Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Few Words On Gun Violence

A few weeks ago I asked an old friend of mine what I could do to improve my blog. He suggested that I post regularly and produce researched articles every now and again. Bloggers block kept me from doing this. However, yesterday I had a great conversation with a very enthusiastic foster parent about gun violence and I found myself depressed and inspired.

She told me a story about a shooting death that occurred in her neighborhood about 2 weeks ago. She said that a young man from around the way was in the process of robbing a convenience store when a police officer arrived. The perpetrator turned his gun on the officer, shooting him in the face from about 10 inches away. The reports following the incident were politically correct. They stated that the officer experienced serious trauma to the head.  The foster parent I was working with chose to scream the truth, “that asshole blew his face clean off.”

As a case manager I often find myself in forgotten neighborhoods where violence runs rampant. Every parent or guardian I speak to has a story about gun violence; a story about a family member or friend they recently lost to the “block.”

In 2005 there were 305 homicides in Philadelphia as a result of gun violence. This figure does not include the number of people injured.

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence “Sixty-six percent of all murders are committed with guns.” Further more, campaign representatives suggest, “Relationship problems, interpersonal conflicts, mental-health problems, and recent crises are among the primary precipitating factors of violent deaths. Access to firearms increases the lethality of these interactions making it more likely that someone will die.”

A few months ago I may have been apt to believe that the facts justify the interpretation: guns should be outlawed, or made inaccessible in order to reduce the number of violent crimes. But, as I learned in the very backdoor documentary “Guns and Weed: the Road to Freedom,” guns play an important role in keeping our civil liberties in tact. And, in the heat of the moment, at the height of rage a person will use whatever he or she can as a means to their wrath.

Maybe the solution is to address the issues behind violent crimes. Maybe it is time that we address domestic violence, gang violence, violet cultural icons, and where our mental health and judicial systems are failing.  Our systems are in need of serious restructuring. It is time that we address the problems with the intention of rendering solutions. Now I guess we just have to figure out what that looks like.

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