Thursday, January 12, 2012

Crime down across U.S. but not because of more guns on the street

Except for the killing of police officers, crime is dropping in all other major categories, a trend that has now lasted four-and-one-half years.  Of course the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) would like to have you think it is due to the recent proliferation of guns on the street, which they are responsible for.  Not so.  According to the WSJ/Online, “Police officials and some criminologists attribute the persistent crime drop to more-sophisticated policing methods, such as targeting hot spots with extra officers.”

CNN reported nearly 500,000 criminal background checks during the last week before Christmas 2011.  The NRA told CNN that this is due to scared citizens afraid that cuts in police coverage will result in less protection.  This is the same kind of bullshit this organization of crackpots has been spreading for years.  It sounds like someone is equipping an army, and some of those guns will end up in irresponsible households like the one recently in Mesa, Arizona where a 7-year-old kid took a gun to school. 

"You keep any special interest group alive by nurturing the crisis atmosphere," is the statement of former NRA chief Ray Arnet.  And it is something they have done well for years working their membership of yahoos into a frenzy over any issue even slightly related to gun control.  The best recent example was when Barack Obama was elected President, the NRA told its members he would take away all their guns.  Thousands went out and bought more.

The $1 million Wayne LaPierre

Any intelligent individual can see this lobbying effort is designed for two reasons.  One, to encourage more gun sales for their high contributing gun manufacturers, and two, to support the NRA’s annual budget of over $200 million.  A pathetic membership provides people like its Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre “lavish benefits,” as the Democratic Underground puts it, with $1,000,000 in yearly salary and benefits.

The Christian Science Monitor lists six key reasons crime is down and not one of them mentions having more guns on the street.  They are:

1.    More incarceration of criminals meaning fewer are on the street.
2.    Better policing through being more proactive through surveillance.
3.    Social programs working with community groups to keep youths engaged.
4.    Simple demographics of a smaller population of the young people who commit more crime.
5.    Unemployment benefits through more government support that reduces stress-related crimes.
6.    Fewer opportunities with unemployment high and more people at home to protect their property.

But there is still the tragedy of more officers dying and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund says 2011 could be the first year in ten years that more officers have died from gunshot wounds than from traffic accidents.  I say that is due entirely to loose gun laws and the fact that guns are everywhere in this country.  And in Arizona, hardly a day goes by that someone is not shot and in many cases killed.  This state has the loosest weapons laws in the nation.

The NRA will never change its methods or philosophy on gun rights, and advocates like myself will never change when it comes to our viewpoint on sane gun control.  Should the 2012 elections provide some relief from the oppression of the conservative right, in particular the Tea Party, and we see changes to a more progressive Supreme Court, it will be time to challenge the 2nd Amendment to define just what the specificity is of the term, “right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

Visit the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence here.

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