I wasn’t planning to write anything about the shootings in Newton, Connecticut. It touches on a variety of issues that are of interest to me, but it just feels a little too soon for sober discussion.
But then I came across this nonsense:
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) weighed in on the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, saying the crime was no surprise because we have “systematically removed God” from public schools.
“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee said on Fox News. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”
Marc Randazza’s response is not exactly a well-reasoned counter-argument, but I can’t fault the sentiment:
Fuck you, Mike Huckabee. Fuck you in your ass with a cactus.
In the comments, however, my Nobody’s Business co-blogger Rogier steps up and fills in some of the argument:
What claptrap. The heavily secularized nations of Western Europe have never tolerated God in public schools, not in recent times anyway, and they have nowhere near the homicide rate of the U.S.
HuffPo also quotes Huckabee from earlier this summer, talking about a different shooting:
“We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem,” Huckabee said on Fox News. “And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised … when all hell breaks loose.”
One big problem for Huckabee’s argument is that, despite yesterday’s horrors, all hell is not breaking loose. The national homicide rate has been declining for almost two decades and is currently (as of the latest data from 2009) just barely above the low that began the 1960′s:
(Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports, murder and negligent manslaughter rates.)
So the good news is that — despite godlessness, gun ownership, video games, and internet porn — we’re actually safer from violence than at any time in the last 40 years. This was a bad moment in an otherwise pretty good time.