Op-Ed: "America the Violent? No More" in the Hill

In Tuesday's edition of The Hill, NDN's Simon and I penned an op-ed titled "America the Violent? No More." The piece investigates the claim that America has a caustic "culture of violence." However, the rate of violent crime in the US has plummeted over the past two decades, and is half of its peak in 1993. Violent crime and murder rates in many urban areas continue to fall at remarkable and encouraging rates.

From the piece:

"This precipitous decline in violent crime in the U.S. over the past 20 years needs to be seen as one of the truly great public policy achievements of the post-World War II era... The assertion by some that there is a rising tide of violence in the U.S. just isn’t true, and it serves to obscure a truly great societal achievement brought about by our law enforcement officials, politicians and courageous community leaders across the country." 

Ultimately, we conclude that "it is clear — if you want to reduce the rising tide of gun violence in the U.S., you have to focus on the new, much more permissive availability of guns themselves and their enhanced lethality. As we move forward in this debate about gun violence, the focus needs to be on the real guns killing and injuring Americans of all kinds — not the fictional ones in our movies and our games."

Simon has supported common sense steps to lessen gun violence in other pieces and appearances. He sparred with Fox's Neil Cavuto on the topic in this video clip and in this blog post to our site earlier this year.

Fareed Zakaria holds a similar position. The Washington Post also ran an interesting article comparing video game expenditure with gun-related murder, which can be read here. This article in the Atlantic contains some interesting statistics certainly pertinent to the gun violence debate, and this blog post over at Monkey Cage also served as a jumping-off point for our research. Other pieces that were used in our research include this piece by Suzy Khimm in the Washington Post, this article in Scientific American arguing that there is a great deal of data showing wide scale use of video games has significant benefits for kids (behind a paywall), this long story from Sunday's Washington Post which is a must read for anyone wanting to make sense of the generation long decline of violent crime in the US.

To read the NDN round-up on gun violence, click here