James Holmes's rampage in Aurora, Colorado has led to more of the same tired gun control debate that has been going on for decades. The commentators would have performed a greater service for the country if they had addressed a more important issue: Why has the American murder rate dramatically declined over the last 20 years in the absence of ramped up gun control?
The FBI provides the crucial murder statistics. In 1991, murder peaked in the United States when there were 9.8 deaths per 100,000 people. That rate has declined over the last 20 years so that in 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, there were 4.8 deaths per 100,000. In other words, the rate has been cut in half.
We should be discussing what has led to this vast improvement in public safety and what more can realistically be done to continue the trend.
Scott Varland is an American lawyer residing in London, England.