Monday, January 05, 2015

So, What are YOU Going to Do?

There was an interesting, if disheartening article in the Washington Post on December 30th: "Spate of Gun Violence Continues in District." According to the article, more than 15 people had been shot on Washington, DC streets — eight of them fatally — since December 23rd, including four killed on Christmas Eve. The total did not include a man who was killed by police after, they said, he shot at them.

The story was bad enough, particularly during the season of peace on earth, goodwill toward men, but there was another aspect to the story that deserves some thought.

The article reported that DC mayor-elect Muriel Bowser had visited the crime scenes and spoken with residents upset over the violence that plagues their streets. One man "demanded to know the city’s strategy for dealing with the violence, some plan beyond telling residents to be vigilant." He was quoted in the article as saying to the mayor:

"For people actually living 24/7 in the neighborhood, things have gotten objectively worse. That is a fact. Please outline a concrete strategy for dealing with the situation and show us concrete action. That’s all we ask."

He went on to urge the mayor to spell out "what you are doing to actually make it safe to walk around at night,” and "urged her to put more officers out on foot so they can connect with residents."

I appreciate the gentleman's concern. I'd like to be able to walk the streets of the nation's capitol without fear of being shot, too. But I think he's not asking the right questions to the right person. Consider these questions one might reasonably ask:

1. Where did the guns used in these shootings come from? What positive, concrete actions have the NRA and other gun rights organizations taken to help prevent these guns from falling into the wrong hands, or to help identify the sources of guns used in crimes, or to impose harsh sentences on persons that use guns in the commission of a crime?

2. What have the people in the affected neighborhoods done to help the police catch these criminals? It's easy to shout at the police for not catching the bad guys, but when the people in the area - for whatever reason - refuse to cooperate with the police or help identify the criminals, it's that much harder for the police to do their jobs.

3. How many of the people shouting for more police protection in their neighborhoods have spent the last few weeks participating in demonstrations in which the police are demonized and accused of shooting people - particularly blacks - at will?

4. How many of the people shouting for more police protection in their neighborhoods object to paying the taxes that pay for ... among other things ... police protection in their neighborhoods?

Violent crime is a terrible problem in our cities, and we depend upon our police to keep us safe*. But the sad fact is that the police can't - and shouldn't - do it alone. The residents of our cities have to do their part ... not just be vigilant, but cooperate with the police and help them do their jobs. And the people who vociferously defend gun rights need to do their part as well ... to recognize that not everyone who carries a gun is a fine, upstanding, well-trained, and law-abiding citizen exercising his or her sacred Second Amendment rights**, and not everyone who argues in favor of common sense controls on the availability of deadly weapons is a commiepinkoliberalratbastard desperate to shred the Constitution.

And so I might ask again: what are you going to do?

Have a good day. Be safe, and do your part. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Unlike gun rights advocates, I do not feel any safer knowing that anyone I meet on the street might be packing heat ... ostensibly to protect themselves or others from other people packing heat.

** Lemme hear you say, "Hallelujah!!"


Grand Crapaud said...

Good points. Local gun advocates want it to be legal to bring guns into public parks. For protection from squirrels?

eViL pOp TaRt said...

There's been a tendency to demonize police officers, and they are not really helped in some of the more unsafe places. And why do some people advocate those gun carry laws? It seems to me that the more guns are carried day to day, he more likely gun violence.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Wanna run for office?
Seriously who does feel comfortable walking in the District? I don't.
And sadly we don't service the area because of situations that have occurred. It's not worth our employees being hurt or worse.

KathyA said...

Your questions are accurate and articulate. The problem is that you -- and reasonable folks like you -- are dealing logically with an illogical and immovable force; one based on distortion of the 2nd Amendment, irrational fears fueled by demogogues, and the need to be right (no pun originally intended).

Banana Oil said...

We seem to have a lot of guns here in Florida, totally unnecessary for most peoples' use or protection.

Mike said...

#4 - exactly.

Linda Kay said...

I'm going to practice self-protection. You are right that this whole ridiculous protests against police is demoralizing. These folks put their lives on the line every day, and we need to help all we can.