GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan was caught in a rather precarious situation recently. In an interview with ABC12 in Flint Michigan, Ryan is asked about gun laws. Somehow in his mind, gun violence is directly related to the “inner cities”. From Andrew Kaczyinski at Buzz Feed, here’s what he said…
Reporter: Does this country have a gun problem?
Ryan: This country has a crime problem.
Reporter: Not a gun problem?
Ryan: No… if you take a look at the gun laws we have… I don’t even think President Obama is proposing more gun laws. We have good, strong gun laws, and we have to make sure we enforce [them]. We have lots of laws that aren’t being properly enforced. But the best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity into the inner cities. Is to help people get out of [poverty] in the inner cities. Is to help teach people good discipline, good character… THAT is Civil Society. That’s what charities and churches and civic groups do to help realize [our] value in one another.
So according to Mr. Ryan, violence is exclusively an “urban” problem. The only places in America that struggle with crime are the inner cities. There is no opportunity to be found in inner cities. All people that live in inner cities lack good discipline and good character. And yet, he wants to accuse the reporter of bias??
In Paul Ryan’s world, if you’re an urban dweller you clearly need help. You’re just not as “civilized” as the people that had the good sense to live in the countryside or in the suburbs. You know the suburbs, right? Where crime never happens to anyone because the people are so well-disciplined and of such good character that nothing ever goes wrong?
Today in the United States, many inner city areas are just as safe as parts of the suburbs, and crime can’t be pigeon-holed into an “all or none” assumption. A 2011 study by the Brookings Institute found that both violent crime and property crime have much more to do with trends in the overall metropolitan area than in a blanket consensus of what is “urban” or “suburban”. And yes, rural communities too have more than their fair share of violent crime offenders, particularly when it relates to guns and the drug trade.
You would think that a sitting United States Congressman would have a better grasp of our rapidly-changing population. Apparently not.
With prejudice like this on full display, it’s no surprise at all that the GOP performs so poorly in most of the country’s urban areas. Even as Census trends clearly show that more Americans are moving to inner cities than any time in the last century, Republicans have made it clear that they are sticking to their “city bashing” strategy.
They do so at their own peril.