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.

JWolf January 31, 2013 at 12:55 PM
I couldnt agree more. I said to a friend when this happened, and I work in Newtown, Now that this has happened in an affluent upper class community there is going to be a huge outcry, screaming and yelling about guns. Hey guess what happened. In Chicago gang violence already this year is up to 90 deaths I believe in one month. A girl who played at the inaguration was gunned down a few days ago when a stray bullet hit her during a drive by in chicago where they were trying to kill rival gang members at the bus stop. Where is the outcry? Its well she should hav known better than hanging out with gangbangers. she was at the freaking bus stop to go to school. Again we see the diffrence when something happens in a upperclass community vs a working class. Yet as we look to Chicago we see the most deaths via handguns in the USA and they have a complete ban on all guns. I hope some light bulbs start going on. To me Gun control is how many bullets I can hit in the red.
JWolf February 01, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Professor Gun control is a myth as far as controlling guns. Why do I say this? becuase you cannot control criminals they are criminals because they do not follow laws you cannot control them. I someone does something evil a new law wont stop them. So what do gun control laws really do? Take 12/14 the mother of the idiot was breaking the law by not having the guns locked up or have triger guards on them. He broke 14 laws. What do more laws of control do if jackwaggons dont follow them? To a shooter who follows all laws being in control is accuracy. Then again people still think semi automatic means that you pull the trigger and the gun keeps firing. My Drill Sgt said to us "I dont care how many magazines you use or how many rounds you fire if you dont have control and accuracy an enemy that does will take you down with two rounds. Weapon Control is handeling your weapon properly and accurately ladies that is the true meaning of control" There is an old saying in sniper school and the military in general "one shot one kill full control"


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