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Who Pays for the Right to Bear Arms?


Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, children, corruption, crime, culture, dishonesty, education, ethics, family, freedoms, government, law, media, murder, news, police, politics, religion, rights, sadness, safety, society, violence )

Kit
- 468 days ago - nytimes.com
The right to bear arms typically invokes the romantic image of a cowboy toting a rifle on the plains. In modern-day America, though, the more realistic picture is that of a young black man gunned down in his prime in a dark alley.



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Kit B. (277)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 11:28 am
(Photo Credit: misfit politics.co)


IN the days following the Newtown massacre the nationís newspapers were filled with heart-wrenching pictures of the innocent victims. The slaughter was unimaginably shocking. But the broader tragedy of gun violence is felt mostly not in leafy suburbs, but in Americaís inner cities.

The right to bear arms typically invokes the romantic image of a cowboy toting a rifle on the plains. In modern-day America, though, the more realistic picture is that of a young black man gunned down in his prime in a dark alley. When we celebrate gun rights, we all too often ignore their disproportionate racial burdens. Any effort to address gun violence must focus on the inner city.

Last year Chicago had some 500 homicides, 87 percent of them gun-related. In the cityís public schools, 319 students were shot in the 2011-12 school year, 24 of them fatally. African-Americans are 33 percent of the Chicago population, but about 70 percent of the murder victims.

The same is true in other cities. In 2011, 80 percent of the 324 people killed in Philadelphia were killed by guns, and three-quarters of the victims were black.

Racial disparities in gun violence far outstrip those in almost any other area of life. Black unemployment is double that for whites, as is black infant mortality. But young black men die of gun homicide at a rate eight times that of young white men. Could it be that the laxity of the nationís gun laws is tolerated because its deadly costs are borne by the segregated black and Latino populations of North Philadelphia and Chicagoís South Side?

The history of gun regulation is inextricably interwoven with race. Some of the nationís most stringent gun laws emerged in the South after the Civil War, as Southern whites feared what newly freed slaves might do if armed. At the same time, Northerners saw the freed slavesí right to bear arms as critical to protecting them from the Ku Klux Klan.

In the 1960s, Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party made the gun a central symbol of black power, claiming that ďthe gun is the only thing that will free us.Ē On May 2, 1967, taking advantage of Californiaís lax gun laws, several Panthers marched through the State Capitol in Sacramento carrying raised and loaded weapons, generating widespread news coverage.

The police could do nothing, as the Panthers broke no laws. But three months later, Gov. Ronald Reagan signed into law one of the strictest gun control laws in the country.

The urban riots of the late 1960s ó combined with rising crime rates and a string of high-profile assassinations ó spurred Congress to pass federal gun control laws, banning interstate commerce in guns except for federally licensed dealers and collectors; prohibiting sales to felons, the mentally ill, substance abusers and minors; and expanding licensing requirements.

These laws contain large loopholes, however, and are plainly inadequate to deal with the increased number and lethality of modern weapons. But as long as gun violence largely targets young black men in urban ghettos, the nation seems indifferent. At Newtown, the often all-too-invisible costs of the right to bear arms were made starkly visible ó precisely because these werenít the usual victims. The nation took note, and President Obama has promised reform, though he has not yet made a specific proposal.

Gun rights defenders argue that gun laws donít reduce violence, noting that many cities with high gun violence already have strict gun laws. But this ignores the ease with which urban residents can evade local laws by obtaining guns from dealers outside their cities or states. Effective gun regulation requires a nationally coordinated response.

A cynic might propose resurrecting the Black Panthers to heighten white anxiety as the swiftest route to breaking the logjam on gun reform. I hope we are better than that. If the nation were to view the everyday tragedies that befall young black and Latino men in the inner cities with the same sympathy that it has shown for the Newtown victims, there would be a groundswell of support not just for gun law reform, but for much broader measures.

If we are to reduce the inequitable costs of gun rights, itís not enough to tighten licensing requirements, expand background checks to private gun sales or ban assault weapons. In addition to such national measures, meaningful reform must include initiatives directed to where gun violence is worst: the inner cities. Aggressive interventions by police and social workers focused on gang gun violence, coupled with economic investment, better schools and more after-school and job training programs, are all necessary if we are to reduce the violence that gun rights entail.

To tweak the National Rifle Associationís refrain, ďguns donít kill people; indifference to poverty kills people.Ē We canít in good conscience keep making young black men pay the cost of our right to bear arms.
************
By: David Cole |OpEd The New York Times |

David Cole is a professor of constitutional law and criminal justice at the Georgetown University Law Center.

 

Mm M. (444)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 1:24 pm
Noted Kit~
 

Nancy M. (219)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 1:34 pm
I don't even know what to say. My thoughts go all over the place on this topic. Thanks though for a erspective.
 

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (264)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 2:00 pm
I love the last paragraph Thanks Kit
 

Jennifer C. (172)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 4:14 pm
Thanks.
 

marie tc (164)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 5:05 pm
So true the romanticism of the cowboy protecting his family has become the reality of the crazy hoody.
 

Craig Pittman (44)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 6:05 pm
Thanks Kit. There is absoulte nothing remotely romantic about guns or gun ownership.
 

Betsy Bee (1362)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 6:33 pm
Thanks, Kit. I agree with Nancy M. I do not know what to say. Sometimes, I would like the Second Amendment reexamined. Conditions are so different for us. Our Founding Fathers had just fought a tyranny. Then again, I think that the Roberts Supreme is nothing less than scary and I do not any of the first ten amendments under their scrutiny.
 

Scott haakon (3)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 8:49 pm
Gun control is a failure. Look at Mexico very strict gun control 60000 dead. Families have daughters kidnapped for trafficking. Norway, strict gun control 77 dead, all with the strict gun control not counting bombings. The world is not "safe". Being street smart is the cure.
Most of the "gun control is nothing but fear and panic. The truth is the assault weapons are less than 2% og gun crimes and in the US those crimes are decreasing. Why? Because the prime causes are being addressed. People are aware what they need to do. Areas have plans to deal with terrorists. People need to get out of their blindness. How many walk with head in phone with ears covered by earphone blasting music. People are in areas where wild animals are encroaching. These animals are not afraid of people. So when people are foolish they get hurt or dead.
It is time to really put emotion out to pasture. Gun control does not work. The areas with the highest crime are the areas with the strictest gun control.
 

Billie C. (2)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 10:30 pm
you want to control guns in your city control them but leave is country folk alone. we need our guns and will keep them. if nothing else to make sure we aren't overrun by crazy city folks.
the only people that will turn ion their guns are law abiding citizens. the gangs and criminals will keep theirs and then it will be open season on people. they go after places and people they are pretty sure aren't armed now.
 

Stephen Brian (24)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 11:52 pm
The idea of a nationally coordinated effort, like the one described here, presumes that such an effort would have a hope in hell of success in all areas. It wouldn't. If a family-farm has the machining-ability to do maintenance on its own machinery, it can manufacture guns. New 3-D printing technology is bringing that manufacturing ability into households everywhere. The sorts of controls which would be needed to prevent acquisition of guns cannot be enforced in many of the places where they are not present. The police simply do not have the power to do it.

This goes a little off-topic, but for some idea of how difficult it is to really control the production and spread of weapons, look East. The Libyan rebels, which included people whose training consisted of watching Rambo a bunch of times (at least one who was interviewed), built a drone. The Qassam Mark 1 and 2 rockets were built with only hand-tools. To build standard guns to spec, it takes some real work to bore the hole in the barrel just right. On the other hand, you can also just mould bullets to fit a standard high pressure pipe-size (and high-pressure pipes can work as gun-barrels). From what I understand, once you have that, the rest can be done with hand-tools.

On the other hand, there may still be a way to address the problem through coordination. If all guns are required to be registered, and registry-information is shared between all states, then it could become very difficult for someone without a license in his or her home-state to purchase a gun elsewhere and bring it home. I say "address" and not "solve" because this would still do nothing about the already-illegal gun-acquisition.

There are two cultures, one in which gun-proliferation works, and the other in which gun-control might work. The trouble is that when they mingle, gun-control just becomes an OHSA for criminals, and it makes a difference. Aside from the attack on Gabrielle Giffords, can somebody find me the most recent mass-shooting, with more than four victims killed, outside of a gun-free zone in the U.S.?
 

Dandelion G. (403)
Friday January 4, 2013, 8:46 am
After this tragic shooting of the children and some Staff members the sale of guns went up. There will have to be a major educational awareness done in this Country but I don't see it coming; yet. Too many politicians are afraid to take it on, look at the ones who do, they get voted out, told they are traitors, and even the idea that there might be a freeze or some tweaking of the gun laws caused more guns to be sold.

We read about some Countries and we don't understand how they can live under such conditions or moralities, it seems so wrong to us. Some people butcher a lot of dolphins at a certain ceremony, others wear fur, fight bulls, some don't allow women to drive, in others there is baby jumping, or going without eating meat for 9 days while sticking blades and other piercing objects through ones face or body. The USA seems to be owning weapons of all types in particular guns up to assault weapons; some that can even shoot a plane down. Everyone meekly going through TSA radiation machines, humiliation and sexual assaults, while at the same time we have people running around with surface to air weapons. But hey, we got to keep the latter. Does that make sense?

Here in America, that seems perfectly acceptable and yet these same Americans most likely will scream at the top of their lungs on the other things I mentioned as being barbaric or horrible, stating "what is wrong with those people?", and on and on; yet fail to see our own particular ways in the light that others may see us. We need to seriously check our own culture out and why we do what we do, why we feel it is needed while around the world people look at our gun obsession in the same way we would look at those other traditions I have mentioned.

So many speak of how others need to change, enlighten, educate themselves, perhaps it's more than time to do the same in the USA.
 

Antonia Windham (6)
Friday January 4, 2013, 11:31 am
The only way racial disparities're a valid argument in re gun laws is if the gun laws are different for inner-city blacks than they are for other groups. They aren't. More people die violent deaths in areas that've a greater percentage of violent people.

"Gun violence" doesn't "target young black men" in the inner cities. It isn't a living thing and can't target anyone. People in the inner cities are holding guns in their hands and targeting other people. As long as we've a respect for the Constitution (allowing for reasonable gun control measures) some areas'll have more deaths than others from guns. Take away our rights and the former shooters in those areas'll do their violence with other weapons.
 

Kit B. (277)
Friday January 4, 2013, 11:52 am

I believe the point is that guns are much to easy to obtain and mostly those that civilians have no business owning. A semi-automatic or full automatic military assault rifle is not owned for self protection within the boundaries of our homes.

These laws that address the direct issues of military weapons and background checks will have a impact on some of the violence in our society. The proposed reinstatement of the guidelines that require both a 3 day waiting period for a full back ground check and closing the loop hole on gun shows just may have a dramatic effect on violence. This is not an attempt to skirt the second amendment, but as a society we must question why anyone has a need to own weapons designed for use on a field of battle.
 

Jacqui Gill (0)
Friday January 4, 2013, 1:02 pm
20 + innocent children, that's who pays for your right to bear arms. What a stupid and diabolical phrase that is... the right to bear arms against WHAT??? What threat have innocent kids been to you? The idiots who profess and spout the crap about putting armed guard in schools/// what the hell is going on there? obviously trying to settle opinion by slapping the wrist with a wet bus ticket. I would think, like every other American Parent, they too, hopelike hell such a trgedy doesn't come a-knockin' at their door!!!
 

Angelika R. (143)
Friday January 4, 2013, 1:52 pm
Your society as a whole is paying the price. As Dandelion correctly mentioned, other countries do have problems to understand this and it reflects on the US reputation in a bad way.
I personally think that government should serve as a role model and yours is doing just that by its kill-to-will policy, so how can you expect society to have much respect for life of others...
America, moral degenerate - it was Noam Chomsky who said that, perhaps stop and think.
 

Jane Mckenzie (20)
Friday January 4, 2013, 4:35 pm
noted
 

Jane Mckenzie (20)
Friday January 4, 2013, 4:36 pm
thanks to all those like Kit
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 1:49 am
too may dead
 

Faye Swan (23)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 12:18 pm
We all pay - Crime is one reason I left Phoenix and live in Scotland but we had Dunblane here. There IS a case for gun control and I hope President Obama can press for effective nationwide regulation.
 

Aaron Bouchard (105)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 12:44 pm
Noted thanks
 

g d c. (0)
Saturday January 5, 2013, 12:55 pm
ty
 

Veronique L. (213)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 4:44 am
Thanks for sharing
 

paul m. (93)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 5:15 am

Who pays ? we do, like it or not ....
 

Anton Macio Madison Sr. (0)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 6:45 am
Noted
 

Stephen Brian (24)
Monday January 7, 2013, 9:12 am
Hi :)

I saw some comments here about the shooting: The shooter did not have a right to bear arms in general, and nobody had a right to bear arms in the school as it was a "gun-free zone". That didn't stop it from happening. We will never know, but it may have stopped staff-members who normally carry guns from more effectively confronting the shooter. One side says they paid the price for the right to bear arms because the idea of bystander-intervention or armed school-security is foreign, while the other says they paid the price for the lack of precisely the same because the idea of law-enforcers actually being able to stop someone from being armed is equally foreign.

I think the idea in the article was that as long as inner-city poor minorities are the primary victims of gun-violence, nobody will care enough to stop it. That the party which holds the Senate and presidency does so due solely to city-based votes and dominance among minorities, though, suggests that if it were just a matter of political will, that violence would already have been addressed.
 

Sergio Padilla (62)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 10:22 am
Thanks
 
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