As the U.S. Senate embarks this week on another spasm of gun control legislation in response to the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting, the Northwestern victim (his name is being withheld by the school district) is a reminder that Sandy Hook is an anomaly — the overwhelming majority of homicides in America take place in cities like Detroit, affect young males and rarely get media headlines.
If Washington passes a federal background check for all gun sales, it will be largely symbolic. Not only would a background check not have prevented Adam Lanza from acquiring a gun (his mother owned the firearm), it would do little to address violence in inner cities awash with illegal guns and drugs. This week’s White House-driven gun circus is politically calculated to embarrass the gun lobby, but attacking the root causes of gun violence means boldly tackling much stickier issues: drug legalization, police reform and single-parent families.
In the week following the Newtown massacre, there were more than a dozen gun homicides in Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore and St. Louis. In 2012, 52 people were slain for every 100,000 Detroiters. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, large cities account for two-thirds of gun-related deaths.
President Obama is on an emotional crusade that is almost entirely devoid of meaning. Had the legislation passed today, he could have claimed victory, satisfied his enormous ego then gone to bed well protected by heavily armed men while those he was pretending to protect wouldn’t have been any safer. He’s operating with so much disconnect that he trotted out Gabby Giffords for his temper tantrum today-a woman who was shot by a man who passed a background check.
The problems in the places where gun violence is rampant (Chicago, Detroit, etc) are not, as this article says, simply plagued by the availability of weapons but by far deeper sociological issues.
And those don’t make for good photo ops.