In response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the hue and cry has largely been about the failure of Broward County sheriff’s deputies to respond, and the school system policy that pushed authorities to ignore Nikolas Cruz’s threats and behavior. (See The Florida School Shooting- And the PROMISE That Created It) That is, except for gun-control advocates who are using the tragedy as a vehicle to promote their agenda.
That’s to be expected because most people who rally for gun control are blissfully uninformed or misinformed, and grasp at any statistic that they believe supports their philosophy that only two groups of people should own guns- law enforcement and criminals. Shootings, be they mass or singular aren’t a “gun issue”, they are a cultural issue. Enacting stricter gun control will provide advocates with warm and fuzzy feelings, but will be largely ineffective at achieving the desired goal of reducing, or eliminating random killings involving the use of firearms.
Statistics validate that statement. Chicago has one of the strictest gun ordinances in the nation, yet according to the web site heyjackass.com, which has been publishing Chicago homicide statistics since 2012, before the end of February of this year, 67 people had been shot and killed, and 111 had been shot and wounded within the Chicago city limits. This follows the 625 people who were shot and killed, and the 2,936 shot and wounded last year.
Baltimore comes in second in the total number of murders in 2017, (343) but has the distinction of having the highest per capita murder rate with 56 murders per 100,000 people. In New York City, where, since 1911, the ability to legally purchase a gun has varied between difficult and impossible, fewer than 300 homicides, a record low number, were recorded in 2017, despite no change in the state’s long-standing Sullivan Act (which puts the issuance of gun permits in the hands of the local police department). Police commissioner James O’Neill cites his department’s initiate to have police officers reach out to residents, not stricter gun control, as the reason for the decrease in homicides.
Cities with high rates of firearm-related murder and assaults have a significant statistic in common- high rates of gun violence exist only within specific neighborhoods, those where the culture is dominated by gang activity, and drug use and distribution. Most of the guns used to commit murder are purchased illegally or stolen. No amount of gun control legislation will change that.
Proponents argue that the chief source of the guns used in Chicago crimes are purchased in Indiana, where laws are considerably less restrictive than those in Illinois. But if the window of opportunity to purchase guns in Indiana is closed, criminals will simply go to other states. If those windows are also closed, firearms will be procured through theft, rather than illegal purchase.
The glaring fault with the vast majority of gun control legislation is that it simply makes it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to legally purchase a firearm. A criminal who has no concerns about committing murder will have even fewer concerns about illegally obtaining a gun to commit that murder.
Another cultural aspect of firearm-involved violence, as demonstrated by the mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is the lack of competence found in dealing with mental illness and anti-social behavior. Broward County’s PROMISE program is laudable in its stated goal of breaking the high school-to-prison pipeline. In fact, it was designed to prevent crime statistics from interfering with the ability to receive federal funds.
Had the PROMISE program not been in place, or had it been designed to reduce crime, rather than hide it, shooter Nikolas Cruz would not have had the opportunity to purchase a gun and walk into a high school with the intent of killing people. Cruz’s activities would also have been stopped if local law enforcement, and the FBI, hadn’t ignored two years of evidence that Cruz was a crime waiting to happen.
Now that Cruz’s killing of 17 people is a fait accompli, gun control proponents are pulling out all the stops to promote gun control and gun confiscation legislation. In comparison to previous mass shootings, after which there were only a few local protests, the Florida tragedy has been followed up by a media that subscribes to the belief that no tragedy should go to waste. Countless scripted interviews have been relentlessly broadcast as has national media exposure for people who weren’t even there. Media attention has provoked knee-jerk responses from politicians across the nation. Yet the common thread is a focus on gun grabbing, while cultural issues are ignored or simply given a head nod and a shoulder shrug.
And so, the hand wringing and finger pointing will continue, the cultural causes of gun violence will again be ignored, useless legislation will be passed, and nothing will change.
We invite your comments.