San Francisco police said Thursday that they recorded 97 homicides in 2008 after reclassifying one case that they said did not fit the definition of a homicide. The Chronicle's count of 98 includes the discovery of a body on Ocean Beach that is being handled by U.S. Park Service police. (The blog San Francisco Crime - which has done an excellent job of chronicling the rising homicide rate over the last two years - has put the actual number at 105.)
The killings have put pressure on leaders including Mayor Gavin Newsom, who said in 2004 that critics should try to recall him if an upswing of homicides continued. The number of slayings in the city that year was 88, up from 69 the year before.
This is obviously a serious problem. But just how does a batshit liberal government (speaking through a batshit liberal newspaper) deal with the inconvenient truth of the grisly murder epidemic (perpetrated by... and claiming the lives of... minorities) in their city?
Easy. Blame the guns.
...Police have theories, pointing to the ubiquity of guns on the street and to cavalier attitudes toward violence.
..."Nothing that I have tried to resolve has been more frustrating and vexing than solving the issue of why a 14-year-old would take the life of a 15-year-old with a weapon of war."
...Deputy Police Chief David Shinn said younger and younger people are toting guns. Often they use military-style rifles; it's common, he said, for officers to find 30 or 40 spent shells after a shooting.
..."What you're seeing here is an outgrowth of chronic problems," Zimring said. "We never solved the problems - chronic unemployment, gun availability, community disorganization.
...Russ Giuntini, the city's chief assistant district attorney, said San Francisco has the desire - but not the power - to regulate guns. "Until we have a meaningful national gun policy," he said, "we can be as well intentioned as we want to be."
... and on and on and on.
You see, according to liberals, if we just get rid of all the guns, then the gangs will be forced to resolve their disputes in choreographed dance-offs a la "West Side Story."
Tourists, of course, can breath easy... the murder epidemic in San Francisco is not a widespread phenomenon. A cursory look at S.F.'s homicide map will reveal a pretty damn obvious pattern. You can actually replace the words "homicide map" with "guide to street dealers and gang territory," and it will be just as true. The vast majority of the city is murder-free.
If all this is confusing to the pols, the commenters on the SFGate piece have a few ideas...
"Here's an example of dopey poitics. "Russ Giuntini, the city's chief assistant district attorney, said San Francisco has the desire - but not the power - to regulate guns." It is NOT a case of needing MORE gun control, Mr. Giuntini. There are plenty of gun control laws on the books right now. It is a matter of prosecuting recidivists and criminals who use guns. For years, the DA's office has been dropping the ball on this, making deals and dismissing cases that required more work on their part. They protect their politically all important win / loss ration by dismissing charges and making plea deals that take the teeth out of current laws, especially juvenile laws. Of course this is just part of the problem, but Mr. Giuntini is absolutely wrong and typical of an uberliberal civil servant pointing fingers at laws instead of people."
"Nearly half the victims were black, even though African Americans make up less than 7 percent of the city's population." And at least half if not higher of the perpetrators are also black. This city has virtually no black middle class anymore. Its crazy. The 2010 census should be eye opening. Projects are like another world in this city that has changed so much over the last few decades . A permanent government sponsored underclass of dysfunctional people."
"Yes, bullets "don't have no eyes", but the shooter of the gun sure has eyes... the shooter of the gun sure has a brain, the shooter of the gun sure has a finger that pulled the trigger..."
"Insanity! Reduce crime by stop catering to all the illegal aliens, and stop welcoming the nations homeless. The prosecute with no mercy people who assault, rape, rob, and murder. The message that SF sends is that there is no greater way to live than to be a self-absorbed egotistical individual so forget accountability, ethics, etc. The city culture is based on do your own thing. For most people that is not violence, but for some it is violence. Gavinboy, stop blaming firearms. All police officers know that the presence of firearms in homes is a major deterrent to even more crime. Nationally, about 2.5 million times yearly, Americans pull-out a firearm that keeps a violent person from going further. Get real!"
"99 murders, the highest total since 1995? What a proud legacy for Chief Heather Fong, who leaves the City and the SFPD in worse shape than she found them."
"One idea for combating the violence is to require all people living in public housing to surrender some rights, so that every one of these residences can be searched for weapons and drugs at random times without a warrant. If public-housing residents don't find this acceptable, they can stop having babies they aren't able to support, get an education beyond the elementary school level, and find employment that will enable them to pay for private homes."