“It’s protection. It’s power. It’s status.” It’s another article on gang violence where guns are blamed for “teen gun violence.” Not a cynical political system that maintains the status quo even as it pretends to challenge (and blame) “outsiders” for its failures. Not the poisoned fruit of that corrupt ecology: an educational system where teaching-jobs-for-life is the process and failure is the product. Like so many mindless media mooks, indystar.com‘s John Touey takes a look at a local shooting and focuses on the symptom rather than the disease. “For teenagers in some Indianapolis neighborhoods, the gun is king. It makes the bullied the boss, the bully more brazen — and the unguarded, dead . . .
“It’s like going from having no money to having $1 million,” said Cedric Triggs, 19, who began carrying a handgun for protection when he was about 13. “I took it to school sometimes. I had it in my waist, and when I needed to, I pulled up my shirt to let people know I had it.”
To be fair, Touey starts off being fair. He takes a brief editorial diversion to address some of the substantive issues outlined above. Remember: I said brief.
“These outrageous acts will not end without parents exerting some guidance over their children, and their neighbors and churches keeping an eye on them, too,” said the Rev. Charles Harrison, who heads the Ten Point Coalition, a ministerial group that works with police to stop violence.
Yet city leaders know that the causes of the violence are complex and layered, and that the answers are complicated. Adding to their consternation is the blot on the city’s image: The shooting happened on one of the very attractions the city promotes as a Downtown gathering spot.
The trick is getting everybody working in tandem and trying a variety of solutions, whether it’s community outreach or finding alternative activities to keeping teens off the streets, officials said.
“A teenager using a gun Downtown is an abject failure of a whole lot of things, and trying to pinpoint one thing that is going to prevent it is not going to work,” said Thomas Stucky, an associate professor of criminal justice at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
From there it’s off to the races. Guns! Guns! Guns!
The solutions may be nuanced, but authorities said the core problem is clear — easy access to guns on the street.
Even the kids know that.
“You need a gun and you got $120, just ask on the street and someone will know how to find one,” said Dyani Saunders, 17. “They get passed around.”
Experts said guns are more dangerous in the hands of teenagers than adults. Teens don’t view life in the long term, they’re immature, and they often show lousy judgment. They’re also more social than adults and get out and about more.
As Ellen Foley sang to Meatloaf, STOP RIGHT THERE!
Before we go any further, here’s the recipe: inner city kids with not enough to do, not enough parental supervision, no focused goals, immersed in a gun culture with easy access to firearms.
While all the government-sponsored and church programs aimed at addressing these issues are well-intentioned, they aren’t working. Well, not well enough. Hence the five teenagers shot at the Downtown Canal on March 17. And the teen shootings before that. And the ones to come. Ipso facto.
I reckon it’s time for a new approach. It’s time for more guns.
Forget arming citizens to defend themselves against crime (for a moment) and the preventative effective that may or may not have. I’m talking about creating inner city rifle teams for young people of color. And then, eventually, training them to shoot handguns.
As this article points out, kids love guns. Why wouldn’t they? I love guns too. Have done since I was a boy. The urge to hold the power of life-and-death in your hand is strong, indeed instinctive.
It doesn’t necessarily mean a young shooter wants to kill someone for real. To wit: the readers of this website are not (in the main as far as I know) “concealed carry killers.” Our Armed Intelligentsia channeled their early love of guns in a safe direction, for both themselves and society.
In fact, many of our readers learned many of their most important life skills at the gun range; including discipline, focus, pride and teamwork. Learning the responsible use of firearms also inculcated them with this nation’s core values; including responsibility, self-reliance and respect for others (especially when they’re holding a gun).
Why would we deny the same opportunity to the kids who need it most? If society went with inner city kids’ desire to learn the way of the gun, we could use firearms training to build better citizens and, thus, a better society.
The argument against rifle ranges for inner city kids: why would you want to teach kids how to be better killers?
Setting aside the benefit of lessening collateral damage, it’s important to note that inner city teens take to illegal guns in response to their environment. You can try to change their environment (the socio-economic-political strategy) or you can try and change their response to it. My money’s on the latter. And rifle ranges.
But wait, there’s more!
If you can convince inner city kids on a rifle team that staying out of trouble will allow them to carry a gun legally when they reach adulthood and make it happen, you will create a new corps (in the non-military sense) of trained, responsible gun owners within inner city communies. People ready, willing and able to defend themselves and the rule of law.
How great is that? I reckon arming upstanding citizens in inner cities could help change the culture of dependency hobbling their full participation in the American economy. Be that as it may, standing our ground isn’t enough. We must move forward to protect our gun rights and combat violent crime where it lives.