MSNBC guest: Chicago is so violent partially because of global warming, or something

2012 was a violent year for the city of Chicago, with more than 500 homicides on the books — and the incoming statistics for January are not indicating any type of positive trend, reports the AP:

A bloody weekend in which seven people were killed and six wounded has put an abrupt end – at least for now – to hopes that Chicago was at least putting a lid on its frightening homicide rate. …

Police say the homicide rate is a reflection of the city’s gang problem and a proliferation of guns. Chicago has for years tried to cut off the flow of guns. It has what city officials have called the strictest handgun ordinance in the U.S. But police officials say more needs to be done and that penalties for violating gun laws should be stiffer. …

With the weekend shootings, Chicago now has 40 homicides – the exact same number as last January. With a few days left in the year, the city could reach its deadliest January since 2002, when it had 45 homicides in the first month.

Via the WFB, on Morning Joe on Tuesday, Christie Hefner from the Center for American Progress offered an — er — creative explanation for one of the reasons explaining why that might be.

“Is it higher? Yes. Last year, we hit a record number of murders from guns, and this year, we were already outpacing last year’s numbers. Now, there are contributing factors that are not under anybody’s control, and it may seem odd, but it is factually true, one of them is actually the weather. There is a dramatic increase in gun violence when it is warmer, and we are having this climate-change effect that is driving that.

At which point, Scarborough interrupted Hefner: “Can I just stop you right there and say, conservative bloggers across America thank you for saying the climate change is responsible for the rising murder rate.” He nailed that one, because this conservative blogger definitely cannot let the comment about the heat wave/crime/climate change correlation fly unexamined. The panel went on to talk about policing methods and policy enforcement and drug laws, all of which might be legitimate points for debate — but climate change? Come on. Even if crime does intensify in seasonally warmer months, climate change is something that happens across the board, and one of the latest studies estimates that the earth’s surface temperature has warmed up approximately 0.28 degrees Fahrenheit in over 20 years — violent crime across the United States has been falling for decades now. And while there are certainly any number of factors responsible for that, in the discussion of why Chicago and New York are witnessing such drastic differences in their crime rates, I think it’s probably a million times more worthwhile to discuss Chicago’s policies and culture more than random wildcard talking points that help to skirt the real issues. Let’s stay focused here, people.