During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as crime escalated in Chicago, even before Lori Lightfoot became mayor, Chicago earned a new nickname: Chiraq. It turns out that this nickname is entirely too accurate. For a young man growing up in the wrong part of Chicago or in Philadelphia, living in the ‘hood is more dangerous than going to war.
In December, the JAMA Network Open published a study entitled “Comparing Risks of Firearm-Related Death and Injury Among Young Adult Males in Selected US Cities With Wartime Service in Iraq and Afghanistan.” For those unfamiliar with the JAMA Network Open, it is an affiliate of the venerable Journal of the American Medical Association (“JAMA”), founded in 1883.
JAMA Network Open’s pedigree suggests that the information contained within the article may be reliable. (Note that I do not say “is reliable,” because modern science has a serious replication problem that means that all studies must be taken with a large grain of salt.)
The article about America’s most dangerous ghettoes is straightforward. It holds that, when one compares fatalities in Chicago’s and Philadelphia’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods, spending time in Afghanistan and Iraq would have been a safer alternative for those men:
This cross-sectional study of 129 826 young adult men living in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City, and Los Angeles in 2020 and 2021 found that young adult males from zip codes with the most violence in Chicago and Philadelphia had a notably higher risk of firearm-related death than US military personnel who served during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while the most violent areas in New York City and Los Angeles were associated with less risk for young adult males than these theaters of war. In all zip codes studied, risks were overwhelmingly borne by young adult males from minoritized racial and ethnic groups.
Because the American Medical Association hews hard left, the article concludes with the usual leftist pap about “health equity.”
Given that the risks of our study were also overwhelmingly shouldered by minoritized racial and ethnic groups, fully delivering on commitments to health equity requires addressing the violence that lies at the root of many behavioral health disparities, in addition to being a health disparity in its own right.
The ghettoes’ mortality problem isn’t health equity (as in, the problem isn’t that there aren’t enough qualified physicians to treat all the gun wounds heading into urban Emergency Rooms). Instead, the problem is one of culture.
The left has created an environment in which young men in the ghetto (which usually means Blacks and Hispanics) have been systematically deprived of the institutions that civilize men away from their atavistic impulses toward tribalism and war. In other words, the problem is one of systemic racism…from the left.
The left has destroyed the Judeo-Christian tradition in these neighborhoods, a tradition that demands that people respect life, aid the helpless, work for peaceful solutions, and obey a moral code that forbids murder (i.e., the unjustified taking of a life).
The left has driven fathers from family life, meaning that young men’s role models are the gangsters in the street rather than fathers who care about their sons’ well-being and who teach them discipline, moral courage, and self-worth.
The left has encouraged marijuana as a recreational drug, telling Blacks that the war on marijuana was racial in origin, not meant to protect young people from drugs. The effects on a population that lives in a cloud of marijuana smoke are serious. A 2005 study noted some of marijuana’s well-recognized damaging effects on brain function.
Lastly, the left has destroyed the rule of law which, when it functions, adequately punishes violent criminals, removing them from the community and degrading their social status.
The problems in Chiraq and Philadelphia aren’t because of guns or a lack of “equity.” They are because leftists, having worked since Johnson’s Great Society to destroy all the civilizing forces that sustain a safe, functional culture, have created a zombified generation of Black young men without any civilizing anchors.
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