Paul Ryan: Inner City People Need Discipline Character

Before he abruptly ended a local television interview with an ABC affiliate in Flint, Michigan this week, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan explained what he thinks will reduce crime in America.

From Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher:

Republican vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan made a bit of news when he abruptly cut short an interview with a local reporter in Michigan, but the hissy manner in which he ended the chat seems to have buried the ugly substance of what he said while trying to evade questions about gun control and his tax plan. Asked whether this country has a gun problem, Ryan responded that that it’s a “crime problem,” and volunteered that “The best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities. Is to help teach people good discipline, good character.”

There’s a lot wrong with what Ryan said while trying to avoid questions about gun control, from hiding behind President Obama (“I don’t even think President Obama’s proposing more gun laws.”) to his apparent lack of concern over gun suicides (which make up the majority of gun deaths in the U.S.) or accidental child killings. However, these are fairly commonplace facets of conservative gun arguments.

What you don’t often hear spoken (out loud, anyway) is that the real problem with gun violence in America is the “character” and “discipline” of people in the “inner cities,” a very specific delineation from other city folk. Obviously, if you shoot someone to death, there’s a good chance you have a major character flaw or two, but what about all the “inner city” people who are doing the dying? Did they lack the “character” or “discipline” to dodge a bullet? Are rural or suburban murderers and victims more virtuous?

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