GUN CRAZY: The Dirty Harry Fallacy

Illustration by ALEX FINE

JOEL MATHIS: The cases of guns being used to successfully defend against assaults in America are few and far between—one study suggested that guns are used by victims to defend themselves in less than 1 percent of all violent crimes. “Firearm self-defense,” the study’s authors noted drily, “is rare compared with gun crimes.” And there’s little evidencethat the crime rate has changed in states that adopt “concealed carry” laws. […] I always pause when writing critiques of Second Amendment fundamentalism; I grew up in Kansas among good, conservative folks—many of whom were good, responsible gun-owners who take the responsibilities of gun ownership seriously, and who take seriously those theories behind gun ownership. I’m not interested in taking away their guns, and the politics of guns in America wouldn’t allow for it anyway. But they don’t live in Philadelphia, or any other big city plagued with gun violence. They don’t live where five people can be shot to death in a single weekend. They don’t live in a town where—as the folks at pointed out last week—more than 100 people have been shot in the weeks since the Aurora massacre. They don’t live in a town where an off-duty cop, Moses Walker Jr., wasn’t even safe enough to avoid being murdered walking through town. MORE

RELATED: Cop Killers Caught On Surveillance Cam

On August 18, 2012, just before 6am, Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. was shot and killed. Officer Walker was walking in the 2000 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue where two males approached him. Officer Walker was shot several times and the suspects fled the scene in an unknown direction. Anyone with information regarding this crime is urged to contact the Philadelphia Police Department. If you see these suspects do not approach them, contact 911 immediately. To submit a tip via telephone, dial 215.686.TIPS (8477) or text a tip to PPD TIP or 773847. If you have any information about this crime or these suspects, please contact: Homicide Unit 215-686-3334/3335 DC# 12-22-069426