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Homicide Moratorium?

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The Los Angeles City Council debated a resolution declaring a 40-hour moratorium on murder, David Zahniser reports for the LA Times. Commenters at the Volokh Conspiracy discuss whether this was an April Fool's joke. Ultimately, the council "decided instead to use the upcoming anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination as an occasion for promoting peace."

Of course, if they actually wanted to lower the homicide rate, they should call on the Legislature to enact reforms to actually enforce California's death penalty. As Paul Rubin of Emory University testified to Congress a couple of years ago, "The literature [on deterrence] is easy to summarize: almost all modern studies and all the refereed studies find a significant deterrent effect of capital punishment." But then again, if you only interested in making a statement and not in actually accomplishing anything, the research is irrelevant.

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I'm sure they really do want to lower the homicide rate, but there are sacred cows that cannot be sacrificed to achieve that goal, antipathy to the death penalty being one of them and hostility towards our immigration laws being another.

Of course, cynicism about their motives is completely justified given the farcical nature of this moratorium proposal. It is a cruel joke to play on victims' families to debate self-parodying measures with the stated purpose of reducing crime. These people are fundamentally unserious about a basic governmental function, namely the safety of citizens.

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