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Ending Gun Violence for All

Patch Back's Lisa Bigelow wonders, will the results of Connecticut's gun control legislative efforts help all of our citizens, or just some?

 

The bipartisan task force on gun violence held a public hearing on Monday in Hartford during which Newtown victims’ family members, gun rights advocates, members of the public and elected representatives testified on upcoming legislation.   

The testimony was sobering. And it revealed an audience of constituents tired of violence, frustrated with the slow pace of legislative change and deeply, deeply divided over the rights of citizens to own (or not to own) assault-style weapons.

As I watched, what struck me most were not the heartbreaking words of the victims. It wasn’t the guarded words of the gun club member or the angry words of the control advocate.

Instead, it was the gentlemen from the high populations centers who deal with the slow, bloody drain of handgun violence every single day. They said, where have you been, Bipartisan Task Force? We’ve been begging for help for years.

They rightly stated that these current efforts, though certainly well intended, won’t do a thing to help victims of violence in the communities of Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford. Therefore, I will repeat what needs repeating: any gun control legislation must address more than what is versus what isn’t an “assault” weapon.

It must be about more than just magazine capacity, too. It must even be about more than figuring out a way to incorporate better psychological care into our current health system. Instead, let us strive to end gun violence in all its forms so that our friends in urban areas win the same right to safety that those in quieter locales usually enjoy.

Alert: I’m going to ask the question that no one in the media seems to be asking. Many of you will disagree. And for once, I truly hope you do. And I not only hope you disagree, I hope you write in and tell me why I’m wrong (respectfully, of course … I didn’t enjoy being called a “stupid” “leftist” last week, even though my kids got a huge kick out of it).

Although many gun violence statistics can be twisted to suit a variety of needs the data on urban areas with high crime rates are clear: the victims are most often minorities. These minority victims are far outnumber the victims of mass shootings, who tend to be white. To me, it is disappointingly clear that the nationwide effort to “do something” about guns has everything to do with affluence and its favorite cousin, race.

Tell me, where are the marches when young children are murdered on the streets of Chicago, or New Haven, or Washington, or Detroit? Let me be clear: I do not question for one moment the sincerity or intent of the folks from March for Change or CAGV or hell, even the NRA. When an event such as Newtown occurs in our own backyard it is only natural that the local response should be strong and heartfelt and pure.

But I do have serious questions about the value we as a society place on human life. Or, at the very least, I question the validity of developing a legislative response to a societal threat that is directly proportional to the consequences of one action, as occurred in Newtown, versus developing a legislative response to what occurs every day to people of all colors.

Let’s work together to make all forms of violence end, as one reader so aptly wrote to me several days ago. Let’s help our legislators craft a bill that will regulate private gun sales so common criminals can’t get them easily. Let’s make universal background checks strict and repeating. Let’s develop and enforce safe storage laws and train administrators and teachers in effective self defense tactics.

Most of all, let us remember the words written in the hearts of every American: all men are created equal.

Marc Michaud February 08, 2013 at 11:24 AM
26yrs - I hear you and share your concerns. But believe there has to be a balance between the rights of the individual versus the safety of the whole. At the time of our founders we were a much more homogeneous society where neighbor knew neighbor and we did a better job of keeping track of individuals known to be a threat to to our safety. The words "a well regulated militia" were very carefully chosen. Unfortunately we now have a culture where we live in closer proximity but greater isolation. For example what was once said in in the public square can now be stated from the anonymity of a blog name. It is my hope that we can replace the ineffective mishmash of firearms laws with a more consistent approach. If done through the Legislature rather than by executive fiat, we stand a reasonable chance at building in due process which will protect us from the excesses that you are very reasonably concerned about. Jan - Yes, I remember the Parkers but haven't seen them in years.
Jan Neuberger February 08, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Marc and--speaking of anonymity-- "26 years": I'm thunderstruck by the difference in tone in these two posts. "Sarcasm?" Yes, I'd say so; just the sort that prevents reasoned discourse and insults the intelligence of those who argue from a point of view different from one's own. Clearly neither Marc nor I advocates excessive intrusion into personal liberty. I can't put it better than Marc already has: "there has to be a balance between the rights of the individual versus the safety of the whole." Thanks, Marc. I wish you both a safe and peaceful day.
Sandra February 18, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Lisa- I totally agree that there is evidence of racism when so many young black children are killed every day in Chicago (20 killed in a weekend). Since 2001,5000 black Americans have lost their lives to gun violence in Chicago. I posted an article on the Patch on this topic and it has been "pending" for two days. I must say I have been very disappointed by the Patch when it comes to limiting the dialogue.
Ed P. February 19, 2013 at 02:12 AM
WHOA!... Sandra?.... you are calling racism where its black on black crime? Now Ive heard EVERYTHING!
Ed P. February 19, 2013 at 02:41 AM
Marc.... So since WE in America are not as "homogeneous" anymore in YOUR eyes, you want to make radical changes, that fit nicer into YOUR beliefs? wants & needs? cloaked in what YOU call "The safer of the Whole"?. Heck with the NON "Homogeneous" types that don't think like you? Maybe the laws are just FINE! and maybe YOU need to change? ever think of that option? Are the BAD non Homogeneous types going to abide by your new laws? are they going to stop committing crime all of a sudden? Its arrogant man!, to think that all this change needs to happen in these few short years of YOUR lifetime. It's the people that need fixing, not the laws. And, Laws are RE-active, not PRO-active. Laws by design are made to punish, they don't stop crime. You know?. You're against the death penalty I assume? because its not a deterrent right? Same deal. It's really designed to RID society of its worst filth, the filth that cannot be trusted to not act like filth again. RE-active. How can we take liberals seriously when gun crime has been going down for decades and the Polar Bear population has been increasing, yet the biggest things on Liberal minds are getting the Polar Bear on the endangered species list and Changing the 2nd Amendment?

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