Monday, July 27, 2009

Gun Problem or Drug Gang Problem?

It's not a good day in Baltimore:

"A feud between rival drug gangs led to a shooting at a backyard cookout that left 12 people wounded, including a pregnant woman and a 2-year-old girl, Baltimore's police commissioner said Monday.

In all, 16 people were shot, two of them fatally, in four incidents in poverty-stricken east Baltimore over a period of about three hours Sunday night and early Monday morning, police said. At least one of the subsequent shootings was related to the attack at the cookout, Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said."

The anti-gun hysteria this will undoubtedly generate is predictable, but the true causes of violence--poverty, disparity in education, and the mammoth profits made possible for gangsters by our continuing drug prohibition--will remain unaddressed.

Certainly if I lived in this neighborhood I would never leave the house unarmed; and law-abiding people shouldn't have to.

However, the commissioner seems to understand the problem is people, not weapons:

"Bealefeld's strategy is to target 'bad guys with guns' — the relatively small number of armed, repeat offenders who are responsible for the majority of the city's violent crime.

Police need more cooperation from the community for that strategy to bear fruit, the commissioner said.

'We need people to get involved. The families surely will grieve at funerals. The families certainly will be upset at going to the hospital to visit wounded and maimed loved ones,' Bealefeld said. 'We need them to get on the telephone and help us put an end to this stuff.' "

Perhaps there is hope we can learn about effective crime policy after all?

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