“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.

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25 Responses to Guns and Inner City Kids: A Modest Proposal on Guns

  1. although I was a bit skeptical of your proposition at first, I think that that’s the smartest thing I’ve heard all day. granted, its 6:35 right now, but hey, win the battles ya get, eh?

  2. Why not set up shooting classes and marksmanship competitions for city kids? Lots of youth programs are centered around boxing and martial arts, and I don’t hear the whingeing ninnies of the Nanny State howling in protest.

  3. It’s funny, I lived in a household where guns were commonplace and unlocked once all of us were old and responsible enough. We managed between us to not kill a single person, take one to school, or really do anything inappropriate or illegal.

    So it can’t be the availability of guns, because I didn’t even need $120 to have access.

  4. I like it. Your idea, that is. Marksmanship is a form of excellence and your idea of creating a corps “of trained, responsible gun owners ” better able to fully participate in the American economy speaks to purpose. Young people need a clear sense of purpose and a means of achieving that purpose as an alternative to the various forms of mischief that are so alluring to the young mind. I think that people are drawn to excellence both as active and passive participants and they respond well to high standards when they are shown that they can achieve them.

    Developing a skill in something material (like woodworking or marksmanship) is, in my opinion, always an excellent way to learn lessons that apply to many areas of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It also ground people in a way that non-material experience, or “book learning”, never can.

    • Agreed!

      I think ANY program where responsible adults build relationships with teenagers is effective at not only keeping teens “out of trouble”, but teaching them also the values of character, self-discipline, and citizenship. Whether it’s a marksmanship / rifle club, martial arts, sports… there’s even programs nowadays like horseback riding for inner city kids that allows them to leave their environment literally and metaphorically.

      Sadly, we live in a society and culture that doesn’t value education or these kinds of programs. Politicians (from both parties, mind you) see fit to slash budgets for these kinds of after school clubs and programs that impoverished kids need the most. People forget how powerful a motivation it is for kids to stay in school if that campus gives them access to thinks like art, sports, etc.

  5. The issues at hand are multiple, and systemic enough to defeat any one-direction solution.

    Feminism has wreaked its share of havoc on black families. I wasn’t raised in a Latino or poor white household so thus I will refuse comment on those matters, but in a poor black neighborhood I was right in the statistical medium. Out of all the friends I had growing up maybe one person had a classic family unit.This causes problems when the only person capable of teaching Junior right and wrong is off at work for 12 hours a day.On top of all that, being black means dealing with a cultural handout complex that I believe drives the criminal activity we see on a frequent basis. Few true men are kosher with the idea of living on someone else’s charity as a long term strategy, but that’s what the black church & “reverends” advocate using some warped idealogy that because of slavery black people are owed something from society by dint of skin color. I do not know many criminals these days -I joined the military and never looked back at that way of life-but id peg many of their motivations as being fed up with taking public handouts. A gang banger may get killed or jailed but to him, that’s a better risk than living on a public dime or working at a McDonalds for pennies . There’s nothing wrong with a man who innately wants to be something. There’s a serious social problem when that “something” is to aspire to be a criminal because certain religious and social figures only gain power by a status quo driven by poverty. Solve inner city poverty and thousands of black ministers, reverends ,Al Sharpton aspirants, and “community organizers” are unemployed. Ironically these are the people who are tasked with solving the issue to begin with. Fox patrolling the henhouse.

    • I am not Black and am mostly Swiss, German, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and grew up in a rural area; but from my observations being in Fort Wayne and Cincy, I think you are spot on.
      I really think inner city urban culture is screwed up and responsibility is not really forced on the dwellers in that area.
      I have posted on this forum about Great Uncle and Grand Parents. That generation born in the late 19th century would force responsibility on you.
      Here kid, have a gun and hunt, you are responsible.
      Here kid have a tractor and disc the field. you are responsible.
      Here kid, have a farm animal, you take care of it.
      Here kid, run this grain auger, do not stick your hand it it.
      Here kid bail hay, you put it up in the barn. You are responsible.
      That is exactly what the generation born in the 1890s was trying to teach me. Responsibility.

    • There’s plenty of useless blame to go around, but really, you’re blaming women? I mean “feminists,” which in TTAG land means women who aren’t furntiure.

  6. I have always thought it a good idea, teaching and shooting gun for inner city kids.

    Actually getting a chance to shoot a gun in a safe place. Takes away any mystery.

    We all know it is fun and of course they will want to do more. Improve their sills. Heck, not like .22 ammo is all that expensive.

  7. A very interesting idea to consider. Perhaps the younger kids can start with BB guns and move onto .22 after they have proved themselves responsible, grown older, etc.

    “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”

    The men’s blogs have recently covered how the lack of an adult male role model is especially damaging to boys even more to girls growing up in single parent homes. Homes without a father figure (about 94% of single parent homes are led by a female adult) have a far higher incidence of teens dropping out of school, joining gangs, turning into drug addicts, and in catching STDs, etc. In addition, there are the more difficult to measure intangible problems with teens (again it’s worse for boys) having lower self-respect, self-confidence, etc. The American male teen suicide rate has increased 300% since the 1970s (gee, why is the main street media not reporting that one?).

    Adult supervised inner city rifle training and teams is a good idea and I think it will help some kids. However, the overall trend (consider the progressive ‘changes’ of the past 45+ years) in modern western dysfunctional society is that of a run-away train going downhill.

    • Strangley, we might agree a little bit here. Let us note that most of those single parent homes occured because the dad took off and never came back. Maybe the woman’s at fault, probably not. Either way, the man usually splits.

      I have my 3 kids half the time, so I’m definitely a role model, and I do my best. It’s harder than you think it is. The suicide rate is an interesting (by which I mean bad) thing. Our culture is fucked.

      • NCG,

        We probably have more values in common under the surface than we realize. Good for you for being an active dad and doing your best.

        Some dads do take off. I really have no idea what the number is and I would question all stats on how many and to what degree dads are active. I think they can be very misleading based on who and how the numbers are counted. I think some of those ‘dads’ were simply out for a night of sex (not fatherhood). While it doesn’t excuse a bum dad, my view is that if a womyn can choose to have an abortion or give up her new infant for adoption and opt out of motherhood then men should have some say with opting out of fatherhood and financial responsibility. It’s complicated and this isn’t an end-all simple statement.

        As one very small example, there are many thousands of dads in prison for not being able to make a second child support payment because they were unemployed and not able too even when willing. Many other dads who were and/or are unemployed not wanting to be sent to prison for not being able to make child support have gone underground. Some not all of those dads were active with their kids and others not.

        Two of my three best friends here in Portland are part-time dads. One is the volunteer dad to his ex-wife’s biological little girl (from her previous marriage) who is not even his biological child. He simply loves her. The second friend’s ex-gf sabotaged the birth control and then made some terrible claims against my friend’s character and why he should be held to give her financial support yet not allowed have joint custody. His ex-gf got busted for her lies by the family court and my friend has joint custody of his little girl (and his ex-gf had to pay him thousand$). A third friend (whose son is now an adult) went through divorce hell 20+ years ago. His ex-wife bashed his character in court and wanted full custody of the boy with my friend to be held to still pay alimony…the saga continues.

        Our culture is fucked.

      • Damn, I just wrote you a long reply and it might have gone into this site’s Limbo of the Lost comments as happens too often.

  8. This is all nonsense. The “answer” to teenage gun crimes isn’t gun training, less guns or more guns. The only real answer is fewer teenagers.

    If people would stop reproducing like a warren full of Arizona jackrabbits, there would be less overcrowding in classrooms, meaning that schools might actually be able to teach something and graduates wouldn’t be a mass of unemployable dunderheads. It would also mean that there would be fewer teachers, less payroll, less pensions and reduced property tax rates. The latter might lead to housing being more affordable. Fewer teenagers would also mean no more Red Bull, Facebook, Proactive, earsplitting noises from car stereos and the ammunition shortage would be over.

    So c’mon, people, either keep it in your pants or put a helmet on that soldier. For the children.

  9. RF, I’m totally with you here. We need basic gun safety in high school. We need to stop policies that intentionally limit gun ownership to white people. Liberal “gun education” is just like conservative “sex education.” Abstinence only ain’t gonna cut it. Guns are out there. I’ve also heard that teenagers have sex.

    Is the NRA going to step up? No, it is not. Good luck finding an organization willing to teach inner city, non-white kids to shoot guns. I guess I’d do it, but I’m not at all qualified.

  10. The problems in those areas are the adults. In addition the culture of taking, not earning what you have. Whether that is receiving money from the government instead of working or by directly stealing it from their neighbors. Even if they wanted to earn their way they more or less can’t! They can’t because the government has killed the capitalist system and removed any freedom in the market. For instance, they have minimum wage laws, high education costs due to inflation, force business out of the country and have true monopolies.

    If there is only one piece of pie left how else are people going to act? They feel as if they are fighting to survive. It is a problem created by another problem.

    I wouldn’t be against teaching kids about firearms. I would like to see that for states like California so that state would not be afraid of a tool.

  11. NCG basically nails it here. I am in the city and have worked in conflict resolution with high school students in the inner city for years. Basically, kids in my city are treated like second-class citizens apart from the rest of the state and it totally has to do with skin color, as if it’s not natural for them to be interested. BB guns are illegal here so that’s out. As another example, ATV’s are in the process of being criminalized even though we have acres and acres of city parks where they could be acommodated in a controlled and safe way, just like for country kids. I have worked in the strict anti-gun, “zero tolerance” arena for so long and I’m done. It doesn’t work and our kids are dying every day. Yesterday a 10 year old kid near my house shot his hand up. I actually think the NRA and the firearms safety community would step up – they don’t like to hear about the idiot deaths any any more than anyone and lots of those instructors would love to have opportunities to teach any kids who are interested. I think it’s more likely it would cause a tremendous outcry amongst politicians and antiviolence groups. But it has to go beyond Eddie Eagle. It has to acknowledge that kids will encounter real guns and teach them to handle them safely as is suggested – real time on the range, real access to the shooting sports.

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