In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom…
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Image of the Day: More Economic Freedom = Higher Standard of Living

In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, which shows that Joe Biden has dragged the U.S. down to 22nd, our lowest rank ever (we placed 4th in the first Index in 1995, and climbed back up from 18th to 12th under President Trump).  As we noted, among the Index's invaluable metrics is how it demonstrates the objective correlation between more economic freedom and higher citizen standards of living, which this graphic illustrates:


May 19, 2022 • 12:53 PM

Liberty Update

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Record Increase in U.S. Murder Rate Prompts Record Gun Sales in Response Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, February 18 2021
[A]ssaults against our nation’s police forces have created an atmosphere of record murder rate increases, and the Biden Administration only appears likely to fuel that growing inferno.

This grim and underreported number defies belief:  In 2020, the American murder rate increased by a record 31%.  

To place that number in horrifying perspective, the previous record increase was a comparatively miniscule 13% in 1968.  

The murder rate increases were even more grim in the nation’s ten largest cities, with a cumulative increase of 40%.  In deepest-blue Chicago, murders in 2020 increased 55% from their already-elevated existing rate.  And to think, those bastions of liberal governance consider themselves superior exemplars for conservative rubes living in Flyover Country.  

The U.S. murder rate tripled between 1965 and 1976, and continued escalating into the 1990s.  Between 1993 and 2019, however, the rate fell by half due to tougher policing and prosecutorial policies instituted in Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s New York City and then elsewhere.  

Today, we’re witnessing the dramatic reversal of that miraculous two-decade improvement.  

In any other year, that reversal and record increase would lead the headlines, trigger widespread alarm among the political class and commence introspection over the causes.  With a more honest and unbiased mainstream media, it would at least be a more prominent part of our national discussion.  

But that would undercut the mainstream media’s leftist narrative drumbeat.  We just can’t have Americans preoccupied with “law and order” concerns, because that inures to the benefit of conservative public policies and candidates for office.  

To the extent that mainstream media does acknowledge the escalating problem, they rationalize it as attributable to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing them to shift the discussion back to a topic they favor.  

There’s just one problem:  The month-by-month crime numbers refute that attempted rationalization, as the Manhattan Institute’s criminology expert Heather MacDonald explains:  

Why this mayhem?  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch expresses the conventional wisdom:  because of the “economic, civic and interpersonal stress” from the coronavirus pandemic.  Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blamed pandemic-related “frustration, anger … trauma and mental health challenges.”  But crime fell during the first months of the pandemic shutdowns, both in the U.S. and globally.  Only at the end of May did that trend reverse itself, and only in the U.S.  

The better explanation for this catastrophic new state of affairs, MacDonald highlights, is the political and mainstream media reaction to the Minneapolis death of George Floyd this past spring.  She quotes Minneapolis Police Department Lieutenant Bob Kroll, who says, “Proactive police work is dead.”  

Police now fear engaging, because any use of force could cost officers their careers, while hesitation in carrying out their jobs could cost them their lives.  Across America, police stops and the number of police/civilian contacts have plummeted.  Police also experience increased assaults by menacing crowds, and even find themselves targets of outright assassination attempts.  

Instead of coming to the rescue or offering reason for optimism, the new Biden Administration already appears set to make matters even worse.  Biden’s anti-police rhetoric exceeded that of his old boss Barack Obama, and his Department of Justice (DOJ) is poised to treat any statistical disparities among races in stops or arrests as presumptive evidence of racist behavior.  

Accordingly, assaults against our nation’s police forces have created an atmosphere of record murder rate increases, and the Biden Administration only appears likely to fuel that growing inferno.  

While mainstream media and leftist political figures minimize the issue, everyday Americans are taking notice and acting accordingly.  

Specifically, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that it conducted 4.32 million firearm background checks in January, which is not only a new monthly record but also the first time that the number of checks has exceeded 4 million.  Additionally, it’s estimated that 5 million Americans became first-time firearms purchasers in 2020, when between 17 million and 20 million firearms were sold in total.  

Like clockwork, the new Biden Administration seeks to prevent everyday citizens from protecting themselves from record crime increases, even while it continues to target the nation’s police forces as discussed above.  By restricting lenders’ ability to work with firearms manufacturers, attempting to outlaw entire categories of self-defense weapons, imposing increased liability standards for firearms manufacturers on behalf of their trial lawyer friends and harassing citizens seeking to buy guns, the Biden Administration is as unfriendly toward the Second Amendment as it is toward police.  

Fortunately, a judicial branch and Supreme Court fortified by four years of Trump Administration nominations stands ready to overturn new laws that excessively infringe upon the Second Amendment’s individual right to keep and bear arms.  But we can’t rely upon courts to stop every improper infringement.  We must therefore remain vigilant in making our voices heard.  As the nation plunges deeper into an abyss of higher crime, this is no time for complacency.  

Quiz Question   
How many days does it take the average U.S. household to consume as much electrical power as one single bitcoin transaction?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
"'We don't have a food shortage problem,' then-candidate Joe Biden said just months after the COVID pandemic began in May 2020. 'We have a leadership problem.'Now that he is president, however, Biden is singing a different tune. Asked if he should have taken steps to address the nation's baby formula shortages sooner, Biden replied, 'If we had been better mind readers, I guess we could have.'But the…[more]
—The Editors, Washington Examiner
— The Editors, Washington Examiner
Liberty Poll   

Should any U.S. government agency have a function called the "Disinformation Governance Board" (See Homeland Security, Department of)?