortage of other news that year for the NYT to cover. But in 2021, the Times still ran 2,383 stories on racism, more than six times what had sufficed in 2011.
This is not to say that America’s gun murderers and car manslaughterers are all New York Times subscribers. But the Times has been for generations the apex predator of the media ecosystem. Everybody else in the prestige press looks to the Times for validation of what they should think is news fit to print. If the mighty New York Times is going berserk over racism, your little local TV news department should be going running amok over racism too.
But then, during the election year of 2022, Republican politicians finally started to notice the huge surge in crime that began the weekend after George Floyd’s death (not to mention the explosion of reckless driving that kicked off a couple of weeks later, but nobody has noticed that). That Black Lives Matter got an extraordinary number of black lives killed leaps out from the CDC’s weekly death totals from 2018 up into July 2023:
Sure, on average blacks aren’t behaving quite as badly these days as they were in the Summer of George, but this long plateau of elevated lethality has left an awful lot of black lives massacred.
Over the course of 2022, the hard-news section of The New York Times seemed to get the message, perhaps put out by the Biden White House, that the vote-winning utility of George Floyd was drawing to a close and it would be best for the Democrats if the press didn’t obsess quite as much over racism. (The softheaded culture sections in the back of the newspaper never got the memo.) By 2023, the Times’ racism idée fixe was back down to the level of 2015.
If you are a cop, the ideological atmosphere against you doing your job has eased quite a bit since the hysteria of 2020–21.
Will this healthy trend continue? Will we ever get back to the number of homicides and car crash deaths we saw in 2014?
By my rough estimate, if we’d stayed at 2014 totals through 2023 (while the population grew about 5 percent), we’d have avoided an incremental 37,000 gun murders and 58,000 traffic fatalities, or an extra 95,000 violent deaths that could have been saved by not falling for BLM’s spiel.
But the Democrat-aligned mainstream media is trying hard to cover up their complicity in this vast death toll, and the Republican-allied populist press finds numbers confusing.
So, have enough Americans learned enough bitter lessons so that we won’t just do it all over again?
Or have we not learned anything from almost six figures of unnecessary deaths?