This article from the Christian Science Monitor highlights the city’s problem with black-on-black violence:
Nationally, the murder rate for African-Americans is more than three times the average: 19 black murder victims per 100,000 people versus five for the general population.
In Pennsylvania, the disparity for black homicide is even more pronounced: 30 per 100,000, or six times the national average, according to a study released last month by the Violence Policy Center (VPC), a gun-control research group in Washington.
The VPC actually gives us an accurate statistic for once! But of course, we can’t have a discussion about black-on-black violence without turning it into an argument for gun control.
“We all want it to change, but how is the hard part,” says Margo Davidson of the Caring People Alliance in North Philadelphia, where Andrea, Sierra, Christopher, and other teens can spend their afternoons after school. “We do the thing that we know how to do: We have a safe place for kids to come after school. We do family therapy and counseling, help people with [finding] jobs. But it’s not enough. There are too many guns on the street and not enough jobs for young people.”
How is not the hard part. More police on the streets to arrest more criminals is generally a pretty effective solution. But police resources are scarce, possible because the city is wasting money hiring lawyers to harass lawful gun owners.
“If you’re in the ‘hood, as long as you have a gun you can get some money,” says Joselynne Jones, who helps run the Caring People Alliance. “You can stick someone up, sell the gun … protect somebody for money. It’s a vicious cycle that starts with a gun.”
No, it’s a vicious cycle that starts with raising people in a criminal subculture. The gun didn’t turn your kids into criminals: something else did. The article goes on to mention that South Philadelphia has had some successes with reducing violence significantly by using Curfew enforcement to get kids off the streets. Now, I can’t justify Curfews because I believe they are unconstitutional, even for kids, but it does show that an active community, working with law enforcement, can stop crime.
But does it matter to city politicians?
Inspector Johnson would like to see the legislature impose more limits on who can carry a gun – a move he knows is controversial in a state with many rural areas. A decade ago, the city made it almost impossible to get a permit to carry a gun, he says. But gun advocates brought legal challenges, and in 1996, Philadelphia was required to abide by the same gun-control laws as the rest of the state – adding significantly to the number of guns on the street.
Inspector Johnson, could you please inform me how many of the drug dealing thugs you pull off the street, or how many murderers you charge have a license to lawfully carry a gun? Can you explain to me how taking guns away from law abiding citizens is going to solve your cities gun problems?
With more curbs on gun ownership, Johnson says, fewer guns would be in the hands of adults, and the trickledown effect to youths would also be lessened.
Did you just pull that out of your ass, or can you back that up with evidence? You sir, are so full fo shit that you reek, and you should have lost your job years ago! Seriously, I’m getting tired of city politicians placing the blame on lawful gun owners. Most of the adults who leave guns where gang members have access to them aren’t the people your city is issues gun licenses to, you dumbass.
Many of the staff here also know the gun culture firsthand. Last year, Margo Davidson’s brother, who was known as Shorty, was killed. During the trial, she was struck by two things.
First is that the man convicted of killing her brother “kept referring to the gun as ‘my friend,’ ” says Ms. Davidson, one of the top staff at the Caring People Alliance.
The second is that the accomplice in the murder – a young woman who had known “Shorty” and had pointed him out to the shooter as someone who “had money” – had ruined her own life. Her desire for money to buy drugs led to the fatal shooting.
“Knowing that, at 18, her life is over simply because of that poor decision takes the tragedy beyond the death of our loved one,” says Davidson. “It also affects the families of the shooters – it has a ripple effect on the whole community.”
No, I’m sorry, you people don’t know the “gun culture”. That culture is what I belong to, and it’s law abiding and peaceful. You know an ailing inner city culture that has a problem with violence. This doesn’t just make me angry because you’re talking about taking away my guns, though that does piss me off. It also makes me angry because black-on-black violence, especially in Philadelphia, is a very serious problem, and the solutions being advocated by city politicians and the media aren’t serious solutions. Until the underlying social problems of broken families, lack of economic opportunity, and willingness to deflect blame and not take responsibility for their own communities are addressed, the violence will continue. But there’s so outside force that can really addess that, and it’s not really a black or white problem, it’s a community problem. In those communities where people have stood up and started working with police, crime has fallen. Gun control won’t help the problem, banding together as a community and working with police to get the violent people off the streets will.