The point is to crack down on America’s most prolific murder-dealers, gun dealers in areas with lax gun laws that make their cash by funneling weapons into major cities where the gun laws are tighter. It coincides with a Justice Department announcement last week of five “strike forces” specifically targeting illegal weapons trafficking into New York City, Chicago, and other large cities.

There have been press exposés of the high-traffic gun dealers responsible for a significant flow of the guns used in crimes elsewhere; these new announcements suggest that the Justice Department has a plan for finally shuttering those shops. Maybe. Expect a whole lot of angst from the pro-gun lobby about how cruel it is to take away a gun shop’s license for helping just one known violent criminal get their newest murder weapon, and how a demand that gun shops follow the law in every transaction, when providing weapons of war to whatever random twitchy schmuck comes in their doors, is Going Too Far.

The second of Biden’s major initiatives today is expanding hiring and housing opportunities for those released from prison. This includes boosting opportunities in the federal workplace. The obvious goal of this program is to reduce recidivism by giving newly released inmates a means of making a living that other than the one that may have landed them in jail to begin with; repeated past studies have demonstrated that such programs work well.

And the third, according to the Post‘s preview? Increased police funding. Again. $350 billion’s worth, to be exact, to be taken from existing pandemic stimulus funds for those police jurisdictions facing elevated violent crime rates.

While Politico and the Post both highlight scary numbers for new homicides, with Politico calling it a “killing spree” because that is a thing the press does, what’s bizarrely missing from both stories is any context on just why violent crime might be sharply up while nonviolent crime declines, during (checks notes) the last 18 months of American life.

Did something happen a year and a half ago to completely upend society, throw entire sectors of the economy out of work, shutter much of the means of entertainment modern Americans have long relied on to help alleviate piled-up stress, and toss individuals together into new situations of uncertainty, isolation, and crisis? Anything? Anything at all?

Oh. Ohhh. Right. The entire “worldwide pandemic, people you know dying off, everything is closed, you have no job, no possibility of making rent” national crisis that has now lasted a year and a half. It seems like that would be worth mentioning as the very likely cause of increased local violence in many American cities, but no.

Not sure how a global pandemic managed to get left out of two separate quote-filled stories when discussing elevated levels of violence during the last year, since it would seem rather key to sussing out whether such crime is expected to remain elevated as the pandemic eases or might abate in coming months, but it ain’t there. That’s … a bit odd? Maybe?

That aside, that the new police funding is being taken explicitly from pandemic stimulus funds suggests that the Biden administration, at least, believes the two things to be linked. The rest of Biden’s initiatives are welcome either way.





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