When I was growing up, there were two big humor magazines around (at least two that I cared about): MAD Magazine and Cracked. MAD is still around, although it only publishes six issues a year as opposed to the monthly dose of Alfred E. Neuman I received as a kid. Cracked, on the other hand, ended its run as a magazine nearly a decade ago. As the print version died, however, Cracked.com was quickly becoming one of the go-to websites for comedy and humor.
As Cracked.com became more popular, it also became more topical. When it came to the issue of gun control, for instance, you could find articles like “7 Incredibly Biased Arguments Against Gun Control,” “The 4 Most Meaningless Arguments Against Gun Control,” “How Gun Control Made Australia Safer Than America,” “How To Solve The Country’s Gun Problem,” and more. What you couldn’t find was any other point of view about gun ownership or the Second Amendment.
But maybe things are changing over at Cracked.com. Or maybe an editor was sick and this just slipped through the editorial process. Whatever the reason, the other day I spotted an article by Adam Tod Brown titled “5 Reasons Gun Control In The United States Is A Lost Cause.” It isn’t exactly a love letter to the NRA, but the listicle does make some of the same points that gun owners and NRA members have been raising for years, like how semi-automatic rifles are only used in a handful of crimes every year, yet banning them is still at the top of the anti-gun “to-do” list. Of course, Brown still has to explain that he’s “not saying the AR-15 is a good thing,” but at least he acknowledges that a ban is pointless.But maybe things are changing over at Cracked.com. Or maybe an editor was sick and this just slipped through the editorial process.
Brown also points out that so-called “universal” background checks won’t have an impact on violent criminals because “criminals don’t work within the framework of the law. As long as there’s a hole in the market, someone will figure out a way to fill it.” He notes that gun-control advocates don’t think about the logistics of implementing Australian-style gun confiscation, reminding readers what that would look like: Heavily armed law enforcement, maybe the military, going into “high-crime areas in large numbers to round up the guns.” Now, billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be okay with that (after all, he’s the one who said we should throw young men of color “up against the wall” and frisk them all for guns), but most Americans aren’t going to agree.
I don’t know if Brown has been listening to “Cam & Co.” (something tells me the answer is “no”), but he highlighted something that I’ve been talking about for years now: The most effective way to reduce violent crime isn’t to try and reduce the supply of firearms, but to reduce the criminal demand for firearms. And how do you do that? By targeting the most violent offenders. In fact, Brown references the “Ceasefire” program popularized by David Kennedy that dramatically reduced homicides in Boston (at least while the program was in place). I wrote about Kennedy’s work in a column last year, and it’s good to see Brown recognize the simple fact that focusing limited law enforcement resources on the most prolific offenders instead of legal gun owners is highly effective in reducing violence.
I don’t know if we’ll see any actual pro-gun pieces at Cracked.com in the future, but at least Brown’s listicle and accompanying podcast isn’t the standard anti-gun diatribe that’s become all too common on the site. It’s a first step. Let’s hope it’s not the last.