2013/09/22 by seanmiller12
Chicago has long been regarded the American murder capitol, yet it has among the strictest gun control laws in the nation. Similarly, Washington, D.C. has such strict gun control, that it was, until very recently, absolutely illegal to own a handgun there. Like Chicago, Washington has a long record of gun related violent crime. The Washington Navy Yard massacre and the most recent Chicago mass shootout exemplify this. These events also exemplify how passing stricter laws to make an already illegal act more illegal is irrelevant and futile. Massive hemorrhage is not stopped with a Band-Aid. The source of the bleeding must be recognised, and treatment applied there.
Chicago gun violence is legendary. So are Chicago’s poverty and the resultant disenfranchisement. Social Science has demonstrated a close relationship between poverty and violence. Not only do the poor have little to lose, by committing violent crime, their disenfranchisement is dissolved by inclusion in gang society. Those who choose not to belong to a gang become collateral damage in gang violence. The mantra of gun rights activists is “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” The reality of this mantra is the reality that criminals have no regard for legality. That is why they are called criminals. Forcing compliance in gun control among law abiding gun owners will not stop criminals from having guns. The ‘gun show loophole’, where a private individual is not required to do background checks on the purchaser is not the source for firearms in the criminal element. Chronic lawbreakers don’t buy their weapons at gun shows. They obtain them in myriads of other ways, rather than entering an environment with personnel from several police agencies. Any gun show will normally have representatives from BATFE, local and state police, and maybe even the FBI present.
The legendary gun violence of Chicago is linked directly to Chicago gangs, the personification of the disenfranchisement resulting from poverty. Remove the poverty. Include this population into mainstream America, and the violence will cease. Deprive anyone of worthwhile employment, destroy him with debt from necessary healthcare, and deprive him of an education, and the desperate, hopeless second class citizen is created. This is the perpetrator of inner city gun violence. This is the soldier in the gang, who shoots indiscriminately at opposing gang members, causing collateral damage among the local population. More laws will not take away their guns. Even if firearms were successfully removed from the population, this element would find other means to perform violent acts. Attack the heart of the disease. Remove poverty and hopelessness.
American mental health is the least funded of the dismal American health system. Each shooter in Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and Washington had a well documented mental health history, yet nothing was done to keep firearms out of their hands. Nothing was done to keep them from being motivated toward the most antisocial act imaginable. Nothing was done to help them, before it was too late. Again, treat the source of the disease. Stop with the Band-Aids. Making it harder for the perpetrator to obtain a firearm will not keep the perpetrator from obtaining a firearm. Adam Lanza murdered to obtain his weapons. So did Aaron Alexis. Alexis arrived at the yard with a legally purchased shotgun, and then murdered an armed security guard, to obtain his handgun. Neither murderer needed a legally obtained firearm to commit his acts. He only needed a victim.
Society already has the tools to identify a potential psychotic murderer. Society must act to prevent the murderer from evolving. Treat the patient, not merely his actions.
In summation, American gun violence is not a result of gun ownership. It is a result of poverty and hopelessness, of desperation. It is a result of a non-existent mental health system. Guns have evolved since Man explored the uses of gunpowder. The horses have already escaped. Don’t bother with closing the barn door, now. Just like edged weapons, blunt weapons, and poisons, guns already exist in the population. One cannot turn back the clock. One can, however, change the future, by making people’s lives healthier and better, thereby removing the reason for violence. Treat the disease, not merely the symptom.