No target on my back

To claim that President Trump and the Trump administration are overtly inciting and supporting violence among our citizenry is not borne out by recent data

WARDSBORO — After reading Kevin O'Keefe's recent Viewpoint, it is quite evident to me that his attempt to directly blame President Trump and his administration for the recent mass shootings that have occurred across America fails because so few of his comments and observations were backed up by facts and research.

I, for one, do not feel as if I am living day by day with a target on my back. In fact, I enjoy every freedom America has to offer.

I'd like to stick a few facts into the conversation about violent crime in the U.S.A., information that also relates to the tragic shooting incidents that inevitably laser-focus our attention and feed our fears as a result of the media's wall-to-wall, non-stop “breaking news” coverage.

In a quick search of publicly available FBI websites and databases, I came to the conclusion that Mr. O'Keefe's views on violent crime could be refuted and his fears becalmed.

According to the FBI's Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January–June, 2018, issued on Feb. 25, crime statistics for 2018 (the most current figures available), violent crime in this country has been in decline.

Robbery: down 12.5 percent. Manslaughter: down 6.7 percent. Assault: down 2 percent. Overall, according to the FBI data, violent crime was down 8.2 percent in 2018. That was the second year of President Trump's first term in office.

Additionally, it's worth noting that according to the FBI's Crime in the U.S. 2017 report of Sept. 28, 2018, four times as many people were killed by being stabbed and slashed by knives than were shot by guns.

It is very easy to see that listening to the media - all media - convinces us, Mr. O'Keefe included, that violent crime all across the nation is out of control and getting worse with every generation.

Is that the case?

The Pew Research Center's FacTank blog post of Jan. 3 concludes that from 1993 through 2017 violent crime in the U.S.A. fell by 49 percent. We are far from being the kind of a nation where an armed military must patrol the streets so that we do not have “targets on our backs.”

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I believe that I and my fellow Americans live in one of the safest nations on Earth. I believe we do not have virtual or literal targets on our backs. All across rural America, in small towns and quiet neighborhoods, people don't even lock their front doors at night, and they brag about their “safe communities.”

To claim or insinuate that President Trump and the Trump administration are overtly inciting and supporting violence among our citizenry is just simply not borne out by the recent data I researched.

It seems to me that Mr. O'Keefe's manner of stating his views in such a prominent and well-read newspaper does nothing more than ramp up the arguments between the political left and the right.

Furthermore, it is not the kind of commentary that would bring down the temperature of the kinds of heated and accusatory rhetoric Americans see and read everywhere.

I am sorry for Mr. O'Keefe if he feels he is living in fear and must lock his doors, but wrongly blaming the president will surely only lead to more divisiveness among our friends and neighbors.

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