America the Violent | SARC

An anti-gun violence rally on the steps of New York City Hall in 2019. (William Alatriste/NYC Council)

An anti-gun violence rally on the steps of New York City Hall in 2019. (William Alatriste/NYC Council)


In the wake of mass shootings, Americans are regularly told that these atrocities do not happen in other developed countries. This, we are to believe, is the damnable result of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Americans are told again and again that the key to solving this problem is to drastically reduce the number of firearms in circulation; specifically, the number of semi-automatic rifles. 

Of course, America isn’t entirely unique. As we’ll examine later, many other developed countries experience mass violence, including France, Norway, and New Zealand.  

Despite the hyperbole, though, there is an element of truth in the idea that America’s violence is unique in the developed world. As a country, we are much more violent, both in mass settings that capture our imaginations and headlines and in individual cases that tend to be accepted as somehow normal.  

For example, when we compare US cities to those of comparable nations—Western Europe, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia—we find that American murder rates are startlingly high in comparison.  Murder rates may not be a perfect indicator of overall violence but work very well as a way of identifying serious violent tendencies.  

Glasgow, Scotland ranks as perhaps the most dangerous major city in America’s peer nations with a murder rate of around 5.1/per 100,000 residents in 2020. 

That murder rate would make Glasgow, Europe’s deadliest city, the 62nd most deadly city in America in 2020, landing between San Francisco and Anaheim.  

So, does that prove it? Is it true that because Americans have access to so many guns, we are much more likely to murder each other?  

Not exactly.  

As it turns out, Americans do not rely on a single tool to commit murders.  

Indeed, according to the FBI in 2019, the most common murder weapon was the handgun, used in 45.7% of murders. Firearms of unknown type were used in 23.9%.  Knives were the second most common identifiable weapon at 10.6%.  

It is worth mentioning that murders with hands and feet (600) outstrip murders with rifles and shotguns combined (564).  

Now, there’s no doubt looking at those numbers, that the number of firearms almost certainly increases the number of murders—it’s just a lot easier to kill someone with a gun than with your hands. 

But when we have gun control debates, lawmakers focus almost exclusively on one type of firearm: the semi-automatic rifle. A weapon so rarely used in murders the FBI does not distinguish its use from that of other rifles. I’ll say that again; rifles are so seldom used that the FBI does not count semi-automatic rifles separately from other, slower-firing rifles.  

To further put this in perspective, in 2019, there were estimated to be 16,425 murders. 10,255 of these were committed with firearms. 364 were committed with rifles—that we can prove. We have to assume some of the unidentified firearms are rifles.  

Even so, this is a tiny fraction of the overall number of murders; about 2.2%.  

To put this further in perspective, there were 36,096 vehicular homicides in 2019.  

There are 271,000,000 cars in the US.  

There are believed to be more than 400,000,000 guns. 

Despite this, a regular point of argument is that if we had the same kind of regulations around cars as we did guns, there would be fewer deaths. The belief is that by requiring training, licensing, registration, and other qualifications, deaths caused by firearms would be reduced. But as we have seen, the numbers don’t really bear this out, as cars—which have numerous, onerous regulations to own and operate, are involved in far more yearly deaths than guns, despite there being far more firearms.   

But even if we were to impose greater regulations on gun ownership, we wouldn’t expect it to have much impact on their use in crimes. Simply put, weapons that are acquired through legal means are very rarely used in crimes. 

In 2019, just about 10% of guns used in crimes were obtained in retail environments according to the Department of Justice. Retail environments include gun stores, sporting goods shops, gun shows, pawn shops, and flea markets. While it is often difficult to prove the provenance of firearms otherwise acquired, very few purchased in this verifiably legal way are ever used in crime.  

About 20% of guns used in crimes fall into a legal gray zone, in which the criminal claims to have acquired the firearm from someone else, either through purchase or as a gift.  

In total, 70% of firearms are acquired in an explicitly illegal fashion.  

What this points to is that criminals generally seek out non-verifiable means to obtain firearms, meaning that adding further regulation to the acquisition of guns would have, if not negligible, very minor effects.  

But again, given Americans’ highly violent nature, even if we were to ban all guns, and remove all firearms immediately, Americans would still attack one another by other means more commonly than our peer societies. 

America, however, is not merely more violent than our peer nations. 

We are much more criminal overall, with 715 per 100,000 people being held as prisoners. Some might say this is because of over-incarceration, with nearly 45% of those in federal prison being held for drug offenses. However, the statistic is still meaningful, as it demonstrates that Americans incur the risk of incarnation at a higher rate than our peer societies.  

This tendency also appears when we look at traffic fatalities. We have nearly three times as many traffic deaths per capita as the European Union—11.7 vs 4.2, suggesting more reckless driving in the US. 

Indeed, social science regularly demonstrates that Americans perceive less risk than those of other developed nations.  

Lack of risk aversion is highly correlated with crime, and those who commit even low-level offenses are much more likely to also commit violent crimes.  

All of this suggests that guns are not the root cause of violence in America.  

American people are.  

A murder committed with a firearm is just as evil and tragic as it would be with a knife.  

Let us turn our attention now to mass shootings, the crimes that most often grab headlines and shake our nation.  

Even looking exclusively at these horrifying crimes, the handgun is the weapon of choice for offenders, not the semiautomatic rifle. Handguns were used in 98 mass shootings since 1982 compared to 52 in which rifles were used.  

Now rifles are disproportionately favored in mass shootings as compared to the more common individual murder—making up about 30% of the weapons chosen in mass murder, but only 2% in individual cases. They are, however, not universally, nor even particularly often used, making up—of the three categories (rifles, shotguns, and handguns)—about one-third of the weapons.  

To sum all of this data up, targeting semi-automatic rifles would have a negligible impact on the overall American murder rate, and would not even prevent the majority of mass shootings. It is worth noting, that once a person has come to the point of deciding to murder a classroom of eleven-year-olds, the choice of which type of firearm is probably not extremely important to the outcome. In the cases of Uvalde, Parkland, and Sandy Hook, it would be foolish to suggest that had the shooters chosen handguns, rather than AR-15 style rifles, there would have been less carnage. The AR-15, firing once every time the trigger is pulled would not kill any more efficiently than a handgun operating in the same manner.  

This makes the proposed ban on semi-automatic rifles—often erroneously called an “assault rifle ban”—window dressing, intended to allow lawmakers to claim to have “done something,” with little regard for the actual results of this policy.  

This might lead one to ask, “why not ban all guns?” This is a topic we will turn to shortly in another post.  

There is basically no support in the US for a handgun ban, despite this being the most commonly used murder weapon.  American support for such an idea is actually shrinking, reaching an all-time low in 2019 according to the latest available data from Gallup. This is likely because Americans understand that the handgun is also an essential self-defense weapon.  

In conclusion, we are a more violent people and a less risk-averse people than our peers. We kill each other at much higher rates than our peers, but rarely with rifles—semi-automatic or otherwise. Simply calling out our differences in gun laws and gun violence is not a strong enough reason to ban an entire class of firearms.  

As we continue, we will examine what such a ban might look like, and what laws would need to be altered to implement it. However, our next piece will examine mass shootings specifically. How are they defined, who commits them, and where do they occur?  

America the Violent | SARC

Austin’s Doomed Experiment | SARC

Austin has decided to launch an experiment with Universal Basic Income (UBI) in partnership with the nonprofit UpTogether. The program, when implemented, will send $1000 per month to 85 low-income individuals in the city.

Winter Weather Preparedness

Severe winter weather can be deadly and we want you to be as prepared as possible for the next major storm that will hit the Austin metro area. Below, you will find ways to be prepared. Please take every suggestion seriously. The intention of this article: To ensure you have the soft/hard skills and options … Continue reading Winter Weather Preparedness

Austin’s Doomed Experiment | SARC

by Dallas Emerson, Communications Director & Data Analyst

dallas@southaustinrc.org


Austin has decided to launch an experiment with Universal Basic Income (UBI) in partnership with the nonprofit UpTogether. The program, when implemented, will send $1000 per month to 85 low-income individuals in the city.  

This is part of a series of experiments with Universal Basic Income occurring throughout the country.  

And they’re all pointless.  

Let’s set aside the principle and even the theory underlying UBI.  Those are arguments to be taken up when the discussion is whether to implement such a program.  

No, I want to talk about this “experiment,” and its guaranteed unhelpfulness.  

The idea behind running the pilot program is, at first glance, understandable. Rather than unrolling a multi-billion dollar program, we will study a small group of people, and how their lives and behavior is changed by receiving additional income.  

But the results will be easily misunderstood or misinterpreted; indeed, I would go so far as to say that the results will be meaningless

Let’s look at the pilot program again: 85 low-income people receiving $1000/month. That’s not chump change. I would certainly not turn my nose up to that kind of money. And certainly, we can expect that their spending habits would change. Their work habits will likely change.  

And that means nothing when only 85 people are receiving this money.  

However, if every single Austinite, all 950,000 of them, were to receive $1000/month—or about $12 billion dollars a year—we can only guess at the rapid, unprecedented rise in inflation as we poured an additional one billion dollars every month into our economy. Keep in mind, that nothing else will have changed—there will not be more goods being produced or more workers contributing. There will not be higher quality goods.  

We can guess what kind of wild effect this will have on the prices of low-income housing, food, fuel, and childcare in the city.  

They will go up. 

As we have seen on a national scale, subsidizing demand, by sending cash out to consumers, leads to price increases. This is not an argued point. The only question is how much of the inflation can be attributed to government disbursement of funds.  

If the Council agrees to this experiment, they will be putting Austin on a path to receiving information that we know will be misleading. We know that the relatively small disbursement will help these few, chosen families. We also know that these families will be the most likely to suffer from inflation—low-income families are always hit hardest by price increases.  

The Council must exercise prudence and take any result of this futile experiment with skeptical eyes. 

Austin’s Doomed Experiment | SARC

An anti-gun violence rally on the steps of New York City Hall in 2019. (William Alatriste/NYC Council)

America the Violent | SARC

In the wake of mass shootings, Americans are regularly told that these atrocities do not happen in other developed countries. This, we are to believe, is the damnable result of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Press Release: Keep Voting | SARC

6:07PM – Austin, TX USA South Austin Republican Club Dallas Emerson, Communications Director & Data Analyst dallas@southaustinrc.org Keep Voting Former President Donald Trump released the following statement yesterday, October 13th, 2021:   This message has been received as a threat to the Republican Party; somehow to address the alleged fraud of the 2020 election.   There are … Continue reading Press Release: Keep Voting | SARC

Press Release: Keep Voting | SARC

6:07PM – Austin, TX USA

South Austin Republican Club

Dallas Emerson, Communications Director & Data Analyst

dallas@southaustinrc.org


Keep Voting

Former President Donald Trump released the following statement yesterday, October 13th, 2021:  

This message has been received as a threat to the Republican Party; somehow to address the alleged fraud of the 2020 election.  

There are those who argue this message is not a threat but, an analysis: Republican voters will stay home because they feel their votes will not count.  

While South Austin Republicans Club takes voter fraud very seriously, we cannot encourage people to not vote. The idea that Republican voters should stay home is destructive, and the same attitude that handed two Georgia Senate seats to Democrats in January. When Republicans stay home, Democrats win.  

As our club has noted before, there is no evidence of election-altering fraud in Austin. If the powers that be could suppress the vote, we would have never passed Proposition B (citywide homeless camping ban) or gotten a conservative councilwoman elected (Councilwoman Mackenzie Kelly).  

As we look to vote for Prop A this year, and electing new councilmembers next year, we cannot allow the questions we have about the 2020 election prevent us from making our voices heard.  

Despite how badly we wanted to see Donald Trump reelected, we must honestly and factually take up the many challenges that Republicans face. So that we ensure conservative leaders are elected and conservative policies implemented.  

###

“There are those who argue this message is not a threat but, an analysis: Republican voters will stay home because they feel their votes will not count.”  


South Austin News | SARC

“People who live in South Austin and use Stassney Lane will soon have safer and more convenient ways to cross the street or get to a public transit stop.” @KVUE

November 2021 Propositions | SARC

On November 2nd, 2021 Texans will have the chance to vote on 8 statewide propositions. Austinites will have the chance to vote on 2 city propositions. You can learn about them here and we encourage you to vote!

South Austin News | SARC

“A colorful, 140-foot mural was installed by the Southern Oaks neighborhood of Austin to greet travelers on Buffalo Pass in south Austin.” @KXAN_News

South Austin News | SARC

“People who live in South Austin and use Stassney Lane will soon have safer and more convenient ways to cross the street or get to a public transit stop. Crews from the Austin Transportation Department will start phase two of a project aimed at improving pedestrian crossings, bike infrastructure and bus stops.” KVUE

“The Austin Police Department has made an arrest and is looking for another person in connection with a homicide that took place back in April in South Austin. It happened on April 26th in the 6200 block of Boxcar Run at 11:53 p.m.” CBS AUSTIN

“About 70 COVID-19 vaccines were given to festival goers during weekend one of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, according to authorities.Constable George Morales, who oversees Travis County’s vaccine strike teams, told the Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday of the latest vaccine distribution.Officials said the 70 vaccines were a part of the 763 doses that were given in Travis County last week.” PATCH

“An elderly woman was struck and killed by a car in south Austin last week, authorities said Monday. The crash took place around 8:55 p.m. Friday near the 7000 block of E. Riverside Drive and Frontier Valley Drive.” PATCH

“Tesla officially moved its headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas CEO Elon Musk announced at the company’s 2021 annual shareholder meeting.” CNBC

“Make the most out of an autumn trip to pumpkin patches near South Austin by planning to play a few games beforehand. The best experiences at the nearby fields this fall can become treasured childhood memories when you organize a friendly competition among young pumpkin patch visitors.” PATCH

“People who live in South Austin and use Stassney Lane will soon have safer and more convenient ways to cross the street or get to a public transit stop.” @KVUE


South Austin News | SARC

“Legend says in the ’20s, it was a hangout spot for train robbers the Newton Gang, Carvalho said. Roughly 50 years later, the likes of Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin performed at the venue.” COMMUNITY IMPACT

South Austin News | SARC

“Austin Public Health (APH) said it has identified four positive mosquito pools for West Nile Virus while doing routine monitoring for mosquito-borne diseases. The pools were found in the 78744 ZIP code area during the past two weeks.” KXAN

“A colorful, 140-foot mural was installed by the Southern Oaks neighborhood of Austin to greet travelers on Buffalo Pass in south Austin.” KXAN

“All northbound lanes of Interstate 35 are open again after two 18-wheelers crashed and closed the freeway Tuesday morning.” KXAN

“This year, as the pandemic turned the education world on its head, many families began looking at private schools or homeschooling for the first time, according to local school districts’ data. This noncomprehensive guide provides insights into private schools around Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs, from specialized instruction to different religious affiliations.” COMMUNITY IMPACT

“When Albert Demi and his wife, Melanie, adopted Cooper in college, the retriever would not eat. Then, one day he stole a bite of their sandwich, and it seemed like his entire demeanor changed.” COMMUNITY IMPACT

Flood Preparedness | SARC

Austin will experience consistent rain in the coming days and possibly weeks, requiring us to be prepared in order to stay safe and help others.

South Austin News | SARC

“The Austin Police Department is investigating the death of a person after they were struck by a train early Friday morning in south Austin.” CBS AUSTIN

“A fugitive on the state’s 10 Most Wanted list was arrested Wednesday in South Austin.” CBS AUSTIN

“Edward De Los Santos, 43, was captured at a South Austin hotel on Sept. 22 by members of the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, including members of the Texas DPS and Austin Police Department.” KVUE

“If you’re looking to add a fuzzy ball of four-legged love and affection to your life, look no further than these South Austin area shelters for a pet you can adopt.” PATCH

“Legend says in the ’20s, it was a hangout spot for train robbers the Newton Gang, Carvalho said. Roughly 50 years later, the likes of Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin performed at the venue.” COMMUNITY IMPACT

“The long-awaited tiki bar from the Ramen Tatsu-ya group, Tiki Tatsu-ya, has finally announced its opening date. Tiki Tatsu-ya will open at 1300 South Lamar Boulevard on Monday, October 4.” EATER AUSTIN

South Austin News | SARC

“The Austin Police Department on Friday identified the man who was found dead lying in the road with multiple gunshot wounds early Wednesday morning in South Austin.” CBS AUSTIN “Commercial developer and operator Unico Properties has sold Bouldin Creek, a 170,000-square-foot office building in South Austin to San Francisco-based DivcoWest for an undisclosed price. Unico … Continue reading South Austin News | SARC

South Austin News | SARC

“If you’ve been wanting to add a four-legged ball of love and affection to your family, start with these South Austin area animal shelters for a pet to take home.” @KXAN_News

Press Release: Austin City Manager Selects New Police Chief | SARC

5PM – Austin, TX USA

South Austin Republican Club

Dallas Emerson, SARC Senior Communications Director & Data Analyst

southaustinrc@gmail.com


Austin City Manager Selects New Police Chief

Congratulations to Austin’s new Chief of Police, Chief Joseph Chacon. He has been Austin’s Interim Chief during difficult times of rising crime and a police staffing crisis.

We do wish that the City Manager had considered a potential Chief from outside the department, aligning with the wishes of the police officers.

But, we hope the council will show its full support, not just for the new Chief, but for all officers going forward. We wish Chief Chacon the best of luck, and ask all Austinites to pray for him as our city faces unprecedented challenging times.

Statement from City Manager Spencer Cronk

###

South Austin News | SARC

“..fears someone will get hurt riding on the stretch of Hether Street near South Lamar Boulevard, where Urban Motorsports is located.”-KXAN

South Austin News | SARC

“Austin police say a domestic disturbance and alleged assault initiated the response at 11:44 p.m. Wednesday at the Post South Lamar apartment complex, located at 1500 S. Lamar Blvd. But after officers heard the man may have had multiple firearms in his residence, that led to the SWAT team assisting.” KXAN

“Austin firefighters rescued a person living in a south Austin apartment after a kitchen fire Friday morning. The Austin Fire Department was called to the Lantana Ridge Apartments, located at 6630 W. William Cannon Drive, between Southwest Parkway and U.S. 290.” KXAN

“Beloved Japanese grocery store Asahi Imports is opening a second location on South Lamar. The new location will open at 3005 South Lamar Boulevard in the Barton Hills neighborhood sometime at the end of September or early October.” EATER AUSTIN

“The 138-acre Brick and Mortar District could bring thousands of residences and tons of spaces for businesses to this fast-growing community.” AUSTIN BUSINESS JOURNAL

“A man was arrested following a SWAT team response at an apartment complex in south Austin early Thursday morning.” CBS AUSTIN

Release: South Austin Republican Club Takes Official Stances on May 1st Propositions

Charter amendment regarding binding arbitration  Proposition A: Shall the City Charter be amended to give the Austin Firefighters Association, Local 975 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the authority to require the City to participate in binding arbitration of all issues in dispute with the Association if the City and the Association reach impasse in … Continue reading Release: South Austin Republican Club Takes Official Stances on May 1st Propositions

On May 1st a Change In Course Must Be Made | SARC

The City Council of Austin has failed to address homelessness in the city.
Think that’s too harsh? Mayor Adler agrees.
Don’t misunderstand, he doesn’t have a plan, and doesn’t want to reinstate the camping ban. He doesn’t really have any suggestions. Honestly, it feels a bit like he’s phoning it in at this time, given that can’t run for reelection.
In June 2019, the Council legalized…

Campaign Soft Launch – This Saturday | SARC

In 2023 we have a chance to change the composition of the Austin City Council. What the really means is that we have a chance in 2022 since candidates can start officially running one year prior to the election in November of 2023.

In South Austin we will have two seats up for the taking in 2023; District 8 and District 5. Both of which will be in striking distance for Republicans.

District 8 is already showing prominence with the recent news of lawyer and retired judge Richard Smith throwing his hat in the ring for the District 8 spot.

On Saturday, September 18th, Mr. Smith will host a soft launch for his campaign in order to introduce himself to the South Austin community. He will be present to answer questions, present his platform and meet community neighbors.

We highly encourage you to attend!

*Note: This is not a formal endorsement of Mr. Smith’s run for District 8 City Council.

The GOP is Divided — and That’s Good

By Dallas Emerson, SARC Deputy Communications Director The GOP is Divided — and That’s Good — let’s explore… I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in conservative conversation. “Let’s start a new party. A party for trueconservatives.” We’ve all heard some version of that. The Republican Party is publicly fracturing. As President Trump leaves office, some of … Continue reading The GOP is Divided — and That’s Good

The Changing Face of The Republican Party | SARC

Americans aren’t used to complex election results, and the 2020 election was complex. Despite winning the Presidency by a relatively comfortable margin, the Democrats suffered defeats across the country in the House, and failed to win the Senate outright as had been predicted. Republicans held their own in state legislature elections, and continue to hold the governorship of most states

Flood Preparedness | SARC

A tropical wave continues to produce a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms in the southwest Gulf of Mexico. Upper-level winds are not conducive to development today. However, that will change on Sunday and Monday as the system moves to the north/northwest. A tropical depression and eventually a tropical storm is likely to form over the next few days. If the system does indeed become a tropical storm, it will likely be named Nicholas. [1]

Austin will experience consistent rain in the coming days and possibly weeks, requiring us to be prepared in order to stay safe and help others.

https://weather.com/weather/tenday/l/e984113ce3e551f4914f965a69b5e6f0ad8f76cb5da62ea88e32639a2af2a66f#detailIndex5

The City of Austin has clear guidelines and resources for when it floods.

  • Be alert to your surroundings.
  • Monitor local media.
  • Avoid driving.
  • Stay away from creeks, trails, culverts, ponds and other drainage infrastructure.
  • If water starts to rise, seek higher ground. This may mean getting on your roof.

Check ATXfloods.com for known, flooded roads.

Sign up to get alerts by visiting https://warncentraltexas.org/alerts/ and https://member.everbridge.net/index/892807736729515/#/signup

SARC is dedicated to providing information to help everyone stay safe during the rainy season. Please subscribe and follow our social media for updates during storms.

The Hypocrisy of Mayor Steve Adler | SARC

Sometimes, everything seems almost normal—a blessed feeling in the bizarro world of 2020. Driving down the street, one can, for a few moments, feel like it’s an average day in Austin. Our traffic has mostly returned to Pre-March levels. Our cyclists are out in force. Our homeless are more prevalent than ever in their ever-growing camps beneath our overpasses.